Thursday, May 17, 2012

Active Babies, and Going to Nauticon

I'm getting this post done as the Lady of the House finishes last minute artist con prep for going to Nauticon to sell her art. We managed to get quite a number of good pictures of babies of the nearly newborn and older both for this post. That said, it is harder to get pictures now of both litters. For Dawn's litter it is because they are moving around quite a lot now. For Sunny's litter it is because they move more than Dawn's did at that age, and because of Mama Sunny's baleful attentions. The picture Below is an example of her being calm. When I am weighing her babies I have to do it quickly because she gets upset and indicates that she Will do something about my presence if I harass her babies too long.

Above you can see one of Sunny's dark babies holding remarkably still for a quick picture. On the Top Right you can see the standard state for her kits when they are out of her carefully constructed nest.
While amusing in this photo it is actually a royal pain in the ass for getting good weights because until they settle down like on the Bottom Right you can't get a stable weight out of the scale. As you can see the babies that will be white are right now just starting to show a bit of white fur. There are three of the white babies, and 5 of the black which is about the expected 4 +/- 1 that was expected for a Californian mother, and a Black American father. Sunny is definitely a more attentive mother, and instinctively did better with nest building than Dawn did. Also as expected, Sunny is as I mentioned much less  human friendly than Dawn. I'm curious how much of that particular grouchyness in the mother will be passed on, and how much will be mitigated by her very gregarious partner Umbra.

The first of Dawn's babies has decided to come out and explore the world outside of its den. Unsurprisingly for this litter, it is the smallest of them. Above you can see it trying out the difficult terrain outside of the cardboard lined private nest. Dawn didn't give a damn about it being out except when it attempted to force a feeding. She went ahead and kicked him in the head for that. On the Right you can see the annoyed expression as I have picked it up to put back. The rest of Dawn's kits are much more calm and sedate than the smallest. The reason that the smallest is more active and always has been is, I suspect getting less milk than the others. A hungry baby is more active than ones who aren't. This can become a vicious cycle, but the smallest seems to be doing well now.

Even the more sedate bigger kits are hard to get photos of when you take them out of their pile. When they're in the pile they are easy to photography other than the darkness and fact they are hard to tell apart from the mass. On the Right is one of the biggest ones waking up and becoming alert. We are expecting most of the babies to be out and about bouncing around outside the nest area by the time we get back. Their poor mother won't have a minute of peace anymore

To the Right is the only "cute baby" picture we've been able to get of the pair of them together. Most of them end up with blurs, kit butt, feet, and widely separated babies.

On the Left is me holding both of the kits for a sense of scale. Think that 2 weeks ago they were the size of the little dark colored baby in my hands. Below is one of the few non blurred shots of the bigger kits as they moved around separated from each other. Kits in general seem fascinated with the camera, and want to come sniff it. I wonder if it is the noises it makes that induces the interest. We haven't let them get close enough to see if they want to chew on it or not. Given that a rabbit's standard method of interacting with the world is to chew on it, I suspect they would if given half a chance.

This is a female Downy Woodpecker at our peanut feeder outside of our kitchen window. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a picture of the Pileated Woodpecker that was hammering away on some standing timber at the edge of our yard. There will at some point soon hopefully be a post on why our cats are indoor only cats. The variety of song and deep woods birds around our house is a major factor in that.

I sadly haven't been able to work up a data spreadsheet yet, but the Lady of the House and I have worked out what we are going to want to keep for data. Over probably the next week I am going to be trying to work that up as much as possible.

Baby Weight Charts
Dawn's Litter

    5/03    5/04     5/05     5/06     5/06         5/07     5/08     5/09     5/10     5/11      5/12      5/13    5/14 
1:  71       80        89        87       Weights   103       113      125      133      148       158       158     167  
2:  67       75        80        84       At             91        110      119      116      133       144       153     158  
3:  65       73        77        84       Death       91        101      110      113      123        130       129    156 
4:  65       66        68        75                       88        100       106      110      112       121       128     140  
5:  54       56        58        62                       75        100       103      102      109       110       110     132  
6:  54       52        55        60                       62        70         71        78        90         106       101     105 
7:  52       49        50        52       46
8:  49       48        46        50       43

    5/15     5/16     5/17     Prediction 5/21
1: 180      189      192                        222
2: 178      182      191                        221
3: 175      176      182                        202
4: 163      163      170                        190
5: 145      134      136                        156
6: 116      124      135                        150

As you can see Dawn's litter had a day of stagnation, and #5 had a bobble in weight on 5/15. I think that most likely the 145 gram weight on 5/15 was an improper weight due to human error. Other than that there has been a consistent progression in weights. The weight of #6 today I am also thinking may be human error because #6 would not stop moving the entire time. Other than that we are now seeing a regular progression in weights for everyone of around 3 - 6 grams a day with a few above or below. Given that we won't be able to take weights for 5/18 - 5/20 I will be curious to see if my prediction for 5/21 will be correct.

Sunny's Litter

    5/14  5/15  5/16  5/17
1: 65     65     71     92
2: 60     60     71     91
3: 57     58     68     89
4: 56     58     67     88
5: 55     58     62     83
6: 55     57     60     79
7: 53     56     58     78
8: 47     49     56     67

Sunny was aggressive with me on 05/16 and made weight taking very difficult rendering the weights on 5/16 suspect at best. That said, Sunny's litter is growing quite well. Her babies are consistently growing faster than Dawns were at that time. There are a few factors to consider in that. First is the differing breed, Californians are bred and renowned for their mothering and fast growing babies. Second is the weather with average temperatures at night in the mid to high 50s instead of in the high 20s to lower 30s. Both were in times of primarily rain and high humidity. Finally there is the factor that the Lady of the House and I are more confident and are interfering less. Part of that lack of interference is confidence, part of it is there is less novelty to squirming aliens, and part of it is not wanting to antagonize the edgy Sunny more than we have to.  

Below is a picture of Sunny's much tighter nest. As you can see she has built up an almost birds nest out of the hay we provided her, and used her fur to cover the babies as they rest securely.

No comments:

Post a Comment