The Bunny pups turn two weeks old today, and I have to say that they are one of the most stress free litters I’ve ever had (thanks mostly to Bunny’s exceptional mothering skills). They rarely cry, and they’re all unbelievably chubby little babies. Bunny keeps them immaculately clean, and rarely is out of the whelping box. Every litter should be this easy.
Delilah, on the other, is a graduate of the same slacker mom school of parenthood that her sister Penelope attended. She is getting better – she has some milk, finally, although not very much, and she’s occasionally cleaning the puppies, but over all her attitude is one of “this is all a bad dream”. Hauling the puppies to Bunny for feedings was starting to stress Bun out – she became agitated every time I took them back away from again, barking and jumping up and down in a way that clearly said “Where do you think you’re going with those babies?”. We were faced with a choice – either leave the puppies with Bunny for good, or start supplementing with a bottle. The size difference between the Bunny pups and Delilah’s wee babies would have made it risky to leave them with Bunny, so we chose bottle feeding. Thankfully, the bottle is just there to ‘top them up’ after they’ve nursed, so it’s a little less onerous than a full regimen of bottle feeding four puppies would usually be.
We’re still getting up every two hours for feedings, but now the routine is –
- Get up, put Delilah on bed, get puppies, put on bed with Delilah
- Put Delilah on her side (she’s still not thrilled with this, but it no longer requires wrestling moves to get her into position)
- Put puppies on nipples, making sure the smaller ones (the two brindle girls) get the premium real estate
- When pups drop off, top pups up with a bottle feeding. Each puppy drinks about 10 ml of formula, which doesn’t sound like much, but is making all the difference in their weight gain, and yet is still little enough to not impact Delilah’s milk production
- Clean puppy bottoms, trying first to get Delilah to lick them, and then, if that fails, using cotton balls dipped in warm water
- Put pups back in whelping box, feed Delilah, let her outside to pee, stagger back to bed
.. repeat in two hours. With any luck, Delilah’s motherhood skills will increase over the next week, so that I can start getting some real sleep, instead of just running on coffee and adrenaline. In the meantime, kissing Vela’s fat little tummy is a remarkable pick me up.
The rest of the photos are over here on Flickr.