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Guinea Pigs/Can stress cause my guinea pig to be late?

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Question
my guinea pig is really pregnate . but I have a male that loves to play with her but she seems she don't want to be bothered so I separate them as much as possible (I don't like to keep them apart because I know they have to have little playmates) so I noticed when I separate them and when they are together she stays cooped up in a corner mostly. I don't know if she is just cold or she just doesn't want to be bothered, note:she is a Skittish guinea pig. but I know she should be due any time , been waiting a very long time. can she be stressed out? and can that delay her having her pups?

Answer
Well first of all congratulations on your upcoming litter. To answer your question about would stress cause her to be late the answer is no. Excess stress could cause a litter to abort early, but not to come late.

A guinea pig is pregnant for ten weeks, give or take a few days. It sounds like she is getting ready to deliver soon and what you do not want is the male in with her anymore. If he's making purring gestures at her as if she were in heat she is probably very close to delivery. The hormones change and the male can smell it.

She needs to be left alone now. She does not need a playmate, she needs peace and quiet. She will come into heat within hours of delivery and he WILL breed her back. You don't want that. You want her to have all her strength to take care of her babies. She's trying to tell you she needs privacy. So leave dad out of the picture now.  Don't put him back in with her after the babies are born. Baby sows can come into heat as young as two weeks old and he'll breed them too.

If this is your first litter you need to be aware that it's very common to have at least one stillborn pup. If there is a runt in the litter the mother won't make any extra effort to care for it. This is just the law of nature. An animal won't risk the wellbeing of healthy babies to stop to take care of a weak one. The must be ready to run from the time they are born or they are at risk for predation or being killed by other animals.

Most pups are born in the wee hours of the morning. It's the quietest time and is less stressful for the sow. She will instinctively know what to do. If she has not completely cleaned out she will not nurse the babies. Do not intervene. They will be fine. As soon as she has passed all the afterbirths, etc. she will nurse the babies. Don't get nervous and try to bottle feed the babies. They run the risk of choking on a bottle and will quickly die. Just let mom do what she knows to do.  

Keep your camera ready and take lots of pictures. Baby guinea pigs are the cutest things you've ever seen. Unlike rabbits they are born with all their fur, eyes open, mouth full of teeth and look like little miniatures of mom and dad. Once she's cleaned everyone up you can safely handle them. She won't mind. Guinea pigs are excellent parents.

Within about a week you will see the babies trying to drink from the water bottle and try to eat pellets. They learn very fast from their mother. They don't nurse for very long at a time. Maybe only a minute or two. But they will nurse frequently and they manage to get enough milk to make them grown.

I hope this helps. I'd love to see pictures when the babies arrive.  

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Pat VanAllen

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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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
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.

Education/Credentials
Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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