So, now that we have the rodentophobes out of the room, a quick update on the rodenty shenanigans. (Part I for those who missed it.)
We lost one of the 4 on Wednesday, and I had something in my eye for the longest time after that. Then last night I got up for the 3AM feeding (every 2-3 hours, 24/7, because they have stomachs the size of fleas) only to discover that another baby mouse seemed to be ailing. He was lethargic, super dehydrated, and didn’t want to eat anything.
Long story short, with the SO’s help we alternated holding him in a hand (warmer) and feeding him every 10-15 minutes, even if it was just a small drop. By 7AM he was filling out a bit and actually had a little visible milk in his tummy — that’s getting much harder to see now that their fur is coming in, which doesn’t help, though the fur coming in is a good thing obviously. At I write this it’s 1PM and he’s been back on the 2-hourly feeding since 7. He’s still pretty skinny and not quite as energetic as the other two, but he’s still here.
Not having raised orphaned field mice before I have no real basis for comparison, but these guys seem a little slow to develop to me. Which may be at least partly my fault — I focused more on the danger of over-feeding them (bloat, colic) than on the rather more dire danger of under-feeding them (you know… death). As a result they’re skinnier than they should be, or at least were until last night when I started stuffing them like Christmas geese. Now we’re finally seeing the round tummies I associate with replete neonate mammals, and they’re filling out their skin a lot better. A couple of them have really one weirdly bulging not-opened eye, but because it’s not just one of them (and doesn’t seem to cause them any pain), I’m treating that as a bridge we’ll burn when we get to it and calling the bulgiest little dude “Cyclops”.
So — so far so good, apart from losing almost half the contingent we rescued last Saturday. I’m trying not to flagellate myself excessively for that, but it’s difficult when one has a lifelong habit of wanting to take responsibility for the entire universe and probably beyond.
While the rodent contingent is doing well enough, I , predictably, am a wreck, both from lack of sleep (5 hours last night, in 2 – 1 – 2 hour snatches) and from the emotional roller-coaster of trying to keep tiny little creatures I know nothing about alive. Well, predictably for everyone except What Consequences? Girl, i.e. me. But as I’ve said before I wasn’t going to let them die in my back yard or pile them up somewhere so that they could die conveniently out of my sight; that’s not a mindset I understand even if they are at best a nuisance in our environment. As long as they’re not in my house (present guests excepted), I have no problem sharing my mountain with the field mice. I’m pretty sure they were here first.
I’d add pictures but they’re on my phone and my phone is in the kitchen and I’m not getting up and walking that far, no way no how. You’ll have to imagine them. They look more like mice and less like jelly-beans every day.
Positive vibes and sleeping tips gratefully accepted.