Tracing their origin in South America, the domestic guinea pigs have become part of a significant number of households across the globe. A baby guinea pig is not only among the most adorable animals you will have for pets, but they are also born precocial.
This means that they are born relatively mature and mobile, as they can see, hear, and move from birth.
In most cases, guinea pigs are bred as family pets and for show. If you decide to take care of a newborn guinea pig on your own, it is valuable if you know the basics of keeping and caring for these sociable creatures.
This guide outlines everything that you should know about guinea piglets.
What do you call a baby guinea pig?
Let us start with the basics. A baby guinea pig is called a pup. We are fond of piglets though 🙂
Handling Rules for Newborn Guinea Pigs
Baby Guinea Pigs can be handled from the time they are born. However, this should be done with the utmost care. Here are some rules that you should consider observing when handling your guinea pig baby.
Baby-Proof the Guinea Pig Cage
Your guinea pig cage might not be suitable for the newborn guinea pig. Consider making some adjustments to the cage to make it baby-proof.
For instance, if the cage bars are quite wide, your guinea pig pups might be exposed to the risk of getting hurt or even running away.
If the feeders and waterers are suspended on uncomfortable heights for the little guinea pigs, then you might want to lower them a little bit. The cage should also be positioned away from direct sunlight.
Keep Your Pups in a Quiet Environment
Little guinea pigs are quite sensitive to loud noises. You will, therefore, need to facilitate a quiet environment, at least for the first few weeks after birth. After they are a few weeks old, then gradually expose them to the everyday sounds they’ll need to get accustomed too so they get used to them.
Socialise Your Guinea Pig Babies
For your baby guinea pigs to be acquainted with human interactions, it is essential that you handle them as often as possible.
Unlike other animals, guinea pig mothers do not reject their young ones when touched by humans. However, you should allow the pups to complete their birthing process before you can separate them from their mother.
When handling your guinea pig, slowly reach the cage and gently place your hand under his chest as you support her back with the other hand. You can now gently lift him and hold the guinea baby pig against your chest.
If you notice discomfort in your pup while holding him, then you might want to take him back to the mother.
Exercise Proper Dieting for Your Little Guinea Pigs
Guinea pigs begin to feed on solid food from birth. However, allow your pups to be fully weaned before you separate them from their mothers.
The weaning period runs between 2 to 3 weeks, where the guinea baby pigs feed on the mother’s milk. After weaning, you can now feed your pups with supplement powder or mesh pellets for guinea pigs.
Remember to incorporate sufficient amounts of calcium in their diet, as baby guinea pigs need it for bone development and strengthening.
Examples of feeds rich in calcium include alfalfa hay and alfalfa-based pellets. Vitamin C is also an essential component of their diet.
Guinea pig babies also need plenty of supply of water daily. Clean the waterers properly once in every week, and refill them as soon as they run empty.
Feed them well, and with the right diet.
Separate the Pups Upon Maturity
Three weeks after birth, a guinea pig baby is considered to be sexually mature.
In fact, in its third week, a male guinea pig begins to exhibit mating behaviors. This means that they can get their sisters and mothers pregnant if not separated in a good time. This kind of separation is, therefore, specific to male guinea pigs only. Female baby pups can stay with their mothers for as long as they live.
How Long Should a Baby Guinea Stay with its Mum?
For weaning purposes, a baby guinea should stay with its mum for 2 to 3 weeks. Do not separate the guinea baby from his mother until this period elapses. However, after 21 days, you can comfortably keep the pups away from their mothers, especially the males.
How to sex a baby guinea pig
It is recommended that you consult your veterinarian as far as determining the sexes of your little guinea pigs is concerned. This is unnecessary if you purchased your guinea baby from a local pet store. However, after their birth, you should be able to find out your pups’ gender.
Firstly, you will need to hold the guinea baby pig on its back gently. A slender and donut-shaped genitalia opening is for male guinea pigs, while the y-shaped opening indicates the female gender. Ensure that you run this analysis quickly, as your guinea baby pig will not like staying in this position for long.
How to Take Care of a Baby Guinea Pig
Little guinea pigs are unique pets, and utmost care should be exercised when keeping them. Here are elements that you should incorporate in your care program.
Change the Cage Bedding
The cage bedding is subject to getting soiled and damp as a result of the droppings, water droplets, and leftover foods. You will need to change this bedding regularly to enhance cleanliness.
Get Some Toys for Your Pups.
The young guinea pigs love playing. Toys like ramps, tunnels, toilet paper rolls, or even shoe boxes are excellent for the pups’ play area.
Do not forget to handle your pup regularly to make them more comfortable around human interactions.
How to Set Up for Your Baby Guinea Cage
The cage where your baby guinea will grow should be well set up to facilitate a conducive environment for his growth. Here are a few basics on how to go about the setup;
The standard measure of a baby guinea cage is 0.9m (length) by 0.7m (width) for one pig. The sleeping area should be a separate space from other areas, including feeding area, playing sections, and pipes. Since guinea pigs are generally playful, a big cage is essential.
When young guinea pigs become socialised, they can thrive well indoors. It is therefore important to choose a room that has access to the outdoor space for grazing purposes. However, regardless of the location, the cage should be situated in a quiet environment, and away from direct sunlight.
Generally, little guinea pigs make runs for themselves as they grow. However, if you choose to do that by yourself, then you should use a 16-gauge sturdy wire mesh.
Products You May Be Interested in to Care for Your Guinea Baby
When keeping a guinea pig, there are supplies that you will find necessary. Here is a list of such products.
1. Feeding Supplies
To keep your guinea pig well-fed, you will need such items as waterers, food dishes, guinea pig meals, and supplements.
2. Cleaning Supplies
The cleanliness of your baby guinea’s cage should be your top priority. You will need plenty of cleaning products, including scrubbers, diluted white vinegar, wiping materials, and disinfectants where possible. You might also need animal shampoo, blow dryer, nail clippers, and other essential items to keep your guinea pig neat.
As earlier stated, toys and accessories will prove to be of great significance when keeping your guinea baby.
Your Little Guinea Pig – What to Expect
Young guinea pigs are not just adorable creatures, but they are also great companions when kept as pets. When you decide to raise a guinea pig, here is a highlight of what you should expect;
• Guinea pigs are known to be great breeders. You should, therefore, be ready to receive between 4 and 8 pups in a single birth. Surprisingly, female guinea pigs can become pregnant within hours of giving birth.
•How big is a newborn guinea pig? Newborn guinea pups can weigh up to 115g and will measure around 8-10 cm (3-4 inches) on average. Size will vary amongst the litter. Most of them are born with hair. However, some breeds will have their hair wear out months after birth.
• After weaning, the little male guinea pigs will exhibit signs of maturity. They can get female pigs pregnant in four weeks, including their sisters and mother.
• Sadly, a guinea pig can feed on its babies when malnourished or out of inexperience.