Meet the Parents... On Sept 27, 2008 Pearlie whelped 5 healthy, vigorous puppies. Sired by Maximus, our handsome black boy, she had 4 boys and 1 girl. 2 Black/tan boys, 1 Black/Tan girl and 2 Black/Tan parti boys. The chosen theme for this litter is song titles which include some reference to 'bird(s)' in the title. Their temporary call names are all varieties of sparrow....these will change as the new owners give them their permanent names. An example is "Elfin Eye On The Sparrow" aka "Lark".
HSDAA Jr & NAKC Int'l CH Elfin Just In Time "Maximus"
HSDAA & AKC BISS CH Feliz Perla De Las Antillas "Pearlie"
Newborn Silk Puppies!
The first breakfast...
Songbirds' Week one...what a difference a week makes. The little birds have almost doubled their birthweight, are now able to maintain their body temperature and are much more mobile. Our whelping box has a heated, foam bed in it which is important at this time of year. Our nights are getting very cool but days are warm so the bed is plugged in during the evening and unplugged as the air warms during the day. During the first week of life, puppies are unable to maintain their body temperature so external temperature is vitally important. A chilled puppy has little chance of survival.
At one week, the babies had their first nail trim and there was not so much as a whimper. We've been doing super puppy exercises daily to be sure that their little brains are stimulated early and Pearlie's been eating a diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oils) as research seems to indicate that milk rich in Omega 3's results in smarter babies. Watch out, we're raising little genius puppies who will, no doubt, keep owners on their toes keeping up with them!
By next weekend, eyes should be open...this is an easy week for me as I finally got back to my own bed (after sleeping on the floor next to the whelping box for the first week to keep a close eye on the babies during that critical period) as Pearlie does all the work and all we have to do is feed her (alot!) and change the sheets (egyptian cotton bath sheets...very plush!...thanks to a doting auntie who insisted that Diva Pearlie's Songbirds must have brand new linens.
The Songbirds in V formation!
The Songbirds, 1 week old.
Lark is the little girl.
Week 2, still in the nest...the baby birds are still in the nest but growing fast. Week 2 is a quiet week, nothing remarkable happens except for the opening of the eyes. So far Vesper (who gets the firsties award) and Harris have opened their eyes. Still waiting on the rest. It's such fun when their eyes open cause then they are looking back at you. Pearlie's being a great mom and must be giving cream instead of milk cause these little birds are FAT! That expression 'eats like a bird' is often mistaken for eating lightly...birds eat a LOT and the songbird chicks are no exception! Lark is now the smallest and Fox the largest. They got their nails cut again yesterday...little talons, sharp! Pearlie says, thank you! Their little coats are growing already..ruffles are forming! Soon they'll be all feathered out. Pigment on the partis is fantastic...Harris' nose is quite a contrast to that white face. And Vesper's muzzle continue to tan out and should lighten from black to tan as he grows. So far, they seem like a calm, mellow little bunch...very quiet, content.
Changes expected this week are the completion of eyes wide open and for the nest box to be removed in favor of the whole playpen being open, half bed, half piddle pad so they get used to separate potty area. Soft toys will also be added as they become more mobile and can see what is around them.
Look at Vesper looking at you!
Week Three...feathering out. What is that expression...'What a difference a day makes!"? Well, in Elfinland it's what a difference a week makes! The puppies are actually becoming puppies instead of little slugs. All ruffles and flourishes...silky soft coats sprouting into feathers and collars. They are becoming more mobile and, at three weeks have left the nestbox and branched out into the 'tree'. They now have the whole playpen, half bed and half piddle pads which they are using, a LOT. They are just beginning to have thoughts of 'play' and they are much more aware of their surroundings. When they first went into the playpen without the box they were a bit worried about all that open space but they are liking it now. We have TOYS, too...soft ones at this stage. They are just SO cute and they are eating like little pigs. Speaking of pigs, poor Pearlie looks like a sow...very buxom and she is chowing down over 4 cups of food/day keeping up with production!
Next weekend the babies will fledge the nest and move into the kitchen...big changes...food, friends, visitors in their future!
They used to fit in here...cooling it while their sheets are changed.
The Songbirds...autumn is here!
Week Four...big changes happening THIS week. It's been a very long week in Elfinland. Richi is still in the hospital and Doc came home from work on Monday to find Fox UNDER the playpen...the boy went over the wall. Raised the wall and that stymied our little explorer...but, it was time to set up new digs as the little birds were outgrowing their nest. They spread their little furry wings and flew into the kitchen...what a big new world...surrounded by the 'big' dogs, they have really taken to the new space. They are playing, wagging their little tails and getting to know the rest of the family.
First food...we introduced solid food this week but, with Mama Pearlie producing hi-test milk, they are not all that interested yet. Fox thought it was fun to walk in it, feeling the squishie stuff between his toes, which led to the next big adventure. Auntie Dionne came down from Northern VA to visit Richi and to come help with first grooming. Babies got their weekly pedicure and got the bottoms of their little feet clipped to improve traction, trim rears and eyes. They have such luxurious coats and very hairy feet!
