Sunday, May 28, 2017

Weaning Babies & Selling Babies

So... if you read the last post, you know I was talking about people getting freshly weaned babies... and this post sort of stems from that same discussion.

The lady getting the baby from the other place specified, the babies were being weaned on the 10th, she was picking up the baby on the 11th.  Or something of the sort, the point is, it was the next day.

This just SCREAMS backyard breeder.

In case this isn't clear, let me explain why.  When most breeders wean their babies, they are put in (what we call) holding cages.  They stay there for some period of time (depends on the breeder), before they are able to go to their new home (or wherever they are going).  For me and my chins, that period of time is usually a week or so, but it could be more, it could be a month if they're not doing well.

Let me explain.  When that chin is separated from mom, it's entire world is turned upside down.  Yes, they've already been eating hay and pellets from way before 8 weeks old, but then their mom, their MOM, come on, is gone!  Probably their siblings are gone as well, and they're like hey, what happened?  So... sometimes they don't eat.  Sometimes they don't drink.  Sometimes they don't dust.  Sometimes they lose weight.  Sometimes they get loose poo.  On the flip side... sometimes they do great!  Sometimes they eat, drink, dust, gain weight, and have healthy poo!  But which way will they go?  It depends on the chin.

The point of hanging onto them for at least a few days, is to ensure that they maintain their weight, continue eating, and are generally healthy.  When I wean babies, I weigh them when I write up their cage card.  Then, a day or two later, I weigh them again.  If there is a weight loss, of course that's not a good sign.  For a freshly weaned kit, you want them to be gaining weight, or at the very least, maintaining (for the first few days, gaining will come with time).  You sure don't want them to be losing, which could be a sign of not eating or not drinking.  If they're not dusting, that can be a sign that they're uncomfortable with their new surroundings.  You don't want to further amp up that uncomfortability by immediately sending them off to a new home.

For my chins, I weigh them at weaning, then a few days later.  If you've been to the chin-room, you've noticed the colored stickers.  For chins that are set to find new homes, I wean and put a blue sticker on their cage card (if they're staying here, they won't have any colored dots).  When I weigh a few days later, if they have gained (and not like 1 gram, but a reasonable amount), I will put a green sticker over the blue sticker.  This means that they are doing well.  When I weigh again in a few more days, I will also check to see that their poos are well formed and that they are eating (food is going down in feeder, chin doesn't feel bony), and if all of this is going well and the chin has gained again, they get a plus (+) on their green sticker.  This is a further sign they are doing well and are ready to go to their new home.

If the chin is not gaining, they retain their blue sticker, and they will continue getting weighed and babied until they are gaining and doing well.  If the develop loose poo or any other issue, they will be given appropriate mediation / treatment.  If they are losing weight, everything will be done to try to reverse this and get them to gain.  But the point is, it's usually not like you separate them from mom and they're like yippee ready to go.  It's not at all uncommon for it to take a few days for them to start gaining weight.

So... can you see how someone who sells the day that the chins are separated from mom is a backyard breeder and only out for the money?  There's no way to know if they're doing well, the day after separation, except literally, "hey, the chin's alive!  Great sign!  Time to sell it!"  Those of us that actually care about the well-being of the chins... we don't sell them quite that young.

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