Monday, May 31, 2010

Family ties - all these puppies are related

This picture was sent to us yesterday by Rosi and Anne Bauersachs from Germany whose "L" litter is related to our puppies and is the same age as Gilda's litter. We wrote about this coincidence few days ago. From Anne's letter it looks like everything is going well with Ilena's puppies. Anne said : "Today you wrote about supermoms. We know what you mean because we also have one - she loves her puppies over all."

There are few more pics taken yesterday of our puppies.

Close-ups of R-puppies (Joeri x Gilda)

Q-puppies (Joeri x Keena)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Supermoms rule!

I consider Gilda and her daughter Keena Supermoms; Elli, Keena's grandmother was another Supermom. What do I mean by this term? You start with moms that whelp with ease and have excellent mothering instincts. They clean their babies, take care of them really well and they have plenty of milk. They love their puppies, and spend extra time with them. Sabina, Gilda's mother, was not like that. She did minimum that she could get away with. Below is the picture of Gilda's whelping box this morning. It was spotless, there was nothing to clean.

Keena's puppies turned one week old yesterday. I took their weights and they are:

Male Green at birth 230 gr, now 375 gr (he is growing more slowly than the rest so we are keeping eye on him; otherwise he seems to be fine)

Male Red at birth 230 gr, now 405

Male Navy at birth 250, now 510

Male Blue at birth 300, now 560

Female Pink at birth 340, now 590

Female Yellow at birth 295, now 510

Female White at birth 330, now 650

Female Lime at birth 250, now 510

Female Orange at birth 230, now 515

Puppies will opening their eyes when when they are around 10 days old. Right now their eyelids are sealed. They can't hear any sounds either, but they can certainly smell. They know how to find their mother pretty quickly.

Friday, May 28, 2010

All is well in the whelping boxes

Things are going really well with Gilda and Keena's pups, but yesterday we had to do some adjustments. As you know Keena was caring for 9 puppies and Gilda for 5. I caught Keena several times carrying Green boy around in her mouth. At one time she put him in her own bed (see picture), the other time she placed him on the blanket. I see this behavior occasionally in our females and I really don't know the meaning of it. Sometimes a mom may choose a special puppy to give him attention one-on-one. I remember many years ago when Vamba had a "D" litter. She would persist in picking up Drake, her favorite puppy, and jumping on John's bed, where she would stay with Drake and give him extra attention. It is widely known that some bitches would try to get rid of a defective puppy and try to remove such a pup from their whelping box. In Keena's case, I read her actions in neutral terms. She was putting Green boy in her bed or on the blanket outside the box, but she was not staying with him. She did not act like she was trying to hide him either.  Even though Keena was very careful, I needed her to stop this behavior. Finally I decided to "give" the pup to Gilda. Since Gilda is larger than Keena, and she always produces excessive amount of milk (last year she raised 8 pups and managed to put on weight while doing it), we transferred two pups from Keena to Gilda. The pups are double marked by a different shape of collar and nail polish on their nails so we can always tell them apart from other pups, but this is going to help Keena cope with a huge litter. Also Green boy is safer with Gilda, who never carries pups in her mouth. Gilda had no problem with extra puppies, cleaned them right away and let them nurse.

Gilda stays in her box 100% of the time.

I took a short video of Keena's Red boy, it is not of the best quality but is is quite amusing and shows the pup's acrobatics.

To see the video in different resolution click here.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The birth of R-puppies is followed by a sad loss

Yesterday, on May 25, FC Gilda v Moosbach-Zuzelek whelped six puppies, four boys and two girls. The sire of this litter is FC Joeri vom Nonnenschlag. Our females' cycles are synchronized, and they come in heat almost at the same time. Last year we had two litters four days apart, and the same thing has happened this year.

Gilda's first stage of labor started on May 24, around 5 PM. She started to scratch bedding in the whelping box and pant. She was restless. The following day, around noon, I noticed first contractions.

First puppy, a male (Black collar) was born at 1:05 PM; he weighed 12 oz (335 gr). The second pup was a male too (Yellow) and he was born 15 minutes later. He was 9.8 oz (280 gr). After that there was a long break and the third puppy, a boy, arrived at 3:40 PM. He was smaller at 8.2 oz (230 gr). The fourth male (Red) was born an hour later. He was followed immediately by White female (9.2 oz/260 gr). Last puppy, Pink female was born at 6:50 PM (10.6 oz, 300 gr).

