Most people purchase or adopt rabbits or hamsters, where even though they’re assured that they’re ‘both boys’ or ‘both girls’, they will end up getting surprises. If you wake up one morning to find that your little friend has had a litter of babies, there are several steps you must take to ensure her health, and the health and survival of her babies.
Hammie Nursery Tips
A hamster that has given birth should be disturbed as little as possible, else she may become agitated and abandon, neglect, or even eat her babies. This means that other than providing food and water, you should leave the hamsters and their cage alone as much as possible for the first couple of weeks.
Place strips of toilet paper of facial tissue for the mum to build a soft nest, and once the babies have arrived, do not worry about cleaning the cage for a while (for the first 10 – 14 days). Though interference should be avoided, if for some rare reason you must move a pup, use a spoon so that you do not get your scent onto the baby.
While it is tempting to keep checking on her babies, it is best to let the mother do her thing. Make sure to provide your hamster’s usual food and fresh water, but make feeding and watering as unobtrusive and calm as possible. Keep in mind that the mum will be very protective as well and may act more aggressive than usual; this is natural and no cause for concern.
Bunny Baby Care
Although rabbits build nests, after initial preparation, they will not stay on or by the nests after the babies are born. This is to avoid attracting the attention of predators. The babies burrow to the bottom of the nest where they remain hidden, until their mother wakes up them up at mealtime.
Only rarely does a mother rabbit nurse her young right after giving birth. The first nursing will usually occur the night after the birth. The rabbit’s rich milk sustains the babies for 24 hours at a time.
If you want to know for sure that the babies are being cared for, check them early each morning. They should be warm and round-bellied. The best way to know for sure is to weigh them daily on a small kitchen scale. Record a description of the kit and its weight. If they are gaining weight, they’re being fed. Domestic rabbits are not that concerned over human smells as hamsters are, so you can gently handle the babies even if the mother doesn’t know you.