Whether you’re trying to breed guinea pigs, or your guinea pig unexpectedly got pregnant, you might be wondering how long you have until the female gives birth. Gestation periods vary in rodents, so it’s important to be aware of how long a specific kind is pregnant for in such cases.
In comparison to other rodents, the guinea pig’s pregnancy duration is quite long – approximately 59 – 72 days (the average is 65 days). The gestation duration decreases with litter size; the smaller the litter, the longer the pregnancy. The mean length of pregnancy for a litter of six guinea pigs is 67 days; for a litter of one guinea pig, it’s 70 days.
What is the Best Age for a Guinea Pig to Get Pregnant?
A guinea pig needs to be sexually mature to breed, get pregnant and eventually give birth, but also not too old. Female guinea pigs usually reach sexual maturity at 2 months of age. However, it’s not uncommon for them to mature and be fertile even earlier. They need to be less than 8 months old to give birth naturally, so they should be ideally first bred between 3 and 7 months of age.
Breeding a female guinea pig for the first time after the 8 month mark can be life-threatening because of the normal stiffening of the pubic symphysis (a joint of cartilage found between the pubic bones of the pelvis) that occurs when they reach adulthood.
How Often Can Guinea Pigs Get Pregnant?
A female guinea pig can give birth to up to five litters per year. Breeding often reduces the lifespan of female guinea pigs, which is why the frequency of their pregnancies should be closely monitored.
Can Guinea Pigs Get Pregnant Right After Giving Birth?
It’s possible for guinea pigs to get pregnant again straight after giving birth. This is because the female typically has a short postpartum estrus that will last for only about half a day.
To prevent any further unwanted or unplanned litter, make sure you move the female to a nursery before the babies are born to keep male guinea pigs from mating with her.
What Age Do Female Guinea Pigs Stop Being Fertile?
While female guinea pigs remain fertile for up to four years, the optimal breeding life of a guinea pig ends at two years of age. This is because litter sizes shrink and reproductive complications begin to arise after 18-28 months of age.
Pregnant Guinea Pigs Early Signs
In the early stages of a guinea pig’s pregnancy, there aren’t a lot of physical signs that indicate you have a mum-to-be to take care of. That said, you might notice that your female guinea pig is eating and drinking a lot more frequently than usual.
Another tell-tale sign you might pick on is that the soon-to-be mum starts to favor fruits and veggies that have a high vitamin C content as they need more of this nutrient during this period. As the weeks go by, your female will gain, and the abdomen will become more pronounced.
How Long are Guinea Pigs in Heat?
A female guinea pig’s heat (estrus) cycle lasts 16 days. She will only be interested in the male and allow mating for about 8 hours during this time.
How Many Babies Do Guinea Pigs Have?
A guinea pig’s litter size ranges from 1 to 8 babies, but a litter of 2 to 4 is more common.
Do Guinea Pigs Get Aggressive When Pregnant?
A pregnant guinea pig may become more defensive or territorial especially if she shares her cage with other guinea pigs. This behavior is especially likely if she doesn’t feel secure in her usual hiding spots or the enclosure simply isn’t large enough.
It might be a good idea to separate a pregnant female from the rest of your guinea pigs, but consider keeping the cages adjacent to allow for socializing.
Do Pregnant Guinea Pigs Sleep More?
While a pregnant guinea pig might not necessarily sleep more, you may notice a reduction in activity, especially if she’s close to giving birth. She may seem unusually reluctant to move around and display signs of lethargy.
Do Pregnant Guinea Pigs Poop More?
A pregnant guinea pig will have a noticeably increased appetite. This could mean that she also poops more, but that will depend on her diet.
Is Ivermectin Safe for Pregnant Guinea Pigs?
Ivermectin is a medication that is used to treat a variety of skin conditions caused by parasites. It can be administered to pregnant guinea pigs as long as the correct dosage is given.
What Food is Good for Pregnant Guinea Pigs?
Pregnant guinea pigs should be provided with a mixed diet consisting of:
- Fortified hay pellets
- Vegetables rich in vitamin C such as kale and broccoli. Guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C, which is vital for the normal development and maintenance of joints, skin, and mucosal surfaces like gums. It also plays a significant role in the healing of wounds. Therefore, it’s important to provide it in sufficient amounts during pregnancy. Ask your vet for specific help on how to provide it.
- Fruits (preferably those rich in vitamin C) as an occasional treat or reward.
- Calcium enriched hay. Pregnancy increases a guinea pig’s calcium requirements.
- Fresh, clean, and abundant water is a must-have. It must also be easily accessible as a pregnant guinea pig’s mobility is greatly reduced.
Avoid feeding parsley to a pregnant guinea pig at all costs. Although it’s a good source of vitamin C, parsley has been known to interfere with pregnancy and even induce miscarriages.
Should Pregnant Guinea Pigs be Separated?
If a pregnant guinea pig lives with other guinea pigs and you observe confrontations or aggressive behavior, consider separating them. Keep the pregnant female in their usual cage and move the rest of the guinea pigs if they don’t get along.
Can Rats Get Guinea Pigs Pregnant?
In theory, a guinea pig might be able to mate with a rat, but they can’t produce viable offspring as they are not members of the same species.
Can Rabbits Get Guinea Pigs Pregnant?
Guinea pigs and rabbits don’t belong to the same species and therefore cannot mate.