Here is another blog report from your favorite (I hope) guest writer. What a story I have to tell you! Remember those oh-so-cute puppies? Well guess whose barn they are living in?
Yup, all eleven plus momma!! Oh what a circus it is! The owner of this beautiful Maremma family had a very unfortunate (and painful) accident, where he severely fractured his elbow. Can you imagine trying to care for eleven puppies and their mom in that condition? So anyway, to make a long story short, the Maremma family came over to my farm on Sunday, March 22nd, after I enlisted the capable assistance of Kris and RB to help me remodel a portion of the barn as to provide appropriate living quarters.
They are doing splendidly, although me being me, I spend a good time agonizing over whether or not I am doing everything properly. I want to give many thanks to my sister and to my dog Kelsey’s former owner for their great advice and assistance regarding matters such as puppy worming and mom/puppy relations.
At first I had it set up so that momma could be with the puppies 24 hours a day, but also leave them if they got on her nerves too much. This past weekend, when they were four-and-a-half weeks old, I gave the pups the entire area and just let mom in to nurse them four times during the day and then left her in with them all night long. This seemed to suit her fine. Now, I keep her separated from the pups all day, and then she spends all night with them. This seems to make mom even happier, and she is very happy when I appear in the morning to free her from her pup-watching duties.
I feed the pups special softened puppy mash four times a day, and they also have dry kibble and water available at all times. I take momma out on four good hikes a day up on my hill pasture. I am keeping Momma and my dogs (Scout and Kelsey and sometimes Kris’ Connor) in a different orbit from Momma, as she believes I am HER person, and I am afraid that Scout will not agree with that assessment. She is much bigger (like three times his size) and much younger, even though he will tell you that he could take her down in a heartbeat. I detest any kind of canine conflict (or any kind of conflict to be honest). Consequently, this has me walking about a million miles a day with different groups of dogs, so no one has to worry about my exercise level!
Momma is living in my barn milkhouse while not on hikes or with the pups, as she does not appreciate cattle. The puppy area is adjacent to where the cattle are allowed to come in and drink and lounge about, and the cows were offended by Momma’s constant cussing and threats. Momma is absolutely great with the sheep and poultry, and she has been very gracious about letting all sizes and ages of people view her puppies, but cows are not her thing. After this winter, I am just about in total agreement with her. Cows are a big pain!
So anyway, the pups will be five weeks old tomorrow, April 1st, and they are thriving. I have not yet picked out my pup, but Kris has ordered special puppy collars for them, so it will be easier to tell them apart. There are six girls, and I hope that one will be my Bess. Picking her out will be difficult. Maybe you guys can help. Any tips? I want a pup that most importantly will get along with Scout, Kelsey, and Connor.
By the way, did Kris mention that amidst all my stress (which has been lots!), yesterday I looked out the window and saw that crazy Connor running along my Quonset Hut roof!
Okay, back to the subject of puppy picking….the pup (once she grows up) should protect me, my dogs, my chickens, and my sheep from anyone with evil intentions. That means watch out fox! The pup should like to hang around the farm and not wander off, and she should be kind to all of my friends and family. That is what I am looking for. If my pup is anything like her sweet, intelligent, and kind mother, I will be lucky indeed.