The whole process of these pups follow a set path determined in the distant past amongst the wolf ancestors to the dogs. Gaia’s handling of the new pups, her gradual distancing from them, her weaning where she still gives them a small amount of milk, but increasingly regurgitate food for them instead and her disciplining of the little young dogs. I give them toys (empty milk cartons etc) and they love that, but the “killing practice” is the most important. They spend all wakening hours chasing and pushing one another over, shaking the skin, biting and pulling. It’s a training in agility for taking down pray as much as a social education where they learn to know each other’s limits. When you bite someone and he squeals, you went to far. That’s it. They spend most of the day in the outside pen:
Theia and Pontus in the garden.
The pooh is on a biblical scale. I should really look back at the CCTV footage of the pups’ room to have a laugh about my frantic morning. I chuck chicken bones or pieces of tripe in to the whelping box really quickly to make them all concentrate on the food while I gather up all the poohed newspaper as fast as I can before they come and jump up my arms. The whole lot goes in the wood burner and then we can all breathe. Next thing is that they want out. Either in the rest of the room or in their outdoor pen. If it is very wet, the outdoor pen just gets so muddy it’s not a good idea, but we shall get some nice weather later in the week so they will be able to enjoy that.
Here are the pups at six weeks old:
Never a dull moment now. The little pooh machines are active!! The whelping box has long lost its novelty and their newspaper covered pen too. They are ready to go out in the outdoor pen and they LOVE it. Here are the weekly portraits:
Having been cut off from uploading photos due to lightning burning a load of equipment, I can now resume the blog.
Here are the four-week portraits.
Poor Gaia, these pups are really taking a lot of milk. Here she is at the last milk-only feed. We shall start the solid food as soon as possible.
Gaia feeding 9 greedy pups
At 2.5 weeks the play has slowly started.
Helios and Pontus
It’s exhausting stuff and always ends in a feed…….
Exhausted and full of milk.
Everyone is doing well. The 9 pups were wormed this weekend, which was not received very well. The poor little faces scrunched up in disgust and a quantity of the pink wormer ended up on me and the pups’ fur. I made sure they got an extra 0.1ml each to make up for the stuff they spat out. So that’s the first worming done.
Mum is enjoying exercise still and really keen to get out picking up the odd dummy and river swimming on Sundays.
Nice, simple blind retrieve on the path.
Despite all the milk, a little retrieve is fun.
It was not much of a surprise that Titan was the first one trying to get out of the box.
Titan, two weeks old hanging over the low entrance.
Hello world! Bring it on!!!!
Atlas late for the milk bar:
With 8 teats and 9 pups, you got to be there in time.
Motherly bliss. And peace.
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Still mostly eat-sleep-eat-sleep. Lots of sleeping with full tummies.
Titan asleep across Gaia’s front leg.
The cushioned pig rails seem to appeal as raised beds for sleeping.
Theia sleeping on a pig rail like a leopard.
Phoebe sleeping on the pig rail.
Belly full of milk.
They are like piranhas when the milk bar opens and they are hungry.
Gaia feeding 9 greedy pups.
The pups are a week old and Gaia is a bit bored. She is the perfect mum, feeding and cleaning to perfection, but she is very keen to get out too. We walk and run and today I took them all down to swim in the river. She appreciates the breaks from her beloved pups.
Gaias female pups one week old
Portraits of Gaias male pups one week old.