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Just scoop them up. You can safely pick them up with your fingers, just don't squeeze. I'll usually put them in one palm them manipulate them to check for milkbands/injuries with my other hand. You can hold them as soon as you feel comfortable. Just lure mom out and put her somewhere else while you handle them. I'd only handle a few at a time and then put them back in the pile for several minutes before putting mom back in that way they don't smell different than the rest. It's really up to you with what you're comfortable with and what you think Holly will tolerate.
 

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Forgot to add, wait until she's off of her babies before picking her up (don't want to accidentally snag a pup). Also, she may attempt to bite you, so use the fleece method for picking her up that I mentioned before. It has worked wonders for me and Phoebe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay, I have another question- What is a milkband? Sorry if the answer is obvious.

Thanks again!
 

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Since they are hairless at birth and their skin is still fairly transparent, you can see the milk inside of their stomach. You'll only be able to see this during their first few days, then the skin starts to become less transparent.
Finger Nail Hand Skin Thumb
The baby in this pic has a nice full belly of milk! Notice the white band about halfway down his tummy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ahh, yes. I have noticed that, I thought it was their guts or something :p this makes a lot more sense though! Why do you have to check their milkband?
 

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You probably won't have to deal with that, but if so, check again after she's been on the nest again. If it's only one or two then there's likely just something wrong with those pups. Since she didn't have a huge litter there won't be any competition. If this does happen, you can try hand feeding, but as I said, if there's something wrong that they're not drinking from mom then they may just fail to thrive regardless of what you do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
oh goodness, that would be bad. I don't think any of them don't have a milkband, but i will check later. Will a new leather glove protect me from Holly's bites?
 

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Yeah, like I said, with such a small litter they'll likely all be fine. I don't like using gloves with my rats, but that's personal preference. Honestly, if she's going to bit you a glove probably won't save you from it and in my experience putting anything on my hands that's not supposed to be there (plastic gloves, lotion, etc) makes the likelihood of being bitten much greater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hmm, well, she is still new to me, i've had her for a week today, and since we arent very bonded yet she bites me when I get near her nest.

But now I have a new problem: Practically all of the pups wandered from the nest while Holly was eating and drinking, and Holly doesn't notice them, even though they are right by the nest. Holly just keeps adding to the nest. I tried to help her ( i had to keep socks on my hands, as not to be bitten for the 5th time), but she kept biting the socks. What is the solution to such a prediciment?

Thanks!
 

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Give her a few hours to settle. My moms usually give birth and then want to be away for them for a bit. Then they go back to them after some time and start feeding.
 
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