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2006-03

Dear Gina Guinea Pig

Our children would like to breed Bonnie and Clyde, our 1-year-old guinea pigs. They are housed separately, although sometimes they visit and play together. Is breeding advisable?

Gina Responds

No, Bonnie is too old to be bred for the first time.

Female guinea pigs, known as sows, breed as early as two to three months of age. Males, called boars, can breed at two to four months.
Normally, when a sow is in labor, a gap along the midline of her pelvis expands a full inch to permit delivery of the pups.

However, if she hasn’t become pregnant by six or seven months of age, the gap, called the symphysis (pronounced SIM-fi-sis), fuses, making vaginal delivery impossible.

When this happens, a cesarean section is necessary. That’s an expensive and risky proposition, but without it, Bonnie and her pups would die.

So, at this point, it’s best not to breed Bonnie. If your children want Bonnie and Clyde to live together, ask your veterinarian to neuter Clyde first.

If you’re not entirely certain of their genders, ask your veterinarian to examine them, or check http://cavyspirit.com/sexing.htm for photos that will help you make the determination.

Even if Bonnie were younger, I would advise against breeding them.
Shelters and guinea pig rescues are full of sweet but unwanted guinea pigs. I was once one of them, and I am grateful to have been adopted.

 

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