Breeding Guinea Pigs

Did you know that 1 in every 5 sows dies during the birth?

breeding-guinea-pigsI 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?





breeding-guinea-pigs-1General Facts about Breeding

  1. 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

breeding-guinea-pigs-24. 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!

breeding-guinea-pigs-39. 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!


The Risks

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.

fairymagicUnfortunately 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!

breeding-guinea-pigs-5Did 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.

 

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4 thoughts on “Breeding Guinea Pigs

  • September 15, 2016 at 9:12 pm
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    Hey Emma, I love this so much. I used to have a guinea pig when I was little, he was the sweetest little thing and a great snuggle buddy. I always think about getting one for my kids to enjoy but don’t think they are responsible enough yet. I had no idea that Guinea pigs could breed so young that is crazy. I love your site Thanks so much for the great information.

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016 at 9:18 pm
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      First of all, I’m impressed that you know that you kids aren’t responsible enough 🙂 Most parents just get the guinea pigs anyway and don’t bother about what happens to them afterwards! Thank you very much for your comment!

      Reply
  • September 15, 2016 at 10:00 pm
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    Great information on breeding guinea pigs! I have yet to get one for my kids, they just aren’t responsible enough though and I would worry about its well being.

    Reply
  • September 16, 2016 at 7:37 am
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    Good info with regards breeding guinea pigs, actually had no idea about this beautiful creature. Feel sorry for the one’s with defects that are blinded and deaf.

    Reply

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