I'm not a "breeder." I'll never sell, abandon, or give anything away. I understand the risks, like avoiding incorrect pairings, pulling the pups out around the 3 week mark if boars are detected, and keeping father boar away before and after birth; keeping sow in a certain age range for first/only time, etc.. I'm not interested in adopting, though it's wonderful the option exists nowadays. The plan is to have two separate herds (all male, all female), regardless of size as I have the indoor room for large C&C builds, and I'm fully committed to keeping them for life. I'm mainly trying to understand a few things that are basically ignored elsewhere, considered "taboo," etc. etc..
My 2 younger pigs "hit it off" from the get-go (a self-black boar and a tri-color sow with white, golden agouti, and very faint/light colored orange in a couple spots). I timed their initial introduction at the tail-end of suspecting her being in heat (a couple sniffs, nothing more), and waited several days after, before allowing them to co-exist in the same cage after everything else they were doing through the bars suggested it was a good pairing and they passed vet exams and quarantine.
Fast-forward a couple weeks to the present, and she was spraying urine like crazy, for I'm guessing the previous 2 days at him (reminds me of a syringe stream at 1 foot) as I saw some dry spots in a couple tunnels, but didn't witness the actual spraying until yesterday. And finally today, that stopped and he was able to mount (1st time I've seen her actually giving the "OK").
I just want some clarification on a couple things, as it's like pulling rotten teeth w/o a numbing agent trying to find the info elsewhere, is poorly documented, varies with other sources, etc.
1. The urine spraying, which was hitting the splash shields, their tunnels, my hand from a foot away, etc. Is this likely to happen every time she's nearing the "come hither window?" Or is it more of an age thing she'll grow out of? Not a huge deal either way, just curious as it means different cage walls for a female herd.
2. If I'm understanding the sexual-side of GP mating correctly, a sow enters heat, and at some point there is a small window where the boar can successfully impregnate? What's that window length? And how far along in the heat cycle does it appear?
3. I've read that the boar "plugs" the vent with fluid to seal it? (seems to be a 2-fold act, one holding sperm in place, and two preventing another boar from ruining the first boar's act or an involuntary act of amnesia from 1st boar). Once sealed, that's it for the cycle?
3.a If the window on the sow to actually get pregnant is very narrow, what happens if the boar does his thing BEFORE the window opens? Or will she ONLY allow mounting during the window time-frame? And the urine spraying leading up to it was a way to say "not ready yet?"
I'm trying to stay on top of their "events" (adding them to a calendar) so if/when "it" happens, it'll be easier to track, I'll know exactly how far along she is, when to separate, when to reduce any extra stress for her as much as possible, and when to be "on the look out" for newcomers, or possibly complications.
It "appears" he did what was needed, then sealed the deal as it were, as he lost interest in trying to mount further and is just laying lazily on a rumpled up fleece section and she's going about eating Timothy hay like nothing happened. Would that suggest everything needed to be done, was done?
P.S. If anything in this thread was offensive to anyone reading it, I apologize. The online info is surprisingly vague, to the point important omissions seem too common. And keeping people in the dark isn't helping anyone. Thank you.
I doubt the urine spraying would happen all them time. It indicates anger, "get away from me". Males would be happy to impregnate at any time. I think there is a mucus membrane that closes off the vagina. I do not know but suspect that a boar could possibly be successful without hitting the window when a sow could be impregnated. I think there is some additional information in the reproductive area. www.guinealynx.info/reproduction.html
You are breeding your pigs. You cannot say you are not a breeder.
Keep in mind that your idea of having an all male herd may not go very well. Males tend to not get along with each other in more than pairs. You may end up with a herd of females and countless other cages of male singles and pairs. Males need far more space than females.
Even if you neuter your boars, you cannot have more than one boar with the females or the boars would fight all the time.
I would say that of the pregnant sows that came into the rescue, at least 50 percent had complications. I had to deal with stillborn babies, mastitis, hormonal imbalance after the birth that led to the sows tearing their own hair/skin off, etc., etc. That's what you are about to put your sows through just for the sake of "building your own herd." I have all kinds of advice for people who accidently find themselves with pregnant sows. I have none who purposely go about to cause those pregnancies.
