First litter/first time mom

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saltandpepper

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I need some help/advice, I have a first time mom who just kindled a day ago and I'm kinda worried if she's going to take care of her litter. She doesn't want to use the litterbox I provided her and she kindled all 7 on the plastic matting of her cage. She instead made a burrow at the corner of her cage from the nesting materials that I provided her, she didn't pull enough fur before she kindled unlike last month when she had a false pregnancy she did pull a lot of fur.

Should I be worried? And can anyone tell me if these kits are healthy? They are less than 24hours old from this photo.

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JBun

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If she hasn't fed them by 36 hours after birth, I would step in and help her feed them, carefully so she doesn't kick out and injure one of the babies. You can know if they've been fed, by checking to make sure they all have nice round full bellies. If she hasn't fed them, they will start to look wrinkly from dehydration.
 
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Does will typically feed the newborns by 24 hours after birth. By 36 hours they’ll look like jbun described, and will move less. The key is to step in before they get too weak to suckle. I wait no longer than 36 hours to intervene because by 48 hours some could be dead. Seven is a pretty good size litter if it’s a small breed.
 

saltandpepper

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The kits are 5 days old now. 1 baby died because she was too weak to suckle on the doe's teats.

The nest box is always outside the doe's cage and twice a day (morning and night 12hrs apart) I take the mom out and hold her sitting on the nest box for around 10 minutes (I let the smaller babies get milk first before letting them all feed together) their mom grooms them while I force feed the babies. Am I doing it right? The babies look healthy and fat.

I tried to put the nest box in the doe's cage and observed but I took it out quickly because she was acting curious and stepping on them. I heard one of the babies squeak very loud looks like she stepped on them.

So my questions are:
1. Am I doing it right?
2. When can I stop force feeding them and put them in their mom's cage for good?
3. Will the mom still care for her babies?
4. Should I feed them twice a day for 10 minutes or just once?
 

JBun

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If they do nurse both times, when you bring them in twice a day, and they aren't getting overly fed, then I would suggest to continue to bring them twice a day. If they seem like they are getting quite chunky with twice a day feeding, you could try once a day and see how they do, but make sure to closely monitor them.

As long as the babies are having a full belly each day, and removing the nest is keeping them from getting injured by mom, I would keep doing it until they're old enough that they start venturing out of the nest, usually at about 2-3 weeks old. Then when you bring them to mom to nurse, you could try leaving them in with her, but make sure she has a box or shelf she can hop up onto to get away from them pestering her. Then closely watch to make sure she is ok with them staying in there with her. If she is ok with them being there, then you shouldn't have to help with the nursing anymore.
 
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