Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October is Guinea Pig Month!
And this week is all about the babes!

Having owned dozens of piggies in my life,I have been through MANY breeding sessions. And there is nothing more fun than baby guinea pigs!

Breeding should take place when the sow is between 4 and 6 months old. Any sow over one year old that has never been bred is in danger of complications. Prepare your young piggie by giving her a little extra vitamin C and calcium found in broccoli. Vitamin K is also important for blood clotting and can be found in carrots. Keep your boar in good shape! Fat boars can be sterile boars!

Sows come into heat every 15 to 17 days and can be bred at any time of year. Their gestation period is 63-72 days. Leave the boar in the cage for a month and then it is best to remove him as a sow can come into heat within a few hours after giving birth. That would be a no no!

When it is time to deliver, the sow will not waste time making a nest or finding any special place. She will just pick a spot and get down to business! As each pup comes out, she will break the sac and clean it up. They usually have 1 to 3 pups, but I have had up to 5 in as litter. Labor lasts 10-30 minutes. Wouldn't that be nice!

Now the fun begins! Pups are born with eyes open and fur! They begin moving right away and within minutes are wandering around the cage. They are quite carefree as the sow does all the work. As long as you are caring properly for the sow, it is unlikely that problems will occur. They will nurse for 4-6 weeks and should be eating solid food quite well by then. Separate the boys from the girls at 4 weeks to prevent unwanted mating!

The more you handle your baby piggies, the friendlier they will be. Skittish, nervous animals are that way due to lack of attention. If you have done your job, you can reach into the cage and scoop up your little buddy with very little scurrying and resistance.

This was just a brief tutor on breeding. It is a good idea to read up on everything to be prepared, but if you have a healthy sow, you will probably not be needed and can just enjoy the fun! In my 30 years of guinea pig ownership, there have only been one or two times things went awry. And one of those was due to a very young sow getting pregnant.

I love having babies around! They are truly one of my most favorite little animals!


from Catcalls and Dogbarks


Giupetto and Gianna Tails said...

Very interesting read. And the pics are just precious.
Thanks Patty!
Now I want a guinea pig. :-)

HappyDapperDogs said...

I was thinking the same thing!..."Now I want a Guinea Pig."
but they wouldn't last long at my house, with 2 hound dogs. Great blog and pictures, Patty.

doodypops said...

we had piggies with our terriers and cats. Mark built a special cage that separated them, but they could still touch noses. We made it out of those stacking wire square shelving so could even make a hatch to open on the top. One of the cats was even friends- he would sit on the top and hang his foot down to touch- no claws!
they lived from 5 to 8 years which was nice- longer than your average rodent I think. They are so darn cute!

doodypops said...

ps, i meant the piggies could touch noses- they were separated b/c they had one baby- he just popped out in the 5 minutes I was out of the room.
But anyway, they could all 'hang' with each other and talk to each other.

SassySashadoxie said...

Aww, so cute. I never knew how baby guinea pigs came about or at least the specific details. heehee. I would probably want a guinea pig, too. If I didn't have a dachshund. Seriously, my girl would disown me for bringing in a rodent into the family. heehee. It really is like telling a lion not to eat meat.

AngelPups said...

Patty~ This is such an interesting post!! You are obviously very knowledgable about your babies! And they are soooo everyone else, now I want a guinea pid ;-)