Farm Life

THE FIRST 4 MONTHS

GALLERY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The First Few Days

The dam should be fed as much as she wants, increasing her food intake 3-4 times what she normally eats.  Some may eat 6.6 lbs. of meat, plus kibble/bread, milk, etc.  each day, and still lose weight, especially with a large litter and a good milk flow.  Ensure a balanced diet with a large amount of calcium (2 teaspoons DCP or equivalent per 500grams of meat).  Observe her nipples and mammary glands for any signs of insufficient milk, or redness, swelling or paid with abnormal milk (mastitis).  Watch her carefully for signs of shivering, and clumsiness which may be due to milk fever (low blood calcium levels).

The puppies should always feel warm to the touch.  They should drink from the teat, pushing on the mammary glands with their front feet.  They fall asleep only to wake up a couple hours later, cry, be licked by the mother (to stimulate them to urinate and defecate), drink again, and fall back asleep.

If you would like to have the puppies dew claws removed, the procedure (quite simple) should be performed in the first week of life.  It is important that all puppies drink well within the first 24-48 hours, and it is important to note if the pups acting abnormally. The puppies and the mother reside  in a 5' x 6' whelping box where they are free to come and go. The room is heated and air conditioned. The puppies remain in the whelping box until they can climb over the 12" high sideboards, usually at about 4-5 weeks. The whelping box has inside bumper rails so the female cannot crush the puppies against the sides. The rugs should be changed  twice per day and the box should be wiped down with a mild bleach solution. Puppies cannot see or hear until they are about 2 to 3 weeks old.   The puppies are old enough to start rousting each other just before they are moved.

4-5 weeks

The mother and puppies are moved to an enclosure over a similar type 6' x 6' whelping box. This enclosure is in a 8' x 8' stall with a dog door to a 8' x 30' fenced run. The run is chain link fenced and has an added 1/2" x 1/2" wire mesh fabric on the side next to a greyhound in the adjacent run. (Some adjacent greyhound females will kill puppies - the wire mesh prevents cross contact.) The puppies remain in this area until they are about 3 months old. Again, the enclosure is cleaned twice per day and wiped down with a mild bleach solution. The mother usually starts weaning her puppies at about 5 weeks. At this time the puppies are introduced to real food. They are first served a pan of milk with a little baby cereal. Within a short period of time a  little crumbled or blended dry meal can be added to the milk. As time passes finely diced red meat and tripe should be added to the mix. The puppies' vaccination and worming program begins.

6-7 weeks

The puppies are fully weaned and eating on their own. They love to play with each other; as they run and bounce, stumble, fall, wrestle, growl, bark, play, bite each other, turn their head to one side, pert up their ears, listen to new sounds, fall in the feed pan, bite each other's tails, shake rags, etc. They will become courageous enough to venture outside through the dog door, stretch their necks way out, sniff and listen. They will then sometimes turn and run back inside.

During this time period the mother is weaning the puppies. Some female greyhounds make excellent mothers; they clean after the pups, play with the pups, let the pups bite and chew on them, and generally enjoy motherhood. Other female greyhounds are true to their label - pure broodes. They will not only snap at the pups (which is a necessary learning process), but will also bite them, step and lay on them, and avoid them. Some females need to be separated from their pups before they are completely weaned. Although, the mother can visit with the pups for short periods of time while she is drying up. Some females can stay with their litter for about 1-1/2 months. At this time, surrogate mothers can help with the pups.  This is also usually the time that a lot of breeders start naming the pups and calling them by name.

2-4 months

The pups are now moved to a 20' x 300' long run with several dog houses.  They will remain together as a litter. Puppy collars are introduced to them at this time. They start jogging, playing, digging holes, tossing old bleach bottles, playing hide and seek, pulling tug of war with towels and toys, and interacting with each other. The pups need to eat twice a day-- early morning and late evening. The pups are full of life at this stage and it is not uncommon to see them running full speed when a visitor arrives in the run. They will play, jump up on, bite, rip clothes, and smear mud all over a newcomer!   They will also upset the water bucket, and try to crowd out the entrance gate.  It is during this period they start establishing a hierarchy of dominance and developing personality traits. Some become more aggressive. Some seem to get along better with one littermate than the others. Some start getting picked on. Some start becoming a little afraid. Most are just happy, carefree pups.

