Did you know that 1 in every 5 sows dies during the birth?
I didn’t know this either when I was breeding, several years ago during the “dark days.”
I’ve had three litters in total and was lucky to have nothing happen to either sow, or pups, but I wouldn’t do it again. As Hartley of the Auckland guinea pig rescue in New Zealand told me, “the number of guineas who will come to Auckland Cavy Care this year will be over 100 easily since we’re not even half way through the year.” This made me realize that even in small New Zealand, guinea pigs need to be rescued.
If you look around, you will be sure to find guinea pigs rescues in your country, or even in cats and dogs shelters, and in the SPCA. Wouldn’t you rather give one of them a home instead of bringing more into the world?
General Facts about Breeding
- Babies are able to mate at four weeks old so they must be separated at three weeks to avoid the stress of birthing too young
2. The age that females become mature enough to breed is five months
3. A sow should never have her first birth after eight months old because her pelvic bones become hard and birth becomes a lot more dangerous. If she is birthed before this time, she can (somewhat safely) mate again
4. The sow becomes ready every two-three weeks for a few hours
5. The males should be taken out after four weeks because females can reproduce straight after birth and this is not healthy for her
6. Sows are pregnant for ten weeks and during that time they become very round and pear shaped
7. You can feel the babies moving around at this time
8. Babies are born with opened eyes, ears, fur and are running around within an hour after being born!
9. The babies will suckle for three weeks but will also start nibbling hard food in three days! They copy whatever mum does!
10. Babies are called pups!
You can see that there are a few things that can go wrong- separating the male and female before the pregnancy, separating the babies before they mate, breeding the sow before she is eight months old.
Unfortunately there is a type of gene in a guinea pig that should never be bred from. The is called the “roan gene” and results in having babies called lethal s. Lethal babies are always born white, sometimes stillborn, they have birth defects and are born deaf and blind. These pups die soon after birth and those who live won’t have many years on them.
The photo on the left is on Fairy the lethal white guinea pig. She has a website all to herself and with all sorts of amazing photographs to show what she has been up to! Visit her here: www.fairymagic.me/
A few breeders know this but continue to breed the roan gene and kill off the lethal s that are born. This is very sad because with some DNA testing, they don’t have to breed. All responsible breeders should test their guinea pigs to make sure there isn’t a roan gene to be found in them!
Did you know that there are so many accidental litters happening all the time that there is no need for breeders!
It is important to have a good vet on hand, just in case something goes wrong.
I would much rather that you took a look at the rescue locator which will tell you if there are rescues in your area. Unfortunately, I can’t stop people from breeding, so please, please, please do your research and take all the necessary precautions before doing it.