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 The Young 1




The young vary from one, two and sometimes three cubs born in a core period between the middle of February and the end of March. A few sows give birth as early the first week in December, and very young cubs are also to be seen as late as the end of June.



Nature provides a wealth of food in the form of earthworms in early Spring; this gives the sows the ability to feed their young a rich supply of milk. A cub born weighing a few ounces in February can weigh around fourteen pounds or more in September, giving the young cubs a very good chance of surviving the next winter. The young usually stay with their mother to the Autumn. At this time many young males are sent on their way by the dominant male boar. These young males retire to the outlying setts, they find the setts in various quiet parts of the territory. In March, the boars fight seriously for the females, and because of the stress and excitement many young male badgers who lose out are maimed or killed on the roads.



In small well established clans, it is usual that the dominant female produces two well grown cubs. It is generally agreed that all the adult sows become pregnant, and it is thought that the dominant sow often kills off most of the other sows' cubs that she is able to find as soon as they are born. The sow comes into oestrous two weeks after the cubs are born in late March, early April and again in early September. The fertilised ovum does not usually implant themselves in the placenta until early December.



Before implantation the fertilised ovum is known as a blastocyst. This means that when the cubs are born, each cub may have a different father.




The Young 2