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Guinea Pigs/Pregnant guinea pig


Hi Pat,
I have a female sow approximately 6-8 months old, and she was impregnated (not purposefully). I left her and my boar in the care of someone while I was away for a little over a week, and he allowed them to "play together", thus resulting in the pregnancy. I know the date that they were first put together, and I assume that that would be the day she conceived, which means she should be pretty far along.
If I am correct in assuming that's when she conceived, she would be at the end of 67 days preg. I was wondering if she DID most likely conceive that day? (She and the boar were already used to each other, as I got them only a month or so apart and they had cages right next to each other).
I was also wondering if you always hear the babies grinding their teeth soon before they're born, or if it's different for every sow?
I have felt for a separation in her pubic bones and I don't think she's separated yet, but it's very difficult to actually find those bones! I have, however, felt movement in her belly, but have seen no movement from the outside (that I'm aware of). Is there a safe way to check on the babies without having to pick her up? I want to avoid stressing her out.
Thank you for your time!

I'm sorry I couldn't respond sooner, and my guess is you may already have babies. But just in case they aren't here yet let me answer your questions.

Yes, it only takes one moment for her to conceive. Knowing exactly when that moment happened is an entirely different thing. The gestation is generally about 70 days. When you use your index or middle finger to feel her pelvic bones just gently slide your hand down her backside and right where the vent is (cavy term for vagina) you will feel the bones. Typically they're about 1/8 of an inch apart, but will spread twice that far before delivering.

Even though that's not much distance you may be able to feel how easily they will move when you apply gentle pressure. They actually spread when the baby is coming through the birth canal.

And yes, you can sometimes (but not always) actually hear the babies teeth grinding. You may not always see the movement, but they're moving around. I've found that they seem to be less active right before delivery, maybe a day or two prior. Perhaps they're just sensing that they need to be still for the journey through the birth canal to the open world.

You don't really need to pick her up, you can examine her and feel her sides while she's sitting still. Keep your camera ready. Those babies will be the cutest things you ever saw. They're fully furred, eyes open, mouthful of teeth and ready to run. They grow so fast you will be amazed at how quickly they get bigger.

Don't be upset or surprised if you have a stillbirth. Most litters will have at least one baby that doesn't make it. The mom will not try to take care of it. That's a hard concept for we humans as we want to save everything. But in the wild animals know that to stop to assist a weak baby could cost the lives of the rest, so they instinctively turn their back on a baby that can't keep up.

Please send some pictures when the babies arrive. I love seeing the newborns, so please keep me posted.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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