Greyhound puppies must be tattooed before they are 3 months old. The actual imprint of the tattoo for each puppy must be on a "Litter Registration" form and returned to the NGA by the end of 3 months (along with a fee); this is step 3 of 4 in the process of registering a greyhound with the NGA. The NGA assigns a new litter registration number with each new litter. The left ear of the puppy is tattooed with it's litter registration number; the right ear is tattooed with a combination of numbers and letters that identifies that particular pup. On the right ear (looking from the rear of the pup to its nose), the first number identifies the month in which the pup was born (2=February, 10= October, etc). The second number is the last digit of the year in which the pup was born ( 8=1988, 0=1990, 4=1994, etc.). An alphabetic letter then follows that is meant only for that pup (if the litter contained 7 puppies then the last alphabetic letter utilized would be "G").

Tattooing

Most farms will tattoo pups when they are about 2+ months old. One person will hold the puppy, while the other  tattoos. The tattoo instrument itself is structured like a set of tongs. Little blocks of needle-like pins forming numbers or letters are positioned into one side of the tongs; the other side is like a pad of hard rubber. A retainer can be loosened and the numbers/letters can be changed in the set of tongs. There should be two sets of tongs (numbers/letters are only changed for the right ear set), all numbers and letters are laid out, forms completed as much as possible beforehand, ink bottle in place, rags and alcohol in place, and cleaning solutions in place. Farmers learn how to quiet and distract pups.

The ears are cleansed with a paper towel and alcohol. The feet are then washed as the NGA forms require color of each toenail on each pup. . The numbers/letters are prepared in the tongs, the NGA form is filled out for that pup, the NGA form is imprinted with the tattoo, the ink bottle is ready and the pup is prepared to be tattooed.  The pup is positioned without binding, gently lifting the chin, and the opposite ear is rubbed and played with to provide distraction. The ear to be tattooed is turned back, green ink is rolled from the applicator bottle onto the pup's ear, the pup's ear is positioned between the tongs and the squeeze is initiated quickly.  The needle-like pins press the ear and the pup will yelp.  Some pups scream, some fight, some bite, some do nothing but look around confused.  The tongs are released while making sure that nothing is within biting-range of the pup.  The ink is rolled onto the tattoo and rubbed in with the thumb. Once pup is quieted down, the second set of tongs are obtained, pup is positioned and the process is repeated. 

The pup is tattooed!

The Vaccination Program

by Maureen B. Lawrence A.H.T.

Manager, Anicare, Inc.

There is so much controversy concerning the proper vaccination schedule to follow when vaccinating our canine companions. Should vaccines be given in a combination, or should they be split apart, so that parvo and distemper are given separately? How often should they receive them, and when should you begin to vaccinate? Considering that some breeds suffer from immuno suppression it was advised to vaccinate the dogs in intervals, never giving parvo and distemper combined until the dogs were 12 weeks of age. Over the years because of this controversy, vaccinations of puppies have become inadequate, causing not only parvo, but also distemper outbreaks.

Let’s look at the Greyhound. Since this is one of the breeds that suffer from immuno suppression, they received their vaccines in intervals. This meant that beginning at 4 weeks, a parvo show would be given followed by a distemper the following week and would continue until the pups reached the age of 15 to 16 weeks. This meant that with a litter of 8 pups approximately 72 separate shots would be given (not including kennel cough and corona). Now this is not only time consuming, but also monetarily expensive. We know that on a greyhound farm time is important and money is hard to come by. Is it possible that to save time and money, the vaccinating of the greyhounds was improvised, leaving them improperly vaccinated, and susceptible to disease?

Over the years and with research by highly reputable drug companies and veterinary colleges working together, they have concluded that it is not necessary to give separate shots and that it is perfectly safe to vaccinate greyhounds with a combination vaccine without harmful side effects. There are 2 different vaccination schedules you can follow. Both begin with a parvo shot at 4 weeks, continuing every 2-3 weeks with a combination shot.

SCHEDULE A

SCHEDULE B

4 WEEKS – PARVO 4 WEEKS – PARVO
6 WEEKS – 5 WAY 6 WEEKS – 5 WAY
8 WEEKS – 5 WAY 9 WEEKS – 5 WAY
10 WEEKS – 5 WAY 12 WEEKS – 7 WAY
12 WEEKS – 7 WAY 15 WEEKS – 7 WAY
15 WEEKS – 7 WAY

At any time after they are 8 weeks old, a Kennel Cough vaccine should be given to all pups and Rabies at 16 weeks. With using either of these vaccination schedules, you have decreased the amount of vaccinations by approximately 30 shots and have increased the dogs immunity to Distemper and Parvo at an early age. It’s your choice. Vaccinate your dogs properly, save time and money, or continue to cut corners and suffer the consequences. You decide.

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