Wow, watching the sun slowly rise, and the sound of the dawn chorus while sitting with Bella as she feeds her pups, has been a real eye opener. Nature is just amazing and this experience a privilege. Tiny squeaks and smacking sounds as the pups manouver around and over each other for a good position, little yelps of satisfaction as they get lucky and find a teat. Aaaah! Loud squeals, indignant when Bella decides to roll them over for a wash and clean up, and panicked screams when one finds itself away from the warm huddle.
That's where I come in, as a first time mum, Bella has yet to learn how to manage looking after the others and dealing with the one that inevitably gets away! It's been my job to rescue and return pups to the warmth of the huddle. OH and I are supposed to take turns, but I seem to get the night shift!
We have a warming box in the whelping pen to gather up sleepy pups and sometimes we give Bella just a few at a time to make it easier. Little Blue collar has climbed out several times, he will be one to watch! Yellow collar was the first born and she seems to be the first one awake each time and off crawling around til she finds Bella, very determined. Little Pink has the loudest squeal and is a right moaning minnie, seems to sing to herself as she suckles. Red and Green boys were the lightest at birth weighing 9.2 oz each but have both put on around 4 oz. Lilac and Purple boys were the heaviest at 13 oz at birth but sleeping and suckling is all they need and they're both nearly a pound now. White collar was the last born, yet is almost as determined as the first and homes in on Bella as if she's got Sat Nav. Turquoise and Orange are two of the quietest, sleepy pups and we make sure they get a turn at the milk bar.
So Bella is doing brilliantly, feeding and cleaning her pups like a pro. We invite her out of the pen often for a break and a cuddle from us, and she dashes out into the garden for a comfort break. The vet bed we're using is amazing, it's warm and cosy and keeps clean allowing any liquid to be absorbed by the newspaper underneath. I am so glad we got two, so we can wash one everyday, and they dry in an hour too. Bella is interested as always in everything that goes on in the kitchen, except when I get the vacuum cleaner out, she takes that as her cue to leave. She's not frightened of it, but is used to being told "get out of the way!" She is ever watchful as we cook and looks so yummy, with big pleading eyes. I'm sure she enjoys all the attention (and the tidbits!)
I am supplementing her food intake with a milk substitute called Whelpi and she loves it, but we often have to feed her in the pen as she is reluctant to leave her babies for long. We have managed to get her out (with sister Maya) for a proper walk about 6pm, but she is anxious to get back within 20 minutes.
I take that opportunity to weigh each pup to check they are all thriving and so far so good!