By Harriet Allen, Havic Kennels
On the morning of January 2, 2011, Skylar gave birth to eight Norfolk Terrier puppies. She started her first signs of labor at 3:30 a.m., and delivered her first puppy at 5:35 a.m. She free-whelped the litter with the help of Jenafer Pulmano, the vet tech who works for my vet, Lance Coy, and me. Skylar finished delivering the puppies at 8:15 a.m.
My vet was on telephone standby just in case we needed him to do a C-section. After the first puppy was born, she delivered the remaining seven between fifteen and 25 minutes apart. Skylar was tearing the sacks and biting the cords herself, while Jenafer and I took care of the newly born puppies, and cleared the lungs of the puppy being born.
Skylar delivered her puppies in a Dura-Whelp box, and they all stayed in this until the puppies started to be weaned. I then moved them to an x-pen in my kitchen. I tried letting them run loose in the kitchen – an idea that didn’t work, as I almost fell several times. I
had two playpens set up on my lanai, one for the girls, and one for the boys, and they slept in those at night. During the day when it was nice and sunny (I live in Florida) I let the puppies out to play in a large x-pen with a shade cloth over the top.
I was trying to give the puppies some exercise in order to wear them out and use up some of that energy so they would sleep through the night. I left a TV on from the morning these puppies were born, either on Animal Planet or Disney, and there is a TV on the lanai where they sleep. None of the eight puppies is afraid of noise, though they may well be addicted to TV, as I have seen them sitting up and watching. Only time will tell.
There wasn’t any way Skylar was going to be able to nurse and care for all eight at one time, so we rotated puppies – four girls rotating with the four boys – around the clock for the first four and a half weeks, until I started to wean them.
Skylar did an exceptional job raising her puppies. The litter was time-consuming, and took every ounce of energy and effort we had. We did not lose any puppies, and I did not have to tube or supplement them. I did use Nutra-Cal on the puppies for the fist week.
Skylar and I nursed the puppies every three hours around the clock, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Once the puppies were completely weaned, I moved them to their x-pen where I fed them, and where they were able to walk around and get some exercise. This litter was walking at three and a half weeks. I started them on goat’s milk, and then gradually added ground-up puppy kibbles. I was so excited when I could get a whole night’s sleep as, I must admit, this was wearing on me, and my grown dogs were feeling abandoned. But it was worth every minute!
I found that the puppies loved playing with some tiny puppy toys that I ordered from Pet Edge. These entertained them for hours. I then gradually added different toys. They loved the rope toys and all the squeaky toys. Of course, Norfolks like change, so I rotated toys for different days, and they acted like they were new.
Skylar was bred to Ch. Glenelg Gulliver Travels to Havic, and Gulliver bred her on his own. Skylar’s mom is Ch. Havic’s Joyful Celebration, and her father is Ch. Tenterra Dance Man. Skylar is out of a line of free-whelpers; her mom and grandmother were the seame.
I have been told this is a record litter for Norfolk Terriers. I know this litter has been a joy to raise and watch grow up, but I am not in any hurry to breed her gain in the near future.
(Published in ANTIC June 2011)