Smudge is now six days after having her c-section to produce her nine beautiful pups. She had her last antibiotic tablet this evening and her wound is looking very good and she is producing gallons of milk, as you will see from one of the photos below of one of her pups that had crawled up on to her back. The wet on the pup is Smudge's milk. As it sucked the milk flow was such at one stage, it came quicker than the pup could suckle it.
The pups are now six days old and seem to be thriving. You can see their noses are changing colour and it will be lovely to see their eyes open, which starts to happen from around 12 to 14 days old.
Primrose is now hopefully around three weeks pregnant after her romantic liaisons with Toby. From around three weeks pregnant you can feel the pups as small pea size shapes in the uterus on palpation of the stomach area. At the moment with Primrose being such a tidy bitch that holds her tummy up when examined, I would at this stage not be sure that I have felt what I think is a pregnancy or just wishful thinking. If I have felt a pregnancy, over the next few days they should become more easy to feel.
We will get her booked in at the vets for her scan next week around Thursday time to confirm for sure if she is pregnant and if so around how many she is carrying.
A couple updates, with the first being for Meg, who is from the litter my Mum's Cavalier, Cleo had April 2012 with Reggie being the Dad.
Just a quick update from Meg who recently turned 3 at the beginning of April. She was from Reggie and Cleo's litter back in 2012. She's still totally gorgeous and completely spoilt. Still after 3 years the cats often get a little chased, but now it really does look like the cats actually tease her into it because by the evening she's curled up on the bed with them. We have some news as our pack has expanded again with the arrival of baby Isaac in January. You may remember our chats about a dog that would be good with children and I was put at ease with your family life and discussions about female dogs. I can only say that meg continues to be the perfect family dog. She has been very gentle and after lots of sound training before his arrival (crying noises on you tube etc), she doesn't bat an eyelid when isaacs in full scream! Before he was born I would get her to smell each of the baby clothes in the hope that she would recognise him as ours!
She has just had her summer clip which has come in time for the hot weather. I have had lessons in how to clip her but with the baby life has been a little hectic so it was time for a professional hair cut.
Here's a picture of Meg with her lovely (very short) coat, and also a very tired fuller family selfie from a few weeks ago. As megs black it's not that easy to spot her in the middle of it all, there was also a cat just behind me but sadly out of shot. Hope all at pound lane is well.
Sarah and Andrew
Thanks Sarah for your lovely update. Congratulations on the new family member, Isaac. The photo of all of you together brings back memories of when my husband and me had our first baby. All the best and wishing you a lovely first summer with Isaac.
The next update is for Ollie, who is from Smudge's first ever litter and Reggie is his Dad as well.
Now that Ollie has reached the ripe old age of 3, I thought I would send a quick update to let you know he is well. He is such a lovely dog, so friendly with everyone he meets, dogs and people alike.
Congratulations on your 1st litter of cavalier x brittany spaniels.
I have attached a recent picture of Ollie (just after his haircut)
Best wishes to you and your lovely family
Great to hear from you Sharon. Good to hear that Ollie is well and being a lovely boy. Thanks for the congratulations on our first litter of Cavalier x Brittany spaniels, which has reminded me to say, "Thanks everyone for the kind messages of support and congratulations on the arrival of Smudge's and Henry's litter. Very much appreciated."
Today when changing the bedding, I took the chance to get some photos of just the girls together and just the boys together. Also today after talking with my husband and knowing that we only want to retain girls from this litter, we decided that we will open a waiting list on the boys in Smudge's litter now.
I am very sorry that I have yet to get back to people who have contacted me already about this litter and I will drop you a line tomorrow.
If interested in the boys from Smudge's litter please contact me first by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I was driving the children to school this morning and suddenly thought today is the day three years ago Smudge had her first ever litter of pups, being a litter of nine pups, and then thought funny that her third and last litter of pups, being also a litter of nine pups are three days old today.
Then I checked my emails on returning home and found this lovely email from Angie, who has Archie, who is from Smudge's first litter. He is a first cross Cavapoo and our Reggie is his father.
Congratulations on another bumper pack of puppies! We love all the different patterns! They are gorgeous!
Just wanted to wish all of Archie's siblings a very happy 3rd birthday!
One of our favourite photos in our house is the 9 of them snuggled under the blanket in a row! So cute!
Would love to know where they all live now!
Look forward to seeing you all in the Summer!
Love from Angie Jon Hannah and Archie ( currently fast asleep!) xxxx"
Thanks Angie for an update on Archie and a 3rd Birthday greeting to all his litter siblings. I also hope that Archie's litter siblings are doing well and had a lovely 3rd Birthday, so a Big Happy 3rd Birthday greeting from Poundlane to Lola, Ollie, Crumble, Tiggy, Darcey, Hunny, Millie, Dougal and of course Archie !
And for Angie and all the rest of the families that have one of Archie's litter siblings, here is the photo of them three years ago all in a row snuggled under the blanket at the vets, after eight of them had been delivered by c-section.
And for comparison here is Smudge's second litter of nine pups, all in a row, snuggled up to mum at the milk bar at three days old, three years later.
Smudge's pups are now two days old and all are doing well. Smudge after having her c-section is also well and today back with a full appetite. She as usual is producing plenty of milk for her nine rapidly growing charges. It really helps if a bitch is a good grubber when they have pups, because they will recover from the birth quicker and most often are exceptional milk producers.
The slideshow below is of Smudge and her pups today at two days old and a couple show our two youngest children in the whelping box with the pups, whilst Smudge sleeps unconcerned just outside the whelping box. These photos are a testament to Smudge's wonderful temperament, as not many bitches would be happy to lie away from their pups at this age, let alone allow children near them happily when so young.
Smudge just like her mother Millie, takes a very relaxed attitude to mothering, which seems to work. From day one, she will tend her pups and when all settled and sleeping will leave to eat, drink or go toilet and on returning if all peaceful, will sleep just outside the whelping box and before the pups start to wake, she will after a time get up and then go back in the whelping box and start licking and waking her pups to suckle them. She then just lies back and allows them easy access to all her teats. Often the first few days for most bitches, you can see causes them some degree of stress tending the pups, but not with Smudge. I'm pretty sure Smudge could rear her pups happily with her eyes closed and one paw tied behind her back.
