How are guinea pigs giving birth?

After the female has thoroughly licked the newborns and cleaned herself, she should allow the young to suckle milk. The first thing you should see, if the birth went well, is the female sitting in the corner of the cage with all her cubs around; babies should be clean and dry, some of them will suckle milk. There should be very little or no blood on the litter, and you may also see a couple of afterbirths that the pig will leave uneaten. After a normal birth, the pig is hungry and nurses the cubs with great care and love. Shortly after birth, the cubs are already able to run, and within the first 48 hours they will begin to eat solid food.

It is normal for pups to lose some weight in the first 3 or 4 days, but after that they will begin to gain weight quickly and should reach their original weight by the end of the first week of life. Their eyes should remain shiny, and the cubs themselves should not look skinny, hunched over and their fur should not be prickly. 

The female will have a normal weight loss in the case of multiple litters, but only if she maintains a good appetite and looks healthy. After she stops breastfeeding her cubs, she will quickly gain weight.

How are guinea pigs giving birth?

Bleeding in a guinea pig after childbirth

During the next two days after giving birth, the female may experience slight bleeding from the birth canal, after which the vaginal membrane closes. If the bleeding is heavy or the blood has an unpleasant odor, or the mumps is not active enough, then this may indicate an afterbirth or fetus remaining in the uterus. The pig should be shown to the veterinarian immediately.

The female does not tear the membranes of the newborn

In the uterine cavity, the fetuses are in the membranes filled with fluid. During childbirth, the female pulls out the fetus with her teeth and thus tears the membranes. If this did not happen for any reason, the fetus will die from suffocation.

If childbirth takes place in the presence of the owner, then he himself can free such a baby from the membranes. To do this, you need to break the film near the newborn’s muzzle, clear the mouth and nose of mucus and, holding it tightly in your hand, shake the baby strongly several times. This helps to restore breathing. Next, it must be carefully wiped off with a soft cloth. Further, it is important not to give him anything to drink.

The newborn should be placed close to a source of heat, such as a bottle of warm water, and be careful not to freeze. After about an hour, when the cub is able to move independently, it can be placed on the mother. But since she did not lick the cub, she does not recognize him as her own, so he must be placed carefully under the female’s belly and make sure that she accepts him.

If the female rejects the calf, you can try again later, but if she continues to chase him away, you will have to artificially feed the calf.

How are guinea pigs giving birth?

Guinea pig refuses to feed

Sometimes the female refuses to feed the cubs. Most often this occurs in primiparous females, since it is difficult for them to quickly adapt to the state of sudden motherhood. Such pigs must be left to themselves and the cubs, providing peace and quiet. If this does not solve the problem after 6-8 hours, then you can try the following: place them in a small dark box, where there will be not enough free space to escape in a panic. As soon as the female allows the cubs to suck milk and begins to care for them, it means that she has accepted and assimilated the role of a mother, and then everything will be in perfect order.

Cubs are not really hungry during the first 12 hours. However, if the female continues to refuse to feed, you will have to resort to artificial feeding or try to find a foster mother for the cubs. You must hurry, otherwise they will starve to death. 

Most females will be better prepared the next time they give birth and will nurture the babies properly. But a female that also refuses to feed the next brood should not be used for breeding, since the lack of maternal instinct can be inherited by the surviving cubs. Alternatively, mild sedatives may be applied until the female accepts the pups, but for the reasons mentioned above, this female should not be used in breeding work.

Inflammation of the nipples in guinea pigs

This problem arises from time to time, especially in the case of multiple litters. The female is uncomfortable during feeding, and extensive damage may appear on the skin and coat. Wash the wounds and adjacent skin areas with chamomile decoction or a weak disinfectant solution, then rub a soothing, softening ointment into the skin.

Be careful not to use products that could be harmful if swallowed by the young. You can safely use the medicine for nipple inflammation used by humans. Infection of the skin on and around the nipples can spread to the breast and cause mastitis.

How are guinea pigs giving birth?

Guinea pig mastitis

Mastitis is an infection of the breast. The gland becomes red, warm, hard, and swollen. The milk thickens and takes on a yellowish tint. Most females eat and generally look normal, but fever and loss of appetite occasionally occurs. Expressing milk is a necessary part of the treatment. To do this, gently squeeze the nipple with your fingers several times a day, then wipe it with a cotton swab with warm, slightly soapy water and rinse with clean water.

This treatment, together with a light skin massage, improves blood flow and promotes healing. If the female loses her appetite or does not clear up within a few days, her veterinarian should be consulted for further treatment, which may also include antibiotic treatment (see Antibiotics and Guinea Pigs ).

In difficult cases, culture microbiological analysis may be recommended to determine which antibiotics have the best effect. Any existing cell hygiene problems (if any) must be addressed to avoid similar diseases in the future.

Lack of milk in a guinea pig

In this regard, the cubs will soon weaken, and some of them (or even all) may die. Lack of milk can be caused by stress or mastitis, and if milk does not return, the cubs will have to be artificially fed or try to find a foster mother for them. Above all, try to leave mother and cubs together in a calm, quiet environment, providing them with an abundance of juicy greens and vegetables, and the highest quality hay you can get. Often the problem will resolve itself within 24 hours. However, in the case of mastitis in a female, the treatment described above should be followed.

How are guinea pigs giving birth?

Skin and coat problems after childbirth in a guinea pig

After giving birth, the female may lose some hair due to birth hormonal changes and influences. Most often, areas with a broken coat appear symmetrically on the sacrum. There are also bald patches. If wounds and tears appear on the skin, wash them with a mild disinfectant solution daily. Don’t worry: the coat will begin to grow normally in about a week or two.

You may also experience a special type of tissue injury in your back. This is likely to be due to inadequate nutrition and should be addressed to avoid further problems. Every day – until it passes – the damage must be washed, and then rubbed in a soothing, softening ointment. In case of infection, you should immediately consult your veterinarian. 

Once in my practice, I was faced with a situation where a cub lost all of its fur a few days after birth. He looked healthy, with shiny eyes, and within 4 weeks his coat was completely normal again.

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