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More Dead Sea Scrolls - re: Jeremy's advice and about Missy.....>

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Posted by: LindaH at Sun Feb 20 22:12:07 2005   [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by LindaH ]  

“Sounds like this girl is making you go Bonkers. First I would like to let everyone know why I did tell you to “HOLD OFF” breeding. I personally have not had good luck in breeding in Mid to Late Summer. Also, that female was Barely 25 months at that time. I think it would have been a huge mistake to get her pregnant so early as this could have contributed to many problems she may have the rest of her life. I have bred Young females with NOTHING but tragic results. I have had young females up to size with BIG follicles and decided to go for the GUSTO. I really wish I hadn’t. I would love to give the statistics on my numbers, but I would bore everyone more then I already do. So, I do feel that adding another 6 months of feeding would have had NO Harm or effect on her follicular growth, and After following HUNDREDS of Boas the past 5 years with ultrasound technology, I believe I can shed some light on the situation.”

You are right about me going bonkers.

Regarding Missy: Her age was a big issue with me as well, which is why I called you for input. I wanted her to wait until late fall or winter. I am confused somewhat when it comes to the whole male-female attraction thing, though. At that time, he did not react this way to any of my other girls. If the male shows no interest in the female, it’s pretty hard for them to be fruitful and multiply. I have read posts where people have some males that will be attracted to a given female, and another male pays her no attention.

I most likely would not have left Murphy with her in August, except for this: 1) In spite of the way I have fed her, which from things I hear about other feeding methods, I sometimes feel like I’ve danged near starved her. She is right at 12lbs and was probably around 11 or 11.5 then – I didn’t weigh her in August. From last winter to late last spring, she has been fed once a week, one medium “Big Cheese” rat. I have marveled at her growth - even more in light of her size compared to her and Murphy’s littermate’s sizes when I picked her up at your place. Their littermates that you were keeping were noticeably larger than either one of them. Late last spring, I moved her up to the B.C. large rats, feeding the smaller ones of those. I think there might be people who would think nothing of feeding her twice that much in weight per feeding. I have not tried to push her at all regarding meals. 2) When our weather turned warm last spring, she got to go outside 3-4 times a week for 1-2 hours. This continued throughout the summer. Fortunately, the way my property and outbuildings are situated, I can bring 2-3 boas outside to roam around without them getting into trouble. I do my projects and chores, and check on them periodically. They get to crawl around a lot and get exercise. (The most I have to worry about is a Hawk snatching up the smaller ones.) She has grown tremendously and is very muscular. Perhaps it is because of all the exercise. I certainly don’t think I overfeed her and she is not one of these fleshy, soft globs that have been fed into morbid obesity. She is in great flesh and sort of looks like a body-builder snake. I have felt like her size has been attained in a healthy manner, so – right or wrong – that is why I elected to leave Murphy with her in August.

She is the only one of my females that developed this firm bulge. I wrote in my previous post that I first noticed the bulge in August, but that is wrong. I first noticed it sometime in July, but it was before I put Murphy in with her in August. I was typing all this stuff at 2 or 3 am and my brain was fried. Anyway, I put him with her about two weeks before her initial ultrasound where we could only see the black area (probably gas) and we didn’t get x-rays until October, so I still had no idea what was really going on inside her. All I know is that she was the only female he was attracted to, at that time.

”FIRST of all, without a DOUBT females can grow HUGE follicles without the presence of a male. So, you don’t have to have a Male COURTING a female in order for the follicles to grow big. Also, a Male will breed a female with VERY small follicles. I have found that this REALLY does wear out the Males. There is no REASON to put them on a female and have them court them to get those follicles to a Specific size when the female will do it without the male. Had you have left your male in with that female to court her, I would almost BET you 100 bucks your Hypo Female wouldn’t be pregnant buy that SAME male, and the other female you mentioned you were breeding wouldn’t have a shot either.”

This makes total sense to me, which is why I had my prospective females ultrasounded – so I could see who was doing what. Why waste the male’s energy reserves courting one female forever when another is further along in her cycle and closer to being breedable? If he is attracted to both females, a choice must be made, and an informed choice is what I hoped for.

Compared to you, I have zero knowledge of these boas, however I have grown up around horse breeding and that is ALL ABOUT follicle growth, follicle size and timing the breedings. Our boa’s follicles are not so much different. They come out of the ovary and grow and when they reach a certain size, they are fertilizable.

“Now, You ask, HOW IN THE HECK do I know that my female has BIG follicles without an ultrasound??? I know this sounds silly, but you really can tell by behavior. I have been almost able to guess where EVERY female I have ultrasounding is at before we even Ultrasound her. Gaylynn always asks me. HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT??? Well, I think the females really tell you and let you know. Of course I can pin point MUCH clearer because of my past experience with Ultrasounding. However, there are Breeders such as Mike W, Pete Kahl, and I’m sure Rich Ihle and Jeff Ronne, can just look at a female and KNOW that she has large follicles. Some of the females show it by the body, and others just start acting differently. As you get to know each animal, you start to figure it out. I think that is why it is SOOO important to take notes and KEEP those notes and study them every year so you can learn what the animals behavior was before and that can help you make decisions the next year. With a large collection of Boas, it is even MORE important because it is very easy to forget.”