Humans have issues with birth too, unfortunately. From miscarriages, to mothers dying, to both dying, to congenital defects, etc.. And yet people still do their thing, knowing fully well (or most likely oblivious) the results can be disastrous, for mother, infant, and by proxy, emotional pain to the grieving husband/father. Every mammal has this issue. Although human medicine has made leaps, it's not infallible and even doctors make mistakes. It's an unfortunate part of the circle of life, but breaking that circle means no life whatsoever. Going by all the guinea pigs out there in forum members homes, it's clearly not broken. But, I've never heard people talking to down to a couple trying to have a child, unless maybe they were underage, or overage with underage, related; basically socially unacceptable situations. Even people with severe genetic abnormalities that have a high percentage of being passed along to a child, are not lectured like this (in public), despite the medical evidence being stronger and more definitive.
Allowing guinea pigs to have babies to keep, shouldn't have the same stigma as people doing it to create skinny pigs, or other "named" breeds that are selectively bred for pure aesthetics and discarded for not making the cut, even though the aesthetic guinea pig can have numerous defects like skinny pigs. And to really cross pipe threads, it can be argued it's unethical to not allow them to at least be with their own "family" and to force them to be with various strangers with uncertain medical history backgrounds, temperaments, handling/socializing irregularities, etc. that were just plopped into the cage and expected to get along. If everyday humans were exposed to that, we'd be an even bigger mess than we already are as it technically mirrors our prison system a little too closely for my tastes. I'll at least have generational history, medical history, accurate ages, and hopefully "healthy" hierarchies being taught by the parents so they are all on the same page, etc. with my guinea pigs vs. knowing absolutely nothing and rolling a face-less dice. In my world, it makes more sense to know.
I've seen plenty of "herd" pics/videos where everyone in the herd looks like a carbon-copy of each other (rosettes and all) and/or a cross/clone of an adult, or worse roan x roan boar/sow, so clearly people aren't being 100% honest in public about their backgrounds, and those are people that care about them but are seemingly trying to avoid the bullying from others. People abandoning at rescues; you have ZERO (honest) background on the gp in question. It ends up in your lap a blank slate. It sadly mirrors the foster system of humans, though human foster children have medical records and documents about their history.
I personally find it hypocritical to expose a small rodent to "elective surgery" for the sole sake of an owner letting them co-exist w/o viably mating when they can just be separated instead, especially when everything from the anesthesia to post-op infections to a tired or having a bad day vet can kill the boar, but that risk is apparently "OK" and fully acceptable by a subsect of people, even though it's 100% unnatural to expose a rodent to surgery or the drugs involved, and really should only occur for life or death scenarios, not to mention weeks of post-op pain it must endure w/o pain meds and possible future issues it won't be able to communicate to the owner like scar tissue, which can be just as painful as some injuries (this coming from someone with several back surgeries + fusion, nerve/arm surgeries from a severe window accident, and a tendon tear on a shoulder; external scar tissue is excessive for me as I keloid, and internal scar tissue is very painful in some areas where it's near major nerves, but I can at least communicate this with my doctors, a boar can not). But I'm not out there browbeating every stranger for going through with neutering, or unwilling to help them with info because it goes against a personal belief.
I came here for info, not to appease a subsect of forum users that operate on a thin line of hypocrisy of "it's OK to risk a boar's life" with elective surgery that it technically doesn't even need, but not OK to allow a sow pregnancy for her own kids to live with, which would happen w/o God Complex human interference. Technically, rescues allow too much of the unintentional mishaps to keep occurring as it gives people a very easy and lazy way out, and others end up trying to care for a gp that may or may not have serious issues due to a careless previous owner or extreme neglect. Nothing in the stickies stated it was taboo to ask here or would result in browbeating, that I can find. But this aura of bullying is really hurting people that need the info, and shame on you for the sanctimonious attitude you won't offer legit advice because it doesn't align with your own agenda. Keeping people in the dark does more harm than good, and actually fuels your overflowing shelters.
