Guinea Pigs/guinea pig

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QUESTION: my guinea pig is pregnant she is due today it will be 10 weeks she looks like she is having contractions and you can see the babies move and feel them and they move alot i cant tell if her pelvic bone is seperated but she also moves likes she is going to have them plus she eats and drinks alot and the babies feel like they have moved down closer when do you think she is going to have them

ANSWER: It's hard to determine the exact date of delivery, but one thing is for sure. She will have them when it's time and not before.

The pelvic ligaments begin to loosen and separate about48 hours prior to delivery. If you've not had an opportunity to examine them before it may be a little difficult. If you put your hand on her back, leaving her standing on all fours, just calmly move you index or second finger down her backside until you feel the 'vent' which is the same as a female vagina. Very softly press and you will feel two bones. They are the pelvic bones that will be spread apart by the ligaments, to allow for the passing of the babies.

They are usually almost touching and are apart about 1/8th of an inch. They will gradually spread to about 1/2 inch apart. At that point you can almost get your finger between them. Be careful and don't try to spread them. When delivery is close these bones are easily moved.

In most cases the sow delivers during the very early morning hours when it's quiet and peaceful. I've found that typically the babies are more still right before delivery, so you may not feel them move. I would expect you will probably wake up one morning soon and there will be little extra eyes looking at you.

Do not try to intervene when she is delivering. The mother will not allow the babies to nurse until she has completely emptied her uterus of all the babies and afterbirth. I've had moms go as long as 12 hours before they nursed the pups. Resist the urge to try to bottle feed them. When will happen is the babies will aspirate milk into their lungs and die.

Guinea pigs are wonderful mothers and know what to do. Just leave her alone until she has finished her job. Once the babies are dry you can handle them. She will not mind. They are born fully furred and with a full set of teeth. Their eyes are open and they are ready to run.

The typical litter is two to three pups. A single birth is not uncommon. It's also not uncommon for there to be one stillborn pup. So don't be stressed. If there is a runt the mother will not make any special attempt to help it. This is nature's way of making sure only the fittest survive. She will not risk the well being of the litter to save a sickly or weak baby.

Be sure when you hold them you have both hands on the baby. They are fast and will jump right out of your arms.

I hope this helps you. Please keep your camera ready, I would love to see pictures of the litter when they are born. Having guinea pig babies is a thrilling experience. It's watching a miracle in the making. So enjoy them. They grow very quickly.

If the father is in with her you need to take him out now. She will come into heat within a couple of hours and he will breed her back.  Don't let that happen.  She needs all her strength to raise the new litter.

I will look forward to seeing the babies. What a wonderful Christmas present that will be.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: thank you and i will send pics when she has them :)

ANSWER: I will be looking forward to the new arrivals.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: hi again she still hasnt had them i am a little worried she acts like she is how can you tell if she is in labor and if she is stressed will she not deliver or will she just hold back and she will look like she has a baby right by her vagina does that mean something

thank you for your wonderful service you guys are great i hope you will answer soon and have a

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Answer
The babies are shifting into position like little soldiers lining up. When she starts labor it typically happens fairly quickly. She will hunch up like she's going to poo and she will push down.

She will not lie down to deliver like other animals do. She will stand up, push the babies out then reach down and pull them out completely. The best thing to do is leave her alone and give her privacy. She knows what to do and she will take care of it.

I know how nerve racking it can be waiting for the big moment. Sometimes you're lucky enough to see it happen, but most of the time they deliver when it's quiet and they're alone.

Patience darling, she will surprise you.

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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.

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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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