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Old 11-29-2012, 12:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Help! Unexpected Babies....confusing tale of pregnancy???

Hi Everyone, This is sort of long, but worth the read! PLEASE HELP!

So, I just recently started to begin obtaining hedgehogs to start a breeding operation. I've owned and bred them years before so I'm not totally new to this. But this is really bizarre. I bought a small, pinto female Oct. 27th. The breeder in IL didn't give a DOB or pedigree and their whole majjor operation was off site and they "never bring people there." I spent hours speaking w/ the couple and they were clearly big scale breeders, likely puppy mill style was my impression by the end of it. ' '
The next day, my bf and I had to travel from WI to IL to the next breeder we were seeing. There, we obtained 8 babies. The female pinto from the earlier day (lexus) was seperate during this travel. From IL we were going to Nebraska where we were living. (sorta confusing, we've been between NE and WI for work until now) During the drive to NE from IL, Lexus got out of her travel carrier. We thought we'd seperated the males/females we JUST bought in IL but turns out one "female" that they sold us was really a male; we paid for a female, thought it was a female, not cool. Either way, she was in a bin w/ a male and 4 other females for maximum 8 hours.
Once we arrived in Nebraska, she was seperated and put in her own cage. Yesterday morning or maybe even a day and a half ago, she gave birth!!! I went in there, she was lying on her tummy w/ her legs out in discomfort and I noticed a baby coming out! I was like WTF! Her cage was clearly not set up how I'd want it to be for a nesting female at this time. She has a Helmet style nest box with a giant thermal sac inside for warmth and the cage is lined w/ fleece. The nest box, in my opinion, isn't as large as I'd like it to be; she seems to be using the thermal sac/hat as her nest for now. However, babies keep finding their way OUT of the nest and into the middle of the cage crying. She was likely still in labor so I figured she'd round him up later.
Well this morning, I awoke and no babies appeared to be out of the "nest." Then, one crawled out crying. I noticed then that my female was in an odd position again, not on her side or in a ball, but on ehr stomach w/ her legs out......taking up the entire area, almost forcing the youngsters out. I've seen 3 and this morning 2 meandered out for a bit crying. I got a spoon and set them right back to the entrance of her nest. After a moment, she stuck her nose out sniffed them and went back in. IDK if she was encouraging them to get back in, to check for danger, or what .... but of my MANY questions.....

1. The only time she had ANY access to a male was during this drive and that doesn't add up w/ gestation. The drive technically started midnight the 29th of October and she gave birth November 27-28th. That is about 29 days, maybe 30 max. Was she pregnant when we bought her?? The breeder made a comment about how young hedgehogs can be when they give birth, having seen 8 week olds have babies. I had already known it was "possible" but I'd stated that wasn't going to be my philosophy (nor was it his, but he'd seen it) I'm just upset because I never specifically ''bred'' her to one of our males and the one male she interacted w/ shortly seems implausible...seeing there were so many other hogs in the bin traveling. Do hedgehogs ever have THIS premature of a litter? (assuming my mistaken male was the dad and not some male at the breeder) I've read 35 days, give or take a day or two. This is 5 days 12 hours. Considering their gestation is so short, that's almost a quarter of the pregnancy. But IDK, I've only bred 2 litters, many many years ago. (& I was 11 lol but a mature 11)

2. How do I know if she's rejecting these babies? How do I know if she's properly nursing and caring for them? Yes, I see them out of the nest SOMETIMES, but I'm doing my best to give her the utmost privacy so IDK how often they're actually in the nest w/ her. How should she be acting? Is she being normal...allowing them to move away from her w/o her caring? I'm just concerned w/ how to determine if she's "rejecting" them, or one of them...how would I know? The way she was laying in her nest made me uneasy, however, I stupidly could have misconstrued what a "nursing" position looks like and thought she was hogging the space. She looked like she did when she was in labor. Whole body extended while on stomach. Could she still be having more? How long does the whole litter take to emerge?!

3. What should I DO!!!!??! Partof me wants to put in a proper nest box, a bigger one on the other side of the cage w/ nesting materials so they can DEF all fit in effectively. They can now, but it's not how I'd want it. (i'm a worrier; why else arent they staying in the nest unless its too small!!) But I know that doing something ilke that could stress her out and cannabalize the litter. Don't want that. What's the best way to go about this.....?

My approach has been to give the utmost privacy but amp up the food (last night dish of chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, natural plain yogurt, apple, bannanas, and mealworms) w/ her normal food. Then, total avoidance. Although this AM, as mentioned, I moved one closer to the nest bc he'd strayed just too far. Does she corral them if they venture away?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for it being so long winded,b ut it's a complicated story and I want to be a responsible breeder here and having an unexpected pregnancy isn't a part of the plan. All my other hogs except her have long pedigrees and I planned to do the same w/ all my litters. Now w/ this, I obv. can't! I have not clue when or who got her pregnant!

Thanks, very stressed,
Kelly
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Old 11-29-2012, 09:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Unexpected Babies....confusing tale of pregnancy???

Sorry you haven't gotten a response yet - people tend to leave breeding threads for the handful of breeders we have on the forum. I'm not a breeder, but figured I'd give you something to go on (just from what I've read) until a breeder answers. If one of them contradicts anything I say, definitely listen to them first!

I have seen a post from someone whose hedgehog gave birth a week early (I think it was a week)? I'm not sure how common that is though. But it sounds like it could be plausible that she became pregnant from the male in the bin.

As far as changing anything in the cage, I would NOT do anything like that without advice from an experienced breeder. Typically, the best thing to do is to leave mom and babies alone completely to avoid stressing her out. So that approach has been good! I personally would be careful offering all of those extra foods if she's not been introduced to them yet - new foods tend to stress out their system, which her system is already stressed out from the birth. I would stick to her regular food (what is it, btw?), but one thing you could do is get some Royal Canin Babycat food and add a bit in. The extra fat will help her out with feeding babies, and the kibble is perfect size for when the babies get big enough to start sampling Mom's food.

To me, the laying position sounds normal, but again, I could be totally off on that so don't take my word on it. I'm sure a breeder will show up soon to give you much more experienced advice and help you out a bit more. I just wanted to give you something so you don't feel ignored!
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Unexpected Babies....confusing tale of pregnancy???

Sounds like she may have been pregnant from the breeder you got her from. If they ran everything "offsite" it is a good possibilty they don't seperate their males from the females. I could be wrong but it seems like that is what happened. If they gave you no information on her age or pedigree it seems kind of shady to me. As to taking care of mom and the babies there is a lot of info on my thread that I had started about unexpected babies since the hedgie that I got off cl was pregnant and I had no clue as to what I was doing. The babies are 3 weeks old now and doing great thanks to all the help I got from this site.
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Old 11-30-2012, 08:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Help! Unexpected Babies....confusing tale of pregnancy???

I'm going to send you a PM in a minute about this, just so you know. Have some questions about the situation but don't want to start pointing fingers in public.



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