Guinea pig belong to the family called Caviidae and come from the genus Cavia. The other name of this species is cavia and contrary to popular belief, they are rodents and are not related to the pig family. Also they did not originate in the Guinea, but in the Andes. They have gone onto become one of the most popular pets all over the world. They are known to be docile and are very responsive when it comes to feeding and handling them. They are normally known to live for about four to five years, but some of them can also live for as long as eight years.
Also taking care of guinea pigs is not a difficult task. However, when it comes to pregnant guinea pigs care, one will have to be cautious so that no harm is done to the little member of the family. It is not a surprise to see that the female guinea pig is pregnant, if she is kept with a boar, who is not neutered. Ideally a guinea pig should be kept in a group of two or more. They are known to bond well with the others.
How to Take Care of a Pregnant Guinea Pig
Male guinea pigs reach sexual maturity, when they are about 4 to 5 weeks old, while the females reach sexual maturity, when they are about 3 weeks old. They are one of the most fertile species and are able to breed all through the year, however, it is in spring that birthing peaks. During one pregnancy, a female may give birth to as many as five litters. The gestation period in guinea pigs is anywhere between 59 to 72 days, while the average is around 63 to 68 days.
In the first couple of weeks of gestation no changes will be seen in the appearance of the guinea pig. However, in the later stages of pregnancy, a pregnant guinea pig may become large in size and have eggplant shape due to the long gestation period and also due to the large size of the pups. The weight of the sow will almost double up during the gestation period. During the last stages of pregnancy, movements of the babies will be seen and felt.
When a guinea pig is carrying more number of pups, it will be seen that she has a shorter duration of pregnancy and vice versa is true, if the number of pups is less. It is important to keep the guinea pig in a cool area during pregnancy, lest the heat will prove to be fatal for the female. If an alarming incident happens, the guinea pig may go into a state of shock and abort the fetus. While lifting a pregnant guinea pig care should be taken that the hind portion of the pet is well supported.
When the sow is pregnant special care will have to be taken about eating habits. It will be seen that the sow's need for water will increase manifold. Therefore, sufficient quantity of water must be provided. The quantity of protein and calcium in the diet of the sow will also have to be increased during the gestation time. The vitamin C content in the food will also have to be taken care of during the pregnancy period. Fresh fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C should be added to the diet. Alfalfa grass should be given in higher quantities. The same should be carried forward after delivery as well, as it proves to be of immense help during lactation.
During the pregnancy time, it is important that the sow gets sufficient amount of exercise as well. Therefore, do not keep the sow inside in the cage only and let her play and exercise. The only care that one must take is to ensure that pressure is not exerted on the stomach, as it will stress the female out.
Along with pregnant guinea pigs care, you should be aware about the care to be taken during delivery. Usually pregnant guinea pigs do not require help during birthing. However, if they are old during the first pregnancy, then they will need help. When the sow becomes old and has not delivered, it will be seen that the hip bones grow closer, which causes problems while giving birth. Therefore, it is often recommended that the pups be delivered through C-section.
Once the sow is pregnant, it is best to consult a vet to ensure there is no problem with the sow. It will also help in determining the approximate delivery time, so that you are well prepared for the delivery. After delivery, the sow will be in heat again. Therefore, it is best to keep the male and female away from each other.