Not that you might think I'm a bit obsessed by Smudge's pups, I thought I would load up a few more photos of day one in the whelping box with Smudge's litter of pups.
Really enjoying looking at all the different patternation of their coats. Noting the longer noses, seemingly longer necks and the ears are maybe not so rounded as a pure Cavalier pups, at this stage. Will be really interesting watching these pups grow. Some of their noses have already started to pigment.
For those who might be wondering what the black bits are that you see on the bellies of the pups. That is their umbilical cord drying up and within the first few days of being born, should drop off.
Smudge's pups are now approaching a day old and Smudge is in her element as a mother. Smudge is a very laid back dog, which helps when rearing young. There is such a thing as being overly motherly and this can be detrimental for the pups. Mothers that stress a lot over their pups tend to be continually nudging and licking them and moving themselves around a lot, trying to help their pups and more than often this over motherly behaviour, can stop pups being able to latch on for any length of time to drink and full their bellies, so the pups squeak and the mum stresses more and her motherly behaviour increases. With a bitch like this, it pays to sit with them when she is feeding her pups, to distract her from this behaviour and to make sure the pups are getting full tummies at each feed time. Hand feeding a bitch with some tasty treats while she suckles, is often enough to distract or just talking to them and smoothing them. Often this overly motherly behaviour will dissipate after a few days, as mum relaxes more with her pups.
As I told on my last blog, Smudge has had a c-section to bring her nine pups into the world and as promised, I will now tell how we came to Smudge having to have a c-section. On Tuesday evening I blogged thinking that within the next 24 hours Smudge would give birth and believe me as I wrote that blog, I was very excited at the prospect of seeing Smudge's litter come into the world, as this is our first time crossing the Cavalier with the Brittany.
Tuesday her temperature had dropped and by the evening when I blogged it had come back up again and this is as sure an indication that you can have, that pups will arrive soon. Wednesday came and went and nothing, but Smudge was showing moments of discomfort, so another all night vigil and then Thursday came and went and I was a little concerned and questioned whether her temperature drop I recorded Tuesday was a misreading, was my thermometer not working correctly ? Smudge though was well in herself and the pups were moving a lot and although she had a slight discharge, which is to be expected at this stage, it was clear and not smelly, so another all night vigil and I thought things were going to finally kick off.
Friday came and I thought we were in business. Sometimes the first stage of labour to produce the first pup can be a slow process and finally at 6.50 pm Smudge strained and I could see a water bag appear, but then an hour passed and no more straining. Once a bitch starts to strain and you know the pup is in the birth canal, you should expect the pup to be born within an hour and if like Smudge the bitch has returned to the first stage of labour, you should call a vet, often as you talk to the vet, you hear a yelp and the pup is expelled. If more experienced in whelping, before ringing the vet, you can as I did, see if you can get the bitch to progress by breaking the water bag and giving the bitch an internal examination. This examination you can feel if the pup is presented okay and that the pup is not to big to be born naturally for the bitch, by moving your finger firmly around the head of the pup and if this is done correctly, sweeps the cervix and this can be enough stimulation for more oxytocin to be released, so increasing the strength of the contractions to expel the pup. If you have had a baby, you may be familiar with the term cervical sweep, before we had oxytocin to inject, this was the method used to try and increase contractions, before opting for a c-section and is still regularly used when examining woman when in labour, to help speed proceedings up, if they have slowed down.
I examined Smudge and often whilst doing the proceeder the bitch will get contractions and normally if this examination has helped, you would expect within 10 to 20 minutes to see the bitch having stronger contractions, but with Smudge there was no change, it was time to ring the vet at 8.30 pm. We got her to the vets and explained the chain of events and the vet, who is a young vet, new to the surgery gave us the option of injecting her with oxytocin and seeing if she got the first pup off or going straight away for a c-section. We opted for the c-section first as last. We left the vets at around 9 pm and got home to wait by the phone for news. Around 11 pm the vet rung us and Smudge was doing fine with nine very noisy active pups and we could pick her up. The vet told us that our choice to c-section first as last had been the right one, as on opening her they could see that two of the pups had already opened their bowels. This confirmed to me that I was not mad and on Tuesday I had recorded a drop in temperature correctly. These pups should of been born, I think at least 24 hours earlier and that Smudge had got stuck in stage one of labour and due to carrying such a huge litter, as she did with her first litter, the uterus had been stretched to such an extent it could not contract hard enough to expel her pups causing what is called uterine inertia. Thankfully Smudge and all pups are okay and as I said to the vet when we chose a c-section as the first course of action and I always say after a bitch having a c-section, "You never know if you have done a c-section to early, but you certainly will know when you have done a c-section to late."
This is Smudge's third litter and before she had a c-section for the second time, her last litter. Smudge's second litter of six pups, she gave birth to naturally, proving she can give birth easily. Smudge having a c-section for her first and third litter, both being nine pups in each of those litters, is unfortunately a victim of her own very good fertility.
I have been asked what I'm going to call this cross and I have referred to them as Hudges, which is a joining of the parent's names Henry and Smudge. The name Brittalier has been suggested and I suppose gives a strong suggestion of what the mix is, but I might just stick with the Poundlane Spaniel. I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to names and I jokingly sometimes say, "I don't breed Cavapoos, I breed Curly Coated Cavaliers." Maybe I should just call them that old chestnut breeders often use to sell pups, "Rare." Lol When someone is selling you something always beware, the using of the word, "Rare"
The children have been nearly as excited as their old mum with the expected arrival of this litter and it's good to have pups in the home again. All our bitches are happy from day one for the children to be near their pups and the children often get employed to hand feed mum or make sure a pup stays on a teat suckling.
After the weekend I will get up to date with my email inbox, and for those who have contacted me about this litter so far, I will be in touch and as I have said before, "We will not be offering these pups up for homes, until they are up on their feet and we have decided on the ones we are keeping." The time we pick the pups to keep, will probably be from around four weeks old.
I milked this morning and then had to get some grocery supplies in. Our oldest child, Bert came with me and thankfully reminded me he has his first cricket game of the season tomorrow pending weather, as it has rained quite heavily here this afternoon. Cricket baking season is here again !
