We know that you must be very desperate to hold your guinea pig and groom them. You can surely keep them, but with a lot of care. If you try to pick them incorrectly, they can even bite or scratch you. Now the question comes when can you handle baby guinea pigs?
We recommend you to not pick up a newborn guinea pig for at least one week as an infant guinea pig is very delicate and fragile. They don’t have strong bones. If you pick them up carelessly, you can injure them, and can also risk their life.
You should only pick them up when necessary. Otherwise, it is better to leave them in their sweet home with their mother, who nourishes them with all love and care.
You should only pick up your newborn baby to check their weight, whether they are growing correctly or not.
Giving a proper check on their weight can also help you to keep a constant eye on their diet. Never let any child below ten years old hold your piggie as it increases the chance of mishappenings.
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Can you hold a newborn guinea pig?
We would suggest you not to handle your newborn guinea pigs at least for one week as they are very delicate, and have weak bones.
Your small mistake can injure your guinea pig heavily and can even risk their life.
These newborn babies will get nursed by their mother as soon as her mother instinct kicks in. You must avoid handling them at that stage.
Newborn guinea pigs are not familiar with humans as they take them as their predators.
On that note, handling them as soon as they are born can be a terrible idea.
You must make them comfortable with your presence before picking them up.
And try to avoid regularly picking as they are more comfortable on the ground rather than on heights.
Only pick them up when it is essential, like weighing them. Weighing them regularly can also give you proper information, whether they are adequately fed or not.
We strongly recommend you to avoid letting children below ten years to hold your newborn guinea pigs as there are more chances of mishappening.
Because children, out of excitement, will try to hold them, which can cause any mishappenings.
When can you pick up baby guinea pigs?
A newborn guinea pig is entirely jazzed up, as they start running as you leave them on the floor.
An infant male guinea pig comes up with a white ring on his head, while a female looks like a tiny rice grain.
We will suggest you pick your baby guinea pig after a week or two.
You can pick them up more frequently as they age up(3 weeks or more). The first few weeks are crucial for them, and it is best to avoid handling a baby guinea pig in those weeks.
You should only pick them when it is essential else to let them be in their sweet home with their mother, who showers them with all love and care.
You must have a strong bond with the mother to pick up their babies because if the mother does not understand your sign, she can even attack you to protect her baby.
Therefore, we strongly recommend to not pick up baby guinea pigs for at least one week or two. Once the baby guinea pigs are weaned, you can attempt to pick them up.
If you try to pick them up, there are chances of them getting scared and nervous as they can think of you as a predator. As they are not accustomed to you, they will try to jump out from your hands, which can heavily injure them.
Until and unless you become familiar with the baby piggie, it will be much better to groom them in the ground itself considering their comfort level. Once they become familiar with your presence, you can pick them up.
Is it safe to hold baby guinea pigs?
We do not suggest holding a newborn baby guinea pig for at least one week as they are very delicate and have weak bones.
Holding a newborn baby is much likely to risk its life as one small mistake in holding, can even take away the life of your guinea pigs.
They do not have strong bones as compared to their mother; they can also take you as a predator and can come into stress, which can also lead to cardiac arrest.
It will be much better if you hold them after one week, till then you can try to be familiar with the newborn guinea pigs.
After one week, you can hold them to check on their weights so that you can know if they are correctly being fed or not.
And once the baby guinea pigs passes the three weeks mark, you can try and hold them more often.
Avoid any children to hold a baby guinea pig because children, out of excitement, will try to hold them, which can cause any mishappenings.
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Do guinea pigs eat their babies if you touch them?
How can a mother kill their child? No, they can’t, so guinea pigs do not kill their child if you touch them.
Any unfamiliar smell does not make them kill their child. There are many rumors that guinea pigs kill their child when you feel them, which is untrue.
Guinea pigs have a perfect sense of smell so they can easily detect the familiar scent.
Not even the father of newborn guinea pigs will eat their babies when you touch them.
But do not let the father stay with the babies and the mother for some days as the babies at that time require nourishment from their mother, and there are also chances of a second pregnancy, which can make the mother of the guinea pigs weak.
Guinea pig mothers do not need their fathers for their babies as she can nourish their babies alone.
Try not to let the newborn female guinea pig meet their father alone even for some time once they are 21 days old.