To those that offered advice, thank you. I won't post here (this forum) anymore as this bullying mentality will follow every post I try and initiate in the future, which is an ironic shame that only sustains itself, or will probably get edited to within an inch of the initial content, or outright deleted, helping absolutely no one.
P.S. For the clarity of anyone else in the future wanting to know, his rumble-strutting of the past couple weeks has stopped. He has zero interest in her on that level since the handful of mountings yesterday, and at this point neither are chasing each other. Her spraying stopped as well. A quick inspection appears the deal was indeed sealed. If anyone ends up with an "accidental" pairing, hopefully something can be gleamed from this thread, even if you have to read between the lines in silence.
For the most part, the rescue that I volunteered for removed guinea pigs from the local shelters and humane societies. Why? Because if we didn't, they would have been taken in the back room and gassed. Small, rural humane societies were the worst as they did not have the finances or the knowledge to care for them and they would have been killed within the hour of arriving at the shelter if we did not drive there and pull them (sometimes driving 5 to 7 hours to retrieve them). We were not giving people "an easy and lazy" way out. We were saving the lives of those unwanted guinea pigs. And do you know what happens to the unwanted pigs that owners don't bother to take to the humane society (because often there is a surrender fee)? They are given away for free to be food for snakes, offered as bait animals to dog fighting rings or just left outside to die along the roadside. There were several times I've spent weeks trying to catch guinea pigs that someone has dumped outside or have worked with others who were trying to catch the poor frightened things before they are killed by the neighborhood cat.
What steams me the most about posts like yours is that you don't get that there's a guinea pig already in a shelter or humane society near you that DIES because you didn't give it a home instead of breeding your own babies. Please try to wrap your brain around that. And most of the guinea pigs in those humane societies have NOTHING wrong with them. Sure, you don't know anything about their background. But tell me how that's different with YOUR present pigs? You can't say you know everything (or even ANYTHING) about their genetic backgrounds.
There is nothing more rewarding than actually saving the life of an animal and having the companionship of that animal for the rest of it's life. If you are worried about getting a sick one, adopt one from a local rescue. They will have kept the animal and cared for it long enough to know that it's healthy before placing it in a new home. Adopting from a reputable rescue also saves the life of an animal because that rescue now has room to take in another one that would have died from a humane society.
PS: Yes, 50 percent IS a high number and I did not keep track of every stillborn baby or trip to the vet with a sow that had a retained fetus. I wished I had so I could have given you an exact list. I rescued for nearly 7 years and it seemed as if every other pregnant sow had some problem or another. Maybe other rescuers kept better records of that sort of thing and can chime in.
We had him neutered so we could keep him. Between the two moms, we had 7 babies total. Snuggles had three babies with no complications, two females and a male.
But Panda had lots of problems. She had four babies (2 female, 1 male and 1 undetermined). The undetermined sex died within a week of birth despite our efforts to save it. We re-homed the two male babies together because we did not have the space for two separate cages, especially when we were ending up with a lot more female piggies (and a much larger cage) than we had anticipated. We tried to rehome some of the female babies, but could not find acceptable homes for them.
Both Panda's femurs broke either prior to or during delivery. We did what we had to save her and help her heal, but it was far more expensive than we had ever dreamed we'd spend on a guinea pig. But she was ours, we loved her, and we cared for her to the best of our ability.
One of her female babies that grew to adulthood died several months ago of congenital heart problems nobody knew about until it happened. Panda died just recently and we miss her a lot.
So we do have our own herd of 4 remaining female pigs and our neutered male, and we love them, but we had not planned on having more than 3 pigs total.
I love the "babies," but it would have been better for two of the three parents had they never been born and our male had been the female we were told he was. I will tell you this, the babies *were* beyond cute, but they are solid adults now at 3 years old and their baby-cuteness is long-gone. To keep having babies just because they are so adorable would have been selfish on our part.
