Home

“S” Litter Bird Exposure and Homegoings

Leave a comment

I know that I have a couple of emails in the inbox asking about 2023 litters (I promise that I will respond by Monday), we are planning a litter for the Fall/Winter 2023 as our next. Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com for further details.

It’s tough for me to believe that it’s been two weeks since these bird exposure photos were taken and a week since the puppies went home. I’ve been avoiding making this post a little since it is a bit sad to see them go. But knowing that they are making their new owner’s lives happier makes it all worth it.

The setup that I did this time for bird exposure is having a chukar in a wire crate down by the barn, then the dead quail on a string in an exercise pen in the backyard. I took the pup out of the kennel and put them on a leash for the first time. It was a bit of a rodeo as usual, where they want to tug on the leash or bite it. They get the hang of it pretty quickly though. So we walked through the yard down to the chukar in a wire crate and let them look at it.

Then we walked back up to the backyard and I took them off of the leash and put them into the exercise pen for the dead bird exposure. This was a quail that Charles had trained the big dogs with and shot, which we kept in the barn fridge for this purpose. So I put the dead quail on a string and dragged it around a bit to get the pup’s attention. They all either chewed it a bit, picked it up and ran with it, or a little of both.

Although it isn’t a complete training for the field, it is a good start to making a Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.

Sebastian, male pup:

Simon, male pup:

Samson, male pup:

Simi, female pup:

Spokanne, female pup:

Sue, female pup:

And here are the pups going home, in the order that they left:

Samson is Bill’s second Bluestem puppy (also an “H” Litter male) and flew home to Nebraska
Lee took Simon home to his son on the South Carolina coast
Rocky took Sue home all the way back to Texas
Tonya, Ian and the kids took Sebastian to the north side of Charlotte
Haley and Dalton took Simi to Charlotte
Luke took Spokanne up to Hickory, North Carolina

I am so thankful for these loving families to send the pups home with! I hope to see some of them again and maybe get a pup out of one of those girls.

While I was home with puppies, Charles was out chasing birds with Obi, Sally and Duke in Nebraska and North Dakota for a good part of a month. I will have to save that update for another day, but it feels good to finally have the posts about the “S” Litter wrapped up. I’m excited that the young dogs got out west for some good wild bird hunting, which is better than all of the yard or test drills in the world. So I’ll save that for next week.

Good luck to all of these new owners and please stay in touch!

“S” Litter Seven Weeks Old!

Leave a comment

We’ve got new owners ready to show up to take these guys and gals home next week, but we have our next litter planned for Fall 2023. If you’d like to get added to the list of reservations for that, feel free to email me at bluestemkennels@gmail.com. I’ll start contacting folks about interviews and deposits once these pups go home.

This coming week is consists of bird work (both retrieving a dead bird and seeing a live bird), walking on leash, crate exposure, coming into the kitchen to play, and riding in a car. I will try to catch some of it on camera, but working with birds and running a camera at the same time is tricky. I’ve done it in the past but we’ll see how it goes this year.

They’re starting to go up and down stairs and have had their noise conditioning. The neighbors even helped out unknowingly by sighting in their deer hunting shotguns just across the road for four hours one day last weekend. The pups will see the vet on Friday for their last checkups, microchips and shots.

Here is their last set of individual photos that I can promise before their homegoing pics with their new owners:

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian running
Male pup, Sebastian front

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon side profile
Male pup, Simon side and front
Male pup, Simon running

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson front
Male pup, Samson side profile
Male pup, Samson face

Female pup, Simi

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi front
Female pup, Simi running

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne side profile
Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne running

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue side profile carrying an orange peel
Female pup, Sue front carrying an orange peel
Female pup, Sue face

It is always tough getting ready to let go of a litter of pups. I take comfort in the fact that these pups will turn into great dogs who will give their owners lots of joy throughout their lifetime.

Here is their last video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InhOkKHC52U&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

It is time for me to sign off to attend to evening mom duties, but I hope that you enjoyed following these pups through their early weeks. I hope to catch some shots with the birds and of course we’ll have the homegoing photos with their new owners posted once they all go home.

Then it’s back to chasing wild birds and hunt test titles for awhile! Good luck to everyone out there in the fields.

“S” Litter Five Weeks and Duke’s NA Test

Leave a comment

Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to be placed on the backup contact list in the event of anyone backing out on this litter at the last minute. I will start doing interviews for our Fall 2023 litter once our 2022 litter goes home, so you can reach out about that too.

