Getting new baby guinea pigs

AnnaHeartsGuineaPigs

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Hello! There is a very long and probably confusing post up ahead, but I really couldn't find any answers to my questions online so I hope I can find some on here.

So I was planning to adopt a mother and her babies once they were born. After 3 weeks of waiting, she finally gave birth to 2 healthy pups a few days ago. Sadly, a situation came up at the rescue I am getting her from and they need me to take mom and babies VERY soon. By the time I get them, they will be barely a week old. I know most things about baby care, but now there is the additional stress of them being new and babies.
Question #1
Currently they are on a diet that isn't exactly the best for them (mom and babies) so do I change it, or do I keep it the same until they are old enough to cope with a diet change? Vegetables and hay are okay, but the pellet they are being fed isn't the best. If I shouldn't change it now, when are they old enough to change their pellet?
#2
I know that you aren't supposed to hold/handle guinea pigs in the first few days of them being home, but I want to weigh both mom and babies everyday as is suggested by many people. How do I go about this? Should I weigh them? Or would that be considered handling and too stressful for them?
#3
When should they go to their first vet visit? I am planning to take them within the first few weeks of their life, just to make sure they are all okay, but is there anything I need to do specifically because of their age?
#4
Their mom is a trooper and gave birth with a broken leg that the vet said we couldn't treat until she gave birth. Now that she has, how should I go about this? Should I take her babies to the vet with her? Will a "cast" affect how good she is at being a mother and taking care of her babies?
#5
Overall, how do I make this the least stressful as possible for both mom and babies, and are there any very important things I should keep in mind?

I'm sure there are more questions, but these are all I can think of for now. Thanks in advance.
 

Siikibam

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What’s happened at the rescue that you have to adopt them sooner? Are they not able to care for them?

1. If the pellets aren’t suitable (are they on a muesli mix or pellets meant for other animals?) then stop them straight away. Start with the new pellets.

2. You do need to weigh daily so the handling thing will be just for that. You can try and get them into a box or cuddle cup or something and lift them that way. Do you have a decent scale?

3. I would get them to the vet as soon as possible. Within a week of you getting them I would say.

4. I don’t know how broken legs are treated in guinea pigs, but you should have that looked at when you take her and pups to the vet for a check. The only issue I can think of is that the leg has already started healing.

5. Be sure not to separate mum from her pups. Put in several hides in their cage (how big is it). Make sure the pups can’t fit through any gaps to escape. And cover maybe half of it so they feel safer. In the first week I would put the hay and any food near the hide so they don’t have to go too far to eat.

Something you haven’t mentioned but is very important - sexing the pups. Boars need to be separated at 3 weeks or 250g, whichever comes first. If you end up with two boars, what will you do about mum (Only one boar can like with a sow/sows)? Or if you end up with a boar and sow, will you be able to neuter the boar and re-bond them after the 6 week wait?

Have a read through the guides. You can post (clear) photos of the pups’ bits and we can help you with sexing. But it is always better to do hands on. In summary, you are looking for the presence/absence of the penis shaft on the belly area above the slit. Or the presence/absence of a fleshy seal just inside the slit. Please be gentle when checking for both.

Have you got everything you need?
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/after-birth-mother-and-baby-care.109389/
Illustrated Sexing Guide
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/pregnancy-and-nursing-diet.109377/
 

AnnaHeartsGuineaPigs

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What’s happened at the rescue that you have to adopt them sooner? Are they not able to care for them?

1. If the pellets aren’t suitable (are they on a muesli mix or pellets meant for other animals?) then stop them straight away. Start with the new pellets.

2. You do need to weigh daily so the handling thing will be just for that. You can try and get them into a box or cuddle cup or something and lift them that way. Do you have a decent scale?

3. I would get them to the vet as soon as possible. Within a week of you getting them I would say.

4. I don’t know how broken legs are treated in guinea pigs, but you should have that looked at when you take her and pups to the vet for a check. The only issue I can think of is that the leg has already started healing.

5. Be sure not to separate mum from her pups. Put in several hides in their cage (how big is it). Make sure the pups can’t fit through any gaps to escape. And cover maybe half of it so they feel safer. In the first week I would put the hay and any food near the hide so they don’t have to go too far to eat.

Something you haven’t mentioned but is very important - sexing the pups. Boars need to be separated at 3 weeks or 250g, whichever comes first. If you end up with two boars, what will you do about mum (Only one boar can like with a sow/sows)? Or if you end up with a boar and sow, will you be able to neuter the boar and re-bond them after the 6 week wait?

Have a read through the guides. You can post (clear) photos of the pups’ bits and we can help you with sexing. But it is always better to do hands on. In summary, you are looking for the presence/absence of the penis shaft on the belly area above the slit. Or the presence/absence of a fleshy seal just inside the slit. Please be gentle when checking for both.

Have you got everything you need?
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/after-birth-mother-and-baby-care.109389/
Illustrated Sexing Guide
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/pregnancy-and-nursing-diet.109377/
The rescue is normally a cat and dog rescue, so they have no idea about most things when it comes to guinea pigs. They just kinda want to give them to me (a person educated on guinea pig care) to "start their life off right".
1. They are currently on a muesli mix. How do I switch them over? With the 25% new to 75% old, 50% old 50% new, etc. like that?
2. Ok, I have a decent scale that is pretty precise and I will try to uphold the normal handling rules (no looming, don't chase, be gentle). Also, when do I stop weighing them daily and move onto weekly weigh-ins? At what age/weight?
3. Is there anything specifically that affects baby and/or new mother guinea pigs that I should ask them to look out for?
4. I'm confused, how would the leg healing be an issue?
5. Thanks for the tips! The cage is a 2x6 C&C cage.
6a. I will definitely try to sex them the second I get them and I already have a plan for any possibilities there could be.
6b. If one ends up being a boar (after the neuter surgery), will there be any emotional attachment that would make bonding easier? Or would I follow the normal bonding process as if the guinea pig is a stranger to his mom and sister? If I do end up with one baby boy and one baby girl, I'm planning to keep the cage with the male close to the bigger cage with mom and sister just so he doesn't feel just as lonely.

