Guinea pigs are cute and lovable rodents that become attached to their owners and give them a lot of their love. Despite their popularity, it is difficult for many owners to determine their gender. We suggest what to look for in pigs of different ages.
If you’re looking for more advice and information, check out too articles about guinea pigs collected here.
History of guinea pigs in Europe
The history of guinea pigs is worth knowing. They come from South America, where they are bred for food. They were already domesticated by the Incas who sacrificed them to the gods, as you can read in Lynn Vanderlip’s “The Guinea pig Handbook”.
They came to Europe at the end of the 16th century with the Spanish conquistadors. It also seems that at the beginning they were reserved rather for the wealthy. However, due to the fertility of the rodents, they also found their way to middle-class homes quite quickly. The time of their arrival and popularity on our continent are confirmed by archaeological excavations and found skeletons of these rodents.
Thus, the popularity of guinea pigs dates back to Elizabethan times and continues today. Household coffee (as guinea pigs are now called) is members of many European families, including Polish. They are nice and cheerful.
Reproduction of guinea pigs
Males enter puberty at the age of 70-90 days, but they develop sexual behavior around the first month of life.
The female becomes sexually mature around 2 months of age, and the peak fertility occurs at 4-20 months of age. However, she remains fertile up to the age of 5. Captive guinea pigs breed all year round. Ovulation lasts 6-11 hours, and during this time the female takes a characteristic position with spine curvature and enlargement of the vulva.
The male’s courtship is quite short and is based on the female’s several times orbits, accompanied by the characteristic grunting sounds and shaking of the rear part of the body. After mating, the female develops a semen plug, and then a membrane that closes the vaginal lumen until delivery. The next oestrus occurs within a few hours to two days after giving birth.
Recommended products for guinea pigs
Caring for a guinea pig
Female guinea pigs are approximately 68 days pregnant and give birth to about 4 young. During the year, theoretically, she can produce several litters, although in practice 4-5 litters in her life are optimal for her. The fact that the female is pregnant can be recognized by the increase in body weight and the characteristic pear shape. Sometimes, however, the pregnancy is not visually visible until the very birth.
The minimum dimensions of the cage for one individual are 50 cm x 80 cm. However, it is worth providing them with more space. In the case of guinea pigs, therefore, a rabbit cage, the minimum size of which is 50 cm x 100 cm, can, for example, be used.
The female and the young may need a cage of a minimum size of 60 cm x 100 cm. It should be placed in a calm, quiet and warm place. After the birth of the young, it must be adapted to them. You need to adjust the suspension of the drinker and secure the cage against the potential escape of the little ones. Or maybe you will also be interested this article about recognizing the sex of your cat?
How to recognize the gender of a guinea pig?
How to distinguish between the sex of guinea pigs in puppies?
Sex determination can be difficult before 2 weeks of age, but guinea pigs must be sexed at 3 weeks to separate females from males. Be careful when doing this. Small guinea Pigs can be restless, and in addition they are quite delicate. Such toddlers also have a cold easily, so sexual selection should be carried out in a warm place. The grip must be gentle but stable. We put a hand around the animal’s chest. We have to turn her belly up and evaluate the reproductive organs. Pigs panic easily and squeal a lot during such an examination because they don’t like being on their backs. So you have to try to recognize the gender fairly quickly.
The examination consists in finding the anus and genitals, and then determining their distance from each other. The anus is a vertical line of a gray or brown shade. The shape of the sexual organs should also be examined.
We can recognize the sex ourselves, but it is worth using the help of the employees of a pet store and go to a veterinarian who will finally confirm that it is a small male or female. This will be especially important if we want to have two pigs, but do not plan to raise their offspring.
Male and female – how to recognize the sex of an adult individual?
An adult male has a greater distance between the anus and the penis than is the position of the anus and vulva of the female. Along the anus and penis of the male there is a bulge caused by the presence of the testicles. The testicles in domestic coffee beans are quite large compared to the overall size of the animal. If the testicles do not descend by 4 months of age, the male is considered cystic.
Seeing and assessing the male’s penis is possible after gentle pressure on the genitals. As a result, it will slide out. This may be more difficult in older males. The penis is S-shaped in this species.
If you have a male, you should regularly check the genital area to make sure that no hay, hair or sawdust has got into the penis folds. This is because such a situation leads to inflammation. This area can be washed with lukewarm water.
An adult female, just like a little one, has a small distance between the vulva and the anus. It is often located just below the anus. Gender diagnosis can also be based on the genital area. In the case of the female, it forms the shape of the letter “Y” after being slightly pulled apart. Females are also usually smaller than males.
Identifying the sex of the guinea pig should not be too difficult. It is enough to pay attention to a few characteristic features, and knowing whether we have a male or a female, choose the name of our pet.