03. Planning a Family: Pregnancy, Pups & Development
February 12, 2016, 09:04 PM
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Starting a Family

 

Permission


You are required to seek OOC permission from your pack's management in order to breed. (IC permission is still optional!) Lone wolves must still seek permission from the administration (see below). OOC permission must be obtained prior to conception IC. (Appended: 11/12/2016.)

Lone Wolves may not breed without seeking permission from the admins with a compelling reason and characters entering the game cannot be pregnant upon entry. A wolf may leave its pack while pregnant and become a lone wolf but be aware that lone pups under a month old will die in one week without the support of a pack. Even the best mother can't single-handedly protect and care for both herself and her pups!

In accordance with our character guidelines, characters cannot enter the game as babies unless they are born here IC. Conception must occur in a thread to be valid for timing purposes but you are not required to write the "gory" details for this or any other stages of the breeding process (heat, conception, pregnancy, birth). We welcome our members to play at their personal comfort levels regarding this subject matter.

Mothers cannot fall inactive or move to PPC status during pregnancy; doing so will result in the loss of the litter without exception. Please keep this in mind when choosing to become an in-game parent, especially if you have already committed the litter to other players. (Appended: 04/18/2018.)

Litter Logistics


Wolf now features a breeding season: conception may occur January through (and including) April, with puppies being born March through (and including) June (effective 09/01/2017). Female wolves must be at least 22 months old and must be in estrus in order to become pregnant. Male wolves must be at least 18 months. Wolves younger than this are not sexually mature and therefore cannot conceive, even if they attempt to breed, and female wolves who are not receptive (in heat) cannot become pregnant. Additionally, for the purposes of this game, wolves aged 7 years or older are no longer fertile and cannot breed.

A female wolf can produce one litter of pups per calendar year. A litter may contain up to 4 surviving pups (and up to 6 total pups — so long as no more than 4 survive past 1 month of age), but younger wolves and lower ranked wolves tend to produce less. A male wolf can produce multiple litters and is limited only by the number of receptive females that will permit him to breed successfully.

Each pack can hold up to 8 pups, so these spaces will need to be divvied up if there are multiple prospective parents. If all pup spots are taken, no more pups can be born in the pack until spots are freed up again.

Homing Your Pups


Finding roleplayers for your character's pups is up to you. Most players use this thread to advertise their pups. Pups can be roleplayed from the moment they are born, but they can also be NPCs for up to 9 months. At 9 months old, a puppy is considered an adult and will ordinarily join the adult ranks of its pack. If a pup character does not have a player by the time it is 9 months old, it should be assumed that the pup left the game setting somehow.

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February 12, 2016, 09:04 PM
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Pregnancy


1 week — 3 weeks


Pregnant female will begin to experience early signs of pregnancy: nausea, increased urination, fatigue, food cravings or food aversion, and dizziness are among the most common symptoms. A female wolf will often not be showing during this time and may not yet be aware that she is pregnant.

4 weeks — 6 weeks


The pregnant female's teats will swell and become tender, the fur on her belly will become thinner and she may develop a "baby bump". She will experience cramping and general aches. The early signs of pregnancy may disappear or may intensify during this time, depending on the female. Often her appetite will increase substantially. By now, she should know she is pregnant and others will begin to notice as well. Quickening, or feeling the pups moving, will occur near the end of this period.

7 weeks — 9 weeks


The pregnant female will become very swollen and bloated and will experience backaches and more frequent urination. Cramping is common. She will often grow restless during this time and will find or dig out a whelping den. The female's teats may express fluid as her due date draws near.

Delivery


The pregnant female will retire into the whelping den and become exceedingly aggressive as she goes into labour, often refusing to permit even her mate to remain in the den with her. The mother will birth each pup one at a time and will clean the birthing sac from each pup as they are born. She will also lick and nudge the pups until they show signs of life, after which she will place them at her belly to nurse. Wolves may eat stillborn offspring or they may choose to bury them. Complications can arise during birthing, but most females come out of it exhausted, but healthy enough.

