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Guinea Pigs/Thelmas pregnancy

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Question
Thankyou for the advice its reassuring,I dont pick her up any more and having felt the way you told me to I can feel separation and can almost get 2 fingers in so am hopeful it will be soon she still eats and drinks well and moves alot is just enormous.She must be soon as when I got her she was plump and two weeks after that I took her to vet as felt lumps inside her and they were kicking and he said they were well developed and would be soon and we are two weeks on from that so im guessing she was at least 5 weeks pregnant when I bought her and her sister Louise to live with my neutered boys rocky and  darwin ive had her 4 weeks now not three and so that i thoought made her 62 days pregnant today roughly and she has  at least three babies am told possible four enough of my babbling I do have a question its just that I adore my piggies,Is she likely to have problems as she is only 16 weeks oldish now as the breeder had her brother in with her for too long and am scared she wont cope  and im giving her fresh veg in the morning and fresh pick of grass lunch time and some vegy snacks in eve  not to bigger portions  I do this for all my piggies am just scared have read some horror stories.

ps. I will send some pictures of the babies and mummy when the time comes if I can  I will get a family pic of all piggies.

Answer
I understand your concern but no, she will not have any problems at her age.  In fact the younger pigs have an easier time than the older ones. If you felt movement and you've felt those bones opening and easily moveable you will probably wake up to some new little faces any day now.  

Don't worry about the possibility that she is bred to her brother. When breeding for a particular trait we occasionally do a purposeful breeding of brother and sister for specific reasons. If there are any bad traits or faults in the line, double concentrating the genes by inbreeding will cause them to express themselves, or come out. If they do we discontinue that line. The object of breeding is to improve the breed, not create bad traits.

One of my friends who is a Hall of Fame breeder with American Cavy Breeders Assoc. taught me to do this to identify the good and the bad in a line. He maintained that you will get one of two things, either the best of the best or the worst of the worst.  He was right.

As for her young age she is mature enough to handle delivery. I once purchased a baby from a breeder who had brought a tub full of babies to a show to sell. This batch was supposed to be all boys. I picked this pig up and realized it was a sow. She couldn't have been more than five weeks old at the most. Since she'd only been with the boys less than an hour I never considered the possibility that she'd been bred.

After a suitable quarantine I put her with two other baby sows. She was cranky and irritable. Would not get along and play well with others. She was also getting fat so I thought she was just getting too much grain. One day I felt movement and realized she was indeed pregnant.

She remained fairly slim and I expected perhaps only one baby. I came into the caviary one morning and she had presented me with FOUR babies!  Their combined weight almost equaled hers. She had no problems whatsoever and raised all the pups without incident. I gave one to a 4H kid who took multiple Best in Shows with that baby. And point of fact, early breeding does not stunt the mother's growth.

The general opinion among experienced breeder is that if God made them so they can, they will. We don't advocate allowing this early breeding but the point is it happens. Rarely is there ever a problem. So sit back with camera in lap and wait. These babies will be a new joy in your life.  

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Pat VanAllen

Expertise

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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