Hypocritical to neuter or boy so we could keep him? I find that insulting. We neutered him because we loved him and wanted to keep him, and we saw no other way to do so.
You are right when you say that deaths happen in all species, and birth is hard on all species. I give a lecture to my students about maternal mortality and infant mortality. A lot of people, even women with children, seem surprised at how much of a risk there is to give birth. I am totally for better education, and women truly understanding what risks their choice includes, at the same time, human women have the ability to make that choice. We are autonomous beings who can say, "yes" or "no". Animals do not have the ability to make that choice. Human women also have a better ability to inform their medical team if something seems wrong, whereas guinea pigs can't say, "hey something seems wrong". To compare your guinea pigs to human shows an anthropomorphizing of them. Do you think they are able to comprehend all the risks and make a decision to have a baby? They're driven by biological instinct, as are all species. But, they don't have the ability to make decisions about parenthood.
People with special needs children (whether genetic or not) and genetic abnormalities do get lectures in public when they chose to have more children/have children. I'm glad you've not heard about that, or had family members experience it before. But, it does happen.
How is it "unethical to not allow them to be with their own 'family'"? I'm curious to know that argument. You're anthropomorphizing your pigs here. Animals don't think of "family" as we do. Also, aren't you "forcing" together two pigs to reproduce that have uncertain medical histories, temperaments, handling, etc.? You're making the assumption they'll get along. Two of my horses who hate each other, full on drag to the ground, kicking, fight til one is dead kind of hate are mother and daughter. In fact, most of my animals that are related don't particularly like their relatives all that much. I think there is a biologically driven dislike between blood relatives in some species to try to prevent inbreeding (but that's an assumption, I'm not a specialist in animal behavior/genetics/biology). One of the rescues I used to volunteer at wouldn't adopt out puppies from the same litter, because they said evidence showed they were less likely to get along than those puppies who were not genetically related. Now, I know puppies and horses are not guinea pigs. But, animals don't just get along because we want them to, think they will, or because they are related.
This isn't bullying. This is a reality check. You are not the first person to get on this forum asking these same questions, and arguing the same things you are now. There are a lot of people just like you. Lets hope if you come back it's with news of a successful birth, and not to report a death.
I'm just curious did you purchase these from a breeders? Because if they are pet store pigs, they're related. I worked at a pet store for three years while in grad school. They all come from the same place, and pigs that were rejected from the store because of genetic issues went back to be breeding pigs. If they're from a breeder do you know where the breeder got their stock? If their stock came from a pet store they're probably related.
Please rethink breeding Guinea Pigs.
P.S to those who are concerned:
I hate breeding my bunnies, but I started doing it shortly after I recued them (they and their babies where going to be put down) and I had little to no research. My teacher will not allow me to change my project now so I have to continue breeding them until I graduate next year. Once I do graduate I will fix my male and allow all 3 of my bunnies to free-roam inside. No I do not mass breed or breed often. I am required to once every 4 months and I only do it then. They are under the best care I can give them and I always find them proper homes or deny the person from buying them. Where I live excess rabbits are not an issue (as I've said before on a previous thread) so maybe in the uture I can open a rabbit/guinea pig rescue and transport ones from overpopulated areas here, in hopes of adoption.
In late February, a woman posted a plea on my neighborhood app looking for good homes for several guinea pig pups aged approximately 10 weeks. I had had a pair of pigs as a child and although they were beloved family pets, I’ve come to realize the care guidelines in the 80’s aren’t what they are today.