As there are chances of their father making her pregnant, as mating is done in no time. This can lead to significant issues in female guinea pig’s bodies.
It would be best if you leave her alone when her mother is not around and should adequately monitor the activities of the father. But in any case, do not leave the newborn female guinea pigs alone with their father.
How to pick up a baby guinea pig?
A newborn guinea pig should be handled very carefully as they are very delicate and have weak bones.
They do not have strong bones as compared to their parents. As they are not usually interacting with humans, it can even become stressful, which can cause significant issues.
You must follow some instructions to pick up your guinea pig. We will guide you to pick your guinea pigs in just five steps:
- Get Down to your guinea pigs level: Instead of picking your baby guinea pigs from your level, it would be better if you get down on the floor and pick them up gently.
- As guinea pigs are more comfortable being on the floor than on height, they can find an opportunity to run away from their predators if they are on the floor. If you pick them high, they can feel stressed.
- So what you have to do is sit down on the floor closer to your guinea pig and let them feel your presence for some time and get used to it. Do not instantly try to pick them up as this can make them feel vulnerable.
- Try not to make sounds or movements: You must make sure not to make noise and any movements while picking up your guinea pigs as it may strike them as a predator, and they can be stressed.
- So it is advisable not to make any noise while you are sitting in front of your guinea pig. To make it possible, you can take your cavies to a room where there is no interference from others.
- Try to talk with your guinea pig softly, and if they seem nervous, gently put your hands on their head and groom them. Your aim here must be to lower the stress of your guinea pig as much as you can.
- Softly lift your guinea pig: This step is crucial, as you must be very focused. You can pick up your 1-week newborn guinea pig in the following manner:
- Keep your hand beneath the chest and another side beneath their rump so that you can cover the whole body.
- Hold their back legs against their body and pick them up very carefully.
- If your guinea pig tries to jump, don’t panic as it is their normal behavior. Do not let them dance as they have fragile bones; they can injure themselves if fallen from height.
- If they become out of control, then softly put them down and repeat the process.
- Never try any other way to pick up your guinea pigs as picking up from ears, or legs as it can lead to several injuries.
- Hold your guinea pig carefully: It is advisable to hold your guinea pig very close to your chest so that they can feel comfortable and secured, and it also minimizes the risk of mishappenings.
- Try to slowly while you are having your guinea pigs on hands. Do not rush as it can scare your guinea pigs, and they can try to escape from your hands. On any condition, do not let your guinea pigs jump out of your hands, as they can heavily injure themselves.
- If you see them grunting or their ears are flattened against their body, it means that they are not comfortable with being on your hands. In that case, put your guinea pig back to the floor as soon as possible.
- Softly put your guinea pig on the floor: As soon as you complete holding your guinea pigs, kindly put them back into the ground.
- Do the process very carefully; support your guinea pig’s entire body while putting them down and make sure that they do not jump out of your hands.
- After placing them down correctly, provide them a treat as a reward for being cooperative. So once they adopt the behavior of reward after being cooperative, they will be less scared about being picked up by you.
How often should you handle your guinea pigs?
We do not suggest picking up your guinea pigs very often as they like to be much on the floor rather than on heights. They can be scared while you pick them up as they can think of you as a predator.
So until and unless it is not necessary to avoid picking them up. You can pick up your guinea pigs when you weigh them, or put them back to their sweet home, and cut their nails.
Please do not pick them up for any playing purpose as they are not much comfortable on heights.
Newborn cavies are not used to humans, so holding them often can make them vulnerable, which is not a good sign.
Instead of picking them up, often try to groom them by sitting close to them, they will be more comfortable.
If they don’t feel comfortable in your presence, do not worry as it is their nature, it can take some time for them to feel comfortable around you.
You can also serve them treats to show your sign of love to them; they will inevitably get attracted to you within some time and will be comfortable in your presence.
Lastly, we advise you to take care of your guinea pigs by lowering yourself to their level instead of picking them up.
Source: Care of Guinea Pigs, RSPCA Guinea Pig Care Guide, Guinea Pig Handling, Nutrient Requirements of the Guinea Pig, The effects of diet on guinea pigs, Guinea Pig Diet, Patterns of feeding in the Guinea pig.