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THE BIRTH PROCESS

A few days before the expected delivery, the mohter-to-be will eat less and drink more. Soft droppings are not uncommon and not a cause for concern. She also will stretch often and lie around more than usual. You will also see or may feel kickings and movings inside the mother's tummy. These are the most general thing to look for. Shortly before delivery she will stretch a great deal and fluid will be released from the sac surrounding the babies.

As labor progresses, contractions will become very obvious. The babies should appear within two to three hours. Should labor take longer than four hours or if contractions stop altogether before a litter is born, the female need prompt medical attention. It is not common for a female chin to experience great difficulty during delivery, and the vast majority of kits are born without complication. Most labor progress take place at night or early morning which afternoon birth will be very odd. An average litter consists of two - the national average is 1.9 - but as many as 8 have been born in one litter.

The mother will quickly remove each kit's sac and clean and then dry the kits with her fur. When the placenta or afterbirth arrives, she may eat it. Some ranchers believe that allowing the female to eat the afterbirth will increase milk flow; others remove it as soon as it appears in the cage. In short, there's no common practice here.

After all contractions have stipped, check the female to make sure she's delivered all of the babies and all placentas (one for each kit) by gently palpating the abdominal area. An undelivered kit or placenta will feel like a firm mass. If you suspect that a kit has not been delivered, take the animal to a veterinarian. The vet can verify your findings and give the animal and injection to induce labor if necessary.

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