Tachi's puppies are 1 week old! Though their pictures may look similar to their introductory post, they have grown a lot in just one week. Below are the puppies - click on their pictures to go to their individual pages.
A day in the life of a newborn puppy involves eating, sleeping (lots of sleeping!), and seeking warmth.
The puppies cannot see or hear, but they can move. They propel themselves all around looking for food and warmth. Below is Zeke swimming while I was trying to take his 1 week photo.
The puppies are also growing stronger each day. Their little bellies do not get off the ground as they "swim," but they can lift their heads - a skill Tracker shows off below.
Our care for the puppies at this stage involves keeping their area clean and taking the best care possible of their Mama - their sole source of nutrition. With 10 puppies, we were not sure Tachi would be able to feed all of them. We've been weighing them frequently, and Tachi's is doing a fabulous job. We have not supplemented the puppies at all. Zuma, who entered the scene as one of the smallest at 5 ounces, now weighs in at a whopping 12 ounces! He has by far been the fastest gainer, but he still isn't the largest - that prize goes to Chester and Amelia at 13 ounces. Tracker is the smallest at 9 ounces. In between we have Faith at 10 ounces; Zeke and Ivan at 11 ounces; and JD, Auggie, and Everest at 12 ounces (along with Zuma). A milestone we watch for is doubling their birthweight by 7-10 days. Zuma has surpassed this milestone, and the rest are on track to meet it by day 10.
We are still in awe of Tachi's ability to produce enough milk for the crew. We feed her as much as she'll eat of her Life's Abundance food, and coax her to eat more by adding ground turkey, rice, eggs, and goat milk. She spends nearly every minute - waking and sleeping - with her babies. She has their black coats glossy clean and their little tummies round with milk.
We watch the puppies for signs of health everyday - weight gain, sleeping in a pile, twitching while sleeping, and nursing with a good, content latch. We are thrilled to see lots of healthy signs from these puppies.
A big event in the puppies' week was a routine trip to the vet to get their tails docked and dew claws removed. Below are the puppies in a laundry basket for easy transport to the vet.
Our children are eager to their hands on these little guys, but we make them wait until their eyes are open. Right now, I handle them every day, but they are too fragile for little hands.
We feel so blessed; hope to see you back next week for week 2 and EYES!
Some new life arrives quietly without anyone noticing, such as was the case with the calla lily outside my window. Other new life arrives with much fanfare and excitement - enter 10 new mini schnauzer puppies into the world!
Yes, you read and counted correctly - TEN! Tachi and Cooper had 10 puppies on August 8, 2019. Tachi had an ultrasound during her pregnancy that simply revealed she was having multiples. (It is difficult to count puppies on an ultrasound.) As the pregnancy progressed, I estimated she was having 6 or 7. However, in the last week, based upon her size, I knew it was going to be a large litter. But 10? That's almost unheard of for mini schnauzers.
Here they are with their birth weights and name stories. As holding with our tradition, each of our five children gets to name and claim a puppy as "theirs" while they are here at Russell Homestead.
Chester is a salt and pepper boy that weighed 8 ounces at birth. He is named after Chester the cricket from A Cricket in Times Square (a book we recently enjoyed as a family read-aloud).
Tracker is a salt and pepper boy who tipped the scales at 5 ounces (tie for the smallest in the litter with his brother, Zuma). CJ wanted the smallest puppy, as did his brother, JJ. I told them there are two little "twins" they can have as theirs for 8 weeks. CJ named him in honor of the Chihuahua on Paw Patrol.
Zuma is a salt and pepper boy who entered the world at 5 ounces (tie for the smallest in the litter with his brother, Tracker). JJ named and claimed him because he also wanted the smallest puppy. He chose Zuma in honor of the chocolate lab on Paw Patrol.
Zeke is a black & silver boy who weighed 8 ounces at birth. He is named in honor of Ezekiel, the prophet in the Old Testament. Out of every litter, we choose at least one Bible name to recognize God as the creator of life.
Amelia, the only salt & pepper girl, came into the world at 8 ounces. AJ chose her as his and named her in honor of Amelia Bedelia.
Ivan is a black & silver boy who debuted at 8 ounces. He is named after his sire, who we affectionately call "Cooper Ivan" at times. He is EJ's puppy for the 8 weeks we get to enjoy them.
JD, a black & silver boy, tipped the scales at 8 ounces. Unlike his 3 black & silver brothers, he has no white on his chest at all. He is named after John Dennis in the Great Brain series that we read as a family.
Auggie, a black & silver boy, joined the family at 7 ounces. He is named for being born in the month of August. (Isn't his pink nose adorable?)
Faith, a black & silver girl, came into the world weighing 7 ounces. She is named after her dam, whose full name is Tachianna Faith.
Everest is a black & silver girl who weighed 8 ounces at birth. She was named by MJ in honor of the husky from Paw Patrol.
Tachi's labor and delivery went well, and all 10 puppies looked fabulous at birth. We are monitoring Tachi and the puppies closely. We keep her whelping area as clean as possible by changing the bedding several times a day. We take Tachi's temperature at least twice a day and make sure she is getting lots of food and water. We weigh the puppies 3-4 times a day. With such a large litter, we are ready and waiting to supplement any that show signs of needing extra. Thus far, they are all maintaining or gaining without supplementing. Only Faith dipped a bit under her birthweight, but came back up within hours. All the puppies show healthy signs of swimming (propelling themselves around looking for food and warmth), twitching while sleeping, sleeping in a pile, and making adorable little squeaks and squeals.
