Specifically Sows…

Sows can have the same characters as boars and should not be judged on their gender, however there are some things that are specific to them…

  • Cystic Ovaries: A problem in the reproductive system. Symptoms can include bilateral (both sides) hairloss, dominant behaviour towards others,  enlarged/crusty nipples and, in the latter stages, the appearance of pregnancy. Weightloss can also be a sign.

Treatment is no longer spaying (surgical removal of womb and ovaries). Spaying is a very intrusive operation and not recommended. Your vet should give a course of hormone injections and may need to drain the cysts if they are large. Should the cysts return guinea will simply need another course of injections. Injections should be the complete course, day one and day ten.

  • Discharge: At the first sign of any blood or discharge veterinary advice should be sought. This may indicate bladder stones, urinary infection or a womb infection.
  • Sows are sexually mature at 4-6 weeks of age. They need to be separated from their brothers who become sexually mature at 3-5 weeks. Boars can be removed to live together or with another boar.
  • Gestation period: 9-10 weeks.
  • Giving birth: There is always a risk with any pregnancy and/or birth, breeding should be left to those who know what they’re dealing with.Birth should be quick, clean and Mum should be able to attend to her own needs and then the baby’s.
  • Lactation: Sows can come into milk up to 24 hours after the birth. Meanwhile the babies have usually got enough reserves to survive and may even eat solids before they suckle!
  • Post Partum Oestrus: Guinea pigs are fertile for12 hours after the birth. These pregnancies are known as back to back pregnancies and are less than ideal.
  • Oestrus cycle: This is every 15-17 days (approximately).
  • Girls and hormones: Sows are often happier when kept with (castrated) boars (but let them choose their boarfriend!). Boars “manage” their herds in different ways, some actively sorting out disputes, others appear to choose to ignore disputes but are there for a certain sow but always making a difference.
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