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Thursday, February 24, 2011

U Litter - 4 weeks

The U Litter have made their debut and are now full-fledged members of the Chaparral Pack.
Everyone was excited, especially Erquy, and with noses to the ground the are exploring their new world.

 #1 Male

#3 Male

#2 Male

#4 Female

#5 Female

Another week and they will be introduced to the great outdoors.  Hopefully by then the snow will be gone!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Petits Bassets meet Petits Bergers

Bonjour!  ..............   Bonjour!

Can we come out to play too?


Monday, February 14, 2011

Z Litter - 4 weeks old

Toys are of big interest at this age.   Especially ones that make some sort of noise.  I guess it brings out the predator in them and they have some real good wrestling matches with their little inanimate toy of choice. :-)))
Some of our lovely nieces and nephew were visiting on the weekend.  Great for the puppies to meet new people, play with the kids and be cuddled beyond what they thought they could endure.  


#1  male.  He is the biggest of the two weighing in at over 4 lbs.

#2 male is slightly smaller and a pound less. 
These two haven't yet been outside but it will probably be the middle of the week when they are ready for the big step (literally, there is a big step to the outside patio).

Y Litter - 5 weeks old

After weeks of bone-chilling cold weather and week after week of snow the temperature rose to a balmy -1C.  On this sunny day the puppies turned 5 weeks old and we introduced them to the great outdoors.  Each puppy seemed so happy to finally be in their element which seemingly has no boundaries, great expanses of white stuff under their paws and the company of the entire pack.   They all spent a lot of time eating snow, sniffing, and grabbing any passing milk bar that happened to walk by. 

With having 3 litters on the go there is a lot of maternal instinct floating around and none of the mothers mind who is nursing off of them.   This will make weaning next to impossible but they all seem to enjoy their puppy kibbles, meat and bones so I am not concerned. 

#1 Male puppy.  He is easy to distinguish with his striking black mask. 

#3 female playing with a toy.  She is just slightly smaller than her sister.

# 1 Male at the back  and #4 female in the foreground (they love the sheepskin rug in the crate)

U Litter - 3 weeks old

What a wonderful litter of puppies these are!   Finally all have their eyes open and are anxious to explore their little world and interact with me and the other dogs.  They are generally very quiet and content, except when they smell their mother nearby and are so curious when another dog comes to the whelping box to see what is going on.   No hesitation about visiting strangers and already are trying to peak over the edge of their box.   They are all nice and sturdy.  The two girls are slightly smaller than the boys.  I can't wait for them to be running around and watch their antics.  They already have good motor skills and cover the ground quickly in the whelping box. 
Almost time to make a break for it!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Summer Run at the Park....and run and run and run!

Just a short sampling of their energy level!

Winter Hike

Yesterday we were treated to a visit by Angela and her pack of dogs.  Of course, everyone knows the famous disc dog champion, agility athlete, and star of the stage's..... "Rally".  It is always good to see Rally and I am always amazed at his repertoire of tricks.  This is the most talented dog I know of!  His newest cohort, Gypsy (a daughter of Hoopla) continues to charm me.  I have been missing her since she went to live with Angela but apparently the feeling was not mutual as her loyalties truly are with Angela now.  I guess she's more fun and always has a pocket full of treats (so maybe it is just cupboard love :-)))   Angela also brought her Newfie, Border Collie (another famous disc dog champion) and her French Spaniel. 

We played with the puppies for a bit and then went on a wonderful hike in the fields.  The dogs had a great time running through the snow but as the temperature was hovering at the freezing mark the snowballs started to form and by the end of the walk the pyr sheps were burdened down down pounds of snowballs stuck to their legs.  But, apparently, in their eyes it is always worth the bother and I had a great opportunity to chat with Angela about all her adventures with Rally.

Y Litter - 4 weeks old

Our Y litter is starting to sparkle with personality now.  When they wake up I take a side off of the whelping box and they start to integrate themselves into the Chaparral Pack.  They are greeted with great enthusiasm by some, and a little hesitation by others.  Of course, with mother in the background it is always best to err on the side of caution for some of the dogs.  But, Pooka2 doesn't seem to mind them adventuring into new territory.   They venture into the kitchen now where so we have to watch out for them under foot.  They are tiny little things!  I could sit for hours and watch their antics.  They find lots to play with and chew on.  The world is their oyster but they still only stay awake for 15 minutes and then they are exhausted, have a comforting suck at Mama and drift back into dreamland.

Their newest experience is with solid food.  Although their teeth are barely coming in they are anxious to gobble up meat, kibbles and even have a chew on a marrow bone they may come across.  Our toes are also a favorite and they love to play wrestling with each other and with our hands.

The girls picking on their brother.

Male #1 .  The first to venture into unknown territory.

Male #2 prefers to stay on familiar ground and play tug-o-war with a new-found toy.