It's a game with the seniors and as with all games players are asked to contribute to the tea during the match. As I'm milking tomorrow morning, when I got home from acquiring groceries, it was mixing bowl out and a slab of victoria sandwich and slab of coffee cake was made. I am offering up half of each slab of cake for the cricket match. My son, Bert did help as he is a keen cook, as are all our children. His little sister Tilly was helping him and he was getting a little ratty with her and I said, "You now know why I sometimes get annoyed with to many hands making more work."
Time to finish up now. Lately I have been inundated with emails telling me, "I need Search Engine Optimization (SEO)." Hilarious, how they tell me they have looked at my website, yet fail to address me by name and seem to think I want world domination. Yep, they may of looked, but they certainly have not read it. Mind you I suspect, even if they read it, they still would not get the essence of this website. The fact that they bloody send me their irritating emails makes me think, "I'm already optimized to much for my liking." So if you have been lucky to find me, what with me being all under optimized, if you like puppies and watching them grow ? You have hopefully just hit the jackpot. So, strap yourself in for the highs and hopefully very few lows of rearing a litter of pups.
It's gone one o'clock on Saturday morning the 25th April as I blog this in the UK (my blog will state it is the 24th, as on Pacific time). I have not long got back from the vets with Smudge and her nine pups. Yes, Smudge has done it again and had nine pups for a second time, an amazing amount for a Cavalier. Henry our Brittany spaniel is the Dad.
As you will of guessed she has had to have a c-section to deliver all the litter, due to uterine inertia, due to her womb being so stretched carrying such a big litter, it was unable to contract strong enough to expel the pups.
After staying up three nights with Smudge I'm pretty done in and I will blog next time about the run up to and the decision to do a c-section.
We have got Smudge settled down with her pups, all have suckled, and she has just eat some scramble egg, like her life depended on it. So I'm off to catch a couple hours sleep before I get up to check over Smudge and pups, and then go milking.
Nearly forgot to say, "There are four girls and five boys, all weighing around 8 ozs each." Smudge what a star you are.
Smudge has yet to give birth, although she has been keeping me on tenterhooks for the last couple days. Her temperature dropped two days ago and with her behaviour I thought by now the birth of her litter would be done and dusted.
Her temperature went down to around 37.2 C and has now come back up to 37.7 C.
She is now around two days before her due date from her first mating. She is well, showing discomfort and signs she could whelp at any time, in between long sleeps. The pups are moving really strongly inside her and just watching her stomach it looks like they might be having a game of rugby. She has had some mucous discharge after peeing, which is the cervical plug coming away and although she has slowed up with carrying such a big pregnancy, she is bright and seemingly well.
Smudge loves human contact and seems to really enjoy having her tummy rubbed as you can see in the photos tonight, which I hope helps her release oxytocin, which is the hormone that acts as a chemical messenger to make the uterus contract and to facilitate lactation. Her milk bars are already very full, ready for the arrival of her pups.
I'm off now for another night of Smudge watching and I will end this blog with a photo I caught earlier of our son Alfie watching something with his brother Bert on the computer, and Ysobel decided that Alfie's backside made a comfortable place to sleep for the half hour he was watching the program.
Smudge had a restless night last night and this morning has moments of obvious discomfort and then calm, she is sleeping now as I type this.
Yesterday evening I blogged and I really hoped that last night we might of started to see the arrival of Smudge's litter, but the stage she is at now can last 24 hours and sometimes 48 hours. It's really when they start straining that you set the timer. The stage she is at now though, she could also just get up strain a couple times and you have a pup, so you really need to keep in ear shot of a bitch when they are at this stage, visually checking them often and trying to do this without them noticing you to much.
She is regularly going outside for her ablutions and the last few nights has had to go out a couple times during the night and early hours of the morning due to having little room inside her now, carrying such a large litter.
For all those partners out there that have done the vigil of waiting for their partner to give birth, I have every sympathy, even though I have been the partner giving birth six times whilst my husband David waited, as for me, I think waiting, especially when you're not sure when the main event is going to kick off, very arduous.
Meant to blog yesterday evening, but time got the better of me and I thought I would get back from milking this morning and do a quick blog. I though forgot about the letter last week informing us that the electric was being turned off today from 9am to 5 pm for repairs.
I'm here now though, after milking this evening and just eat my supper.
Smudge is now eight weeks and three days pregnant from her first mating. Before the weekend I took a look at the information I have on her two other pregnancies. Her first litter she went into labour five days before her due date from her first mating and her second litter, she went into labour four days before her due date from her first mating. Each time although giving birth early, all pups lived and all were the size you would expect for full term pups.
With this information, instead of waiting until Monday to start taking her temperature, I started to take her temperature on Saturday. She is now four days before her due date, taken from her first mating. Yesterday into this morning her temperature dropped and now it has come right back up, which indicates that arrival of her pups could be anytime now in the next 24 hours. She is panting intermittently and although it is a little warm indoors, you can see the panting is more that she is having twinges. She is very uncomfortable now and looks to her back end and when getting up then sniffs where she was sat, as if looking for a pup. Smudge in the past has not been a bitch to dig and bed up that much, but she is occasionally going in the whelping box arranging the shredded newspaper in there.
The first slide show of photos are Smudge and some of Henry the father of the litter she is carrying, over the weekend up until yesterday.
Bit of a Smudge overload tonight with photos. The second slideshow below is Smudge today and some again feature Henry the father of the pups she is carrying.
So it's time to batten down the hatches, as the good ship Poundlane is about to set sail again. I suspect with Smudge as before, we are in for a long voyage and as Captain my job is to safely navigate Smudge and her precious cargo through what is one of the most precarious journeys in life, that we will of all taken, birth !
Smudge is now over seven weeks pregnant and looking very big. We know from her scan she is carrying around seven pups, which is a good size litter for a Cavalier. Smudge had nine pups with her first litter and six with her second, already proving she is a very fertile bitch and also each time a brilliant mother.
It has been glorious weather here in North Devon, UK for the first half of April and the warm Spring we are experiencing at the moment finds Smudge during the day keeping herself cool by lying on the ceramic floor of our kitchen.
Smudge can still make the jump up on to our sofas, but she has started to slow up over the last couple days, when it comes to keeping up with the rest of the pack.
Her due date is around the 26th April, so will start taking her temperature beginning of next week, as the drop in temperature ,as they start to go into labour is one of the best indicators of the birth process starting. Very excited about this litter, but as always the excitement is mixed with concern for the bitch, getting her through the birth safely.