Next weekend we're off to the National Specialty! Week after that, we'll be ready for visitors!
One step closer to running with the big Silks!
Week 5...the little birds are growing in many ways. They are gaining nicely, are growing glorious coats and growing their little brains and developing personalities. They are enjoying toys, learning to use puppy litter and are very good about piddle pads. The pen is no longer competely covered with pads as they learn to toddle on over to the potty area. Pearlie is still nursing regularly but they are eating both canned and kibble (still soaked) 4 times daily.
We missed last weekend for updating because we were in VA Beach at the National Specialty...we had a blast and our Elfin dogs did very well. Max and Ginny both got AOMs, Penny took BOS on Sunday and Ginny's dad, Andrew, took BOB on Sunday and Penny's dad, Curtis, won the National on Sat! I finally managed to take a few shots of the babies but will get a better update out this weekend for week 6.
Week 6 around the yard...the songbirds are spreading their wings! The weather and time constraints finally cooperated and the babies have been getting quality time getting to feel the grass under their feet and the scents of nature in their nostrils and they are loving it! They've been getting out to play daily, learning to run with the 'big' dogs and getting used to being picked on by bully girl Nina. Nina is beginning to think her name is "Nina LEAVE IT!" We had lots of visitors today and the puppies loved being the center of attention. Funniest thing was watching little Baird do runlikehell laps around the visitors. He'd blitz for about 5 feet then trip over the grass, tumble, spring up and resume the lap. What a cutie. They are gaining confidence and exploring their world, eating well and using both litter box and piddle pads well. Harris and Lark are the best at hitting the potty when peeing but they are all coming along. Fox is the most outgoing but they are all friendly. Vesper is the most thoughtful.
Today they got their first baths...they were amazing. Nary a complaint in the bath, only minor objections to the big stand dryer. They all accepted foot trimming, lying on their backs on my lap. Vesper won the 'cute' award when being dried...no whining but the most pitiful, mournful, howls...he actually raises his nose skyward, purses his lips and howls...it's heartmelting.
Pearlie is still nursing them several times daily but is most likely to visit them when they have food left over...she's the clean up crew. They have the most lush coats and pretty faces...Pearlie and Max did a great job!
Week 6...on the yard.
Week SEVEN...the little fledglings have reached another milestone this week. We are weaned! Yes, today was our very first, full day with no milkbar. Boy, did our appetites for food improve! We are cleaning our bowl now! We have had so much fun playing outside in the grass...we run and pounce and wrestle and catch leaves! We're turning into real little Silk Dogs now...it just doesn't get any cuter than us. We've had lots of visitors to socialize us....we got to play with little kids yesterday...kids make good chewie toys (well, gummy toys, we're not really equipped with much in the tooth department yet.)
This week we'll have our BAER test for hearing and then have our PAT (Puppy Aptitude Test) to be sure that Doc has made the right decisions on which homes we're going to, then on a road trip for soaped evaluations! We're goinna be very, very busy!
Week Eight...It's been a really busy week for the Songbirds. On Thurs the pups went to my hospital for their BAER testing...as suspected, all hear normally. Then we came home and Marsha came over for the PAT (puppy aptitude test) so that we could make the final decision on which bird would be flying to what home. There were no surprises and my initial inclinations were confirmed. As a result, the boys all have NEW names to learn!
Sat we had lots of company...little children came to play with the puppies so they get used to seeing mini-humans. The children were very gentle and the puppies enjoyed the visit!
Today we went to Lexington, around 2 hours away, for soaped evaluations. The puppies have taken all these new experiences so well...road trips, strange places, new faces, baths, lots of pictures! I've been very pleased with the temperaments...sound in mind and body which is our goal at Elfin. Lark will be staying here and the boys will begin flying (or riding) away next weekend.
Week 9...taking flight. It had to happen eventually...this is the week that the songbirds begin to fly away to new homes. Paddy is leaving today, Scout on Wednesday, Marley next Sunday. Leko agreed to stay for a couple of weeks to keep Lark company while she integrates into the Elfin pack. Lark is going to be a handful. Today she finally taught her brothers how to shred piddle pads so piddle pad station has been removed in favor of a second litter box.
They insist on going outside, though, first thing in the morning, rain or shine, light or night...they go out and enthusiastically run off steam and work up an appetite. They mostly have learned to navigate the porch steps and get straight A's in 'runlikehell'! Marley is the class clown and loves playing keep away and you can't catch me...being old and stiff, I really CAN'T catch him so I use the goon squad (Pearlie, Pala, Nina) to run down truants...which on any given day can be any of the little birds (except Paddy who always comes...what a sweetie!)
Last Wednesday they went to the office and got their first vaccinations with a minimum of fussing...they take after Pearlie in the wuss department...grin...but it wasn't too bad. Even the microchips didn't elicit more than a YIPE and those needles are the size of the Alaska pipeline...ouch! They also sat for their 'formal' portrait on the traditional portrait bench! And now they grace the desktop of my new computer! Boy, do I love Vista! Here they are, in their last group photo...Pearlie's Songbirds!