PET owners, read this BEFORE you decide to breed.
By: PixiesExoticHedgies on: Wed 11 of March, 2009 13:24 EDT (578181 Reads)
I am an approved & fairly experienced breeder. I recently mated 2 females from my breeding herd. On December 10th, one of the female had 3 babies. All were healthy and there were no complications with the delivery.
On December 11th, the other female went into labor. I just happen to be walking by her cage, when I realized she was 'trying' to have her babies. I noticed that she was acting stressed and the babies were not coming out, as they should be. I put her cage on the floor and sat down beside her, to observe and try to figure out what was happening. After about 5 minutes she managed to push one of the babies out. It was still born. I picked it up and tried to revive it, but had no luck.
In the meantime, she had walked to the other side of her cage and began trying to deliver the next baby. It came out fairly quickly, but was obviously a tiny little runt. It was not breathing either, and the mother made no effort to clean the baby. So I picked it up and removed all the 'gunk' from its face and cleared the nostrils. As soon as the airway was opened, the baby squealed and began moving. I placed it back in the nest.
As I was taking care of the runt, mom delivered another still born baby. Once again, she had absolutely no interest in cleaning this baby either. So I repeated the process and cleaned it up too. This one did not start breathing. So I gently blew a couple breathes into the babies nose/mouth, and massaged it's chest. After a couple attempts, the baby came to life! I was so excited that I had tears in my eyes. I had managed to save this baby's life!
Mom was still in labor and for the next 15 minutes she paced and paced, and pushed and pushed. At one point, she just layed down and tried to rest. She was absolutely exhausted. After a couple minutes, the contractions started again. She lifted her front legs, attempting to stand, but then layed back down on her belly and began kicking her feet out behind her. Finally, I could see feet and a butt. She got up and walked around several more minutes trying to push the baby out. Suddenly, she began to squeal and it was obvious that she was in pain. She had managed to get half the baby out, but could not push it all the way out. I noticed the baby's bottom and legs were staring to turn blue. So I picked up the mother and slowly began to pull the baby out. Needless to say, it was already dead.
I layed the mother back in her nest with the two remaining babies. She seemed fine, and even came out to get a drink of water. She went back into her nest and layed down with her 2 babies. I put her cage back on the shelf and left home for the rest of the day.
When I returned, I immediately went to check on her. Both of her babies had died sometime during the day, and she had removed them from her nest. Then I peeped in on the other mother, who had given birth the day before. I was shocked to see traces of blood in the cage. I opened the top and peeped inside her igloo. She was laying there asleep, with 3 dead bloody babies. Apparantly she had killed them. No one was at home and the house was quite, so I don't know why she killed them. This sometimes happens with first time moms, so I assume that 'might' be what happened. But, I'll never really know for sure.
So the if you are a hedgie owner, and thinking about the possiblity of breeding your PET, please remember this story. Hedgies are very tempermental, and not every breeding will result in a living litter of babies.
It was pure luck that I happen to walk by the mothers cage when she was in labor. If I had been gone already, she may have died from trying to deliver the last baby that would not come out. I was happy that I was able to revive and save two of her babies, but then very saddened when I came home to find all the babies were dead.
I'm happy to say that both mothers are doing fine, and there does not appear to be any other health issues with either mom. I will be retiring the 2nd mother whom had such a hard delivery. I do not want to breed her again, and risk her life. It's just not worth it!
I will rebreed the first mom, and keep my fingers crossed that she will do okay with her next litter. I've had first time moms kill a baby or two, but never an entire litter. I will also breed her at the same time that I breed another female, so the moment I see the possibility of trouble, then I can remove the babies and hope the other female will adopt and raise them to be healthy hedgies.