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Posted by rtdunham on April 25, 2003 at 15:37:40:
In Reply to: Success! First Hondo Breeding! posted by blueharlequin on April 23, 2003 at 17:43:09:
Mine have laid from around 35 to 56 days afer first breeding. Typically, the female would have swollen up some and you might have been able to feel follicles by the time of that first breeding, so you may have acted prematurely, depends on when you brought them out of brumation. Although I'm softening some on my "always wait til after the second post-brumation shed" to put them together principle, I do think it's prudent to wait a couple months after brumation, during which time you feed the females heavily, before putting pairs together, whether the females have shed once or twice by then. If you've only got the pair, and aren't going to try to breed the male to multiple females, AND if the female is well fed and while she CONTINUES to eat, I'd put them together for 24 hours every 3 or 4 days for up to three weeks or as long as they continue to breed. WARNING: If your male's not eating and the female eats she may have rodent scent on her body and COULD trigger a feeding response when you put them back together, that could have unfortunate results. The only safe way to avoid this risk, however slight it is, is to put them together and STICK AROUND to observe, maybe pair them while you're cleaning other cages or something. I find if they're going to breed they'll initiate that quickly, in minutes, and be completed in less than an hour. So to be on the safe side, separate them aferwards, or if you don't see a breeding response in the first 10-20 minutes, especially if it's a pair that's bred (presumarly quickly?) before. When a male has to really coerce a female with a lot of courtship foreplay, she's probably fully ready, and at a later date would breed quickly without the pursuit & pressure. Some people believe a single copulation is sufficient; I try for three or four to be safe. You won't know it's successful until you get fertile eggs. The female can produce eggs whether or not she--and they--are fertilized by a male, they just wob't be any good if the male's not doing his job with high-count, vigorous sperm. You can get a microscope and examine a sperm sample to see if he's generating good sperm, though most of the time males do, especially if they were cooled properly. But it's not a 100% thing. Of course, the sperm exams are of little value to you unless you have another male to substitute anyway. Hope that helps.