Does barbering make babies unadoptable?

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Does barbering make babies unadoptable?

Post by madmouse on Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:39 pm

A while back I acquired a black tan buck bred from the recent UK imports. I paired him with a doe bred at my home. This doe was previously living with her half-sister and aunt. None of these three does was barbered. I placed her with Perceival (the import-descendant) and they were fine; no one was barbered. She had her babies and was an excellent mum. But the babies are nearing weaning and suddenly she's barbered them all! What gives? Did the stress of raising babies cause her to spaz out a bit and chew whiskers as a coping mechanism?

There are only 4 in the litter, two of which I'm keeping (I culled the litter to this size, none died). The other two are a pretty chocolate tan buck and a black tan rex doe. But I worry that no one will want them, as I assume that they will be barbers as adults. I'd really like to find breeder homes for the two I'm not keeping, since they are carrying the UK genes for beautiful dark colors. Will anyone want to breed potential barbers?

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Re: Does barbering make babies unadoptable?

Post by Laigaie on Sun Dec 16, 2012 9:47 pm

I don't see any reason to assume that a barbered baby will grow to be a barberer, especially since the doe wasn't barbering until she had a litter. I'd breed her again to see if the behavior repeats, but likely you won't get that litter out until after these are sent out. Probably you can warn potential adopters, especially if it's just whiskers. When I saw the thread title, I had feared you were trying to adopt out babies who were missing limbs!
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Re: Does barbering make babies unadoptable?

Post by Mrs. Beach on Sun Dec 16, 2012 10:56 pm

I've heard many places that barbering is a learned behavior.
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Re: Does barbering make babies unadoptable?

Post by madmouse on Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:48 pm

Yes, Mrs. Beach, you're right. I have a book about "infectious" diseases in laboratory mice and it lists barbering because it CAN be a learned trait. But then I've personally had mice barbered as babies who DIDN'T pick it up. I think part of it is nurture, part of it nature. I think I will just go ahead and attempt to adopt them out, while being fully honest with adopters about their having been barbered as babes.

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Re: Does barbering make babies unadoptable?

Post by madmouse on Sun Dec 16, 2012 11:50 pm

Laigaie: No, the babies are simply missing whiskers. There are no wounds, bald spots, nibbled ears, missing limbs etc. Just whiskers.

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Re: Does barbering make babies unadoptable?

Post by Mrs. Beach on Mon Dec 17, 2012 3:12 pm

Or you could keep the babies with some unbarbarered mice for a week and if the unbarbered mice remain unbarbered, you know they're all right.
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Re: Does barbering make babies unadoptable?

Post by Laigaie on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:50 pm

Mrs. Beach: yes and no. Since the mum wasn't barbering until she was nursing, you couldn't necessarily know that these pups wouldn't wait until the stress of their own pups to barber others. And that would be a good extra while to hold onto the pups.
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