• Baby guinea pigs are called pups and are born with their eyes open, a full set of teeth and fully haired.
• They weigh between 60-120g and are roughly 3-4 inch long
• The average litter is 1-6 pups.
• They can walk straight away and can eat hay and pellets and even some veg within a few hours.
• The babies will suckle their Mum's milk for 2-3 weeks as well as eating all the usual guinea pig foods.
Babies grow very quickly! and by 8 weeks they have pretty much doubled in size at 6-8 inches. It is very important to sex your pups by 3 weeks old, either by yourself or if in doubt, ask the vets.
This is because male pups reach sexual maturity at about 3 weeks old, and can try to impregnate siblings or the Mum, which is not something you want to happen.
So the males need to be either put in with older males, or grouped together in a different run. The females can stay with Mum.
It is important to check your pup daily, to make sure they are doing well. Don't hold them for too long at first though, just short times to weigh and look them over. Make a note of their weight to ensure that they are getting enough food and milk to promote healthy growth.
The pups will have got used to your voice while still inside their Mum, and will soon get to know your scent:). They will follow their Mum and watch what she does when eating and drinking.
Mum will also lick their bottoms after to stimulate weeing and pooping, which is very important.
Seeing baby guinea pigs play is an absolute delight! They popcorn very early on and wheek while playing and love tunnels, houses, boxes, anything to hide in and charge around the run.
Babies are extremely inquisitive, but always like to know their Mum is nearby. They will nibble at new foods and veg, so is best to give them a variety to ensure that they are used to a wide variety containing a broad set of vitamins.
Sometimes a pup will need extra help. Maybe it is the runt of the litter, the Mum has rejected it or very sadly the Mum may not make it through the birth. Then you need to hand-feed the pup or pups every 2-3 hrs. Cat milk is most often used, brought from the vets and given to the pup on a small spoon, so they can lap it themselves.
Aspiration can occur if you try and use a syringe. This is when the milk is given too quickly to the pup, goes into the lungs and can cause pneumonia. You will also need to stimulate them to wee and poop like the Mum would. This is done by using damp cotton wool and rubbing gently their genital area after each feed. Keeping the pups warm is imperative so warm fleece bedding is a good idea. Offer them chopped up veg, nuggets and hay like usual, but do not worry if they don't seem interested at first, just keep trying.
Baby proofing your guinea pig run
You need to make sure your run is safe for a baby guinea pig. The holes in a c&c cage are big enough for a pup to get through! The best way is to attach some smaller mesh to the outside of the grids. Also make sure the water bottle is low enough for the pups to reach, or put another one in that is a lower level.
Put some smaller things for them to hide in to make them feel safe. The first week they will pretty much stay with their Mum and follow her about. But then they will get exploring, so it is good to have smaller sizes tunnels and hideys for them to play in. And chop up the veggies a bit smaller too.
Just do a once over of the run to make sure there are no gaps where the pups can get through and it is all safe:)