Most guinea pig owners will think at one time or another “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice to have babies and watch them grow.” Well, yeah, it would, except there are already so many guinea pigs that are unwanted and thrown outside to fend for themselves or taken to shelters and rescues, and being sold in pet stores that have no clue what they are doing, but just have them there to make the money, there isn’t any need for any help from us in breeding any more. There are so many horror stories of guinea pigs being left on door steps of shelters or rescues, of kill-shelters euthanizing piggies because the don’t have the space to keep them or the knowledge on how to take care of them. Just go to Petfinder on the Internet and do a search on guinea pigs, and read some of the heartbreaking stories of how piggies were left to die because they were no longer wanted. Then do an Internet search for PETA and read some of the really heartbreaking stories of cavies and their treatment by those who think of guinea pigs as “throw away” pets, and then think again, “Do I really want to add to this.” I personally have 2 guinea pigs that were THROWN AWAY at a local river, left to fend for themselves or die. This type of “rehoming” usually guarantees that the guinea pig will be dead in less than 24 hours. Luckily, these two little girls had angels looking out for them because they were found and brought to me. I have another girl who was thrown out at a local high school, along with her sister, on a cold, snowy November day. Lucy was lucky because someone found her and she made her way to me. Her sister was not so lucky. She was never found, and there is no question in our minds that the sister froze to death.
This is one of the reasons why we stress that if you plan on housing a male with a female, one of them should be spayed or neutered. Neutering is much less expensive than spaying; and the surgery is less invasive and less costly. Spaying is a much more invasive form of surgery, more expensive, and the female has a much longer healing time.
The statistics on cavy births are that one out of every five female guinea pigs that give birth will die during or because of that birth. Also, a female guinea pig over seven months old that has never had a litter before cannot safely deliver her babies. Her pelvis fuses together by seven months old and this makes it almost impossible for her to deliver the babies without the penalty of death to her and/or the babies. It’s not a pretty thing to watch happen. Trust me on that!! Also, don’t purchase a female guinea pig (or any other pig really) from a pet store that keeps both males and females together. Baby females can get pregnant at 4 weeks old and a male can impregnate at 8 weeks old. When baby moms have babies, the results are not usually very good. If there are too many babies in a young mom, she can go into premature labor and the babies will be dead or die soon after birth; and often the mom doesn’t have enough calcium in her little body to feed the babies because her little body is trying to absorb it for her to grow. Something has to give, and regardless of who loses the calcium, it’s a death sentence for someone.
And if the mom is too old, her pelvic bones will have fused together and the birth canal will be blocked by bone so that the babies can’t get out easily, if at all. What happens then is that the babies are pushed over the pelvic bone like our fingers over sharp knives; and all of the babies will receive horrible wounds during the birth process. I have seen cases where this has happened and the babies were born alive, but literally shredded as they went over the pelvic bone, like they had gone through a paper shredder and lived ever so briefly to feel it. One can only imagine!!