Toby and Primrose have romanced last week away. Primrose is now far enough of heat to be back in the pack, along with Toby. Now it is just counting down the days to getting Primrose scanned, to confirm hopefully that she is pregnant and around how many pups she is carrying.
Hope to scan her around 28 days, so that will be near the 7th May.
This is Toby's first time being used as a stud dog, so let's hope he is fertile.
This will be our first litter of pure Cavaliers since Primrose was born, as Primrose comes from the last litter of Cavaliers we bred back in 2010 from Ysobel with Charlie being their Dad. Looking forward to seeing what we get from this combination. I suspect that they may be very pretty.
The photos of Primrose and me below, are me trying to get a nice photo with her, but Primrose just thinks it's a great opportunity to try and lick my face.
I finish tonight's blog with a photo of Smudge's mum Millie relaxing with Reggie. The last couple days have been quite warm here, which sees the dogs in the daytime sensibly snoozing the warmest part of the day away. We have no mad dogs here.
I had some very sad news at the weekend. Shep my old mate, died last weekend.
Shep was in a blog I wrote last year on the 28th September.
Shep was a working collie that lived on the farm, I now only milk for every other weekend, due to being offered more milking, at the other farm I milk at, which is a lot closer for me. Last Saturday evening I arrived to milk (I milk every other weekend doing the Saturday pm milking and Sunday am milking) and I noticed Adrian who I work for and his family up at the end of their garden. I waved a hand to them and made my way to set up the parlour. I then next saw Adrian getting the cows in, he seemed not quite his normal cheerful self as I said, "Hello."I went and started the parlour up and then Adrian came in the parlour to tell me about cows in the calving pens and about any cows that needed milk withholding. He then said, "I'll be back later I've just got to go and shift some earth." I just said, "Okay, see you later." Then I noticed Adrian was dwelling at the end of the parlour and then he said, "I've got to bury your old mate." I looked at him and then the penny dropped, as Adrian always referred to Shep to me as "Your old mate" and I said, "Shep's dead ! Oh no, not old Shep." He replied , "Yes" and I could see by the way he was looking, it was not the time to question Adrian to much and he left to bury Shep at the end of their garden.
Shep got referred to me as, 'Your old mate' because he did not work for everyone. For some reason though, Shep decided I could join the exclusive group of people he would work for. So for the last three years during the summer months when I arrived on farm, Shep would appear at the dairy door and for the price of a good rub down, would then happily trundle up the lane with me to get the cows in. A good dog on a farm is said to be worth two men, especially on sheep farms, where a bulk of the work is herding.
Adrian returned near the end of milking and he was in a better place to tell me more about Shep's passing. He told me that, he had seemed a bit shaky Friday night on his legs and in the morning they took him to the vets and he passed away in the back of the Landrover while waiting for the vet. Shep was not a young dog nor neither an old dog at around (Adrian thought) eleven years old. Farmers don't tend to count their dog's years and I was on a farm where the old working dog died and they thought her around twelve years old, but one day after her death they found her registration papers and it turned out she was closer to sixteen when she died, so Adrian thinking Shep eleven, he might of been a year or two older. The most likely thing they think is he had a heart attack.
Their oldest daughter has been beside herself with the sudden loss of Shep and being ten years old, this is her first ever dog, she has known him since a baby. Shep was a proper old softy with Adrian's three children and any of his children's friends. I said to Adrian "In time your daughter will understand that, although Shep leaving her so suddenly is upsetting for her, but for him it was a quick death, a good death, which is better than him slowly going down hill and you then have to play God." Truth be told, Adrian is also feeling the loss as much as his daughter. At the moment he is almost akin to a man who has lost a limb. He said, "I just got the last few cows in and no Shep. It don't feel right."
Shep you had a good life and a good death. Goodbye, my old mate !
Yesterday our three oldest children were back at Secondary school, but the three youngest did not go back to Primary school until today, so yesterday with the three youngest, I set off in the car on a chicken hunt.
When I say, "Chicken hunt" I mean I had rung someone who had some chicken advertised in our local paper and went off to see and buy some to recoup the chicken coop. Just over two years ago, we bought six point-of-lay hens and we now had just the one left Rose.
Rose is a hybrid called a White Ranger, known as the credit crunch hen due to being small, hardy and lay well and lay big eggs compared to the size of them. Rose has laid well for two years which is very good and around a month ago after her last two mates pegged it, she went off lay. She is looking very well and I suspect she will return to lay again in the not to distant future. My son, Bert as noted she has got a bit plumper since she went off lay and I told him, "Now's the time to eat her. Nothing better than an old laying hen, when you boil them first and then roast them. You won't get a taster chicken." My son won't have any of it though, but I jokingly said, "Maybe the children need a trip to the beach."
A trip to the beach when I was a child and we had fattened tame lambs normally meant on our return, the lambs had disappeared, but the deep freezer was burgeoning with meat. With my parents having milk doorstep delivery business, each Christmas and Easter we reared and killed for the table chickens, turkeys and ducks, sold to customers on the milk rounds. When we were very young, we got farmed out to a friend's farm for a couple days whilst the slaughter was done, but as we got older and strong enough to pluck them, we would then take up our seat amongst the rest of the family and friends who came and helped do the plucking, being paid with a couple brace of poultry each for their help. Rose though is around to stay and our children don't have to worry if we take them to the beach, that on their return Rose will of disappeared.
Yesterday we brought home six hens. Four are Goldline hens which the young lad I got them from, buys from a commercial unit. They chuck them out of commercial units around 12 to 18 months as they go off lay. The commercial free range unit these chicken were on advertise locally to sell off some before they are all shipped of to go in the food chain. I have been up to the unit years ago and got myself some hens for a £1 a hen and they went on to lay well for another couple years once they come back into lay. This young lad has been a bit entrepreneurial and bought a load, reared them on a bit and is selling them for £5 a hen . I asked him what they were like when he got them and he told me, "They did not have any feathers on their backs." This is because although they kept them free range, they are kept in such big flocks, hen pecking occurs. When I got some from the same place, the hens had no feathers on their backs or their bottoms and most had a lot of feathers missing up their necks. The Goldline hybrids are what most big commercial set ups use, as these chicken are phenomenal layers. In the photos of the Goldlines you can see that they are just growing their feathers back.