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February 12, 2016, 09:04 PM
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Wolf Development


Conception — 0 days: Fetus


Wolf fetuses are not very interesting. They kick, scoot around, and do other fetus things. They have no awareness of their environment.

0 days — 14 days: Neonate


Newborn pups are unable to regulate their body temperature, so they must be in close proximity to an adult wolf at all times within the den. Typically this is the mother, but it can also be the father. Neonates are blind, deaf, have a pugged nose and cannot smell much, but are very sensitive to touch and taste. They are capable of crawling but can't stand. They will feed 4 to 5 times a day, and sleep a lot of the time.
Equivalent human age: Newborn — 6 months
Vocalization: Primarily whining.

15 days — 24 days: Transitional


Pups open their eyes around the 11 to 15 day mark. Wolf pups are all born with blue eyes. Their eyesight is poor at this stage and will not become fully clear for several weeks. Their milk teeth will come in around this time as well and they can begin to eat regurgitated meat in addition to mother's milk. They may stand and begin walking. Wolf pups are surprisingly steady on their feet once they are able to stand!
Equivalent human age: 6 months — 1.5 years
Vocalization: Whining, growling, whimpering, first attempts at howling, light babbling.

25 days — 2 months: Socialization


Pups will begin to appear outside the den and can be found near the den entrance. This is the time when the pack will begin interacting with the pups. Their ears will perk up around 27 days and by day 30 they should have relatively good hearing and straight ears. The tips may still be floppy. Pups will develop their canine teeth and premolars during this time. By the 4 week mark, their heads and paws are comically large and play fighting for dominance begins. By the 5 week mark, pups may accompany adults on short trips away from the den. Weaning occurs during this stage and pups will speak their first full words in week 6.
Equivalent human age: 1.5 years — 4 years
Vocalization: Growling, whimpering, stronger howls, barks, lots of babbling. Generally acquire a limited vocabulary of 200-400 words by the end of week 8.

3 months — 7 months: Juvenile


Around week 9, the pups will be moved from the whelping den to the rendezvous site. Pups no longer drink mother's milk and will eat meat provided by the pack. Guard hairs grow in during this time. Their eyes will begin to change colour in week 8 and will finish transitioning by week 16. If they haven't changed from blue by this time, they will remain blue for life. By 12 weeks, pups can follow adults on short solo hunting trips and are capable of returning to the rendezvous by themselves.
Pups enter a period of rapid growth between 14 and 27 weeks, during which they gain approximately a pound per week. Their milk teeth are fully replaced by adult teeth, their winter coats grow in (if applicable) and they are able to accompany the pack on hunts.
Equivalent human age: 4 years — 11 years
Vocalization: Full range of vocalization. Can speak fluently by the the time they are 3 months.

7 months — 1 year: Adolescent


Pups enter a period of slow growth between 28 and 51 weeks, and by now they are nearly indistinguishable from adult wolves. During this time the pups will begin to readily travel with the pack and will actively hunt. Dominance and submissive behaviours will become more intense during this time as pups vie for their place in the pack.
By 9 months, pups enter the adult hierarchy and are considered adults, but they still have a lot of maturing to do and fully mature wolves may not take them seriously for many months longer.
Equivalent human age: 11 years — 18 years

1.5 years — 2 years: Sexual Maturity


Wolves will undergo hormonal changes around 18-24 months, signalling sexual maturity and the ability to produce pups of their own. This is prime time for young wolves to disperse from their packs and seek mates to found a pack with, or to seek out another pack.
Equivalent human age: 18 years — 25 years

8 years — 10 years: Elderly


Wolves start to show signs of age around the 6 or 7 year mark, but aren't considered truly elderly until they are around 8 years old. Wolves will slow down considerably, their tempers may change for better or worse, their fur may become greyer especially around the snout, and they are no longer able to do the things they used to do. Old wolves may have difficulty standing after lying for long periods of time, their howls may become strained or they may lose the ability entirely, and they may have less control over their bodily functions.
Wolves will die of old age before reaching 10 years.
Equivalent human age: 67 years — 81 years

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