Duke’s NAVHDA Natural Ability Test

You cannot put the pressure of your breeding kennel on a junior handler and our 13 year-old son Caleb had fun handling Cedar and Spruce’s Apollo “Duke” to a NAVHDA Natural Ability Prize III, so that is really all we can ask for. They tested at the Foothills NAVHDA Chapter in Hickory, NC on Saturday. The pheasant track was spot on and he did great in the water, but it took him 15 of the 20 allotted minutes to get started in the field search. To his credit, he was the last dog in the field and it reeked of bird stench after nine other dogs ran ahead of him, so I could tell that it made Duke a bit confused and timid, wanting to point every place a bird had been planted. I’ve seen pro trainer/handlers come up with a “No Prize” on Natural Ability, so we are not disappointed. At nine months old Duke is still young enough to Natural Ability test again, but we won’t and just continue on to prepare for the Utility Preparatory Test. But the most important thing for him and for Sally is to get out west into the wild bird fields this fall.

Caleb and Duke ready to run
Duke in the field
Waiting for the water
Checking of the attributes

“S” Litter at Five Weeks Old

The pups are growing like weeds and are large enough to run the yard. We’ll do that a couple of times a day going forward. They have their first collars on and are picking up and carrying around toys. They love to chew on each other and their toys. Caleb is also my puppy assistant and I catch him doing the silliest things sometimes, like getting in their dog house.

Caleb has turned into a puppy

Here are their individual pics. Keep in mind that this is just a snapshot of this puppy. This doesn’t show their personality, size or conformation very well at all. They are just now starting to develop their different coats and I’m getting a better idea of who will fit well where.:

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian body

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon body

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face
Male pup, Samson body

Female pup, Simi:

Female pup, Simi face
Female pup, Simi body

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne body

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue body

Here is their video for the week. We were so busy this weekend that I didn’t have a chance to get Caleb to help me with them in the yard. It is just too much for one person to handle and try to video when we’re in the yard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtJ2jke9twg&t=1s&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I need to go ahead and sign off for now, the day is getting away from me and I need to start talking to folks about travel plans and puppy picks. I’ll be back next week on Tuesday, Monday has just become too crazy for me with kid activities and so the weekly updates will shift a day for the rest of their time with us. Good luck to everyone in the field with hunting and testing.

“S” Litter Three Weeks Old

Leave a comment

The puppies are three weeks old now and starting to crawl around and bark. They’ve had some limited puppy mush, but mostly nursing still. I am going to ramp up food introduction this week and start to get them outside in the grass more. Charles was home tending the kennel this weekend while I attended to some activities off of the property, so I haven’t had time to touch base with my new owners recently. I plan on doing that over the course of this week just to make sure that we’re working on travel plans and if you have any questions.

Male pup, Sebastian:

Male pup, Sebastian face
Male pup, Sebastian back

Male pup, Simon:

Male pup, Simon face
Male pup, Simon back

Male pup, Samson:

Male pup, Samson face
Male pup, Samson back

Female pup, Simi:

Female pup, Simi face
Male pup, Simi back

Female pup, Spokanne:

Female pup, Spokanne face
Female pup, Spokanne back

Female pup, Sue:

Female pup, Sue face
Female pup, Sue back

Here is the video for the week, you can see how active they are getting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc3Il3cEFGM&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I’ll be back next week where we’ll be halfway through this journey! Here’s a shot from last week when Caleb and I had the puppies out on the lawn. He has an activity tonight that I need to take him to, so I had better keep moving.

Caleb and the “S” Litter

Welcome “S” Litter 2022!

Leave a comment

On Monday, August 22nd we welcomed the “S” Litter of 2022, three boys and three girls. At this time all puppies are spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to get on the backup contact list in case of owners dropping out, or to enquire about future litters.

Ruth woke me up at 4 AM Monday morning, howling for a potty break, so I knew that we were getting close. By mid-morning she had hit the non-stop panting phase and was trying to make nests in the bushes surrounding our property, so when she wasn’t in the basement in the kennel with the whelping box, I’d have her out walking in the yard about 20 minutes of every hour. I finally took a lengthy lunch break and by the time I returned about 1:30 PM she had three pups with her, the third one had just emerged. It was about one an hour after that until 8 PM.

There was originally a fourth boy, making the total seven. He was extremely tiny at birth, but was strong enough to nurse with some assistance. I was pretty much working on him non-stop all day Tuesday, but by evening Ruth was pushing him away and I knew it was time to stop trying. He was gone when I woke up yesterday. I let the litter rest yesterday, focusing on walking Ruth and making sure that she looked healthy.

