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Date Posted: 08:21:50 07/07/06 Fri
Author: Beverly
Subject: Re: How old?
In reply to: Agnes 's message, "Re: How old?" on 21:07:36 07/06/06 Thu

I usually wait until pups' eyes have opened (about 4 weeks) before ...

taking them from their nest. I tempt momma off the nest by giving her a wax worm. While she's off eating the worm, I quickly remove a pup from the nest. First thing I do is notch the pup's tail hair, so I'll be easily able to tell one pup from another. I notch the first on the right, the second on the left, and if there are four, notch one at the tip. I cut ONLY the hair, of course, using a very short bladed scissor, taking great care. If there are only two pups, and they're different gender, then the notch is not necessary. If there are three, two of one gender, and one of the other, then only one pup's tail gets notched (one of the two like gendered pups ...). Here's what a tail notch looks like:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I take the pups for about an hour, in rotation. While they're with me, I keep them inside my shirt, with a few cotton balls for 'a comforter' and a half of a pecan or a few pine nuts (I count them, to be able to tell who's eating solids ...). They get handled right through the shirt, almost constantly, and they also get 'retrieved' from the shirt, for some quality 'hand time', too. By the time they're 5 weeks, I'm beginning to let them explore my torso, while playing in a 'safe' room (I use the bathroom ...). By 6 weeks, they're already moving from me, to a terry robe hung in the bathroom, and back again. I offer my hand for a platform, and give plenty of praise when they climb aboard. By the time they're ready to go to a new home, they're pretty darn secure in the knowledge that humans are their 'safe place'.

I like to let momma wean them -- I don't personally like having to give a pup formula, unless they're not thriving on momma's milk. Instead, I rely on the personal interaction to socialise the pups. Rarely have I had a pup that needed formula. I wait until I see a pup go to momma's water dish, before sending them off to a new HOF. This is usually in the 6th week, although pups will often nurse much longer, if momma allows. Still, by 6 weeks, most pups are getting to be quite a handful, for momma, and she often seems delighted when the 'school bus' (that's me ...) comes to take pups for a while, giving her a chance to sleep in peace!

I'm so looking forward to hearing more about Mary's pups, Cindy! (And can't wait until Libby has a family, Agnes! Go, CHIP!!!) Please consider opening a free Photobucket dot com site, so you'll be able to post photos directly to Flying Squirrel Fancier!!

> I beleive they have to be 6 to 8 weeks old. Are
>you going to tame them first? Where do you live...??
> I believe Beverly generally starts putting them in
>her shirt when they are about 2 or 3 weeks old. Oh I
>can wait until one of my girls have pups...

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