Ratty Corner

Blythe's Litter, Week One

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1 Day Old, Sunday 18th January 2009

We have 15 prawns!

That's what they look like, anyway.

All healthy, nice milk bands, no obvious runt., and Blythe is being a wonderful mum. She even got her nest ready in advance, which is more than her own mum did.

So, on first look, we have four rex boys, one smooth-haired boy, four rex girls and six smooth-haired girls. I'm more certain of the rexing than the sexing though.

We're expecting agouti and cinnamon, maybe black and mink, with some Essexes in the mix.

Maybe photos tomorrow, I'm not sure. Mark has nicked his camera. Tut.

2 Days Old, Monday 19th January 2009

Blythe went to visit her usual cage group for a few minutes this morning while I visited the babies. She seemed quite relaxed about it all. I weighed the babies and they total 125 grams, which makes an average of eight and a third grams each.

Blythe checking her nest building. I decided to try using an igloo this time to see which seems best.

Here are the babies before I disturbed the nest.

Here they are afterwards.

There seem to be a lot of light coloured babies. Can they all be cinnamon? Have I got another unexpected colour? Hmmm.

3 Days Old, Tuesday 20th January 2009

The kittens' ears are unsticking from the side of their heads, although there's no hole there yet. I can also see the beginnings of headspots, especially on the darker kittens.

Blythe is building an ever increasing nest incorporating anything she can find, including apple, banana, broccoli, kale and the occasional kitchen roll centre. Her mum did the same. I wonder what the idea is? My son Joe commented that her igloo is becoming more of an underground bunker.

5 Days Old, Thursday 22nd January 2009

It looks there are only 14 babies now. :-( There are more than two colours there, very light babies, very dark ones, and something inbetween. Their tiny claws are starting to grow, and they have a light fuzz of fur. I haven't checked the sexing, I'm going to wait until day 10 and check who has nipples - that's much easier.

Hmm, I am silly. There will be more than two colours because the Essex gene lightens the colour. I'm guessing we have 7 cinnamon and 7 agouti, and that Barnaby doesn't carry self.

6 days old, Friday 23rd January 2009

OK, I've re-sexed them now. I couldn't wait for day 10! I had at least two of them wrong, as I now have seven boys and seven girls. It looks like five cinnamons and nine agoutis, I don't think there are any blacks, but could be wrong. If I'm right this time I have:

3 x rexEssexcinnamonbucks
1 x rexEssexagoutibuck
2 x rexunmarkedagoutibucks
1 x smoothunmarkedagoutibuck
1 x rexEssexagoutidoe
1 x rexunmarkedcinnamondoe
1 x smoothunmarkedcinnamondoe
3 x smoothEssexagoutidoes
1 x smoothunmarkedagoutidoe

Blythe has moved the babies into the corner of the cage, and has built a lovely warm nest using every shred of bedding in the cage. It looks very safe and cosy.

One week old, Saturday 24th January 2009

LOOK at how much their tails have grown since yesterday! Incredible!

The babies were very well buried this morning. We almost weighed them; we put them all on the scales, zeroed it, put them back in the nest and then forgot to look at the scales before they turned off. Sigh.

Some babies are obviously larger than others now. Their skin is a little dry at the moment, but that will soon pass. They are beginning to move around more, and wander off from the group while we are trying to photograph them.

I had a better go at weighing them this evening. The babies weigh a total of 258 grams, an average of 18.5 grams, ranging from 16 to 20 grams. With Blythe weighing in at 436 grams that makes the more than half her weight.

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