Perhaps I am not as keen at observing behavior as you, but I never noticed any difference in Missy. She has been the “Steady Freddy” all along. She never refuses food and I never noticed in differences in her until her lump/bulge appeared. She still continued to act the same – after the lump - and still ate like clockwork.

”Second. You really don’t need an ultrasound to determine follicular size. I have found that it is quite easy to Palpatate BOAS!!! YES BOAS. You have to do it Completely Opposite then you do the Ball pythons, but it is quite similar and easy. So, if you can FEEL the follicles, they are DEFINATLEY large enough for you to introduce a Male. On my knew web site, I’ll have video footage of HOW to do this, so be a little more patient, and I will have some examples of “HOW TO DO THIS” as well as many other things.”

Oh Lordy! I know I couldn’t do that and my hat is off to your success palpating boas. I think I will stick with the peek inside method.

”Last without REALLY boring you, I can tell you that X rays are pretty hard to read. 2 years before Gaylynn and used Ultrasounds, we used to pack up the car with a ton of heat pads and bring as many females as we thought we could to the Vet for Xrays. Sometimes you could see, but sometimes you couldn’t and GAS is dark black just like slugs, and they are very hard to determine possible outcomes. I also did some studies on the effects of Xrays, and although I did have some good litters, I don’t think it is the best thing for them. However, they can really be helpful in areas such as this.”

If we had been able to see more when we ultrasounded her, I probably wouldn’t have asked for x-rays. At that time, in October, when we still couldn’t see what the bulge was, I was freaking out, thinking perhaps it was a tumor of some sort. Nothing was visible until we did the x-rays. Due to the appearance of the follicles, my vet even asked for a second opinion, to confirm that it WAS reproductive material we were seeing.

”Here is what I would do. Chris at Giantkeeper mentioned his experience with feeding and breeding, and he is correct. There was a question he was answering when the guy asked if his female ovulated. Well, to touch up on that. I can tell you that I have NEVER had a female eat within 2 weeks of her ovulataion, and most of the time it is 3 to 4 weeks before they take food. So, if you feed a female and she gets a HUGE lump it is probably like Chris said the combination of large follicles and food. FEEDING is sometimes hard to tell if they are GRAVID because some females eat and some don’t.”

“Why Bring that up? Because here is what I would tell LINDA to do in this situation. Since gas can be caused by the breaking down of food, I wouldn’t feed that Female Motley for 2 weeks. I would then go in and get an Xray or an Ultrasound. The Ultrasound would be ideal but if you don’t have that technology, then do the X ray. HOWEVER, Just go 3 inches up from the VENT. Once a female has Ovulated, the eggs go ALL the way into the VENT. Sometimes we think a female has completely ovulated, and Gaylynn and I just take the Probe 1 to 2 inches from the Vent and if we see circles, they have NOT completely ovulated from both ovaries. So, take the X ray or the Ultrasound and go up from that point. If you see nothing, she has NOT ovulated. IF SHE hasn’t ovulated then there is NO use of worrying about SLUGS that are stuck that have to be removed. She may have some infection in the bowel which is NOT uncommon for females breeding, and that could be a LOT worse. However, if you don’t see matter within 6 to 8 inches up from the VENT, she is NOT gravid. So, I hope that Helps.”

Her stomach was empty, but she did have some fecal material in her bowel. Part of the problem may have been the ultrasound machine. I don’t know. I will post her x-rays next. Her follicles have not gone down near the vent. The latest x-rays show a group lined up and then some in a group at fore end. None of them are near the vent. Granted, I could have missed her ovulation, but I don’t think so because I have been pretty obsessive about looking in on her.

My concern is whether these follicles are going to come out on their own – or what? There is no changed in their appearance ie., roundness, firmness, size - only their positioning. At this point, I suppose Murphy didn’t impact her either way, since she had this bulge a month before I put him in with her. I hope we will be able to make a more informed decision in March. I would like her to be gravid, but after all this time, is it even likely? More than anything, I want her to be OK. If these follicles need to be removed, then we will do that.

Jeremy, thank you for this valuable information and sharing it with all of us. I don’t like asking people stuff. I have been fortunate to learn some things from you and Gaylynn, and my little brat-brother, Mike, has helped me tremendously. Due to the competitive nature of this hobby/business, I can certainly understand that breeders are not eager to share their hard-earned secrets. Horse training is a lot like that, especially in the show industry, where tips and techniques are guarded zealously.

So we, here on the forum, end up looking at each other’s pictures and admiring the pretty morphs instead of learning a lot. where I am hesitant asking you things, I have no problem picking the brain of my vet, and I have learned a lot from him. If he doesn’t know the answer, he calls other reptile vets until he has it. In many ways, my journey with him has been good for us both. He gets to see boas outside the usual “death’s door neglect victims” they normally get and he starts salivating when he sees my healthy ones. And - I get to sit in on surgeries and all the other cool stuff we have done.

I will update Missy’s condition as I know more. If we end up removing the follicles, I will even take pics of the procedure and post them. My vet is also a photography buff and sometimes takes pics of procedures – so either way, we should have something in living color.

Thanks again, Jeremy. I appreciate all your help. I did not spellcheck this, so please forgive any typos.
Linda Hedgpeth
Sierra Serpents

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away"


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>> Next Message:  LINDA. (Beware... this is long) - Jeremy Stone, Sun Feb 20 23:15:18 2005