Out of the litter, 4 are salt & pepper like Tachi and 6 are black & silver like Cooper. We can tell this by looking at their ears and their sides. The salt & peppers have tan/silver hair on their ears and sides, while the black & silver do not. Below, Ameila on the left is salt & pepper and Faith on the right is black & silver.
We feel overwhelming blessed! Thanks for stopping by and enjoying new life with us today.
It’s the goats’ turn to say “hello” on the blog. We’ve had an interesting goat year. Life with goats is usually interesting!
Our herd continues to change as we work on getting the best dairy genetics to meet our needs. We began the 2019 year with 3 does – Nickel, Llama, and Lily. We also kept our 2018 breeding buck – Captain. We typically get a buck for fall breeding and sell him again (due mostly to our small space and a buck’s trademark bad smell). This year, however, we weren’t one percent sure Captain had done his job, and we liked his genetics and his disposition – so he stayed. He kicked off the year with a case of “bottle jaw.” His symptoms began with foam coming out of his mouth – not a lot and not all the time, but consistently over time. We also found a hard lump on his jaw bone. After talking to our vet, we decided he had bottle jaw – an infection in his jaw bone. The lump was a growth of his jaw bone around the infection and the foam was a result of not being able to chew right due to the infection and the lump. Our vet told us to treat him with antibiotics. He said it is hard to treat because the infection is in the bone; he didn’t give us much hope that Captain would recover. After 2 weeks of penicillin, Captain improved! He had no more foam and his overall health seemed better. The lump on his jaw will remain because it is actual bone growth, but the symptoms of the infection are gone. We were very thankful for his speedy and easy recovery!
Let me back up and say that we test our does for pregnancy in the fall to be sure our buck has done his job. To test them, we draw blood and send it off to Precision Diagnostics. Last fall, we could only get blood on Lily. Since her test came back positive for pregnancy, we hoped (but doubted) Captain had done his job with the other 2. As spring progressed, we became more doubtful that Nickel and Llama were bred. Lily delivered 2 bucklings on March 15 – Socks & Bright (see photos below).
We bottle fed them and sold them when they were almost weaned. We were excited to finally have goat milk again! This was Lily’s second kidding. Her first time around, she had only produced a half a gallon of milk (a good milk goat should produce a gallon a day). We knew that a goat’s first year is not necessarily their full potential, so we decided to give Lily a second go of things. This year, she barely got to a peak of half of a gallon and quickly dropped off to not even producing enough to feed her babies. Though we loved her pedigree and personality, we decided we did not want to keep those production genetics in our herd. We found a perfect home for her with someone who was okay with her low production.
Around the same time we sold Lily, we decided we need to know if Nickel and Llama were bred. A friend of ours assisted us with the blood draws and soon found out that Nickel was and Llama wasn’t. So, looking at the prospect of only one goat in milk, we decided to buy another one. We went back to Llama’s breeder because she is hands-down my favorite goat in the herd. Unknown to us, Llama’s breeder had just announced she’s selling her whole herd. We decided to purchase Lassie - a niece of Llama’s – and Lassie’s newborn doeling. Lassie had delivered twins on a Thursday late in May, and we picked her up Saturday. The one twin had not survived and the second one was not doing well. The breeder advised us that she may be selenium deficient. She said she wouldn’t administer selenium yet, but wait to see if the problem resolved itself. We took Lassie and Little Lassie home, doubtful that Little Lassie would survive, but ready to give it our all. We bottle fed her and watched her joints (selenium deficiency results in weak joints). She steadily improved to walking correctly, but she always walked as though she had arthritis. Our hopes for her survival soared, but, suddenly, after 2 weeks of doing well, she could not longer stand. We started selenium tablets, but we were too late. Little Lassie seemed to have lost all control of her legs and, sadly, she passed away.
While Little Lassie’s story didn’t end happily, Lassie’s did! It is always a risk bringing a new goat into your herd. Goats do not handle stress and moving well. Lassie had a lot of stress – delivering kids Thursday, losing one, moving to a new home on Saturday, and learning to be milked. She never missed a beat, milks like a champ, and has fit into our herd well. She’s producing a half a gallon a day and seems to increasing as her appetite grows.
And, we can’t forget faithful Nickel – she delivered 2 bucklings on May 24. We named them Wilbur and Orville and began bottle feeding them. We had decided we were going to keep one of Nickel or Llama’s doelings this spring. Well, Llama didn’t get bred and Nickel had boys. So, we thought we’d just keep Little Lassie, who didn’t survive. In the midst of all this, Nickel’s buckling Wilbur wormed his way into all our affections and we decided to keep him. He’s quite the character! We sold his brother, Orville, as a bottle baby to a family looking to have their children raise a goat.
So, that brings us to the current. We are milking Lassie and Nickel twice a day. Llama doesn’t quite understand why she doesn’t get a turn on the milking stand, but judging by her growing belly, she might have kids in the next few months. Spring breeding doesn’t usually happen with Nubians, but we’ll see. Captain hangs out with the ladies and doesn’t have a bad smell yet because he’s only 1 year old. Wilbur is still on the bottle and he thinks, perhaps, he a person or maybe a dog, as we are his “herd” right now. We plan to put him in with the bigger goats once he’s weaned.
Looking back on the spring, we feel very blessed! Captain has fully recovered from his bottle jaw, we had 2 easy deliveries with healthy kids, we have lots of milk in our fridge, and we learned a few more things about raising goats.
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
Independent Field Representative