What happened to spring? My dogs are back in their kennel dog beds in the kennels WITH extra jumpers on. Now I have a pregnant bitch, I am particularly fussy about not letting them get cold. They are certainly not up for lying outside on their patio dog beds, they are inside their nests, preferably in a big heap. You can just see them through the door hole, how they are squashed together for warmth. We don’t have super, double skinned kennels, they just have to bunch up for warmth.
What is more worrying is the grouse on their nests on the hill. At this time they will be starting to lay their eggs and if we get lots of snow it can cover the nests, freeze the eggs and kill them off. The birds simply have to start all over again. They have to find new nest places (one can imagine that the particular nest spot is chosen very carefully) and they have to put in the huge physical effort that egg production demands. It takes food and energy to produce eggs, which involves as much protein as possible. With cold weather there will be less of this as protein mainly comes from buds and insects, which are not in abundance when there are sub zero temperatures.
I drove my dogs, on their travel dog beds, in my truck in to a very large estate in the Monadhliath Mountains last week in order to count grouse pairs. I was also delivering one of our waterproof dog beds to the estate ‘keeper on the day. We went out on the moors for two days and most of the time the grouse were in pairs, but sometimes the hens would not flush with the male bird, which is a sign that she is sitting more tightly on her nest. Not always of course, but I had one incident where I could see where she had been sitting and there was now one beautiful egg. There should be many more to come and this hen would be full of underdeveloped eggs.
When you hunt the dogs on the moor out of season, they always get very tired and relish their dog beds at night. They are not quite in moor-fitness like they are in the season, but we take care of them and make sure they have a lovely night’s sleep. Best sleeping place is on the warm dog beds in the back of the car. They don’t like the kennels in a strange place with “strange” dogs next door to them….