Having a pregnant piggle is exciting. However, understanding the stages of gestation in guinea pigs can help you keep her safe. Plus, understanding the process adds to the wonder rather than subtracting from it.
General Facts about Gestation in Guinea Pigs
Your female guinea pig will gestate somewhere between 59 and 72 days. Without lab work, you may have issues counting the exact number of days. Generally, it’s best to treat a sow as though she is pregnant until it’s proven she is not.
During the stages of gestation for guinea pigs, it’s vital that you support the hips and butt of the pregnant piggle. Otherwise, any number of health complications can occur. If possible, you should reduce how much you handle her.
How many pups are in the litter also affects your guinea pig’s gestation. Typical litters can range from one to seven little ones, through three to four is more common. Typically, larger litters will gestate for a shorter period, leaning towards the 59-day mark.
Remember, pregnancy is dangerous for all animals. Please ensure you work closely with a small animal veterinarian through the stages of gestation for your guinea pig for safety.
The Early Stages of Gestation
During the first month or so, you probably will not notice remarkable differences in the shape of your guinea pig. At this stage, the pups are small enough to be inside her without requiring extra space. You may even question if your guinea pig is gestating!
At this point, you should be allowing your sow to eat and drink as much as she wants. Even in the early stages, growing pups takes a lot of energy. You do not want your sow to eat into her fat reserves.
The Middle Stages of Gestation
Somewhere around week five or six, you will notice the back end of your guinea pig has started to expand. Like human women, once the little ones start needing more space, your sow’s organs will move, and her skin will stretch to make it happen. To what degree this stage of gestation makes your sow expand depends on how many pups she’s carrying.
Typically by week seven, you should be able to see the pups moving around. You may have felt them before, but now they will cause visible distortions in your guinea pig’s skin. It’s more vital then ever that if you interact with your guinea pig, you do it in a stress-free manner and support her hips if you pick her up. Also, ensure she’s eating a balanced diet with enough calories.
The Week Before Birth
The weeks immediately before birth are exciting. Your guinea pig will be obviously pregnant, though her front half does not change shape. You may even find her pregnancy waddle adorable. Guinea pigs do not build special places to give birth, but you may want to drape an old towel over half the cage, so she feels safe. At this point, entering any housing you may have in her cage would require a wide door.
In the final stages of gestation, your guinea pig’s pelvic bones will spread apart. However, her pelvic bones are under her belly, so be careful not to stress you sow. Once the bones are about two fingers apart, the moment of birth is not far. Do your best to supply ample nutritional food and a stress-free environment to your sow throughout the pregnancy and especially for the birthing process.
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This article is not a substitute for veterinary advice.