My story: I contacted the poster and arranged to meet. I wasn’t sure about moving forward with an adoption but I went to look. I didn’t go inside her home, as she met me on the door step with a box and inside were two sows and a boar. She mentioned that no one had wanted the boar, as she’d had two people visit and they had taken sows. I asked if she was a breeder because her post led me to believe she wasn’t. Her post made it seem as though she had inadvertently put a boar in with sows or visa versa. There was no fee, she was just looking for a good home for them. She was however selling home made pea flakes and other dried plants as treats. I noticed through the entry way a big aquarium and a smaller one with a teen boy holding a bearded dragon. Didn’t think much about what I’d seen until later. I bought the homemade treats and took my new pig home. I ran to the pet store and purchased all the gear. I began to read about pigs and their care. I read over and over that having two pigs was best. I was able to spend a good 3 months giving my pig a lot of attention, all the while looking for another younger or older boar to adopt. I would check the shelters every week for the right sex and age. I also looked at two rescues but, I didn’t meet their requirements to adopt. My guy has started to trust me and is somewhat affectionate with me but it has taken a long time. I am starting a new job in a few weeks which will take me away more during the day and wanted to get a cadge mate for my pig.
It’s been difficult to find a single boar that’s the right age to adopt where I live. I even started considering a neighborhood pet store (not a chain although I guess it makes no difference). I still was never able to find a boar. Then I see another post from the same lady I got my boar from — needing homes for guinea pigs again. Hmmmm. I thought back to my first visit and the box with a 10 week old boar and two sows. After reading and understanding more about pigs, I thought I must have misunderstood because why would she have them all together?!?
Here is the part of the story where I look like a total idiot. I end up taking another boar aged 3 months from this lady. She doesn’t charge me but again offers her homade guinea pig items.
I get home. I follow the info I’ve read online on integrating a new pig. The new pig seemed so tiny - I didn’t think about it until I saw how much bigger my boar was. I brought the new pig up to the cadge to meet and my boar went nuts. I decided to take it really slow. Cleaned all the cadges and was getting ready to put the cadges next to each other when my husband had the idea to put them in one cadge separated by a grid so they could see, talk even lick each other better. So that’s what we did. They chatted and both made noise but the baby stayed in her house.
Sometime in the middle of the night I heard a loud crash. Sounded like the cage fell. I jumped out of bed and as I got close to the cadge I could see the older boar had knocked the grid down (it was attached with wire) into the baby boars side and had jumped into his area. The baby was making this very high pitched squeal and the older boar was chasing him trying to mount him. I was there in seconds and put my hand in to separate them. My boar was very aggressive with me. Hissing at me and teeth chattering while jumping up my arm. I could feel wet because he sprayed me. He’s never acted like this with me before. I was able to get the baby out and the little pig looked traumatized and stayed frozen. I put it in a separate cadge in another room. The older pig was still angry when I went back for him and was teeth chattering and purring at me. I put him in the tub on fleece with all his toys water and food. Took a shower because the smell on me was awful and went to sleep.
In the morning I put the big boy in his outside pen, and he still seemed angry and worked up. I checked on the little pig. I took him out and put him on my chest. He didn’t move for 40 minutes until finally he moved a bit and stretched out resting his head on me. Something felt off. The new guy has a lot of long hair making it hard to see genitals or even the bum. Not sure why I took someone’s word without checking (I had to read how to check). I am so mad at myself. The lady seemed shady. I should have checked. I also should have kept them better quarantined. They are still apart in different rooms now but I’m panicked that the baby is pregnant. I think she might be younger than what I was told and I’m afraid for her life. I also have no idea of the next steps. What should I do? Should I take my boar in immediately to be neutered? From reading, I still need to keep him away from the sow for at least 6 weeks — if by chance she isn’t pregnant. If she is pregnant, should I continue to try and get them to bond and let her be aggressively mounted. Do boars continually mount sows? Is it a one and done deal or is it continuous? Like I said the new pig is very small. I’m so upset!! First off, I’m an idiot for not confirming. And then putting them too close and underestimating my boars strength and aggression. I felt scared to ask this person why she had pig pups again. Also dumb. I was just so excited to finally find a cage mate for my boar I ignored the weirdness.
Don’t know where to go from here. Any advice would be most appreciated.
You would feed very similar food to what you are feeding for a young guinea pig:
Read all you can about pregnancy. Be sure to have a vet lined up for general care and emergency care. Be sure to put a top on the cage of the sow and have her very secure.
