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Blythe's Litter

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Blythe's Litter, Week 3

15 Days Old - Sunday 1st February 2009

Blythe is looking much better today. I had the idea of fixing up a bottle of lactol where she could drink it from her hammock without getting mobbed for a feed, and she got through half a bottle overnight! Feeds are now lasting over half an hour, so it's not surprising she isn't getting enough time to eat and sleep!

We've been watching the babies' little ears unfurl over the past few days. When they're born the ears seem to be moulded flat to the sides of the head and there's no sign of a hole. As they grow the ears detach slightly, but still look 'pinned back'. Then over the past couple of days they've started to get ear holes, and as soon as the hole appears the ears unfurl and curl around the hole, making them ear shaped. There is already a light down of fur on the back of their ears.

3 days8 days11 days14 days

As we used a river theme for the babies we kept from our first litter, we're going to continue the theme but using rivers in Finland to celebrate daddy Barnaby's Finnish ancestry. For the girls we have possibly Aura, Kitinen, Kemi and Janhi (pronounced Yarney), for boys the choice is from Janhi again, Ivalo (Ivvalow), Teno (Tennow), Torne, Simo and Tornion. I'm already calling the cinnamon Essex girl Aura, as I can't be sure that any of the agouti girls carry the mink gene, but if she turns out not to be breeding quality for any reason the name may pass on.

Such fun this evening. Blythe was resting in the hammock but the babies were awake and lively, so I fed them the soft mix from my fingers. A truly delicious feeling, having my fingers nibbled, licked and sucked by fourteen tiny mouths. They have some very sharp toofies too!

16 Days Old - Monday 2nd February 2009

The babies are getting more adventurous and tasting everything they find. My eldest, Jim, made a flying visit home from uni to pick his two boys out. They are going to be called Kirk and Spock. I'm really pleased that he's having a pair, as they will be visiting often so I will get to see how they grow, and if I choose completely the wrong ones to keep myself I can always borrow one for breeding.

18 Days Old - Wednesday 4th February 2009

They're getting funnier. They sit together in the nest washing themselves and one another. It amuses me that as soon as their ears are open, they know to clean them using their back feet.

The babies are becoming more adventurous too. They are trying every type of food in the cage. Soft mixes such as milky eggfood, bread and milk, apple, brocolli and chicken. Mum is no longer safe in the hammock; they seek her out for extra feeds while she's trying to rest.

19 Days Old - Thursday 5th February 2009

When the babies are really tiny I always feel that they look more like the puppies that the Americans call them than the kittens that we call them in the UK, but once their eyes open and their ears pop up the kittenish look takes over. They wobble around with their legs a little splayed and their tails sticking out and upwards slightly, helping them to keep their balance. The way they test their new teeth on anything available is quite puppyish though. I'll be quite glad when they finally realise that fingers aren't food!

These babies are so incredibly sociable and relaxed. I'm putting it down to three things:

  1. Both their parents are fairly calm rats, so presumably there's a genetic component in there.
  2. Because Blythe is completely unflustered about anything that's going on around her, the babies pick up on this and don't see any reason to be scared.
  3. Again because Blythe is not at all concerned about us sticking our hands into the cage and messing with her babies, we are spending a lot of time handling them.

20 Days Old - Friday 6th February 2009

I'm doing the weekly update today as I'll be out tomorrow. I'm afraid some of the photos aren't very good, as it was snowing so the natural light was poor and the flash bleached some of them out.

 CoatHead Spot / NameColourWeightPhoto  CoatHead Spot / NameColourWeightPhoto
1 rex
cinnamon 48 grams 9 rex agouti 48 grams
2 rex
cinnamon 47 grams 10 smooth
cinnamon 46 grams
3 rex
cinnamon 42 grams 11 smooth agouti 51 grams
4 rex agouti 45 grams 12 smooth agouti 48 grams
5 rex unmarked brighter cinnamon 49 grams 13 smooth agouti 49 grams
6 rex unmarked browner cinnamon 48 grams 14 smooth unmarked agouti 49 grams
7 rex unmarked
agouti 47 grams
8 smooth unmarked agouti 48 grams

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Last modified: Sunday, 27-Dec-2009 16:41:46 GMT

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