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Discussion Starter #1
So my baby girl Fry is in her 22nd day of pregnancy--and she's huge and waddling around. Up until yesterday she's been as perky as you please, and super affectionate and cuddly as always when I let her out of her birthing cage (which I do often, can't stand not playing with her!). Today she's started to slow down a bit. However, still no signs of labor. My main concern is that when I let her out, she doesn't really want cuddles or kisses like usual, she's off and trying to find stuff to crawl under, like a den or nest. I had blankets folded on the couch--she pulled them into a pile on top of her and didn't emerge even for treats. Oh no, I say to myself! She's gonna have her babies on my couch! And I carefully peer in and she's just curled up, and I gently put her back in her birthing cage, hoping.

Well.

She immediately crawls up into her tiny little mom-only fleece hammock I gave her for get-away-from-babies time. She's moved the fleece strips and paper towel strips into a mound in the middle of the cage, but she's spending no time in what I would consider a "safe birthing area."

I feel bad--I want to take her out for more cuddles and exercise, but she just burrows when out of the cage. I worry that she doesn't want to give birth in there, and that she's holding out for an opportunity in the couch corner she loves.

:mad:

I sound neurotic, don't I?

What's safe as far as letting preggers ratties play outside their maternity cages? Should I keep her in for now? She looks so bored! ???
 

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It's really normal for then to not too like the cage at all. You must have to grin and bare it unfortunately. When the babies come they will settle and make a nest abs then they will quickly like the cage a lot more. i normally move mum in on day 21 with a couple friends then take then out morning of day 22. This helps settle them in a bit faster.

i would take the hammock out and replace it with a row or two or a perch. She can still get away from the babies but not accidentally drag one up with her. It might not seem big enough but you'd be surprised.

In terms of out time if she seems keen to come out you can give her 30 mins a day or so but not for long at this stage and i wouldn't let her completely free range. If she's got friends though she can spend time with them.

To entertain her for now why not put a bone in. something to chew. Also make sure she had a nice selection of nesting material available. In most cases she will have them either tonight through to evening of day 24 so it's only 2 days of boredom before she doesn't want to come out for long again. They will normally get cage clingy close to the time of birth
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you as always Isamurat for your lovely and helpful post! I took the blankie she'd been stealing and put it in her cage with all the other materials, and that plus time must have done the trick. This morning there are at least five pink eepers in her new nest! I have not touched her or even opened the cage, and she has not seemed too interested in me either, but I am concerned that I don't see her drinking, despite the presence of at least three water bottles, and I don't see milk bands on any of the babies yet, though she's sitting on them and cleaning them. (though to be fair, it's a dim room and I have only rare glimpses of them.) They are vocal when she shifts around, though! Such cuteness! I'm hoping that if they're quiet, it's because they're nursing and all is going well. I will try not to disturb them for the next 20 hours or so.

I'm happy it wasn't a huge litter, as I had homes for at most seven babies. (And was prepared to keep any extras, shhh, don't tell my hubby!) But the babies themselves seem larger than other pictures of litters I have seen! Their sire was a very big feller--a bruiser, really!--and maybe that's why. By the size of my poor doe yesterday, I was starting to fear one of those two-nest litters!

Pics as soon as she's comfy enough for me to move into her space a bit more.

!!! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you! Turns out there are nine! Looks like my mischief at school (we have very mature fifth graders caring for them) is getting a bit bigger! I may try and place an ad in Craig's List to see if any locals want them, but for the most part I've found homes within my classroom community with families that have been won over by our wonderful class pet rats.

...plus I'm hoping my hubby is up for keeping maybe one-two extra for ourselves (we had planned to keep one). Though I'll be saving my pennies for a critter nation cage if that happens!
 
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