Do baby guinea pigs need special care? And, how can you make sure that your babies grow up secure, healthy, and happy? If your piggy has recently had babies or you've brought a new pup into your home, you might be wondering how to care for the babies. The short answer to this question is no – you won't have to worry about special care or anything beyond basic care. Just as you would do for any other baby fluffball, you will simply need to focus on the essentials. This includes a safe cage, proper feeding, fresh water, socialization, and stimulation.
Safety is one of the most important things to keep in mind. To care for your furry piglet, you will need a cage that has lots of room. Make sure that they can't easily get through the spaces of the cage bars. This is a mistake that many make when bringing new baby piggies into the house. Guinea pigs are independent almost immediately after they are born, and can start on solid foods while they wean. If you assume that babies will be quiet and shy, think again. They will want to explore as soon as they arrive in their new home. Make sure the cage is fully equipped with everything right from the start.
You'll also need to make sure that your piggy has the right food along with fresh water. You can learn more about diet a bit further below to find out how to choose healthy food. It is best to avoid cheap generic food to give your piggy the best start in life. Instead, look for good quality food that is high in nutrients. Keep fresh water available, and clean bowls daily.
Ready for more tips on welcoming your baby into your home? This guide has everything you need to know about caring for baby guinea pigs.
Baby guinea pigs are possibly the cutest infant animals. We aren’t biased or anything. Just facts.
Guinea pigs enter the world alert and ready to go - fully furry, eyes open, and little chompers already equipped for solid food. While the mini-mes are pretty self-sufficient from day one, there are still a few things you can do to help them stay safe and grow strong.
You can handle baby guinea pigs right away. This won’t cause the mother to reject them, and will teach them early on they can trust humans. Female cagemates can interact with the new additions, too. Most will help raise the little ones, but keep a close eye out for the occasional jealous sow. Mom can get pregnant again immediately after giving birth, so dad needs to get his own pad.
Male guinea pigs can impregnate mom when they are only 23 days old! To be safe, it’s best to remove boy babes after three weeks. Pairing a baby boy with dad, a brother, or an older boar of the same sex is a good way to facilitate social development. Leaving same-sex siblings together means you get to skip the bonding process with a stranger. “Because I have a brother, I’ll always have a friend.”
Female guinea pigs, on the other hand, don’t have to leave mom at a certain age. In fact, they can be roomies for life! She’ll let them know when she’s had enough of them nursing and it’s time to start paying rent.
Although piggies will begin eating solid guinea pig food almost right away, nursing is still important for mom’s antibodies. Guinea pigs will nurse for 2-3 weeks. Orphan pups aren’t doomed, though, and can still thrive. Milk/milk replacer products are not appropriate or necessary for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs develop lactose intolerance after weaning. In most cases, motherless guinea pigs will do just fine supplemented with pellet mash or thinned recovery formula fed via spoon or syringe.
Until about six months of age, baby guinea pigs get to indulge in all the good stuff. Adults will look on with envy at the piles of fresh, fragrant alfalfa (sorry grown-ups, try some gourmet hay as an alternative). The extra calcium will help babies grow strong and healthy. They’ll reach their full skeletal size at about a year old, but may continue to put on weight for 18 months.
Have a baby joining an adult herd? Don’t worry about switching to alfalfa-based pellets. Offering Junior high-calcium foods separately during lap time or floor time is sufficient. Foods high in calcium include spinach, parsley, arugula, dandelion greens, turnip greens, kale, and dill.
Home, Sweet Home
All guinea pigs need a lot of space to exercise. Baby guinea pigs especially live for zoomies and epic popcorn outbursts. Add some toys, tunnels, and castles and they’ll have the perfect set up for their NASCAR training. Beware of balls and exercise wheels, however. Guinea pigs of any size have delicate spines and aren't built to bend the way smaller rodents like mice can.
Before adding any new furnishings, make sure they are appropriate for sample-sized residents. Cage grids may need to be doubled up so tiny, curious heads don’t get stuck. Steep or slippery ramps and those without high sides aren’t ideal for clumsy little pigs, either. If your cage has a loft, covering ramps with fleece fabric helps guinea pigs' feet grip so they won't fall.
Making these few adjustments for your newest family member will help ensure a happy, healthy life for years to come.