Today the Lady of the House and I are finishing our last round of breeding for the season. This morning we bred Sunny to Umbra, and we will be doing so again when we get home this evening. Sunny is the last to get bred this round of breedings with Dawn having gone first on Monday, and Twilight having been bred yesterday.
Breeding Schedule This Year
Things We Learned This Year
1: We need to get started early if we want to have a good set of litters that will sustain us for the whole year.
2: Bet on some mishaps, bad litters, or missed pregnancies.
3: Don't have litters being born in July or early August if we can help it, and we can.
4: If at first they won't breed, try, try again.
Breeding Plan for Next Year
To attempt to maximize the number of litters we are going to produce next year, and minimize stress on our breeders we have a Plan! Whether it is a good plan remains to be seen.
We want our first litter to be born in mid March, so we will breed in mid February. For the first litter we plan to do breedings spread out day by day to let Umbra rest as he has this year, and do our first trial breeding with Sunburst. We will probably do the breedings on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of February for being born right in the middle of March. Those babies will be grown out at the end of June.
The second litter we need to give our breeders some time to recover and care for their babies, but also not delay long enough that they will be giving birth in the worst part of the year. We will be giving them most of April, and breeding them again in the end of April, beginning of May. That way they will be giving birth early June. The exact dates we will be breeding are still up in the air.
The third litter will give them a good bit before the next breeding as we will be breeding them at the end of July or beginning of August so they give birth beginning of September. That will give the breeders a rest during the worst of the year, and let the babies of that litter in the hottest, hardest part of the year more time with their mother to put on weight.
The fourth and last litter of the year will again be fairly quick. We will be breeding almost exactly 4 weeks after the birth of their kits at the end of September. That way the babies will be born at the beginning of October. If it is a particularly bad October we will have to be careful to keep the babies warm one way or another, but that is something that will have to be figured out at the time.
They are growing fast, and putting on weight very well. They are growing hugely faster than Dawn's first litter. The average weight of the babies right now is 613.4 grams with a top weight of 634 grams and a bottom weight of 575 grams. At the same number of days since birth Dawn's first litter averaged 485 grams with a max weight of 544 grams and a minimum weight of 409 grams. Sunny's first litter at the same number of days since birth averaged 597.375 grams with a maximum weight of 641 grams and a minimum of 574 grams.
This current litter of Dawn's is growing as well as Sunny's first litter did, but with a more consistent weight range. As I mentioned before there are a lot of factors to what could cause that, and I look forward to having more data sets so I can try to draw some correlations.
Dawn Litter 1
Dawn Litter 2
Sunny Litter 1
If you have any interest in data sets the individual weight chart for Dawn's current litter is interesting to see.