The other two are hybrids at point-of-lay. The blackish one is a Maran Cuivree and the whitish one is a Sussex Ranger. You will notice they are in a lot better condition, as these are the young lad's own chickens he has bred and I paid him £15 each for them and this morning I have two eggs, which looking at their crests and the colouring of the eggs come from these two girls.
Rose has now been on her own for at least a month and has inevitably with the children has become more of a pet chicken than a laying hen. With the arrival of some more chicken I had to be a little careful with introducing them to each other. I was worried Rose might get beat up, but as the video shows, I did not need to worry about Rose being beat up.
Chicken are funny things and a couple of them take a seemingly disliking to another chicken, even if they are free ranging in a good space, they can still kill each other. Often they can pick on one that is a bit off colour or a new chicken in amongst them. Chickens can be and are very cannibalistic.
Thankfully, other than a couple frame ups, as you see in the video they all seem to be getting along okay and are settling in well, with two eggs laid this morning in the hen house.
Going back to my childhood when we reared chicken for the table. Each year we would always end up with a couple chicken being reared totally free range. These were chicken that just kept escaping and you give up keeping them in or chicken that had been picked on, so had been removed from the main flock for their own safety. One year we ended up with two cock birds out and about the farm. One cockerel was a proper old friendly chap, but the other was not so friendly. My mother at the time had a broody hen, who had reared some chicks. This not so friendly cockerel killed two of her chicks and then a couple days latter, I was running around playing with my siblings with a water pistol and this cockerel approached me and I took aim and squirted him with my pistol and he then attacked me. I had shorts on and he scratched me all the way down my legs. I ran for my life to the house and my mother asked me how I had injured my legs and I told her. A couple days later was Sunday and that Sunday we eat Roast Cockerel.
The photo shows me at around the age of three in my early water pistol shooting days. As you can see from the pose I was a demure little thing. Lol
The other cockerel though lived on for several more years being alleviated to pet status. He though has a funny story attached to him.
When we moved home to Trayne Farm it had not been lived in for twenty years, so for the first couple years doing it up, we lived in part of the old cob Devon longhouse and also a large mobile home.
In the summer time the chicken free ranging around the farm, would shade under the mobile home and dust bath themselves. My brother Peter had an air rifle and at the time he found it funny, to watch the chicken dust bathing themselves from a window upstairs in the farmhouse and then he would take aim at a chickens bum, at the range he was, it would just give them a quick ping on the backside. It was funny to watch them jump up making much noise and look around trying to figure out where the ping had come from. Now the inevitable happened eventually, Peter took aim at the old cockerel and misaimed hitting the cockerel in the head. Old cockerel dropped down like a lead weight.
Panic set in and my brother me and two other older sisters, run down to where the cockerel lay (what we thought) dead. Peter thinking on his feet grabbed a shovel as we approached the cockerel, because if Mum found the old boy dead, someone was going to find it hard sitting down for a day or two. I suppose Peter hoped he could bury the old boy and mum might not notice him, not about the place and if she did with no body around she may consider he had been taken by a fox, but to are surprise as we stood staring at his seemingly lifeless body, he then moved, got up shock his head and started to walk off with an air rifle pellet embedded in beside his eye. Mum did see the pellet and thankfully saw the funny side of it and the old cockerel lived a couple more years happily with an air rifle pellet stuck in his head and my brother never took aim at another chicken.
The first T is for Treacle. I got Treacle's MRI scan result on Saturday. Treacle has been graded CM 2 and SM 0c. The CM being 2 (All Cavaliers graded so far have been graded CM 2) with the second of our Cavapoos being graded starts to make me consider that this deformation to the back of the skull is a dominant trait. Although this type of grading would not express subtle improvements in the skull shape, as it just looks at one aspect. The good thing is we are not seeing any sign of SM. Treacle is now just coming up to two years old and we will re-scan her through her life. Her Mum at over five years old was graded SM 1a. Improvement can be seen visually with a lengthening of the muzzle, so better dental spacing of teeth and a longer nasal chamber for regulating body temperature. Also her head is less domed than her mother, also Treacle has a less severe stop (The meeting of the muzzle with the head.) than her mother Dolly.
The biggest difference though is the cranium width to length. Treacle's Mum, Dolly's cranium is around 9 cm wide to 8.5 cm in length and Treacle's cranium is 9 cm wide to 10 cm in length, so Treacle has gained 1.5 cm in length of her cranium. That is nearly an 18 % lengthening of the skull in the first cross. This creation of more length in the cranium, hopefully is a step in the right direction.
The link below you can find information about the BVA scheme for CM/SM and find out about the conditon, what the scheme is trying to achieve and the grading system used.
The second T is for Trifle. Yesterday was my father-in-laws 70th Birthday and we all were invited up to the in-laws home for a 70th Birthday Supper and I was asked to bring along one of my legendary trifles (What the're legendary for is on only a need to know basis), as requested by the father-in-law.
Trifle was duly produced and was eaten a lot quicker than it took to make, along with a lot of trifle jokes. Which I won't trifle on now, else you might want to gateau out of here.
The third T is for tiredness. After milking Sunday morning and then partying on through the evening at the in-laws, I was glad to get home, get the children to bed, have a shower and plant myself on the sofa between Millie and her very pregnant daughter Smudge. Smudge is now seven weeks pregnant and although looking very big, she still can jump up on the sofa for a cuddle. Luckily my husband did not take this photo ten minutes later, when I had fallen asleep fly catching, with a slither of drool hanging from the side of my face. Else this blog could of been called, 'The four Ts' with the fourth T being me looking a proper tw*t !
Dottie is from Primrose's litter of Cavapoos born last year with Reggie the Dad. Sue just over a week ago sent me this update for Dottie.
"Hello Jane and family, Please excuse the delay in updating you about Dottie's life, seem's to be so hectic here , plus I'm trying to get to grips with our new computer.
Dottie is a delight, and has brought us so much joy, she makes us laugh every day. Dotties favourite activity is pinching socks at every opportunity!
Dottie was never much of a barker until the foxes nearby decided to become amorous at the bottom of our garden! We have had quite a few disturbed nights with dottie, we now leave a light on low and the radio on in the back ground which seems to of helped.
