April 17, 2009
April 17, 2009
Raven is the proud and very good mother of seven delightful collie puppies. We have six bitches and one dog, born on 14/04/09. I’m going to make this a short post for now (too much puppy stuff to do!) but will definitely be writing more in the near future. Anyway, who wants to read what I have to think when there are puppy pics to be seen…..
March 28, 2009
I weighed Raven yesterday morning to see how much pregnancy weight she had gained. It LOOKS like she’s gained about a stone, but that’s because I’m so used to her being a lean machine. Anyway, it turns out she’s only gained about 5 lb. Pre-pregnancy she weighed about 35 lb and now she weighs 40 lb. Pregnant bitches are meant to gain 15-25% in weight, based on their pre-pregnancy weight. Raven is in her sixth week (six weeks and two days to be precise) and has gained roughly 12% so far, so she can safely gain another 5-6lb in her final three weeks of pregnancy. Seeing as she’s having a litter of nine (I think/hope), which is a fairly generous size, I’m guessing she’s going to push out her weight gain to the upper end of the scale and reach 120-125% of her pre-pregnancy weight.
Of course, I couldn’t weigh Raven without also weighing Freya and Deavyn: that would just be unfair (or so they thought). They made it very clear that I would not be leaving their room until they had also received this marvellous-looking ‘super-fuss’ Raven had just received…. “We get picked up and then mum stands on a tiny platform, with us in her arms, and we repeatedly get told to ‘Stop wriggling!’ whilst she attempts to peer over our furry bulk to try and read the miniscule numbers that appear magically on the tiny platform……we’ll have some of that!” I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to know that Deavyn weighs 35 lb and Freya (b-i-g collie lady) weighs 42 lb.
Raven looked on at the weighing extravaganza smugly, as though she knew all this super-fun was down to her.
March 25, 2009
Raven had her scan a week ago. Keith from Fit and Fertile brought his expert self round to our house, with his magnificently compact pup-counting/reproductive-health-checking machine, more commonly known as a portable ultrasound. My friend Simon was present because he was just as eager as me to know how many puppies Raven is expecting (she is his favourite collie lady, but we keep this quiet from the other two gorgeous collie ladies – Freya and Deavyn). Having done a fair bit of research into dog breeding over the years, I am fairly familiar with the positioning of the pups in the bitch’s uterine horns, and knew Keith would scan one side and then turn Raven round and scan the other side to obtain a total puppy count. Simon was not so familiar with this procedure and thought the first count (from just one side) was the total count. “I suppose four pups will be easier to manage than a bigger litter,” he said, quite disappointedly. “Mwa ha ha ha, Simon,” I thought to myself smugly (usually I might have said this out-loud, but I was trying to keep up the masquerade of ‘dignified and sensible dog breeder’ while Keith was on the premises) and kept quiet while Keith turned Raven round and scanned her other side. When he then informed us that there were a further five puppies on t’other side, Simon, taken aback, exclaimed “Nine??” and, still keeping up my dignified masquerade, I, even more taken aback, thought to myself “Nine????” but out-loud said, dignifiedly, “Nine? How lovely, isn’t Raven clever?”
After Keith had gone (the whole process took less than ten minutes), Simon and I exclaimed to each other and to ourselves randomly and increduously throughout the day – “Nine??”
For a first litter, I was expecting around six pups, even though I hoped for lots more, 101 Dalmatians-style. Nine is a lovely amount of pups. Enough to keep you busy and feel like you have your hands most definitely full, but not enough to drive you down the long and arduous path of insanity.
Keith also said everything seemed perfectly normal and healthy in Raven’s sleek collie belly. Goodo.
March 16, 2009
I’d always planned to breed from Raven – she’s from excellent Welsh working sheepdog stock and of great character and temperament – but had the awful procrastinating habit of always putting it off “until next season.” Not so in February 2009!
Whilst having my horses shod by the wonderful farrier that is Paul Smith – who is always in the company of his charming and virile Jack Russell dog, Henry – he and I decided Raven was definitely ready to be mated now. It was as Raven presented herself to the unwitting and two-foot-too-short Henry most un-elegantly that Paul uttered the immortal words “You want to get that a seeing-to,” and, subsequently, never one to ignore the revered wisdom of a farrier and Master of Foxhounds, I did just that.
Catching Raven at the peak moment of ovulation, and therefore at her most fertile, was very important. The fact she was at her twelfth day of season and offering herself so wantonly to Henry (a dog she had previously only relished in chasing and barking at) was a surefire sign that she had hit her ‘peak’ moment and no time could be wasted in finding an appropriate (and taller) suitor.
Ideally, I wanted a working farm dog to do the business, but such a dog would be more likely found through word of mouth (i.e. numerous phone calls, waiting a couple of days for someone who ‘might-know-of-a-nice-dog-but-I’m-not-sure’ to call back, etc, etc) and time was of the essence! The internet proved a God-send in finding a nice enough chap for Raven and I settled on ‘Ghost’ – a blue and white KC registered male with a successful flyball/agility/obedience background. In hindsight, I’m very happy I took Raven to be mated with Ghost rather than a farm dog, I don’t think I could have found a dog with a nicer temperament or a nicer owner – Christina Burdett (who also runs obedience classes) and her friend Kayleigh ensured Raven and Ghost had two wonderfully romantic evenings together – both times in the ambient setting of a Stockport car porch, once on February 11th and with a second mating on February 13th (Raven’s birthday!).
Christina provided me with a list of very informative and useful websites. I am hungry for knowledge, seeing as both Raven and I are new to all this pregnancy lark. Out of all the sites, I found Debbie Jensen‘s site to be the most comprehensive for experienced and first-time breeders alike.
I had to wait a few weeks for the first signs of pregnancy, which was slightly agonizing, but I was soon rewarded with rib splay, b-i-g teats and a swollen vulva (on Raven, not me). To ensure Raven was pregnant and get a count so we knew roughly how many puppies to expect, I contacted Keith at Fit and Fertile to arrange a doggy scan in Raven’s very own home. More on this next….