Saturday morning we butchered our first hog. Brian stunned the pig, he and Sarah got him tied to the bucket of Sarah’s tractor. Then Brian lifted the bucket, Sarah slit his throat to have him bleed out.
We had hoped to do a hog roast, but we don’t have the right set up or knowledge. None of us wanted to risk the pig catching on fire and we couldn’t locate any experienced help. So, we opted to just skin the pig this time.
After gutting and setting aside a bunch of goodies for the dogs. Sarah set to work skinning the pig. Then Brian lowered the pig for cutting.
Then we set to work cutting out the pork tenderloins and removing shoulders, belly and hams.
We cut up some scraps for the dogs and took the organs and other delicacies to the house to cut up and freeze for the dogs in the future. We also washed the pigs feet, head, and ears for the dogs. The English Shepherds will get some along with the big dogs on Raw Tuesdays, our regular raw feeding day. The Livestock Guardian Dogs all got a foot when we finished. We were very pleased to have everything cleaned up by 11 a.m.
I couldn’t stand how much blown coat was matted on Baron. So, after a visit from a friend to socialize puppies, poor Baron’s number came up. He was so very good with all the brushing. It really came out nice and thankfully Sarah joined me later for the better part of an hour.
Well, Mesa’s impatient brood had her in a pickle last night. We had to put a little taller entrance into the pen due to the puppies pig piling and making a near breech. This made it a bit awkward for Mesa to get in and situated without stepping on her puppies. She was just too slow and they mobbed her, poor girl couldn’t figure out how to get situated.
“Katherine Johnson” was struggling with her bottle feeding when the nipple got plugged from the yogurt in the formula. We had been planning on introducing the litter to the bowl later in the day, but this was a good first opportunity for us. With Hannah’s assistance, Katherine caught on quickly.
We were encouraged by several more experienced breeders to use The Leerburg puppy formula https://leerburg.com/bottlefeeding.htm over The Puppy Culture recipe. We have been blessed to find a local goat farm that we are bartering our homegrown pastured raised broiler chickens for raw goat milk. We use whole milk yogurt, raw egg yolks, Karo Syrup and the raw goat milk, the puppies love it! I’ve been wanting the stainless puppy feeding pans, but I felt they were quite large for such young pups. Providentially, I was at Menard’s the other night while the girls were in town for youth group and I found these smaller feeding pans; https://www.menards.com/main/pet-wildlife/pet-food-bowls-food-storage-mats/van-ness-slow-feeder-stainless-pet-dish/sssf1/p-1567060215626-c-8330.htm The two smaller pans cost less than one large one and have the rubber rim to help hold it in place. Honestly, the stainless is plenty heavy and should last for a long time to come….,with care; not if we run them over with the tractor! We use the regular Leerburg stainless dog bowls, but tractor abuse is not covered under warranty.
We were so successful with Katherine we decided to give the whole litter a chance during outside time.
Well, what a successful mess! We were glad to feed them outside, but as much as I had hoped with the smaller bowls the puppies still were a sticky milk covered mess. So, a bedding switch while the puppies were out, then a sponge bath before they were settled.
The weather has been absolutely delightful. Very cool nights with warm sunny afternoons. So, after a busy, fun filled weekend and a exhausting day trip, I needed some grounding time. What better opportunity to take twelve busy sweet bumpkins for their first exposure to the great outdoors.
Quickly, we found the stress a bit much, and helped the pups back to the familiarity of the blanket. All this could not be done without the help of the girls! Hannah and Stephanie were off screen and Cat is a wonderful assistant.
Well, then the hard part came, for a good 45 minutes we talked and cuddled puppies in the sunshine. Cedar came by a couple of times and tried to mother the puppies, but Mesa has no tolerance for her right now. After her banishment she begrudgingly gave Mesa the safety bubble she demands and we all settled in for some deep relaxation. Even Sarah and Cara were able to join us when they got home from work for the day.
We have purchased the Puppy Culture program to help us prepare the puppies we raise to become better canine citizens. By nature we have done some of these things, but our goal is to be proactive in the best timing and setting for the puppies.
Initially we postponed the Early Neurological Stimulation – ENS due to the number of puppies and their struggles in the first week while Mesa established her milk supply. On day eight we began to institute the ENS protocols. Here is a chart of their first eight days.
Of course, after I’ve messed up numerous times, I read the suggestion in the workbook to chart in pencil. Between the excitement of new puppies and the anticipation of Ravine’s litter, along with the supplementing and care the first week was pretty much a blur making sure we learned which puppy was which! With the advent of week two we began to formulate a rhythm to the process of weighing and implementing the ENS protocols.
Here is a link that explains the purpose and instruction of each protocol.
We most certainly didn’t perform all the protocols perfectly, but I will say we have a pile of very sweet, calm, receptive puppies that just fall asleep in your hands on their backs now.
The puppies are now toddling around so we’ve tried to designate sleeping and potty areas. With this size of litter I think it is a little more difficult. Although they can all fit on their bumper pad nest, they often overflow onto the pee pads which isn’t making the delineation between clean and dirty as concrete. Overall, they are doing a good job of trying to clear the nest to do their business.
Yesterday we discovered almost all the puppies in line. Cat sprung into action to capture their cuteness. She had a couple of dissidents to contend with, but got them all lined up.
I am amazed at how quickly the pigment fills in on the puppies. Their little feet and faces are so pink when they are born. Already their noses are jet black, except “Journey” who has a teeny pink spot on her nose on the white half of her face.