Saturday, November 24, 2012

Hazelron Romeo

I've been assessing some of the recent pedigree litters we've had through our Stud, and trying to pinpoint where some of the inconsistent results are originating from. Which is nearly impossible to establish. But, I have some gut-feelings about some of the lines I've been attempting to work with not merging well with other lines. I seem to be getting the best results when at least one of the recent ancestors (ie. grandparent) is the same animal. 

This is called line breeding, and is very common in the animal world - especially with rodents. It works best when you obtain a breeding trio (related male and 2 females) from the one breeder who has been shown to produce consistent results. 

I didn't do this! lol. I took the long-way-round, and attempted to work with too many pedigrees from too many places, with too many different lines in the ancestry. While this has probably given the resulting babies better immune health - it hasn't done much for their coat. 

So with this realization in mind, along with finally managing to pin-point which of my current lines WERE working consistently - we decided to bring home a new boar. Meet 'Hazelron Romeo'. 

This boy is a stunning example of the texel breed. He isn't perfect - but he's damn near as close as I've seen so far. He shares ancestry with our Glenjolie Liam, English Rose Violet, English Rose Jasmine, Sirocco Arabella, Sirocco Tlalli, and Sirocco Tiiva. I can't wait to see how the consistency of the next few generations improves with his genetic input (provided my observations are correct!). If not, it'll be back to the drawing board! 

(Texels might be one of the most visually stunning of the cavy breeds.... but they are a pain in the rear end to work with!) 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Savannah's overdue litter!

Our gorgeous Savannah kept us waiting to meet her babies for 75days of pregnancy! 
I've never knowingly had a sow take this long to deliver before - and we only knew this because we witnessed the mating/s between Sebastian and Savannah on the day she was on heat - 30th August. 

She should have been due on the 8th Nov (70 days), but didn't deliver until the 13th. We had been watching her very closely as she seemed a little 'quiet' in the last week or so. Still eating, and drinking - just not herself. We stopped being able to feel movement on her left side on the 10th. I think this was when one of the babies passed away. They were just kept inside too long and I think that the placenta's had started to degrade meaning that the baby's lifeline to mum was being compromised. 

When Savannah did finally deliver, one of the babies (a gorgeous little boy exactly like mum) was stillborn. 

The two surviving bubs were very much like their daddy with lots and lots of white. Neither of them seemed quite right either though, and I think that maybe their placenta's had also been starting to fail them. They kind of looked like their skin was too big for their bodies, so I am wondering if they had been loosing weight due to lack of nutrients.

This is 'Sirocco Capri' - the little man.

And this is 'Sirocco Chanel' - the little lady.

Both babies seemed really lethargic for the first 24hrs. Almost like they were in slow motion with everything they did. They were not persistant in attempting to suckle from mum, and she was not overly fussed with making them suckle. For a while there mum sat at one end of the enclosure and the bubs sat at the other.

After 2 days it was apparent that neither bub was eating enough food, as their weights plummeted. Chanel went from a birth weight of 80g to 65g. And Capri went from a birth weight of 110g to 80g. This is too much for such a tiny baby to loose. (small weight losses of 3-5g in the first 24hrs is very normal if you see this in your babies, but when the loss continues into the second day - it is time to be concerned).

We decided to step in and start supplemental feeds. Neither of the bubs were very interested at first, so it was just tiny bit by tiny bit. But after 24hrs of this, they were moving around and showing an interest in solid food. I've actually witnessed them suckling from mum now too. It's like they just needed that boost to get them going again. The photo below shows them on friday at 3 days old having a lick/nibble at some tomato.

The bubs are 5 days old today (sunday) and are slowly heading back to their birth weights. It's still touch and go with these two because they are very tiny and have had a less then ideal introduction to the world... but we're feeling optimistic!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I've wanted to do a giveaway for some time now... but have been so busy with bubs and sewing up all the texel plushies that it's taken me till now to organise it! 

So this is my thank you to all of you who read and follow this page
 and support our pigs with your lovely comments and emails. 

We will choose ONE lucky random winner of this Custom 2013 Guinea Pig calendar packed full of our favourite cavy pics taken over the course of this year - and will post it anywhere in the world for FREE! All you have to do is comment on this post to be in the draw. 

Winner will be drawn on the 1st Dec 2012.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A sad day - Darling's preemie bubs

Our gorgeous girl Darling was discovered to be pregnant again a few weeks ago. She came to us from another breeder with her two tiny new baby boys. She had given birth in a cage with a male as her previous owner didn't realise she was pregnant. She must have mated shortly after birth, arriving here nursing her current bubs and growing new ones... this is referred to as 'back to back' breeding... and is generally frowned upon. 

Because we knew when Darling's first bubs were born, we knew when she would have mated with the male in the cage, so knew exactly when she was due. This is why it caught me completely off guard when I discovered a rather deflated looking Darling yesterday (2/11/12) morning. I immediately located two alive, but TINY babies, and three stillborn babies. Darling had been trying to carry FIVE babies in her petite tummy. I think it was just too much for her body, and the bubs were delivered premature. 

These were the suriving girls. We called them Hope and Faith. They were only 40g (normal newborn guinea pigs should be approx 80-100g). They were not very strong, and I didn't like their chances of survival. The three siblings that passed were gorgeous little boys. 

The girls put in a solid fight, and lasted 24hrs... but we found them passed this morning, tucked up next to mum. The photo below is one of Darling's girls next to one of Angel's newborns (also born yesterday) to show the size difference. Angel's bub was a VERY healthy 115g. She looks like a monster in comparison to her half-sister. 

Both Darling and Angel's litters were fathered by a boar called 'Inferno' who belonged to the girls last owner. (Inferno is also the father of our curly-sheba looking boy 'Gizmo' - see the 'boys' page for pics of him). 

So in the midst of the drama with Darling's litter, Angel decided she was ready to deliver as well. Her babies were a much better size, and I knew she was at full term having been dilating for at least a week previously. 

This is the 'monster' sized baby shown in the photo above. She is a lilac, white and gold rosetted girl with ruby eyes. She may end up looking peruvian, or might end up more sheba -looking. Only time will tell. We called her 'Destiny'. 

And this was the runt - this little girl is black/gold sheltie coated, and weighed in at a reasonable 70g. She is strong and active and already nibbling at solid foods, so I think both babies are going to do well.