Right, baby wrapped, food warm, fill your pipette or syringe and gently try to get it into baby's mouth. The very young take it easily, the older ones roll up, hide their faces and spike you until you get the knack and they get the taste.
Keep going until they are full but record how much they
have had. When finished, repeat the toileting process
put it back to bed and grab the next. Depending on the size
you will be doing this every 2 hours x 24 hours. I will add a
chart. Their poos at this point are pale green.
Clean pipettes between each baby and steralise when all
have been fed.
At 2 weeks the babies look like Cara pictured above. Her eyes have opened and she is being fed every 4 hours now.
At 3 weeks their teeth arrive and at 4 weeks they start to move toward solid food.
Liquidise together some puppy food and their normal milk mix and feed this through the pipette but also leave some in the cage or see if they will lap from a dish when you are feeding them. See videos of Eenie, Meenie, Mynie and Mo taking their first feeds. It is a good idea to start to add a very few grains of Lypex to ths feed as it is an enzyme and helps with the transition to solids. The capsules are expensive but you open them and add only about 5 grains to a feed. They will be able to go to the toilet for themselves by now and their poo will start to go brown.
They do not need so much heat now.
By 5 weeks their faces take on a proper hedgehog shape, they should manage a much thicker mix of food with more puppy food than milk and you can leave off Lypex but add the Abidec. In fact I prefer Arkvit powder as the Abidec is bright yellow and the babies will foam at the mouth and spit bright yellow saliva over themselves due to the strong taste! Feed twice daily.
I would have them out of the incubator by now.
By 8 weeks they should be off milk and eating larger meals. They should gradually stop coming out for 2 meals and become nocturnal.
Give them some time on a lawn before releasing as they need to learn to forage. You can scatter food over the grass and hide it under small logs. When you are satisfied that they can look after themselves, (obvious by the craters they dig in your lawn or the fact they have dug under the run and escaped), as long as they weigh 1 1/2 lbs or 650g, you can release them.
WEIGHT AND FEEDING CHART (Approx)
Birth - 1 week up to 1 oz Feed 2 hourly Esbilac + Goat Colostrum
1 - 2 weeks 1 - 2 ozs Feed 3 hourly " "
2 - 3 weeks 2 - 3 ozs Feed 4 hourly " "
3 - 4 weeks 3 - 4 ozs Feed 4 hourly " "
4 - 5 weeks 4 - 7 ozs Feed 6 hourly " " + liquidized puppy food
5 - 6 weeks 7 - 8 ozs Feed twice daily, food more and more solid, add vitamins
6 - 7 weeks 9 - 11 ozs Feed as above, reducing milk
8 weeks 12 ozs Should be managing for themselves, off milk and could move
to adult dog food.
This chart is a guide and you will make your own judgements as you get used to handling babies.
A FEW VERY IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER
DO NOT OVER HANDLE BABIES. DO NOT PLAY WITH THEM. DO NOT LEAVE THEM OUT OF THE INCUBATOR. You see them on TV doing all these things and then they say, "Unfortunately all the babies died". Well, now you know why!
Babies are prone to self anointing when they taste or smell anything new and they can scream if a taste is very strong (like Abidec). See the videos of the babies helping with the cleaning and you will see that self anointing can look alarming, especially if they scream too!
Babies can get used to their handler and refuse food from someone else.
Although we all do it, you shouldn't talk to them or make a lot of fuss as they are wild and will return to the wild so you don't want them attracted to the human voice.
I have found lung worm in babies around 4 weeks old but that should not happen if you have had them from before 3 weeks (I think)
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