Around March I adopted two female guinea pigs for the first time. Turns out that they were not two female piggies, because lately, I was able to confirm that one of them was pregnant and the other one was indeed a male. I separated them immediately, because of advice from multiple areas. I had a vet appointment scheduled for a few days out, but about 2 hours ago my female piggie gave birth to 4 baby pigs. All four made it and seem healthy.
This is where I'm not sure what to do. I have both the money and space to keep all of the piggies, but not really the knowledge or experience. I am not sure on how to separate them. This just happened so I have not had a chance to check their sex yet. I don't know if neutering the original male is a good path to go or just housing the male and females separately.
I had one more concern. The male piggie I had separated is still close to the mom and pups. He seems under a lot of stress and is running around everywhere. I'm not sure if I should leave him in the same room or move him. This right now is my biggest concern, because it had been awhile and he has not settled down yet.
Sorry if some of this has already been posted just looking for general advice. I have been pretty nervous about all of this happening within a few days.
Thank you for any advice!!
As you may have read, you have three weeks from their birth to properly sex them so they can be separated into same sex cages (this seems the best move for now). How old are the guinea pigs you adopted?
Right now start weighing all the pups daily, the mother also and start weighing the male weekly. You want to monitor the pups growth. Have nutritious food available to everyone. Plan to have a cover on the cages with the males so they cannot get into the cages with the females.
I don't have good advice for making the male happier while separate but you could try putting a piece of plexiglass between the two cages so they can be closer but he cannot impregnate the mother.
- And got the T-shirt
When it comes to separating them, you just put them in separate cages -- no special efforts needed. But all other things being even, you'll need a larger cage for the males than for the females. They're more territorial, and you'll be more apt to have squabbling when the boy pups hit puberty if they're crowded.
As for when we sexed the babies: we had to take them to a guinea pig savvy vet because two of them had ambiguous genitalia (a trait they inherited from dad). At 3 weeks the males and females need to be separated. We put the boy babies in with dad, and he did a good job with them. In fact, he served as a comfort to them when they were abruptly taken from their mothers. Most boy babies cry pitifully when you do that, but they took to dad right off.
Your dad would probably be happy with plexiglass separating him from the females -- he can still impregnate the mom and eventually the girl babies through bars, so it must be plexiglass if he's close to them. Put a lid on the girls' side at the very least. If you can't house them side-by-side with precautions taken so the male can't get in with the females, you can house him separately across the room or in a different room, but he will be happier the closer he can be to the other piggies.
A group of males does need a lot more space than the same number of females. For our herd, we have 2 x 8 grid C&C cage and it seems on the small side for them, though they don't fight or anything more than a short squabble once in a blue moon. We also have two lofts (1 x 2 grids), one on each end of the cage with ramps leading to them, where we keep their hay.
I have two female piggies, and last weekend I got what I believed to be another female, she turned out to be a he.
One of my females took a liking to the male straight away and spent most of their time (until I realised the truth) cooped up in one compartment of the hutch. They are now separated to avoid any more action.
However, my concern is that my female piggy is coming up to three years of age now and I believe it is unsafe for a pig of her age to go through labour, also I want to cause her as minimal (if any) stress as possible.
I have contacted numerous vets, most agreeing pregnancy and labour is unlikely to be successful.
Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice? I am doing as much research as quickly as possibly before an ultra sound this coming Monday in order to be prepared for what I may have to face (hopefully she will not be pregnant).
Thanks in advance!
- And got the T-shirt
There's more chance that she's not pregnant than that she is. Females only come in heat for a day or so every 14-16 days, so the odds are that she was not in heat for a single weekend. No guarantee, of course, but you, and she, may have dodged a bullet.
Don't bother with "numerous vets." Find one that comes well recommended in the treatment of exotics, and stick with that one.
Rather than spending money on an ultrasound at this point, I'd have the male neutered. He'll have to spend four weeks by himself, but you can then put him back in with the females.
There's also a possibility that the other sow, or both of them, are pregnant. What I'd do is wait 4-5 weeks until pregnancy can be reliably determined. If the older sow is pregnant, you can have her spayed. Or, depending on how many pups and what size, she might be able to deliver normally. A litter of several pups usually means smaller pups, and she could conceivably deliver them. One or two pups, or one very large one, means that she almost certainly cannot.
But you could have both the sows spayed, now or later, and avoid having to neuter the male. However, spaying is a more invasive, riskier, expensive surgery than a male neuter, so you'd have to weigh all the variables.
Guinea pigs should have "Turn me over and compare my private parts to potential cagemates" tattooed across their foreheads.
BTW, the way I found our guinea pig savvy vet was to call several vets in my area that I knew were good. I asked them, "Who would you recommend as having the most experience with guinea pigs?"
That question does not call into question their own ability in any way. It asks for an objective fact: who has the most experience? Because if you just ask, "Can you see guinea pigs?" or even "Do you have experience with guinea pigs?" they could define "experience" as "I saw one once 12 years ago" if they really want your business.
But who has the MOST experience? That isn't judging anyone.
When I kept hearing the same vet over and over and over again from lots of different places, that's who I went with!
The male will be taking a new home with my friend who already has another male, due to him causing such a divide between my females, one wasn’t even coming to the usual sleeping spot and instead was sleeping elsewhere on her own which was sad to see.
I definitely will ask that question instead as I am actually struggling to find one who appears to have experience their selves.