Today was Quincy's day to officially meet all the puppies, up close and personal. He can be a bit ferocious across the fence with strangers here at the farm, but he's always been extremely tolerant of all small animals. So he just plopped himself down out back by the tree with them and I took these pictures. Quincy was my first Tatra and will always be my big baby. Here he is with two of them right on top of him practically. They were sniffing his muzzle big time.
Ms. Teal (or Turquoise) could not get enough of him. How funny!
She just lingered the entire time and didn't stray too far from him. I think she will make someone a very nice pet, especially if they already own a dog.
This is little Ms. Teal again, snuggling up to him. Most everybody else could have cared less at this point.
So Sunday the 26th brings temperament testing. By late that night, I should know which puppies will end up with what homes and new owners. Wish us luck, it'll be a long day :)
So, they are all eating up near the house and I don't have to always deal with pesty bugs near the back of the yard. They are eating dry kibble now and just drinking water. Yeah! Here's two of the puppies cleaning each other (we may say they're kissing) after eating. This was so sweet. Here's Bella coming to break up a fight that was getting loud. She's been such a good mother. Still will let all of them nurse, which is very gentle and caring of her.
As she leaves to retreat back to her privacy, sure enough, Ms. Light Green is there trying to climb up and join her. She's quite the outgoing little girl.
Puppies at the gate. You can't have a litter without getting one of these shots with them all clamoring to be set free!
So I got out the REAL CAMERA instead of always taking pictures from my phone because it's always in my pocket. Here are some shots from today.
Please don't ask me who is who....but, I am thinking I need the help of someone and I can take some individual shots with labels so there's no mixup :)
On another note: I am culling my flock of Shetlands this year more severely than in the past. And so a buyer is on his way to pick up maybe 8 of them tonight. Some older ewes and some of the lambs. These are going without papers, but it's always a bit sad to see animals you've taken care of leave your home. I wish them a good long life!
These just came in from the friends who came to feed the puppies on Friday. Yeah, I need to take my camera out there and some more close ups. But thanks to Ginny, Kel and Chris, all were taken care of while I was out picking up a ram in MN.
Bella sitting atop her dog house in the adjacent kennel. It's her favorite place to be, besides in the house.
Yesterday I wanted to see how they'd do out of one bowl, with softened kibble and then put harder kibble in the other when they were done. They pigged out and clearly they can't be comfortably fed out of one of the bowls, despite the fact that they are huge bowls. Back to splitting it up. They finished one and moved over to the other. The one with spots on her was not bugs or dirt, it was kibble imbedded in her hair. Nice.....but they are great today.
Yesterday puppies were 4 weeks old! Hard to believe how fast the weeks have gone by and all that's happened. They have teeth now, all of them. They all got wormed for the first time yesterday and nobody liked it :) And they all got their nails cut again as they grow so fast. We have now changed over entirely to regular whole milk, still with some baby rice cereal in it and last night at dinner time I switched 1/3 of the solid to pulverized puppy chow so their bodies can adjust to it slowly. Each day I will add a little more of that and soon there will be no more rice cereal only puppy food in the warm milk. Then it's on to larger pieces and less milk, changing over to eventually to no milk and only water, then reducing the water until they're eating just dry food. This all takes place within the next couple of weeks. By 7 weeks, they will be eating only dry food and taking in their own water.
Here they are sill clamoring after the last bits of milk in the bowls. Then some begin to clean each other, it's very sweet to watch. Got to get every bit off the face you know! Just a little cuddling while licking faces. One dirty wet puppy. Nothing I can do, they are dogs and just roll around in the dirt and food. These two were sitting right at my feet, doing their grooming. Then of course, you know what comes next, they poop. Bella for her part, does clean up some of them but she's getting tired of that job. And then she's off, ready to get some away time in the adjoining kennel and they fall asleep until next time. They're beginning to romp with each other, pouncing on some toys out there, drinking from the water pan, acting like growing puppies. Life is good.
Well, we got the wooden gate barrier put in today. It's high enough so puppies can't climb up it and for now Bella has some help with old wooden spools as jumping off points. She could clear it if she didn't have her teats hanging down. As time goes on, she'll be able to....and puppies will be able to get on those spools too, but that's a bit down the road yet. She enjoyed some time today in the adjacent kennel, one that she likes. And it wasn't too hot today.
