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Old 12-12-2010, 04:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Tiny, tiny runt

We have a litter of 7 day old babies, there are five in total. They seem to be doing well but one of them is MUCH smaller than the others. (There's also one that's huge, and then three middle sized ones!)
Here is a picture of them:


We are able to sneak peeks at them when Mom is eating and also because she does leave them alone for several hours at night. All the other babies often lie on top of the runt squashing it. We never disturb the babies when Mom is in with them so we don't know if it's getting to feed as much as the others, so I am concerned about that. I think it has grown some over the past couple days, but not as much as the others.

So my questions are:

1) Is there anything we can do to help the little runt out? Supplemental feedings? I got some goat milk Esbilac and am feeding it to the Mom, based on the recommendation to boost milk production in another thread. She laps it up. Should I offer it to the runt as well? If so, will it drink from a bowl or does it need to be syringe fed?

2) Do your moms often leave the babies/nest for hours at night and hang out by themselves? We've taken out her toys and wheel, so she just lies down in another part of her cage and even sleeps. She spends the whole day in the nest, though. It's just weird because she's never laid down or slept outside her box before. Do you think it's normal that she's just taking a break from the babies? The babies are always sleeping and not crying while she does this.

Thanks!
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:27 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

They are adorable.

1) You could start to supplement the little one. Do you have another mom with only one or two that are a bit younger? If so, you could give him/her to the other mom. Or, you can take a couple of the big ones out for half an hour every so often to give the little one more access to the milk bar.

At 7 days old you have to be careful that mom doesn't get stressed with whatever you do. Make sure that mom is okay with handling. How does mom react when you are around the cage. Have you tried petting mom when she is out of the nest? When mom is out of the nest box and you go near the cage, does she rush back in or stay where she is? If she stays where she is, you could pick up one baby for a few seconds and see how she reacts to that. Proceed slowly.

It may be that the wee one is getting pushed away from the milk bar by the larger ones and that will happen more and more as they get bigger. It also may be that she is just little

No she couldn't drink from a bowl and would need to be syringed. Deneen (Hedgiepets) is the expert at syringe feeding.

Personally, I'd probably leave them alone for at least another few days and monitor the wee one.

2) Yes, it is perfectly normal for moms to take a break from the babies. As long as she goes in to feed them, it's fine. Some moms wait until babies are a few weeks old to do it, others start earlier. I had a gal that started doing it when the babies were newborns. Freaked me right out. She was very devoted and rushed back in as soon as one squeaked but I guess she needed her me time.

I've had a couple of tiny ones over the years. The one little gal I left her with mom and gave her 4 times bigger brother to another mom. The other one, I supplemented him. Both were between 2 & 3 weeks old when I started.
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Old 12-12-2010, 08:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

I know nothing about babies, but just wanted to welcome you to HHC & say the babies are just precious.



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Old 12-12-2010, 10:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

Thank you so much for the replies!

This is the only litter I have. She is quite an unconcerned mom and never easily stressed (also, she is really into food!), I haven't pet her but I have hand fed her mealworms, and she just keeps eating whenever I look at the babies.

I've seen some other advice on syringe feeding on here and it does seem that there are a lot of risks of overfeeding, bloat, etc so I don't want to do that unless it's definitely going to cause more good than harm! I might starting with taking the bigger ones for time-out first. I would have to do that during the day while they are all at the milk bar though, right?

My significant other thinks the little one is getting enough milk but is just little. We are going to take your advice and monitor for about 1 more week. Though I think I may start handling them just so I can get weights and really monitor their growth and progress that way rather than eyeballing it. If the runt still doesn't look to be thriving, I will post with updates.

Thanks again!!
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Old 12-12-2010, 11:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

Weighing them is a good idea as the bigger ones will most likely be gaining at a faster rate than the little one. You can take the big ones during the day or evening. Leave her with a couple so she doesn't freak out if all but the tiny one are gone. Maybe leave in the two or three smallest.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

We weighed them all two days in a row and the two littlest ones have gained the least, even as a percent of body weight. The runt is now 10.6g, and the next smallest is 22.2g. The other three are all above 25g. I'm also extra worried because the runt seems weaker and less active. I will try taking out the bigger ones tomorrow to let the others nurse and I hope that helps some. I haven't lost a baby yet but I don't think it's looking very good for this little guy
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:39 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

Poor little guy. I hope he can pull through. Hopefully this will help.



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Old 12-17-2010, 03:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

We started taking out the bigger babies for half an hour or so and I really think it has helped even though it's only been a few days. Otherwise the runt seemed to be pushed off to the side and not able to get in there and nurse with all the other babies.

I've started keeping detailed records of the weights and weight gains of the babies. If anyone is interested, you can see the chart here: https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?...thkey=CJCTv8cH. It is helping me keep some peace of mind!

The picture is of the runt next to one of its bigger siblings
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File Type: jpg DSC00685.jpg (35.9 KB, 53 views)
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Old 12-17-2010, 07:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

Glad to hear the wee one is hanging in and doing well. The weight gains look good.
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Old 12-17-2010, 08:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Tiny, tiny runt

So good to hear! And the picture is just precious.



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