Attn Guinea Pig Breeders! Need your help! Warning: graphic description

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Kanchii, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. Kanchii

    Kanchii Songster

    Ugh it's been a terrible week for my poor guinea pigs at the store...

    I've always been told that females will kinda help out with babies and that if one of their cage mates has babies they'll be fine with them. I had two heavily pregnant females and two not pregnant females in a large cage with two different hides. Came in last thursday, lifted up one hide as I was about to start my daily cage cleaning, and there were two lovely, good sized baby guinea pigs dead. The two NOT pregnant moms were in there with them (the remaining pregnant female was outside of the hides by herself). One of the dead babies had its face eaten off. The mother that had had them was by herself in the other cage and was acting particularly aggressive whenever any of the other piggies came towards her hut. I wonder if she killed her babies or if the others did?

    To be safe, I put the remaining pregnant female in her own cage. Next day I came in to clean, lifted the hide and... Oh boy here we go again. FOUR tiny tiny dead babies, and one alive. This is a first time mom, and five babies is a LOT. They were very small. Somehow, of them, the smallest was the one that was still alive. I think the mom might have had even one more still stuck inside because she looked dreadful, panting and she gave me the look that told me she had had enough, so I gently brought her next door to the vet. As they were trying to get even an assessment of the damage, she passed away. The remaining baby is tiny (I'll try to remember to weigh it tomorrow) and could barely hobble around. It took some kitten milk replacement from a syringe, though, which had me hopeful. Offered it food every hour and a half. Was pleasantly surprised it was still alive this morning. When it refused to eat again though, I put it in with a trio of younger females. It got it more active, running after the other pigs. The others don't want anything to do with it but put up with it well enough and I kept a close eye to make sure they didn't try to kill it. Once it was in there, it tried nursing from them. So I put my hand in with the syringe and was able to get it to eat by tricking it into thinking the milk was from the other females. And I saw it attempting to nibble some hay but it didn't seem to be able to actually bite and chew it...

    Anything else I can do for it???

    And for future litters, SHOULD the females be left together if they're going to give birth? I had another friend tell me today that mother guinea pigs will kill their young if you leave them together, but that can't be right.. HELP!!
  2. Nope, that's not normal.

    Piggie babies are pretty much up and running immediately. They have teeth, nails, fur, not at all like rats. It's possible that they came early, or had something wrong with them. And since piggies have 2 uteri, not one, they can have anywhere from 1-8 pups at a time, though it's pretty rare to see, it can happen. Pregnancy is very hard on mom (imagine if human babies were born fully formed and ready to go!) with some sources saying that 1 in 5 moms die. I've heard of C-sections saving her and babes, but I've heard of deaths too.

    As to the face eating... Piggie moms will do everything to protect the den, including eating any and all dirty bedding and/or dead babies after the birth. It's not a meanness thing, it's an instinct to hid the den from the nose of predators thing. Odds are it was the mom herself that did the eating, but if the other/s felt their den wasn't safe they may have helped.
  3. cutiepieacres

    cutiepieacres Songster

    Jan 20, 2009
    S. CA
    A lot of first time moms loose babies. They tend to just come too fast for them to clean them off in time since they are so inexperienced and the hormones may not be as strong. Even experienced moms can somtimes have still borns or babies that dont make it through birthing, its very uncommon for them to kill or chew up live babies. Other moms or even dads will assist with babies you just dont want to leave dad in to avoid a breedback. With still borns or babies that die they do try to eat as much as they can to hide the evidence from predetors but they really never get that far and usually you just find chewed up babies, kinda gross and a little shocking to find. The one that had the litter of 5 or 6 or more as it may have been, thats quite a few for one mom and she may have just become exausted tyring to deliver and they just dont seem to be able to take a whole lot of stress, it could have also been toxemia from the stress of a large litter as well which can happen in the last few days of pregancy up to a few days after. Im sorry you lost her, its always so sad to loose a piggie especially when you were hoping for a litter.

    With the little one keep trying. I used a 1 cc insulin syringe so its much harder to aspirate the little guy. I used the small animal milk replacer(so far this is the only thing that has worked and I have tried alomst every recipie you can find on the internet and never had a baby survive until I used this) you can buy at petco mixed it with warm tap water and dribbled it on his lips and it worked great. At first he ate only little bit but he became very excited to eat and I fed him until I could feel a full belly at first every hour and then slowly moved his feedings further apart. I provided him with food and water and hay at all times as they do begin to eat pretty quick and I fed him until about 4 weeks old. I had a mom who refused to take care of her baby and after 2 days of trying to get her to feed him and she would just pick him up by the scruff and toss him aside I pulled him and hand fed him. He did really well and grew up to be a big pig. He was slightly grabbie and a little abnoxious but a cute healthy little guy.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  4. Kanchii

    Kanchii Songster

    Thanks guys!

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