Born with fur, teeth and nails, guinea pig pups will be exploring their new home with open eyes two hours after being born. Within twenty-four hours they will begin to eat hay, produce and pellets like their parents. Every two hours or so they will nurse. Guinea pigs wean from their mother after three or four weeks of life.
You can expect pups that are two or three inches long and weigh three or four ounces. A birth weight that is lower than two ounces means that the pup will most likely die. Generally, babies born to a healthy mother during a normal delivery do survive.
Guinea pig parents participate in caring for their offspring. As long as the father is neutered, you can allow him to be in the cage with the female and the pups. The new family will communicate with one another and probably walk around the cage in a line.
Some male rodents harm or eat their children. Male guinea pigs do not do this. If the father is not neutered, you want to keep him away from the female until he is neutered or she is spayed. (Please note that spaying is a serious operation for female guinea pigs). In the event that you want the female to go through another pregnancy, the father should not be put back in with the female until two or three months after her delivery. This allows her to regain her strength and health.
It helps baby guinea pigs to adjust to human beings if they are held and petted while small. Too much handling causes them stress, so be cautious in your affections. A little bit of human contact each day allows guinea pigs to feel friendlier toward people throughout their lives.
Guinea pig mothers are not put off from caring for their young by the smell of humans on them like birds are. Pups, after two weeks can take care of themselves. Only on rare occasions when a new mother might reject her offspring or dies during delivery will you need to take over raising the babies.
In the event that the mother dies, put the babies in the cage with the father. He will help keep them clean for you and he will teach them how to eat solid food. With no father, you must do all of the work yourself. This includes feeding the pups a milk mixture every two hours and cleaning off their bottoms. The milk mixture consists of twenty-five percent evaporated milk and seventy-five percent boiled and cooled water. Using a bottle or water dropper feed the babies every two hours for the first three days, always wiping off their faces and hair after they have eaten. Use a clean cloth to wipe their genitals and anus two or three times a day. Teach the babies how to eat solid food if the father is not present.