Dottie has such a lovely personality, loves her cuddles,she gets lots of exercise, so I'm keeping fit. Dottie will eat everything, especially rabbit droppings, I'm sure she thinks they are treats that I have put down especially for her !
Dottie was spayed in early December and was soon back to her normal bouncy self. I enjoy reading your blog Jane, I notice that you get quite a few visitors from previous litters and their owners. Would you have time for one more? We have booked a cottage in Port Issac from May 10th, we would love to pop in and see you and your family with Dottie if it would be convenient. It happens to be Dottie's birthday, I thought it would be a lovely way to celebrate, just let us know if it would be possible. I know it will be a busy time for you with hopefully the little Hudges.
The photos show Dottie in her favourite pursuit of sock collecting, and a before and after at the groomers.
Kind regards Sue and Colin"
Thanks Sue for letting me know how things are going and I look forward to seeing you all on her 1st Birthday in May.
As the title suggests, "Yes,we have gotta no banana today." Not all will be getting the analogy, many may not get it due to being not worldly (old) enough to know the song , so let me explain simply, "Yes, we have gotta no Cavapoo today. Yes, we have gotta no Cavapoo tomorrow and as the website page 'Future Litters' clearly states within the first couple lines. Yes, we have gotta no Cavapoo in 2015."
I have a regular stream of enquiries, but since yesterday evening it seems to have gone a bit mental asking, " If I have gotta Cavapoo today, if I gotta Cavapoo tomorrow or if I gotta Cavapoo in 2015." Now my patience is starting to wear a little thin, especially if you also ask me, "Where are you based ?" and top it off with, "How much are your Cavapoos ?" My reply should be, "You're mean't to read the bloody website," but I bite the side of my tongue and reply answering questions and pointing people to where they could of found the information on the website.
Sorry for the little outburst, but please read the website because it will answer nearly all the questions I get asked regularily and after the above rant, hey, you probably ain't going to want to get a dog from me, but the website might just help you getting a dog elsewhere.
So I will end this rant saying, "Yes, I tell you we gotta no banana today."
Toby last night finally got it together, or to be exact, he got it together with Primrose and I know about it.
Toby is now three years and five months old. Primrose is his first ever time we have used him as a stud dog. Our other two stud dogs are not to put to finer point on it in the wham bam thank you ma'am category, but Toby is not, probably partly because he has had to wait a little longer than Henry and Reggie before being used as a stud. Toby seems to like a longer courtship with his conquest. It seems he is not just a Cavalier by name only. Lol
On Wednesday, Primrose was ready to be mated and in the morning Toby and her were brought together, although Toby was very taken with her, happily doing what we call, "love dancing" together (This is a dance the bitch does with the dog, if allowed, to test him socially and figure out if she digs him and thinks him a good suitor) and was Primrose throwing him all her moves, he seemed a little shy to move it to the next step though. So I let him play a while and then removed him, to try them together again in the evening. Often if two dogs are not getting on with the business, a break can rise the level of amour in the male when put together again.
The evening arrived and my husband David came home from work and around 8 pm we put Toby and Primrose together again. Toby was more keen, but after an hour or so he still had not got close to doing the deed. So I could do one of three things, sit all night in the stable to make sure they mated, remove Toby again or leave him with her for the night and hopefully he would figure it out in his own time. I took the executive decision and left Toby with Primrose for the night. This option though, would mean that because I would not know if he had mated her or not, I could then not swap dogs and would just have to hope he mated her.
The morning came and Toby and Primrose seemed happy and I then separated them for the daytime again. The evening came and I put Toby with Primrose again and watched for a while, then took a break to go indoors to start writing a blog last night and my son then came in from his bedroom saying, "I can hear some yelping coming from the stables and wondered if Toby has tied with Primrose ?" I jumped up went out and there they were, Toby and Primrose had got it together. They might of done the deed the night before, but at least I now know the deed has been done at least once, so far.
Being with dogs when mated does stop potential for the bitch to harm herself or the dog, if she pulls away violently when they tie (When they tie the bitch contracts her vagina and holds the male and this can cause discomfort for the bitch for a couple minutes and some can become very distressed by this) and with some very aggressive breeds, they can actually try and kill each other at this juncture and is why often aggressive breeds, the female is restrained and both are muzzled when mated. Sad is it not, what we think acceptable to do to animals and that some dogs are so aggressive, they need restraints when mated.
When I mate dogs, I like it to be natural and I'm just there to check that the deed gets done and in some cases, just keep the bitch calm as they tie. Canines have been doing their thing for millions of years, so really if you need to be interfering to much to get two dogs to mate (You would not believe the weird shit some get up to, to get two dogs to mate and often now with the Kennel Club allowing Artificial Insemination (AI), some males amour is never tested with a bitch, but only by the hand of their owner), you might want to ask, "Should this mating be taking place ?" The social skill, amour and vitality to reproduce unaided, surely is one of the markers of a dogs temperament and health.
Smudge is now heading towards seven weeks pregnant this weekend and with the labour ward in situ, it's just keeping an eye to Smudge. She is looking big and has just started to slow up and she is being a bit finicky about eating, so her food is now split into four little meals.
Last weekend Henry the father to be of Smudge's pups to be born in a couple weeks time, had a run out with Smudge's mother Millie at the river, so sort of Henry's mother-in-law. Got a bit of video footage of a moment that Millie nearly made a break with Henry, to go off hunting and the other bit of the video is Henry going for a swim and I get a little worried and call him back, as he was only feet away from swimming into a part of the river that has a very strong current. Thankfully he comes back to my call.
Now to finish on a funny moment with our children, when I try to explain what clubbing is to our youngest Tilly, who is just six years old.
This evening when I dropped them at my in-laws for supper, whilst I milked. Just before we got to them, a song came on the radio in the car and on it finishing I said, "In its day that was a massive club anthem, when I used to go clubbing." Our daughter Tilly then asked me, "Mummy, what is clubbing ?" I replied, "Clubbing is when a woman gets a club and goes out and finds a man, clubs them over the head and then drags them back home." Tilly replied somewhat unconvinced with "What!" Our oldest daughter Florrie laughing, shouted from the back of the car, "Is that how you got Daddy ?" I replied "Yep, that's why back in the day, I was known as 'Neanderthal Jane', or was that because of my hairy arse. I can't rightly remember now." "Oh , mum !" said all the children laughing.
