I’m expecting! You were not?
Well, not my fault. You should have had me spayed or not housed me with a male guinea pig. You know guinea pigs go into heat every two to three weeks for around 16 days.
You are not alone. Guinea pig pregnancy comes as a surprise to most guinea pig owners. They either slack on separating the male guinea pigs in the litter even after they have weaned, or they house male and female guinea pigs together. And before they know it, they start wondering “how to tell if a guinea pig is pregnant?”
Guinea Pigs Are Prolific Breeders
These novice guinea pig owners don’t know that guinea pigs are prolific breeders. They reach sexual maturity at a very young age, where female guinea pigs could mature as soon as 4 weeks, and male guinea pigs take around 8 to 9 weeks to mature sexually. That said, a male pup as young as 3 to 4 weeks of age could impregnate his mother or siblings. This is why guinea pig owners are advised to separate male guinea pigs from their mom as well as female siblings as soon as they wean.
Knowing how prolific breeder guinea pigs are, you should not be surprised on finding out that your female pup that seems too young to be able to get pregnant is expecting or that a sow gets pregnant soon after giving birth. The female guinea pig goes into heat and could get pregnant as early as 15 hours after giving birth. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep the mama guinea pig and the litter of pups away from all male guinea pigs including the baby guinea pigs’ father. Besides, you should also separate male guinea pigs at around 3 weeks.
It is also pertinent that you familiarize yourself with signs of guinea pig pregnancy so that you know how to tell if a guinea pig is pregnant. This would enable you to take good care of the pregnant sow and make necessary arrangements for the pups who will soon land in this world.
Identifying Guinea Pig Pregnancy
Identifying guinea pig pregnancy could be a hard nut to crack, especially at the early guinea pig pregnancy stages. It could be really hard to tell if your piggy friend is actually pregnant or just growing fat due to the extra caloric intake from all the munching on delicious fruits and veggies.
If your female guinea pig is not spayed and has started gaining weight after having come in contact with a male guinea pig, no matter how short the duration, you might be wondering is my guinea pig pregnant? How to tell if my guinea pig is pregnant?
Well, continue reading as we are going to discuss all the pregnant guinea pig signs. When you are done reading you will be able to tell for sure if your guinea pig is pregnant or just putting on some weight. You will know if you will have to provide extra care to your pregnant guinea pig or if you need to cut the caloric intake of your fat guinea pig.
How to Tell If a Guinea Pig Is Pregnant?
If your sow has recently come in contact with a boar and is eating more and gaining weight with each passing day, she could be pregnant. If you could feel lumps and movement in the guinea pig’s belly, she is pregnant for sure. If you suspect or even if you are sure that your guinea pig is pregnant, you should take her to a veterinarian to confirm pregnancy and tell the number of pups growing inside your sow by conducting an ultrasound.
1. Sow Has Been In Contact With a Boar
Guinea pigs are a prolific breed. Though female guinea pigs are only receptive to male guinea pigs only for about 6 to 8 hours during the 16 days of her estrous cycle, if they come in contact with a male guinea pig during this time, they would definitely get pregnant. Besides that, you should also know that even a baby male guinea pig, as young as three weeks, could get his mother or female siblings pregnant. Therefore, it is crucial that you house male guinea pigs separately.
Even a recently neutered male guinea pig could get a sow pregnant. This is because male guinea pigs could still be fertile for a couple of weeks after their neutering surgery.
2. Increased Food And Water Intake
A pregnant guinea pig has to support a litter of pups growing inside of her, which requires a lot of nutrition and energy. Your guinea pig would have to eat not only for herself but also for the baby guinea pigs growing inside her. So, if your guinea pig is eating way more than usual and its appetite continues to increase with each passing day, your guinea pig is pregnant.
If you off your pregnant guinea pig a mix of fruits and veggies, you will notice that it will go after those items that are rich in vitamin C like bell peppers, broccoli, squash, cucumbers, strawberries, etc. This is because pregnant guinea pigs need more vitamin C for the healthy development of baby guinea pigs.
Besides eating more, a pregnant guinea pig would also be drinking more water. If you have to refill the guinea pig water bottle more often than usual, this could be a sign of guinea pig pregnancy.
3. Guinea Pig Is Gaining Weight
Weight gain is the first obvious sign of guinea pig pregnancy. While the weight gain could be from all the excessive eating. But this weight gain is actually coming from the baby guinea pigs growing inside your guinea pig. If you like to weigh your guinea pig every other day, you will notice that she is constantly gaining weight with each passing day. You should keep in mind that guinea pigs take at least 6 to 8 months to fully grow. So the weight gain could be just your growing but then you should also know that even baby female guinea pigs, as young as 4 weeks, could get pregnant.
While it might be hard to tell if a guinea pig is gaining weight at first but as the pregnancy progresses, you will be able to tell the difference. By the time of guinea pig labor, she may have doubled her weight.
|Beware of Overeating And Obesity!
