12/09/07 part 2
If you start with the first measured follicle date of 10/29/06 the follicle size roughly triples from 13mm to 38mm measured on 12/29/06. That time period including the day of measurement is roughly 3 days in October, 30 days in November, and 29 days in December, for a total of 62 days. Essentially the whole process of follicle growth needed to get viable babies in just two months! The two sheds encompassing that growth 11/13/06-01/29/07 includes 18 days in November, 31 days in December and 29 days in January, for a total of 78 days between the two sheds.
The time from post ovulation shed until delivery was 01/29/07-05/07/07, 3 days in January, 28 days in February, 31 days in March, 30 days in April, 7 days in May for a total of 99 days.
In this particular case I didn't have an ovulation date. I actually use the ovulation date as a guide for the delivery date, because the shedding cycle can be quite variable. Our theoretical ovulation dates ranging from 12/31/06-01/05/07, added on to the 99 day period between shed and birth, gives us a total gestation period ranging from 30+99 (129) days to 26+99 (125 days). That is right on the money for a gestation period.
The feeding record indicates that the female ate throughout gestation from her post ovulation shed (01/29/07) until 04/27/07, 10 days prior to delivery. I remember being concerned about offering her food so late in her gestation period. I normally stop feeding gravid females during the last 30 days prior to birth. This particular female was so obviously hungry when I kept checking on her, that I fed her. I was nervous about doing it, but apparently it had no ill effect. In hindsight I may have risked a premature delivery. Each meal I fed was at weekly or biweekly intervals and consisted of only one small rat.
After their first shed I recorded their sexes 4.15. As Jeff Ronne found in his evaluation of sex ratios in numerous litters, we also have found that a lot of litters have sex ratios skewed higher on the female side. That's an interesting topic to be researched in the future!
Of course I couldn't argue with my results, 8 super motleys in a single litter! I think that is the record so far!! I was hoping for one, would have been thrilled if I got the 1/4 expected ratio of 4-5, and hit one out of the ball park getting 8!! The rest of the litter included 6 motleys, with a 2.4 ratio, and five normals that were all females!!
It has been exactly 7 months since that day and it still blows me away when I pull those little babies out and look at them. They are very cool. I'll take some updated pics after their next shed. Tracy