Don't you just hate it when you can't recall the finer detail of your youth. Lol
It's been a bit busy here the last week or so with the children, so not so easy to blog and keep up with the email inbox, but a quick blog tonight.
The labour ward went up today and Smudge got to have a sniff around it and make herself comfortable. She is now looking very big at around six and a half weeks pregnant, so she now sleeps at night away from the main pack with her mother Millie, having free range of the living room area of our home.
Obviously when the children are home, you should be spending time with them and what better way than doing that, than dancing with them. If you have a problem in watching children dancing innocently in pants and vests, then you better not watch the video and maybe you should seek some help.
Now I do not confess to being a dog whisperer or any other sort of dog trainer and I certainly don't think of my dogs as babies or human. The video below shows me dancing with our two youngest children after already videoing them dancing (that video goes in the family archives to embarrass them in years to come) and then asking me to join them. Our oldest son set the camera up for us to dance. When just the children danced the dogs slept and took no notice, but when the alpha female human of the pack gets up to dance, you can see the response of the pack, especially Henry. Henry is well trained, but normally when I jump around like this, it is when I'm interacting with him and I wrestle with him and also play pretend kick boxing with him.
Now for all the key board dog psychiatrists out there who will look at this and think, "That is an accident waiting to happen." My reply will be, really, watch the video. The dogs are barking, but that is not aggressive barking, that is excited barking, which with certain breeds of dog could easily turn to aggression, but these are breeds that have been bred over generations not to be individual killers, but pack members who look out for each other and understand that the individuals survival relies on the survival of the packs cohesiveness, my survival is there survival. No risen hackles and when I show you the dogs, notice how none of the dogs show excited behaviour toward the children, it is me they project their excitement to. With our children the dogs know, that our children are above them in the pecking order, there is no confusion in this for them, this part of the relationship with my dogs that is not ambiguous and should never be. The excitement they show me, is similar to the excitement wolves will display, when members of the pack stir them up before embarking on a hunting expedition, not dissimilar to the manner humans in history stirred up the troops before embarking on battle or often seen used now a days, to stir up the team to go back out on the field and win.
Now this stirring up of the pack I have observed being done by our female dog alpha of the pack Millie, just before she tries to bugger off hunting. It starts with her engaging with pack members by licking their faces and then backing back crouching as if to play, then trying to engage them to run off with her, exactly in the same manner as I have watched video footage of wolves engaging the pack to get them stirred up to hunt. Jessica, Toby, Henry and Smudge also display this behaviour and are the dogs in the pack that display the biggest aptitude for hunting over the top of the ground. At the end of the video, I give up trying to make them be quiet and embark on a pretend hunt which quells the pack.
Now this was meant to be a short blog , but yet again I have rambled. Whilst doing this rambling though, Toby has finally dispelled any fears of a seemingly lack of amour with Primrose, which I will tell more about in my next blog. Hopefully we will be hearing the patter of little paws of pure Cavaliers soon at Poundlane. Lol
Enjoy the video and might be best to keep the volume down on this one.
Jessica found a good spot last night to snuggle up, my backside. I was just lying on my front on the sofa and up jumped Jessica and made herself at home on my left buttock. Lol
Smudge who is expecting our next litter which the father is Henry, so is a cross between a Cavalier and Brittany spaniel, is at around six weeks pregnant, already looking heavily pregnant. We know from her scan she has around seven pups inside her.
Although carrying what looks like a good size litter and already looking heavy for six weeks in pups, it is not stopping her up and she is happily keeping up with the pack still. Will be looking to get the labour unit up soon for her. Like to get them sleeping in the whelping box, at least two weeks before the birth to keep their immune system up to speed with its surroundings.
Henry the expectant Dad of his first ever litter is well and from the video seems to be jumping with joy. One of our sons, Alfie caught the moment I had called him, giving him the command to jump up into my arms. Normally when he hurls himself at me at speed, I position myself so I can step back and twirl around to take up some of the energy from at least 16 kilos hurling its self at you, but as you will see I rather misjudge how close I am to the sideboard behind me with one of our sons, Thomas sat on it and I only just miss one of our daughters, Molly walking behind me. Freeze frame and my facial expressions are hilarious but be warned you won't be able to unsee, once you do that. Lol
The children have been home from school now for the Easter holidays and it's like having a plague of locusts in the home. I baked last Saturday and by yesterday not a crumb left, so had to get the mixing bowl out again and cook up some more cupcakes. I may be an atheist but hey, who don't like a cupcake with chocolate eggs on top of it. I was in Marks and Spencers a few weeks ago and was in an aisle with our daughter Florrie, looking at their Easter eggs and Florrie saw an egg that had been fashioned with Darth Vader's head on it. She then asked me, "Mum, what does Darth Vader have to do with Easter ?" which made the lady working for Marks and Spencers at the bakery counter laugh.
This weekend with Monday being a Bank Holiday, my husband David and me have managed to wrangle the whole of Sunday and Monday off, I'm now banished from the computer until Tuesday. So, I'm now off to have one of those cupcakes and a cup of tea whilst there are any left. Have a lovely weekend.
To use Toby , or not to use Toby, that is the question -
Toby and Treacle were MRI scanned nearly five weeks ago now and I have been chasing the British Veterinary Association (BVA) up for the last couple weeks, about when the scans would be graded. A sense of urgency for the grades now, as Primrose came on heat this last Sunday, so on ringing the BVA on Monday to be told they might be graded today. I was on the blower (Phone) this morning to find out if they were going to be graded today and was told that they would be and my reply was, "Yes", which made the lady on the phone laugh and she took my details, so I could be rang later on with Toby's result.
So around 4pm I got a call from the BVA to be told that Toby's results were CM 2, which nearly all Cavaliers are, so no surprise there and then she told me he was SM 1b, which also is not so bad. I would of loved SM 0b. I did not get Treacle's result, as the BVA had been a little funny about giving me Toby's result over the phone, even though these results go public on the Kennel Club website. T'is sex, lies and espionage in the dog breeding world I tell you. On Monday I got told that I could not be told the result over the phone, only the vet that did them could ring and get the result. So I said to the lady,"So I can ring you on Wednesday to find out if Toby has been graded and if he has. I then have to ring the vet in Bristol to ring you for the result. They then ring you for the result and then they ring me to tell me the result, whilst you put them on the Kennel Club website in a couple weeks time and anyone can see the result. I'm not having a go at you, but don't you think that sounds a bit ridiculous." She told me to ring back Wednesday and see what they could do.
