Most people buy a pet guinea pig, or maybe a pair of guinea pigs, just for the sheer joy of caring for an animal. For some folks, however, the idea of breeding guinea pigs is intriguing, primarily because they seek to sell the pups and make a little bit of money.
I will caution you however, breeding and selling guinea pigs is not a huge money-making endeavor, and to my knowledge nobody has ever become rich by doing so. Nevertheless it can be a rewarding and educational experience.
Can You Sell Your Pups?
If you do decide to buy a pair of guinea pigs with the intent to breed and sell make sure you have a market to sell your guinea pigs to. Maybe before you begin breeding your guinea pigs it would be a good idea to establish a relationship with one or several local pet stores that would be interested in buying your litter. It might also be a good idea to check the classified ads or Craig’s List to see if there are other breeders in the area.
If the local pet stores tell you they already have breeders that they are buying their guinea pig pups from, and/or the classified ads indicate that there are lots of local breeders, it s apparent that you have a lot of competition and you may have a hard time finding buyers. If that turns out to be the case you may end up with more guinea pigs on your hands than you anticipated.
First of all you need a boy guinea pig and a girl guinea pig. Make sure the cage is sufficiently large for two guinea pigs. For health reasons the female guinea pig should be between four and six months old before she is bred for the first time. They are mature enough to mate before this time but its better to wait until this age.
The female menstrual cycle is about 16 days, but the window of opportunity for mating is much smaller than that – only between 8 and 24 hours. Therefore you need to make sure that your guinea pigs are together constantly during that 16 day cycle. There is not much involvement on your part other than to make sure the lighting and the music are just right. Just kidding about the lights an music!
As mentioned previously, you’re going to want to make sure that your guinea pigs plenty of space. If the guinea pigs cage is too small the female guinea pig can somehow sense that, and mother nature will tell her that there isn’t enough room for a litter of pups. Mother nature is pretty smart!
Guinea pigs have their own sort of subtle mating ritual. When the male senses that the female is ready and he becomes aroused he will lower his head and walk toward the female with very deliberate steps as an attempt to entice the female. Sometimes the male guinea pig will even do something of a mating dance where he will stand on their hind legs, front paws holding onto whatever is within reach, and wiggle his rear end back and forth.
If the female is interested she will be vocal about it, squealing with excitement, and the volume and intensity of the squealing will get louder as the male gets closer to her. If the female isn’t interested because she’s not in heat, or it isn’t the right time during her cycle, she will let the male know by nipping and biting him, running away, or even urinating on him to make her point.
Although this doesn’t occur very often in nature, if the female is ready to mate but the male isn’t aroused, she may be the one to approach him with the same deliberate steps that he would typically use on her, and she will have her head down and her rear end up in the air a little. Sometime the female will back up into the male as an indication that she is ready to be mounted by him.
If you have successfully bred your guinea pigs then you will have a litter of pups within 63-68 days. The pups should be weaned after 14-21 days, and are ready for a good home.
Unfortunately large numbers of guinea pigs die each year because their owners let them breed excessively and they couldn’t or didn’t take care of them properly. This is why it’s important to have a pet store lined up to buy your guinea pigs when they’re fully weaned and you’re ready to sell, and hopefully the pet store will sell them to a caring and loving family and the little piggies will grow up and have long and happy lives.