We mixed up some puppy milk formula this morning to help the smaller puppies. It is not uncommon that new puppies don't gain any weight for the first two days, as the real milk drop usually occurs in day 3. That is the case with these puppies--the total birth weight was 165 ounces and the total weight today is 155 ounces. However, two of the puppies are smaller and with such a large litter, they probably get pushed out when the milk bar is open.
While we had a puppy out of the box giving the milk supplement, Molly was carefully counting to see how many were gone.
Molly is being a good mom--she is careful walking around the puppies and when she lies back down after being out of the box for a drink or to go potty. She does have one habit that is a little unusual and always freaks me out--when a puppy is further away from her little huddle than she likes, she just picks the puppy up with her mouth and moves it over. This is something I have only seen with one other mother, and that was Salsa, who carried Willow all over the house when Willow was less than a week old. Maybe there is a puppy-carry gene.
The puppies are three days old and weights have started to creep up. The total litter weight this morning was 178 ounces, representing a 23-ounce gain in the last 24 hours. The smallest boy increased from 10 1/8 ounces yesterday to 12 3/4 ounces today. He got supplement three times yesterday and when I took him out to weigh today he was squirming like all the other puppies, so I think he is on his way. The small girl had a modest increase from yesterday, 12 ounces to 12 1/2 ounces. She also got three supplements yesterday and we will continue to supplement her today. She doesn't seem as active as the small boy. Another of the boys is 18 ounces but hasn't gained from birth weight, so he will also get supplemented.
Molly's whelping box is set up in the corner of our master bathroom. There is a dog door under one of the sinks so that she can go out to do her business. Outside the dog door is a small garden that has a pea-gravel area and a small planted area with a fountain. The mothers who use this setup invariably dig in the gravel--you can see in the last photo below that Molly has been digging under the vines that are crawling up the brick wall. I suppose this is just a hard-wired urge that goes all the way back to the wolf ancestors, who had to dig out a nest for their puppies. Fortunately, she hasn't (yet) tried to move any of the puppies out to the hole she has dug.
Yesterday we continued to supplement the two smallest puppies, Woodstock (boy) and Pepermint Patty (girl). Our efforts paid off--this morning at weigh-in both were very strong and squirmy and each had made a singificant weight gain from yesterday (Woodstock from 12 3/4 to 14 5/8 ounces and Patty from 12 1/2 to 14 ounces. The other puppies all gained as well, and the total litter weight today is 202 ounces, a gain of 24 ounces from yesterday. This represents a gain of almost 14% in one day! The rate of growth in the first two weeks always amazes me--it would be like me gaining almost 30 pounds in a single day.
Grand-daughter Camille Heathcock came to visit yesterday and helped me assign temporary names. We are using Peanuts characters:
Yesterday was a pretty normal day for a healthy litter. All 10 puppies are gaining weight steadily, including the two smallest--Woodstock and Peppermint Patty, who are both over a pound now. These two are still getting occasioinal supplements with the goat's milk formula, but only about 1 ounce twice a day. They are both strong and seem to be able to hold their own at the milk bar. Molly has an enormous appetite. I guess this makes sense--the litter continues to gain an aggregate of about 1 1/2 pounds per day!
Yesterday was also paperwork day--I registered the litter with AKC and with the litter number in hand I ordered ten DNA kits from ProjectDog. Although Gunner is clear of the EOAD marker, Molly is a carrier. That means that about half the puppies will also be carriers and I want to know which ones are clear and which are carriers when dealing with prospective buyers.