You might want to post pictures of the sow's genitals in case it is actually a boar, which is what you were told, I believe.
- And got the T-shirt
It sure sounds like the baby is a sow. You can turn them both over and compare their pertinent parts to see if they're the same. If not, don't put them together at all until after he's neutered and the required time has elapsed.
For the confinement, you need a lid on the sow's cage, not the boar's. A boar can easily climb grids, and can push up a lid on his own cage, but can't lift a lid on the other cage.
If she does turn out to be a sow and is not pregnant, and if it were me, I'd neuter the boar, but not put them together until after the four weeks but also wait until the sow is big enough to resist the boar if she isn't interested in mating.
In our experience, boars will try to mate as much as the females will let them. (There's no "one and done.") When they are the same size and weight, the females are pretty successful in saying "no" when they aren't interested, but not when there is a significant size/weight difference.
If you neuter the boar before he is 5 or 6 months old, he will not grow any bigger than an adult female. At least ours didn't. Usually males will grow to be a lot bigger and heavier than the females when they are adults. When we babysat the two boys we rehomed when the new owners went on vacation about a year later, I was shocked at how much bigger the two intact male "babies" were than their dad, our neutered male. Our neutered male is the same size as the adult females in our herd, but those boys are so much bigger!
Another side advantage of neutering the boar will be he won't have a testicle sac to drag along the ground and get "stuff" up into his anal cavity. You have to clean intact boars' anal cavities fairly regularly (not sure how often, but I'm guessing at least monthly), but our guy doesn't have that problem. He's 3.5 years old now and I've checked him twice, with him not needing to be cleaned out either time.
If the little sow does turn out to be pregnant, do pump extra nutrients into her of course. You may not need to neuter the boar if she has a male baby -- then you could put the boys together and not neuter either of them. If she has female babies, you can neuter the boar to live with all the females.
But you will not be able to put two males together with females, even if they are both neutered. The neutering does NOTHING to lessen their sex drives, and they will fight non-stop over the females.
BTW, we did neuter or boar as soon as we discovered he was one, while our two sows were still pregnant. By the time he was able to go back in with them, they had given birth and we weren't sure how he'd do with tiny babies so he just got to watch from a distance (like a separate store-bought cage from across the room). When the pups were 3 weeks old, and we realized we had two males, we divided our large C&C cage and put the male pups in with Dad, which worked well since that wasn't a permanent arrangement.
The two boy babies wanted their moms, but having dad there helped. The first thing he did was stick his nose up their bums and flip them almost, I am guessing to check their sex. After that, the first thing they did to him was they tried to nurse from him, but he put a stop to that pretty quick, lol. After they realized they couldn't nurse from him, their relationship was great. He made a good dad, teaching them how to drink from a water bottle and generally being a comforting adult presence for them in the absence of their mothers.
We rehomed the male babies when they were about two and a half months old. At that point they were still getting along with dad. When they visited a year later when we were babysitting them, I made the mistake of putting dad in with them for floor play time. Ugh. They about killed him cuz they were almost twice his size by then and there is no such thing as guinea pigs respecting their parents. Didn't make that mistake again.
Anyhow, our herd is pretty happy together. The male will rumblestrut (low purring while doing a sumo wrestler dance with his hind end) to ask the girls if they are "in the mood." Most of the time they ignore him, or if he gets too pushy, they'll nip his nose and/or chase him away. The females do, however, all come into heat at around the same time, which means our boy is told "no," "no," "no," most of the time and then it's "YES!" by nearly all of them at once, lol.
- Thanks for the Memories
A very long time ago we were hobby breeders. One of the considerations for no longer continuing to allow pigs to breed was when my favorite sow died from pregnancy complications after several successful litters. Now our pigs only live in single-sex herds. My mom has sows. I have boars.
Sadly, we don't live in that world. Maybe our pigs would like to have babies (my boars would certainly like to make them!) but we have to make that decision for them, and with pigs being mass-bred, neglected and abandoned pretty much everywhere, it seems to me that rescuing is a higher priority.