The birth process of the rodents starts with contractions, and a new pup will be delivered in 5 to 10 minute intervals. After the birth begins, a mother sits up and it helps to deliver the baby further using the teeth and hands. It will clean the baby while eating the placenta and the umbilical cord. The new baby will be squeaking and wiggling so that the mother will not eat it. When the baby is dead or weak, the mother may end up eating it. Many females can turn out to be wonderful parents, but sometimes the pain during the birth may make the rodents so stressed that they may eat their children even if they are healthy.
When a birth has been completed and the mother decide to settle down to start nursing the litter, there is no longer any danger of her eating the litter. During this period, the mother will do anything to protect the babies from intruders. At their birth, the pups will be toothless and hairless. They can start to have their hair on day 7, while the eyes will open at 13-14 days. The rodents will take good care of their children and the babies will grow quickly.
The weaning process will start when the babies have opened their eyes at 2 weeks and it can be completed at 4 weeks. As the eyes start to open, the babies will start to explore the place and they will take time to learn what the mother eats and will eat a little food for themselves. As they start to eat the food their mother gives them, they will need less milk, but the mother will continue to stay with them to offer the milk and to teach them life skills. The babies will continue to be with the mother for 4 weeks even when they are completely weaned so that they can be strong.
Some of the rodents are known to do communal nesting. Two or even more mother rats will rear the litters in one single nest. The mothers may also share the milk of their offspring with the babies of another mother. However, relatedness and familiarity will play a role in communal nesting. The sisters who grew up together will more likely share the parenting roles compared to the females who just came to know one another. The unfamiliar females will not pool the offspring together because when they do this, one female may monopolize their litter. The familiar sisters will be more successful compared to the unfamiliar pairs. They will wean their offspring at the right time and they are not likely to kill infants, which happens with the unfamiliar pairs. The offspring can survive better when the litters are born at the same time or the rodent who is still pregnant can kill the first litter or the second litter can be dominated by the first litter and they will not survive.
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