The BVA reminds me of a little story involving my old Mum and a pasty. Although Mum is coming eighty this year, she is still pretty sharp and a little while ago was in a self service cafe. A lady came to help her and my Mum pointed to a pasty saying, "I'll have a small pasty please." The lady replied, "We don't do small pasties, we only do medium or large." My Mum asked, "Is the medium pasty smaller than the large pasty ?" The lady eagerly replied, "Yes" and with that my Mum rephrased her first request, "Well, I'll have the smaller of the two pasties you have there then." Lol
So bide my wandering. What does the grade SM 1b mean ? You can find out more about the BVA scheme for Chiari-Like Malformation (CM)/Syringomyelia (SM) and what its aims are by clicking on this link
And you can look at the BVA suggested breeding recommendations at this link http://www.bva.co.uk/uploadedFiles/Content/Canine_Health
Toby with a grade of SM 1b has Central Canal Dilation (CCD) less than 2mm. What is CCD ?
The central canal is the cerebrospinal fluid filled space that runs longitudally through the length of the entire spinal cord. The venticular system is continous with the central canal. The ventricular system is where the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced from a set of four interconnected cavities called ventricles in the brain. The ventricular system being continuous with the central canal allows for the flow of CSF to circulate. The central canal is the adult remnant of the neural tube. The neural tube is an embryo's forerunner to the central nervous system. Normally the central canal is only just visable by MRI scanning and slightly dilated this anamoly will be recorded. Dogs that have small CCD of less than 2mm show no symptoms of SM. It is though considered as part of the spectrum of CM/SM and some young dogs with CCD have then progressed to having SM with some dogs with CCD have produced pups with SM.
This is a difficult one for me because Primrose who we wish to mate Toby with is at this time SM 0b and if you look on the breeding recommendations this mating just misses the recommendation because from them I should mate Primrose with a dog being either SM 0a, 0b, 0c or 1a. Toby is SM 1b. I either wait five months for Primrose to hit five, have her MRI scanned and if she is then still clear and graded 0a, then mate her with Toby, as that then falls into the recommendations, but I would be breeding into the winter months which I'm not keen on and if I wait until next year Primrose would be nearing 6 and around this time with pure dogs fertility starts to decrease, or I call it now and go ahead with the mating, scanning Primrose later in the year with fingers tightly crossed for a 0a grading. Primrose's mother Ysobel at two months shy of 6 years old was graded SM 0a and Primrose's Grandmother on a Cavalier Club granted scheme a few years ago to scan older Cavaliers that were clear under 5 years old at 9 years old was graded SM 0a. I'm going to stick my neck out and go ahead with this pairing now.
This pairing will see pups born with a breeding coefficient of 4 % calculated from 18 generations with the first 9 generations being complete. The average for the Cavalier in the UK is 5.5 %. A breeding coefficient (COI) is a calculation of how inbreed an animal is. The lower it is the less inbreed. 12.5 % would equal offspring from a Granddaughter with Grandfather mating and 25 % would equal offspring from a daughter with father mating. Inbreeding is accumlative so over several generations of inbreeding a COI can be higher than 25 %. For me I aim always for under 10 %.
I will give credit to the Kennel Club (KC) that their mate select has become very helpful in planning pure litters. If all Cavalier breeders had to screen for MVD and CM/SM with results recorded on their Health Test Result Finder service, this would then become invaluable to breeders as well, that want to breed healthier Cavaliers. Transparency is the only way this breed will be saved for future generations to enjoy and love.
The health information for Toby and Primrose is as follows :
Primrose was heart examined by a cardiologist vet on the 10th December 2014 at the age of 4 years and 4 months. No heart murmur was detected.
Primrose is DNA tested clear for Episodic Falling and Curly Coat/Dry Eye being clear of carrying either condition.
Primrose was eye examined on the 19th January 2015 and at that time was showing no clinical signs of Multifocal retinal dysplasia or Hereditary cataract.
Primrose was MRI scanned on the 31st October 2013 at the age of 3 years and 2 months and graded CM 2 SM 0b
Toby was examined by a cardiologist vet on the 10th December 2014 at the age of 3 years and 1 month. No heart murmur was detected.
Toby is DNA tested for Episodic Falling and Curly Coat/Dry Eye being clear of carrying either condition.
Toby was eye examined on the 19th January 2015 and at that time was found was showing no clinical signs of Multifocal retinal dysplasia or Hereditary cataract.
Toby was MRI scanned on the 26th February 2015 at the age of 3 years and 3 months old and graded CM 2 SM 1b
All above health test certificates are shown when visiting us. If a breeder tells you they have health tested, always make sure you see the certificate for it.
This litter like Smudge's and Henry's, the waiting list will not open on it until we get the pups on the ground and up on their feet, as we hope to retain from this litter as well.
Caught this bit of video of Toby and his litter sister, Jessica stalking each other on the lawn. Jessica is the little lady who had her left back leg amputated last year after injuring it to bad to be repaired. Unfortunately the stalking is cut short by the other dogs hearing a dog aggressively barking on the telly, so they all ran outside trying to find where the barking was coming from.
Smudge is now around 38 days pregnant and caught a photo of her last night fast asleep on her back. Interesting to see how Henry takes to his own, as last year he was a star with the pups we had.
Last tonight, I finish on a loaf of bread I made yesterday (When I say, "made" I mean chucked a load of ingredients in a metal box and pressed a couple buttons) and on returning from milking in the evening, I came in the kitchen to see the loaf minus the lovely crusty top it had before going milking. My first thought was, "Henry," but then I looked closer at the evidence. The loaf was sitting still dead square on the chopping board and I'm sure if Henry could of done that or any of the dogs, they would not of just nibbled the crust so neatly off, I think the whole loaf might be missing. Then our two youngest strolled into the kitchen. I looked at the loaf and then smiling looked at them, and the two cheeky little smiles I got back. I new I had found the crust thieves. Lol
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!