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Feeding orphaned badgers

TOILETING
Before feeding, very young badgers need stimulating to produce urine and faeces.

It may have lost its mother hours before and have a very full bladder!
To toilet small badgers, hold securely with the forelegs off the ground and gently stroke
the urino-genital area in a
downwards motion with
a small piece of damp facial tissue or pure cotton wool.   It may take a minute or so to
get a result t first but be fairly persistent and make sure the orphan expels a reasonable amount of urine and/or faeces.

Place the cub in a warm incubator or cage with a warm heat pad fitted inside and soft towels or woolen cloths.
If the eyes are shut use a plastic front to the incubator  or cover the cage front with a towel to make sure it retains the heat.
A fairly large soft toy can be added as a surrogate mother.
Do not attempt to give a feed until the cub feels warm and responds to touch.

The first feed
First feed should consist of warm Lectade, Critical Care solution or similar tissue fluid replacement drink. 
This is given diluted as per directions on the packet and fed via a small syringe and tiny teat or baby bottle with 'newborn' teat.
Always use cooled previously boiled water and sterilized teats and bottles.
Subsequent feeds should consist of Esbilac of Fox Valley formula. Feed very slowly and carefully.
Make a record of the times of feeds and amounts taken,  remembering to record “Lectade given for first feed”.
If very young they should be fed 2 hourly, if furry but still blind 2 -3 hourly.
Badgers with eyes shut will have to be fed up until midnight and then from 6am the following morning.
When caring and feeding for these little creatures throughout the day and into the evening, special attention should be paid to;-
Feed and toilet at regular intervals: 2 hourly initially, moving to longer intervals as dictated by the patients. 
When they are  unwilling to wake up and feed, extend the gap between feeds by hour.
Always use previously sterilised equipment.

                      tiny cub                                     large cub
Newborn badger fed by syringe                                                            Older cub fed by bottle

Bloating

When an orphan is given a milk formula it may react badly and become bloated. Infuse about 1 tablespoon of fresh fennel
or a fennel tea bag in half a pint of almost-boiling water.  Allow to cool and store in a screw top bottle in the fridge. 
Give a small amount just before each milk feed for at least 24 hours.

Toileting
Always use a soft piece of facial tissue dampened with saliva.
The urinogenital area should be very lightly stroked or tickled and the movement continued until all urination and defecation has ceased.
They do not always defecate but they should pass water every time they are toileted.
Do remember to close the incubator’s front panel when feeding; the temperature inside soon drops and babies get cold quickly.
Do be patient when feeding these helpless babies.
Concentrate on the job in hand, watch their mouths carefully and stop feeding immediately if they stop sucking.
If they choke, milk will go into their lungs and they may become sick and die.
Use clean woollen gloves when feeding bald babies, their temperature drops quickly if your hands are cold. Ideally, they should be fed
above a warm heatpad or hot water bottle, to maintain their body temperature.
Concentrate on holding them safely.
If the milk is already made up, give the container a good shake before every feed as it can settle and the last feed is a thick sludgy mix.
Before you remove a baby from an incubator for a feed, make sure you have got everything you need for that feed ready prepared and within easy reach;
  i.e. Feed chart, feeding utensils, woolly glove, facial tissues and warmed milk feed.

Sterilizing equipment
To sterilise feeding utensils successfully they should be kept in pots filled with sterilising solution to cover the contents.
There should be one clean feeding utensil in the pot for each baby.
After use they must be taken apart and thoroughly washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and placed back into the sterilising pot.
Do not put the small teats or cannulas loose in the sink, they disappear down the plug hole.
Do remember to fill in a feeding chart for every feed; you need to know how much they eat and if they produced urine and faeces. 
If they do not urinate before or after each feed this is serious, and can cause their death

Which milk feed for which baby?

These are fed Esbilac or Fox Valley formula milk, mixed 1 part Esbilac powder to 2 parts warm boiled water.
Use a sterilised baby bottle with a large teat.
They can be weaned on mashed kitten food,  and baby fruit puddings.
Later they can have chopped chicks with beaks and legs removed plus earthworms as often as possible.

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