While you might want your guinea pig to eat as much as they want, after all, she is nurturing a litter of baby guinea pigs inside of her. But no, you should keep a check on the caloric intake of your pregnant guinea pig. Gaining too much weight could complicate pregnancy and increase the risk of Toxaemia in pregnant guinea pigs, especially in first- and second-time pregnant sows.
4. Fattening Guinea Pig Belly
When gaining non-pregnant weight, the guinea pig is fattening in each part of its body. But when it is the weight of pregnancy, the fattening will be more focused on the belly of the guinea pig.
As the little pups keep growing inside of your female guinea pig, its belly would keep getting bigger with the passing of time. A pregnant guinea pig’s belly grows gradually and thus you might not be able to tell the difference in the first few weeks of guinea pig pregnancy. But as the pregnancy enters later stages, you will notice that your piggy’s abdomen is getting bigger.
5. You Feel Lumps In Guinea Pig Belly
At around two to three weeks of guinea pig pregnancy, you might be able to feel baby guinea pigs growing inside of the sow. By gently pressing your pregnant guinea pig’s belly you will feel lumps or bumps, these will be baby guinea pigs being developed. Keep in mind that you will have to be extra cautious while feeling the pregnant guinea pig’s belly, as you could end up hurting the mother or the baby guinea pigs growing inside her.
You can hold your guinea pig by its shoulders with one hand and feel her belly with the other. If you feel lumps inside your guinea pig belly, congratulations. But you need to take her to a veterinarian to make sure the lumps you felt are baby guinea pigs. Because if it is not the case, there could be some serious health issues with your guinea pig. If your guinea pig is expecting, the vet will give you some tips on how to provide the best possible care to your pregnant guinea pig.
6. Widening of the Pelvis
As the time of guinea pig labor comes close, sows start to widen the pelvis. The pelvis would widen up to an inch or even more if the sow is younger than 7 months.
If it is the first time for your piggy friend and she is over 8 months, you will have to get extra careful and take her to a veterinarian. She would probably need a cesarean section.
Guinea Pig Is Pregnant: What Should I Do Now?
If you are positive that your guinea pig is pregnant, you will have to take extra care of her to make sure that the pregnancy goes smoothly and that she gives birth to healthy pups. Here is what you will have to do:
a) Take Your Pregnant Guinea Pig To a Vet
If you are sure or even suspect your guinea pig is pregnant, you should take her to an exotic veterinarian, who is experienced with guinea pigs. If the guinea pig is actually pregnant, congratulation! If you want to know how many guinea pigs are in a litter, the vet will conduct an ultrasound to determine how many pups are you expecting. The vet will also rule out the possibility of any underlying complications and give you some practical tips on how to take good care of your pregnant guinea pig. If you will be looking for new homes for the pups, you can ask the veterinarian to connect with you about some good homes that might be interested in housing a baby guinea pig.
b) Increased Food and Water Supply
With babies growing inside of her, your pregnant guinea pig would be eating and drinking more. Therefore, it is your duty to provide her with quality food and water. You can feed her some high-quality guinea pig pellets, ensure a constant supply of fresh hay, and keep on refilling the water bottle. As guinea pigs require more vitamin C for a healthy pregnancy, you should provide your piglet with some quality vitamin C supplements. You can also offer her guinea pig-safe fruits and veggies that are rich in vitamin C. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it, as it could lead to obesity, which could complicate pregnancy.
c) Separate Pregnant Guinea Pig From Males
As soon as you discover that your guinea pig is pregnant, you should separate her from the male guinea pig(s). The male guinea pig could hurt her or the babies in an attempt to mate again. Besides that, if a female guinea pig was to birth her babies in the presence of a male guinea pig. There is a chance that the male guinea pig if he is territorial, might hurt the babies.
As female guinea pigs could back into heat as soon as 15 hours after giving birth. So if a male guinea pig is around, he could impregnate your sow again. If you don’t want to have another litter on your hands, you should house your pregnant guinea pig away from male guinea pigs.
d) Weigh Your Guinea Pig Regularly
You should weigh your pregnant guinea pig regularly and with great care. You should make sure that your pregnant guinea pig is gaining weight every day and not losing it. If your pregnant guinea pig seems to be losing weight instead of gaining or starts showing some signs of sickness, you should immediately get her to a veterinarian. The vet will rule out the possibility of any health issues and give you direction on what you should be feeding your pregnant guinea pig.
e) Provide Stress-Free Environment To Your Pregnant Guinea Pig
Stress can complicate pregnancy. Therefore, as a responsible guinea pig parent, you should try to make sure that your sow is experiencing little to no stress. Here is how you can ensure a zero-stress environment:
- Follow a strict routine.
- Avoid making any changes to the pregnant guinea pig cage, like moving objects or toys.
- Make sure there are no loud noises or bright lights in the room, where you are keeping the guinea pig cage.
- Avoid handling your pregnant guinea pig, especially when she is in the later stages of pregnancy. Note that the guinea pig gestation period is around 57 to 72 days.