Monday, October 20, 2008

Comment Q&A about the Pups

I am so sorry I haven't been able to keep up with all your individual comments. I hope you know that just as you look for updates each day, I look for your comments! I really value your insights and observations!

It's harder, though, to reply consistently to you all now that I'm cleaning the whelping box essentially every time the pups wake up (they piddle and poo every time). I know, some breeders let them romp in their yuk... but I just can't do that. So I try to clean up every time it's needed.

And now that they're on solids and drinking water, it's lots of puddles, and lots of poo, and lots of piles, and lots of poo times throughout the day. Yeehaw. Oh, and it's odoriferous, too. :o) Double yeehaw!

Anyway, many of you have asked different questions in the last several days about the pups (via e-mail or comments), and I'll just try to answer most here (forgive me if I miss a few... I'll try to cover as much as I can). So here goes:

1. How often do we change rickrack (their color bands around their necks)? When smaller, we were changing it every 4-5 days. Now it seems more like once a week, or as needed. First we found we were changing it because the pups outgrew it. Now it's more that the rickrack wears out from all their tug-o-wars and chewing on each other (with teeth). I generally count on going through at least one full pack of the small rickrack per pup (I think it's 4 yards).

2. What are we feeding them? To wean them, we started with puppy food (ProPlan Plus for Large Breeds Puppy Formula) soaked in boiled water, allowed to cool, then pureed in a blender, then mixed with a little Esbilac (puppy replacement formula). Now we have them down to just pureed puppy food and water with gradually increasing parts of puppy food to lessening parts water. The consistency is like thick oatmeal now (was more like water and then applesauce before). And it will get thicker, then dryer, until they get to just food.

3. What's different about Miss Sky's coat? If you look carefully at Miss Sky, toward her rear flank on the right, she has some darker colorations. I've never seen a yellow Lab do this before, but I suspect it may have something to do with the black Labs she has in her heritage. When she sheds her puppy coat that may just disappear. Or it may be permanent; there's no way to tell at this point. But she definitely has some dark splotches now. That would be a disqualification in the rind and an issue for us if we were concerned about developing show dogs, but it's a non-issue with our priorities. We breed first for health, then for temperament/companionship/people-orientation, then for field orientation/intelligence/trainability. While still something we try to breed for and are aware of, show conformation is farther down the list for us in priority (every breeder is different).

4. What do the pups weigh now? As of 10/15 (five days ago, just shy of four weeks old), here's what they weighed (we'll check again in a day or two) (the list is in birth order):

Miss Pink: 5 pounds, 13 ounces
Mr. Blue: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces
Mr. Green: 5 pounds, 8 ounces
Mr. Red: 5 pounds, 1 ounce
Mr. Yellow: 6 pounds even
Mr. Black: 4 pounds 3 ounces
Miss Sky: 4 pounds 13 ounces
Mr. Lime: 5 pounds 13 ounces
Mr. White: 4 pound 15 ounces

Mr. Black is still significantly smaller than the rest, but holding his own and incredibly spunky!

5. How often do we trim their nails? Everybody just got their nails trimmed last night again. That's the fourth time, I think, so far. The first time was at 5 days old (wanted to give them time to heal from their dew-claw removals before trimming the first time). We don't put them on a trimming schedule; I just try to keep on eye on how long their nails are becoming and how hard they are on Elsie. I probably let them go a little too long this time (it's been about 9 days I think), so I won't wait so long until next time.

That's the first five questions for now. I'll answer more later today, but for now I have to run DFS (dear firstborn son) out to do some errands and job apps! :o)

'Til next time,

1 comment:

Mary said...

Hello, having 14 Labs at one time is hard work even if 9 of them are cute as little buttons and must be squeezed as often as possible. As a big fan, I completely understand you not being able to answer questions in a individual way. I'm sure everyone else feels the same way. No worries. Just hug on those puppies and the big kids as much as you can because as you know, puppyhood is fleeting.