Here she is standing and you can clearly see the 2 puppies reaching up to nurse. So she needs to be able to get away from them at times. Here they all are at the gate after dinner tonight. Everyone is eating out of the bowl very well. We will be done using any of the goat's milk formula tomorrow and totally just using whole milk. Monday they will get wormed as they will be 4 weeks old. Gosh, the time has really gone by fast.
And finally, day is done. She decided to lay down and was swarmed by the continually hungry puppies. She has done a very nice job of mothering. She works hard at licking and cleaning up their faces after eating. All ten of them immerse their faces in the food bowls and are covered in wet. They they climb all over one another getting it on their backs etc. Some are sticky. And they're outside so rolling in the few dirt patches in the dog run. There actually is a fair amount of grass there but of course, they find the one or two bald spots. So be it, they are dogs!
OK, so I just wanted to go out and see how the puppies were doing. They're very quiet and sleep most of the day. I let Bella out of her jail for a bit and I sat with them. They all came scurrying over to me and it's hard to resist their little faces. I can see some looking more like each other vs. another set that are different. We'll have to wait and see what time produces. But here are some more pictures. Yes, they really are this cute!
Puppies are bigger than you might think, pretty frisky today.
Doing a bit of wrestling with one another.Just moving around following my call.
Uh Oh, Mom entered the kennel. Making a mad dash for her. Everyone went back to their own thing then.
At least all 10 are in this picture.Bella cannot get far away from their wants and needs.
Yes, they are big enough to sit up and suck.
She finally resigned herself to the job at hand
and sat down. In a few days, we will put the barrier up for
her to get away from them at her discretion during the day
and keep her with them fully during the night time.
Ah, so it finally happened. Rosie took out a chicken yesterday! She has been known to chew some feathers off backs of some of them, but it was never fatal. I had been watching her and spending a lot of time outside with animals, but then came in to work on the blog. And an hour later, I went out to check and sure enough, one of the hens was dead. So even tho Rosie is working out well with the sheep, she was not the dog to leave with chickens also. This brought a dilemma as to where to put who.....so I made the choice to move Rosie out to a smaller front pasture with the rams and wethers. She's been living with them so that's not an issue, at least so far. And then move my ewes and lambs back into the larger pasture out back. And I decided to move Gracie (6 year old Tatra) back with them. I had moved her into that pasture previously but she didn't react well. Was very nervous. Yet that was a few years ago. She just seemed so much more relaxed when she lived out front, regardless of what sheep were there with her. This time I have 3 month old lambs with their moms. But I took a chance and put her back with the ewes and chickens. The only problem was the other dogs in the adjacent yard barking at her because they really don't see her up close. She's always been out front. Now she is just across a fence. But they calmed down well enough throughout the afternoon. And for her part, Gracie was just the calmest girl. She was calm with the sheep, she was calm with the chickens and she even was calm with the one cat. The other cats kept their distance.
A little history: Gracie was imported from Poland, but has some eye issues and one bad hip. She lived in the house as a pet for the first 2 years of her life. But after I put Quincy outside, I decided she might also belong outside. Yet she would run up and down the fence line, barking all day long at the sheep on the other side. It was relentless and drove me crazy. Finally, after about a year of this (yes, a year!) I decided to move her by some sheep and just see what happened. Well, nothing could have surprised me more, she was fine with them. Maybe all along she had wanted to be with them vs. across the fence barrier. Duh!
Grace is inside the igloo with chickens near. Sheep are in the pasture off to the back right.Gracie asleep in the igloo.....what a good girl!
So the dog that I thought would be nothing but trouble has turned into a very decent girl and watchdog. We have coyotes here more than we ever thought possible (although not every night) and she's done her job well over time in never having one challenge her or the fence line. She's very relaxed and often does not even bark at people driving up. In fact, often she does not even wake up for it during the day. Just goes to show you that you never know what a dog will turn out to be if not given the chance. I am even hopeful that with her calm personality, she might be an example for one of these puppies as they get older and get placed with sheep. Good old Gracie Girl!!
Rosie out front now...she would not sit still nor go by the sheep as I wanted a nice photo!
So Rosie is not a chicken dog! That's ok. She's still doing a fine job with the sheep and not all dogs can be trusted with all livestock. Besides, she's still young and has that teenage streak in her. Maybe in another year.......we shall see!
I am a breeder of Polish Tatra Sheepdogs, a rare breed. I keep a flock of registered Shetland sheep. In 2008 we added laying hens to the farm. 2009 brought the first attempt at a garden and it's successful so far!