The brother makes his escape and so the girls rough-house with each other.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Z Litter - 3 weeks old

Our two little "Z" boys still sleep a lot.  When they are awake there is lots of playing and growling at one another.  Their teeth are starting to break through but they won't start eating solid food for another week. 
Funny thing happened on the way to getting older.........their tails didn't keep up!  Still short little stumpy tails the same size as when they were born.   Always something new or unique with the Pyr Sheps! 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Story of "Chicken-with-lips"

I was enjoying my chickens this morning and had my camera in my coat pocket so I took a few pictures.  We have a variety of breeds, French Maran, Chanteclar, Arucana, some crosses, and one very unique girl.......Chicken-with-lips.

Chicken-with-lips is our best broodie hen.  She would hatch out anything you put under her, and then some.   She has raised many, many chicks for us.  She isn't a big hen but she's spunky, to say the least.  

Last year I was away up at our new farm and left my chickens in the care of a neighbour.  I often take them to the farm with me as I have built a new chicken house for them and they love to wander around the new property but this time I left them at home as I was only going to be gone a few days.  One evening I received a phone call from my neighbour telling me that something had killed one of my chickens.  I drove home the next morning to find 5 dead chickens, 3 of which were my prize Chanteclars, as well as two injured chickens.  It looked like either a fox or a raccoon had cause this massacre.  

The two injured chickens were a  young Chanteclar hen and my little black broodie hen who had been broodie and sitting on an imaginary clutch of eggs.  The Chanteclar hen had half the side of her head quite damaged and my little black hen had the end of her beak chewed off causing it to split apart.  She also sustained a little damage to her head but nothing life-threatening. 

I brought the two hens into the house to keep them extra warm and to watch them while they recover.  My young Chanteclar was in shock.  She had a lot of damage to her skull and one eye so I gave her some water with a syringe and slathered her skull with neosporin (antibacterial gel) daily.  My little black hen, although having the damage to her beak, seemed to be more upset because I had taken her off her brooding nest.  I also gave her some water and stuffed some mash down her crop.  The next day the Chanteclar was still in shock and would not eat or drink anything so I started to force feed her as well. This nursing continued on for five days and then I saw the Chanteclar hen take some water on her own.  She couldn't see out of one eye and so found it difficult to get her aim on the food but at least she was eating and drinking on her own so she was on the road to recovery.  The little black hen still could not eat or drink on her own so I continued to assist her.  This continued for 3 weeks and then the Chanteclar was healed enough to go back with the other hens.  Surprisingly, the skin seemed to be growing back over her skull and her eye seemed to be repairing as well! 

Our little black hen was feeling well as I continued to feed her but she still could not grasp the food.  She would only peck the food as though she still had a long beak so she never actually 'hit' the food.  So I had to still shove food down her throat daily.  Finally, after 3 weeks of holding handfuls of fine grain up to her mouth and pouring it in she started to grab at it herself.  I guess it took this long for her brain to retrain the distance from the end of her beak to the food!  Then just when I think all is going well, the little that was left of her beak seemed to just dry up and fall off completely so she had no beak at all.  But, by then she was eating and drinking on her own. 

Hopefully she'll hatch out many more baby chicks for us all to enjoy in the future.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Y Litter 3 weeks old

These boys and girls are becoming lots of fun to watch.  They are becoming more active and playing with one another.  They love to explore new things, like this metal bowl from their mother's dinner.  They will play with my hands and give lots of licks.  I watch them starting to throw their weight around with each other and hear their little barks and growls.  In the last couple of days their hearing has kicked in and so they wake up to more of the sounds in the household and I can wake them up by calling their name(s) "Puppy, puppy".  

Most obvious is watching their little tails wag with great enthusiasm.  As was the tradition, tails were usually docked by the shepherds for various practical reasons.  We did have the tails docked from the pups in our first couple of litters.  In Europe the movement to ban tail docking and ear cropping for ethical reasons was afoot and eventually most European countries did ban this practice altogether.   It was becoming apparent to me that the same concerns were growing in Canada and although these procedures are not banned the acceptability was being questioned by some.  But, the debate still rages in North America.

We stopped docking tails and cropping ears many years ago and part of our breeding programs' efforts go into trying to produce puppies with correct natural tails and ears.  I have heard some concerns that a 'show dog' needs to be cropped or docked to be successful in the show ring.  These claims have been proven false by the many successful showdogs with natural tails and ears.  Many agility and other performance event competitors prefer a puppy with a tail to help with balance and it has been my experience over the last decade that all potential owners want the tail left on their puppy.

What cuties!!

Z Litter -- Eyes Open!

Our two boys have their eyes open now and our 'big boy' is the biggest of all the puppies, even bigger than those that are one week older!  But, to be fair, the other puppies are not huge puppies to begin with.  He is a real character though.  Very opinionated about what goes on in his little world but not flustered by anything.  I can imagine him bulldozing his way through life--but in a kind sort of way!

U Litter 1 week old

The hound puppies are growing like weeds.  Their bellies are always full and Sissie is a terrific mother.   They sleep and eat, sleep and eat and sleep and eat.