Powernubby.com – Caring for baby guinea pigs can be an experience that is both exciting and fraught with anxiety. This is normal! All you need is the right information and supplies to make your experience as successful as possible. This time we will provide a basic guide about baby guinea pig care.
Baby Guinea Pig Care
Preparing For Birth
This is a good time to read up on what to expect during birth and to make sure you have all the necessary supplies put aside and ready to go. In the weeks leading up to birth you will see the mother quickly increase in size as each baby she is carrying is a few inches in size. At this point it is a very good idea to move her to the birthing cage and avoid handling as much as possible as it is easy to accidentally trigger a miscarriage. The average pregnancy lasts 65 to 70 days with babies born before the 60th day considered premature.
Before birth, take steps to baby proof the birthing cage. Baby guinea pigs are small enough to easily sneak through the grids on the average C&C cage (gaps of about 1.5in by 1.5 in.) This situation can be very dangerous for the babies as they are small and defenseless. The easiest way to baby proof a C&C cage is to line the interior cage walls with at least a foot of cardboard starting from the floor level to the top of the cage. If you want an even more secure option, double layer your cage wall grids and place cardboard in-between. You will need to leave the cage set up like this until the babies grow large enough that they cannot sneak out or get stuck between the bars. This can take from four to six months.
It is not uncommon for birth to occur in the middle of the night. Many people wake up to find the mother caring for her new litter of puppies. If however you are awake and there to participate in the birth – the following is a description of what you should expect. Birth begins with labor contractions followed by each pappy emerging head first. You will notice that each baby is enclosed in a membrane. The mother will reach down and tear open the membrane with her teeth; this allows the fluid in the sack to be released and for the baby to start breathing. If the mother is not able to tear the sack open for whatever reason, you will want to intervene and do so – this is not indication that a baby was born dead.
Carefully break the membrane open over the nose of the baby and gently do a little “mouth to mouth resuscitation” – i.e. blow a few breaths into the baby’s mouth while gently moving the back legs back and forth. Your goal is to get the baby breathing on his or her own. Keep the baby gently cupped in your hands for warmth and gently clean with a washcloth. Squeaking is a sign that the baby has come through just fine. Have a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel set aside to keep any babies needing special care warm. After a couple hours you should expect to see all healthy babies trying to stand up. Go ahead and try returning the baby to the cage.
Once birth is over, do not be surprised to see the mother eat the after birth – this is normal. Try not to disturb the babies any more than necessary. When very young, babies need to stay close to each other and their mother for warmth.
Make sure to weigh both the mothers and babies right after birth and then daily going forward in order to see if some babies are not growing as much as the others.
Baby Guinea Pig Care Possible Problems
Rejected babies – Sometimes a mother will reject babies with health problems such as blindness. Other times there is no clear reason why the mother has chosen to not to care for one of more of her babies. In this instance you will need to move the babies to a separate cage and care for them yourself.
Larger babies preventing the smaller from feeding – If you see a couple babies failing to gain weight you may need to give them special nursing time with the mother. This is why weighing babies daily is a good idea. Large stronger siblings will frequently hog as much of the milk for themselves as possible.
Not passing waste – After every feeding the mother will clean the genitals of her babies. This causes their bodies to past waste. During the first weeks this is completely necessary as the babies will not pass waste without this trigger. If you notice the babies are not passing waste try to simulate this care yourself by gently washing their genitals with a wash cloth.
Mother Becomes Weakened – Sometimes mothers have trouble producing enough milk for all of their babies. In this case you will find the mother’s nipples actually can get chewed up and this can lead to permanent damage. If this is the case you will need to separate the babies from the mother and hand feed.
Food and Weaning
The next baby guinea pig care is about food and weaning. Unlike other animal young, guinea pigs are born with teeth and are capable of eating solid foods. This is a skill that will be taught by the mother. Be sure to keep plenty of healthy fruits and leafy greens on hand so the mother has enough to support her own needs and to share. You will need to increase your daily feeding to three times per day – making sure to still clean out uneaten vegetation.
Babies can be weaned within three or four weeks. If at all possible remove any males from the cage at three weeks as this is the point at which accidental pregnancies can and do happen. Feel free to leave the females with the mother indefinitely or until she stops producing milk.
Those are some things you should know about baby guinea pig care. You have to be patient in caring for this little animal. Many dangerous risks if you are not able to care for a baby guinea pig properly. Proper handling will make your guinea pig grow healthy and appear more adorable until adulthood.