Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Count Down Begins

Fern enjoys sleeping on her back.
Although I palpated Fern on Day 25 and “knew” she was pregnant, it’s always a relief when it starts to show too.  My old vet taught me how to determine pregnancy (in dogs, just dogs!) many years ago, and so far I’ve always been correct.  Although our girls normally ARE pregnant when I palpate, we’ve had a few misses over the years, and I called those correctly too.  With a perfect record at stake, I get a bit nervous each time I do it, and of course a pregnant bitch can re-absorb per puppies too (dogs rarely miscarry, they just reabsorb).  And considering all the time, money and effort that goes into doing a litter, a “miss” is such a disappointment.
Gemma was palpated on Day 25 and was obviously pregnant.  I tried Fern on Day 24 and couldn’t be sure, but on Day 25 she felt pregnant – though not as “full” as Gemma felt.  Although both girls were bred the same day, Gemma down in Kansas City and Fern to a dog in Minneapolis that I co-bred, we’re guessing that Gemma will come a day or two sooner as she probably ovulated a day or two before Fern did.  Because we did progesterone testing, we knew the approximate days they ovulated, and knew that the eggs had to ripen from 48 to 72 hours before they could be fertilized.  We shall see how this all plays out!  Fern finally LOOKED pregnant on Day 35.  Whew.
Many breeders use ultrasound to determine pregnancy, but I’m not real keen on taking dogs to the Vet clinic for something unnecessary.  Why take a chance on exposing them to something? They either are or are not pregnant, and it’s too late to do anything about it, so why spend the money?  The numbers from ultra sounds are never correct anyway.  When I palpate I don’t attempt to count, I just want a Yay or a Nay on pregnancy.  Once I know they are pregnant, I can start the necessary preparations.  (Tomorrow's topic perhaps.)
Gemma lives with Heather, and my daughter Jess & I are her co-owners.  Jess will be raising the litter and the pups belong to Jess and Heather (unless I steal one!).  Fern is my dog, but Jess will sign on as a “lessee” so she will be a co-breeder on Fern’s litter.  The advantage of that is we will both be able to show Fern’s pups in Bred By Exhibitor Class, as long as we are both co-owners as well.  I plan to keep one if the right pup is in this litter, but if not I can wait.   I have a frozen semen breeding planned for Fern next year (if she is a good mother and has quality pups this time) and would really like a pup from THAT litter if it works out.
The co-ownership option worked nicely on Holly’s litter two years ago.  Jana, Jess and I co-bred the litter.  I kept Max, and Mellie went to Jana, but the three of us stayed on as co-owners.  I put the first 10 points on Max, but it was working to Fern’s disadvantage for me to show both dogs in Bred By Exhibitor Classes.  If I won with Max, it made it less likely I would win with Fern (depends on the judge of course) and I would have to hand her off at ringside while I was showing Max rather than giving her my full attention at ringside.  We decided to try Jess on Max, since she still co-owned him and could therefore show him in the class.  It worked nicely.  Fern showed better when I could concentrate on her, and finished quickly and with a nice record.   Jess finished Max with several nice wins – and they both finished from Bred By.

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