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Hand Rearing/rotating/suppliment feeding
Again I say if getting into breeding think about all the work involved if things go wrong. It's not all ooooo's and ahhhhhhh's I assure you. If working? how will you suppliment feed? will you be there to help mum if things go wrong? Most births go okay. A small percentage may not.
Some first time mothers may abandon their kits, this could be due to only inexperience or perhaps painful teats. There are many reasons why a mother will reject a kit but most mothers are good mothers. I have successfully hand reared many babies. I should say though that if I have another mother with babies about the same age, I would prefer to foster the kit with this other mother. If you have no other female with young kits about the same age as the new ones. To accomplish this When you go to put the kit in with the foster rub the baby against the new foster mum's fur and underbelly. This puts the foster mum's scent onto the baby. Most mums will accept the newbie without any trouble. Care and attention should be given initially to see that the baby is feeding and not being pushed out by the other kits in the litter. Most mums will accept the newbie without any trouble. Care and attention should be given initially to see that the baby is feeding and not being pushed out by the other kits in the litter.
With no foster mum to take on the task and In the case of multiple births and the kits are squabbling and also biting at each other and mum. It is best to always try rotation feeding. Remove the strongest ones to allow the weak one to suckle from mum.
It is also often a good idea to feed the strongest one while you have it out. Thus helping to stop it chasing off the weak one as sometimes happens. While mum is tending the weakest kit try suppliment feeding the larger kit/s. They can be kept out for 1-2hrs provided you keep them warm and manage to feed them some formula.Then put them back in with mum once they are fed. When you go to put the kit in with mum rub the baby against mum's fur and underbelly. This puts the mum's scent onto the baby and disguises yours. Continue this indefinately at least every two hours, through the night too.To do supplimentary feeding ie: helping a mum with muliple births, use the milk formula as stated below for hand rearing.
This is a time consuming job. Kits, depending on size and strength, need to be fed approx. every two/three hours. Yes this includes throughout the night too. If you read the story of hope you will see that I had to feed her this way while I was on a holiday. see below for times etc as regards orphans too. Feed kit until mum is beginning to feed them okay. Sometimes with first time mums their milk is slow to come in. Be prepared of losses of you are not an experienced breeder, Breeding is not the easy game to do as some owneres seem to think it is. It takes time and patience. I suggest evryone thinking of breeding goes and have a look at our problem board. It is full off messages from worried owners who had vetured into breeding unprepared. When you get into breeding you really must read up on all eventualities. Look at all the pages here. take notes and be prepared for setbacks. Don't expect it alway to be that lovely oooo aaahs of watching cuddly small bundles of fur. Kits can and do fight if not fed enought. Torn ears, noses etc happen. I dont with to put you off I enjoy what I do. However the inexperienced may be in for a shock unless they are prepared.
Formula for hand rearing kits
I always use the Carnation formula below
sterilising tablets to sterilise feeding equipment at all times.
you will also need a small dropper (chemist supplies)
A tin of carnation evaporated milk.(* NOT CONDENSED MILK)
A box of glucose powder. (chemist)(drug store)(pharmacy)
1 drop abidec baby vitamins(chemist/drug store/pharmacy) anywhere the sell medicine for human babies
1 pinch probiotic powder (from the vet without prescription)(not essential but it does help)
In a sterile bowl put 1 teaspoonful carnation milk.
1 pinch glucose powder.
1 drop Abidec childrens vitamin drops.
1 pinch probiotic.
2 teaspoon tepid water (blood heat)(water has to be boiled then allowed to cool in kettle to blood heat)
Mix together, fill dropper. and feed the baby small amounts taking care you don't squeeze the dropper too much.
Start by holding baby in palm of your hand. Drop very small amount of milk on to it's lips. It takes time and practice to do this. Take care it does not inhale the milk through it's nose. The baby will gradually accept the food and look for your approach.
If using the special milk product which can be bought from http://www.chinchilla.co.uk it is very easy, however if you have none,the carnation milk formula is the next best thing perhaps for you. I myself in most cases use the carnation one, I only use the other one if they don't take to the carnation one. You can also buy kitten milk formula at vets or pet stores
this is the natural positon that many babies lay in to feed under mum. Keep the head slightly up and make sure none is inhaled through nose as this will go down into lungs. Patience is needed dont rush as some kits are very hungry and will gulp it quickly, only small drops at a time on lower lip until kit gets used to feeding this way. Keep feed warm at blood heat temp to make it more acceptable.
If mum is NOT feeding kit at all: check her teats and surrounding area for Mastitis which causes extreme pain.
Feed every two hours for the first few days then increase to three hours if kit feeding well, then eventually four hourly, this is throughout the night too, sorry. I set the alarm to ring every 2 hours.
After feeding, wipe away any milk from the babies face with damp cotton wool.
Then you need to tend to its bottom. Mothers clean their babies regularly,as you are now the fosterer, you must wipe gently to encourage the baby to pass urine and have bowl movement. Othewise the kit may become compacted with droppings not passed. I say again. You are foster mum now so this must not be shirked. it is an essential part of reaing kits.
Check the droppings for any looseness as this is the first sign of upset digestion.
If you are at work (this is why I think people working should think twice before breeding) as sometimes happens, it may be possible as a last resort to buy a small water feeder bottle at the pet shop.
Fill with milk before you go to work, and hope that the baby will try some. If it doesnt take to the dropper, you can also try this method to feed the baby as a last resort...........
If mum is feeding okay later the kit will NOT take the milk from you as tummy will be full. Press very gently on the kits tummy. It should feel full.
A quick way to check that kits are feeding and happy:-
1] Is the baby's tail half curled ie: lying flat or not completely up and over its back?
this means it is not getting enough milk.If you suspect it is not getting enough, try some warmed milk (the formula is given above) Try in a dropper or small water bottle if you have to go out to work.
2] If the tail is well curled and the baby is active and running about the cage it is getting enough milk.
Tail no longer laying flat a happy, well fed kit.
3] age for starting eat (not just nibble) pellets is 1-2 weeks. The baby will still need milk from mum ( or you by dropper)for 6-7 weeks however.
It may also help if you place a towel over one side of the cage to give mum some privacy.
Also check that babies can reach the water bottle sometimes it is too high for babies to reach. smaller ones may be bought to add to cage for babies to reach lower down
(a warning here about hide boxes. I myself hate the ones which have a roof on them. I know they look good, however the mum has often a habit of sitting atop it and then young baby is left alone with no mum to keep it warm and as it cannot get up to her it may starve. Also remember to remove all shelves from the cage until baby is old enough. Many babies have been injured with a broken jawbone, leg, or back injury. Please exercise caution and common sense)