Guinea Pig Breeding
Most people who start off keeping animals as pets
will, at some stage, contemplate the idea of breeding them. To some,
breeding may be just to satisfy a curiosity and involve producing a few
youngster which can be disposed of amongst one's friends or to the local
pet shop. Others may take the process a whole lot further and may
attempt breeding for profit or to produce fine exhibition stock.
Guinea Pig Breeding Age
Guinea pigs are often capable of breeding as young as
10 weeks of age but the resulting offspring are likely to be few in
number and of inferior quality. It is best to start with a trio of 1
boar and 2 sows, the former not less than 3 months old, the latter not
less than 5 months of age. A boar may be used for mating, but a sow
should not be bred from after 3 years of age. A sow which has not been
mated before she is 1 year old should also not be used for breeding as
complications could ensue.
Guinea Pig Mating
The boar should be kept in a separate
hutch and the
sows brought to him for mating one at a time. On no account should more
than one boar be kept together, especially in the presence of females,
as fighting will ensue and some quite vicious injuries may result. The
boar will soon attempt to mate with the sow who may express her emotions
by making a lot of noise.
Guinea Pig Birth
The period of gestation in the guinea pig is 65-70
days, rather long when compared with other rodents and rabbits, but this
is compensated by the fact that the young are born in an advanced state;
fully furred with the eyes open, and able to walk about and feed within
a few hours of birth. A sow which has been successfully mated will show
signs of pregnancy from about 30 days, when a noticeable increase in the
girth of the abdomen will be seen.
The birth should not create too many problems. There
should be an ample supply of bedding material in the breeding hutch and
it is wise to have an enclosed compartment so that the sow feels more
secure when giving birth.
Guinea Pig Rearing
A sow has only 2 milk glands, but she is well able to
cope with an average litter of young which will take turns in suckling.
The mother will feed the young for about 4 weeks but they will begin to
take solid food fairly soon after the birth.
babies should be sexed and separated at 4-5 weeks of age. Guinea pigs
are not the easiest animals to sex and it is best to get your supplier
to show you how this is done. By examining the genitals, it will be seen
that the penis in the male is more prominent than the corresponding
organ in the female.