Purple boy was the smallest, and he appeared to be a bit weaker. To make things worse he lost a bit of blood because of the injury he sustained when he was born. Gilda cleaned him vigorously, and she pulled his umbilical cord too strongly. It was a matter of seconds and it was an accident. He appeared to be fine for a while, but today he started to deteriorate. Since we don't believe in taking extreme measures to rescue defective and possibly sick puppies, we let the nature take its course. I fed him several times since he was too weak to nurse, but it did not make any difference.  He was not suffering, did not cry or act uncomfortable. Just faded away and he was gone today by late evening. He stayed with Gilda until the end, and she was very good to him. But in the end when we picked him up she did not protest. This was sad, but unfortunately situations like this are unavoidable when you are a breeder.

The end of short life for Purple boy.

Keena's puppies are four days old

Keena's puppies continue to do very well. For the first two days Keena tried to carry them in her mouth to rearrange them in the whelping box. I did not like it and pups did not like it either. I think that she stopped doing it now that the pups have grown. She stays with the pups in the box most of the time, but this morning she was really happy to get out. When John let her out, she went on a short hunting expedition.
These are pups weights as of the May 26 evening. Sorry that they are in grams, for me it is much easier to compare weights this way than when they are expressed in pounds and ounces:
Male Green at birth 230 gr, now 300 gr
Male Red at birth 230 gr, now 315
Male Navy at birth 250, now 355
Male Blue at birth 300, now 440
Female Pink at birth 340, now 425
Female Yellow at birth 295, now 375
Female White at birth 330, now 460
Female Lime at birth 250, now 350
Female Orange at birth 230, now 345

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Q-puppies are one day old but it is Keena who is being pampered

Keena's puppies are one day old. So far so good. Keena is an exceptional mother, and I am sure that the first few days must be very difficult for her. She has to come up with logistics of dealing with so many pups. Elli, who used to have very large litters, usually would divide pups into smaller groups that would be nursing separately. Also the potential problem is that Keena has only 6 fully functional teats.

My approach to puppies is that you you have to have a healthy, well fed, energetic mother, then most likely pups will be OK. If she has good instincts, she will take care of her pups. So today is all about pampering Keena. I make sure that she eats frequent high protein, high calcium meals, and that she drinks quite a bit.Her appetite is very good.  I check her temperature for any signs of infection. With large litters bitches are more prone to metritis, inflammation of uterus. I remember many years ago when Sabina had 10 puppies and developed metritis. We ended up hand feeding all 10 puppies. This is something I want to avoid at all costs, and if there are any signs that her temperature gets elevated significantly, she will be put on antibiotic Clavamox.

Anyway, puppies are doing well, they have not gained much weight since they were born, but this is very typical for newborns. I would be concerned if they started to lose weight but so far that has not happened. I weigh them often, and check if they are hydrated. If they are not, I make sure that I put them on a teat and they nurse.

Keena's whelping box is in my den so I am with her almost all the time. We are expecting another litter within next few days, and I know that by the time Gilda has her puppies, Keena will require less of my attention.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

How our Q litter (9 puppies) was born

Today is a good time to resume posting here as we have a new litter of pups.On March 22 Keena (FC Keena v Moosbach-Zuzelek) was bred to FC Joeri vom Nonnenschlag. We did only one mating, and Joeri and Keena were tied for one hour.
Keena's pregnancy was very uneventful. Since she has had two litters before, with seven pups in each litter, we have had some information on what we might expect. In the past her pups were quite big and even though she never had much problem with whelping them, I decided to change her diet this time around. She was fed our dogs' regular diet until her last trimester. This means - Canidae for All Life Stages dry kibble in the morning and Oma's Pride raw mixes in the afternoon. Since Oma's mixes have a lot of ground bone in them, I tried to reduce the content of calcium in the food by adding ground turkey to to the mix. In the last trimester I added one more meal - a dry kibble with a higher content of protein. This protocol seemed to have worked really well.

We knew that Keena was going to have quite a few pups, I thought that the number would be 7 or 8. We did not xray her to verify the number, so we were surprised when she delivered 9 pups in 4.5 hours.
The first pup was delivered at 6:30 this morning, and the last one at 11:05 am. This was the sequence:

1. 6:30 am Male (green) 8.2 oz/230 gr
2. 7:05 am Female (pink) 12.0 oz/340 gr
3. 7:25 am Female (yellow) 10.4/295
4. 7:50 am Male (red) 8.2/230
5. 8:25 am Female (white) 11.6/330
6. 9:10 am Male (navy) 8.8/250
7. 9:25 am Female (lime) 8.8/250
8. !0:20 am Male (blue) 10.6/330
9. 11:05 am Female (orange) 8.2/230

I took some pics at the beginning of whelping, but later things were happening too fast. When Keena and I were done with one puppy, the next one was being delivered. Actually, I have never seen anything like it.
All pups are wild boar, and all their registered names will start with the letter Q. How are we going to come up with NINE Q-names?