When I get them, I'll try myself, but I will also come ask for help when sexing, just for other opinions on it from people more experienced.
I've been prepping for a few weeks so I'm pretty sure I have everything and am prepared!
Thank you for your reply and some great info :)
 

Siikibam

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The rescue is normally a cat and dog rescue, so they have no idea about most things when it comes to guinea pigs. They just kinda want to give them to me (a person educated on guinea pig care) to "start their life off right".
1. They are currently on a muesli mix. How do I switch them over? With the 25% new to 75% old, 50% old 50% new, etc. like that?
2. Ok, I have a decent scale that is pretty precise and I will try to uphold the normal handling rules (no looming, don't chase, be gentle). Also, when do I stop weighing them daily and move onto weekly weigh-ins? At what age/weight?
3. Is there anything specifically that affects baby and/or new mother guinea pigs that I should ask them to look out for?
4. I'm confused, how would the leg healing be an issue?
5. Thanks for the tips! The cage is a 2x6 C&C cage.
6a. I will definitely try to sex them the second I get them and I already have a plan for any possibilities there could be.
6b. If one ends up being a boar (after the neuter surgery), will there be any emotional attachment that would make bonding easier? Or would I follow the normal bonding process as if the guinea pig is a stranger to his mom and sister? If I do end up with one baby boy and one baby girl, I'm planning to keep the cage with the male close to the bigger cage with mom and sister just so he doesn't feel just as lonely.

When I get them, I'll try myself, but I will also come ask for help when sexing, just for other opinions on it from people more experienced.
I've been prepping for a few weeks so I'm pretty sure I have everything and am prepared!
Thank you for your reply and some great info :)
1. I wouldn’t feed them the muesli mix again at all. I’d stop it completely and give them the ‘plain’ pellets.

2. I think once weaned at 3 weeks you can then switch to weekly weigh-ins.

3. Not that I know of. Are the rescue weighing them daily or at all? When will you be picking them up?

4. I meant if the leg has healed in such a way that the bone isn’t aligned, there isn’t really anything that can be done. How far back did she break her leg?

5. 👌🏾

6. Keeping him alongside would be good as he does need the company. But as with all bondings, it would need to be done ‘properly’ as in a neutral place where no pig has been. Have you thought about what you’d do if they’re both boars?

It’s good you’re prepared. Don’t forget the vet check.
 

AnnaHeartsGuineaPigs

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1. I wouldn’t feed them the muesli mix again at all. I’d stop it completely and give them the ‘plain’ pellets.

2. I think once weaned at 3 weeks you can then switch to weekly weigh-ins.

3. Not that I know of. Are the rescue weighing them daily or at all? When will you be picking them up?

4. I meant if the leg has healed in such a way that the bone isn’t aligned, there isn’t really anything that can be done. How far back did she break her leg?

5. 👌🏾

6. Keeping him alongside would be good as he does need the company. But as with all bondings, it would need to be done ‘properly’ as in a neutral place where no pig has been. Have you thought about what you’d do if they’re both boars?

It’s good you’re prepared. Don’t forget the vet check.
3. I don't think they have been weighing them. I'll be picking them up probably Tuesday the 24th.
4. She broke it quite a while back, but I'll see what the vet thinks and how they think we should go forward with treatment.
6. If both are boars, they will go together into the 2x6 and I will keep the mom alone in a separate cage JUST UNTIL I can find her a cage mate.
 

Siikibam

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How is she with walking in her leg?

If both are boars you may just have to keep her in a cage next to them for interaction. Sometimes if they’ve been around sows from birth they’re not affected by their pheromones. But it is still a possibility so it’s good you’re keeping that in mind.

Good luck on Tuesday.
 

AnnaHeartsGuineaPigs

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How is she with walking in her leg?

If both are boars you may just have to keep her in a cage next to them for interaction. Sometimes if they’ve been around sows from birth they’re not affected by their pheromones. But it is still a possibility so it’s good you’re keeping that in mind.

Good luck on Tuesday.
They've really only told us that it doesn't seem to affect her. She can move around (catching up with energetic baby guinea pigs must be hard), she walks and "runs" well and it doesn't cause her any pain they can see or tell. I'm guessing this is a sign that it has just healed in a weird position and will be a deformity that we probably can't change.

I hope they aren't both boars as that would make everything more complicated, but I know I need to be prepared for everything so I'm trying to be positive and realistic when it comes to the possibility of that situation.
 

Merab's Slave

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Welcome to the forum.
I can’t add to @Siikibam ’s advice and guidance.
You seem to have landed in the deep end and are very caring about your new piggies.
You will find lots of support here
 

AnnaHeartsGuineaPigs

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Welcome to the forum.
I can’t add to @Siikibam ’s advice and guidance.
You seem to have landed in the deep end and are very caring about your new piggies.
You will find lots of support here
Thank you so much!
Yes, I have kind of been chucked into guinea pig care, but I'm ready to care for them to the best of my ability as long as I possibly can. It'll be a journey, but I think I'm off to a good start and am always open to learning both from other experienced owners and of course from my own experience coming up. There are loads of very informative and kind people on this forum and so I know I'll get the support you're talking about :luv:
 

artcasper

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You have got some good advice so nothing to add there but all the best! X
 
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