If you have a pregnant guinea pig, you should take special care to ensure she gets the nutrition and support she needs to deliver her pups safely. In most cases, you can leave a pregnant guinea pig in the cage with her companions, but in some cases, you will need to separate her for her own safety.
Under most circumstances, a pregnant guinea pig can coexist with other sows without difficulty. Late stage pregnancy can make it difficult for a guinea pig to get around, especially if she is carrying multiple pups, so take care when handing out hay and treats to ensure that the pregnant member of the herd gets her fair share. In some cases, a closely bonded companion pair will take care of each other and share food, but providing a little extra within reach of the expecting mother is always a good idea.
In some cases, hormonal issues may require you to separate female animals. Guinea pigs in heat or having dominance issues may chase or even fight with other herd members, even if they have gotten along fine for years. The changes pregnancy brings may exacerbate this behavior, and if your guinea pigs continue to fight, you may need to keep the pregnant sow on her own for her safety. If you have another cage, you can keep her there until she delivers. If your cage is large enough, you can create a secure divider to split up the herd but still allow them to communicate during this period.
Male Guinea Pigs
Sometimes, when you purchase guinea pigs from a store or breeder, you may not get a same-sex pair. If you discover you have a pregnant sow and a male in the cage, you need to separate them immediately. The male could injure the pregnant mother with further mating attempts, and if he is in the cage when she delivers her pups, he could impregnate her immediately afterwards. Intentionally or accidentally breeding a female guinea pig is very dangerous and potentially harmful to her health, and two consecutive litters are especially hard on a mother. Your vet can neuter your male guinea pig, or you can keep him in a separate cage with any male pups or adopt him a male companion.
If your guinea pig gives birth to any male pups, you need to remove them from the cage after three weeks. Guinea pigs grow extremely quickly, with males reaching sexual maturity at 3 weeks of age and females reaching maturity a week later. Leaving in a male pup too long risks another pregnancy, and the close inbreeding could lead to potential genetic issues and health defects.
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Milton Kazmeyer has worked in the insurance, financial and manufacturing fields and also served as a federal contractor. He began his writing career in 2007 and now works full-time as a writer and transcriptionist. His primary fields of expertise include computers, astronomy, alternative energy sources and the environment.