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Thread: Baby developing slowly, nursing constantly

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    Baby developing slowly, nursing constantly

    My foster pig delivered four babies on her own on the thirteenth. I found her while he was eating her last placenta, and all the babies were safe and already toddling around.

    A few days later, all of the babies are energetic and eating solids, except one. The fourth and smallest baby nibbles hay and sniffs at lettuce and pellets, but mostly he latches onto his mom and nurses. He nurses much more often than his siblings; I watched him nurse for at least 20 min straight when I came home from work. He doesn’t seem to be in pain or uncomfortable, just slower than his siblings. When the babies are following mum, he’s always the last in line.

    He is 82g, 4g lighter than the next largest baby, 15g smaller than the biggest. His eyes are also smaller than his siblings’. He is brown and white and has his front teeth, so I don’t think he’s a lethal. Mum and babies have access to hay (alfalfa and timothy) and young gp pellets at all times.

    I want to check if this is normal. When should I be alarmed that he’s not as eager to eat lettuce and pellets as his siblings? It it typical for a baby to nurse so often?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Baby developing slowly, nursing constantly

    He sounds like he might be somewhat developmentally delayed, but it's hard to know. Does he seem to move normally? Can you post a picture of his eyes?

    Four grams difference from another pup doesn't really mean anything. and even a 15 gram difference isn't significant.

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    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Baby developing slowly, nursing constantly

    Good news: he has continued gaining weight and is gaining more interest in solid foods! It looks like he drops longer strands of hay and bigger pellets, so I put down the leafier bits of alfalfa and tried squishing / crushing the pellets in their bowls. I only felt his front teeth but I’m worried about taking a look at them, he’s so little that I don’t want to risk scraping hsi lips or hurting his jaw.

    He moves normally, maybe a bit slow. He seems to be a bit reluctant to climb over things, I’ve noticed, but he did climb into the food bowl today. He’s very squirmy so I’ll try getting a picture of his eyes. It’s almost like he’s still squinting like he’s tired or was just born.

    He’s been cuddling with mum but not nursing for long stretches of time like yesterday. I wonder if he’s simply the runt and just needs extra time to catch up? I’m grateful that mum hasn’t rejected him.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Baby developing slowly, nursing constantly

    As long as he's gaining, that's a good thing. Keep us posted on how he's doing.

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    Re: Baby developing slowly, nursing constantly

    The little runt is in good spirits and has kept growing! As it turns out, the runt is a she and has three older brothers! She’s very sweet but noticably smaller than her siblings — still about 50 g lighter than her next largest sibling. She also has a bump on her belly button which doesn’t seem to be bothering her, but I’ll be sure ask when I take mum and babies to the exotics vet in a few days. I tried looking it up and heard of umbilical hernias which frightens me...hopefully the vet will have answers — and can confirm my attempts to sex the pigs.

    I have another question regarding the boys: is three weeks a safe time to separate them from mum and sister?

    I’m not sure if that’s considered a conservative (or “abundantly safe”) estimate, but the shelter and vets have said three weeks is fine. The boys are starting to rumblestrut and mount one another, but no humping. The shelter said mum had a litter before this one, so she likely had back-to-back pregnancies. Mum is so tiny it looks like her nails have never needed to be cut. One of the reasons I’m taking them to the vet is to make sure I can do all I can to help her after being bred so young. My worst fear right now is for her to go through another pregnancy.

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    Re: Baby developing slowly, nursing constantly

    Three weeks is abundantly safe. The boys, in particular, will practice before then, but they're safe until 21 days.

    The best thing you can do for her is to feed her very good hay, pellets, and veggies, and supplement her with vitamin C for a few weeks -- about 30 mg. per day.

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    Re: Baby developing slowly, nursing constantly

    Thank you, that’s a relief. I also saw one of the boys rumblestrut and hump one of his brothers. Mum stood with her rear aimed oddly, so I think she was presenting herself? I picked her up and she had a bit of white stuff on either side of her vulva — only on the surface. To a human that’s concerning, but if the boys won’t be fertile until the three week mark I feel better.

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