Hello from Russell Homestead! Things have been busy around the homestead as the puppies aren’t the only new life – we had some goat kids born on February 19 and 20; including a set of triplets!
The puppies are growing and changing! The first 2-3 weeks are the “sleepy weeks” where the puppies pile together and snooze their days away. They are only awake for very short periods of time. Then, as their eyes and ears open around two weeks old, they are suddenly aware that there is life beyond the whelping box walls. Our children enjoy this stage when the puppies are awake and aware, but not chewing and bounding yet. It’s especially fun to cuddle them during this time because they love feeling warm and safe. (You will notice in the photos at the end of the post how the puppies like to snuggle in the crooks of arms or in blankets.)
As I mentioned before, we weigh daily to make sure the puppies are getting all they need. Picket & Benny remain the largest puppies, while Jo and Jax are the smallest. With such a large litter, the demand on Tachi for milk is high and peaks around 2.5-3 weeks before the puppies can begin lapping and getting any nutrition on their own. We noticed that over the weekend of the 18th-19th, Jo was not gaining weight. He had almost tripled his birth weight at the time but was starting to stall. He remained active, but his weight showed he needed some extra nutrition. We began offering him goat milk in a bottle as a supplement, which he took to immediately. The milk we give him is like a snack, as he remains with the litter and getting milk from Tachi as well. Once he started his snacking, his weight started to go back up.
With nine being a large litter for a miniature schnauzer, we monitor Tachi very closely to be sure she has all she needs. A mother dog provides all the nutrition for her puppies for the first weeks of life. Our way of “feeding” the puppies at this stage is to feed Tachi well. Although we do not free feed our mini schnauzers, a nursing mother is the exception. Tachi gets all the dry kibble she wants, and we make sure it is high quality. We chose Life’s Abundance because it is packed with nutrition rather than corn and wheat fillers. It’s made here in the USA, and there’s never been a recall on their food. We like and use Life's Abundance products so much that we are representatives for the company, and you can buy their products through us (ID 20249934).
In addition to dry kibble, she gets a Wellness Supplement and Fish Oil, both Life’s Abundance products. The supplement gives her an extra boost while the fish oil helps her coat and skin stay healthy.
Since Tachi has never had a large appetite (which is somewhat unusual for mini schnauzers), I also add some whole foods to her kibble to encourage her to eat. I add cooked ground venison and fresh goat milk provided by our very own ladies in the barn. With these added "encouragments" on her food, Tachi consumes enough calories to make milk for her crew. In the next week, we will begin the weaning process by offering goat milk and then Life’s Abundance Small and Medium Breed Puppy Food soaked in goat milk. If you are wondering why we use goat milk, it is because goat milk is gentle on stomachs. It enjoys a reputation as a milk that can be substituted for various species.
As you will see from the snapshots at the end of the post, socialization has begun in earnest! The children couldn’t wait to get their hands on these puppies. We make them wait to tote them around the house until their eyes and ears are open. Since that has happened, they are now allowed to carry them around to experience different parts of the house. Other than sleeping, eating, and being toted, the puppies are now beginning to play with each other and move around their whelping area. They are able to sit and take tottery steps. With the ability to move, comes the beginning of house training. We use the Misty Method to lay a solid foundation of the understanding of a place to sleep, play, and potty. At this stage, we put a potty box with newspaper right outside of the puppies' sleeping area because when little puppies wake up, they need to GO. They naturally try to potty by themselves, which means by instinct they will wander away from their siblings. We arrange it so that when they wander, the only place to go right now is the potty box. As they learn to go in there, we gradually open up the whelping area to include a play area. (You can read more about our house training process here and here.)
Thanks for stopping by; have a blessed week!
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