Today was the day of cleaning all of the wood shavings from the whelping box and kennel after whelping and making sure there wasn’t any bio-hazardous waste remaining, then replacing all of the wood shavings. While I was cleaning the kennel, the puppies and Ruth got to enjoy the sun out on the back patio.

Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies
Ruth and the three day old puppies hanging out on the back patio
Hunting Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies
The Super Six of the “S” Litter

I thought that they were going to squirm around when I put them in the fresh chips back in the box, but instead they went right to sleep. Here is the video that I shot of them at that point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GISfY1AiMKE&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

It is getting late in the day and there is still so much to do, I’m still trying to get caught up since I pretty much lose a full day during whelping. We go to the vet tomorrow morning for vet check, tail docking and dew claw removal (the veterinarians here do it a day or two after we did back in Nebraska, so I’m not really used to it yet). I will be back on Monday with the one week old update.

Spring Test Prep

Leave a comment

Now that our oldest son has finally completed his schoolwork for his senior year of high school, I feel like I can breathe! He finished on Friday and will walk across the stage in about a week and a half.

A quick update on our breeding plans: it looks like I’m full on reservations for Fall 2022 Obi x Ruth, but folks can and do back out. Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to get on my contact list for litters. The next planned breeding(s?) after that will be Fall 2023 since our daughter is graduating from college back in Nebraska in the spring of 2023. But accidents can and do happen, so I can’t totally count that season out even if I try.

In the meantime, Charles, Obi and Sally will be heading up to the Hudson Valley (NY) NAVHDA Spring Test this weekend. It will be Obi’s second and final UT run. He was a very high scoring Prize II at the Carolinas Chapter Test and Charles wants to see if he can get a Prize I. Sally will be running her UPT Test, the practice test for the UT.

Obi, Duke, Sally and Ruth in the kennels

When we’re not working with them in the yard or socializing with them in the house, the dogs spend their time in their kennels. They are crated indoors at night.

Charles, Obi and Sally have been putting in lots of training hours at various grounds in the area, but I hardly ever leave “Tiny Farm of Bethel, SC” since there is so much to do here! I managed to catch some pics of them working in the yard yesterday.

Sally on the track
Sally with the duck
Obi with the duck
Obi retrieving to hand

I hope that they have fun in New York and give it their best shot! Charles grew up right near where the test is being held and so he is going to get to visit his dad while he is there too.

Duke is almost six months old and is turning out nicely! His teeth all seem to be in their correct places, he is learning his commands, we’re working on getting his fitness built up, he has a nice coat and he isn’t too large. When we weighed him a few weeks back he was 30 lbs., so we are hoping that he tops out in the 50-55 lb. range but we will see. Dukes lineage is a combination of Coppershot, Des Battures and Stonyridge, so I am expecting great things from him!

Duke on the move
Duke in the field
Duke pointing me and being cute

I look forward to our trip to the Nebraska Sandhills this summer so that he can get a big long run in behind the truck! And do lots of swimming at the lake too.

Ruth has really bounced back from the puppies and now it is just a matter of watching and waiting for her next cycle. I suspect that it is going to be in July or August, but I will keep you posted. I normally do not do back-to-back litters with females, but it took us three attempts to get an outside male raised and turned out properly to breed with her. A female pup from this fall’s litter is going to a breeder, then we will keep an Obi x Ruth female for our program in 2023.

Ruth running the hills
Ruth creeping through a low spot

We are so blessed to have our place here where we can work with the dogs right in the yard. I’ve been busy planting domesticated flowerbeds and trying to keep the wild woods at bay as much as possible. My vegetable garden is already exploding with lettuce, spinach and collards. I hope to add chickens for eggs and meat goats next year. Charles keeps a funny collection of birds for training.

Domestic mallards and a rooster pheasant

He has a whole other quail house on the back hill that I’ll have to get pictures of later.

Good luck to everyone at their spring tests, may we all savor the thrills of victory and withstand the stings of defeat.

“R” Litter 8 Weeks and Homegoing

Leave a comment

We had a busy last week with the pups, as my daughter was visiting over the University of Nebraska-Lincoln spring break.

Cordelia and the “R” Litter pups

They passed their vet inspection with flying colors. Their teeth are all straight, their umbilical openings have closed, everything sounded and moved as it should.

The two girls at York Vet

In addition to the trip to the vet, they got some individual crate time in on a day that Cordelia and I went to the gym for a couple of hours.

Puppies crate conditioning in the “dog room” (and hunting junk room)
My head puppy assistant Caleb also got in some extra time with them the last week

We also worked on walking on a leash a little bit. They are used to following me around, so it doesn’t take much to get them to just ignore the leash and follow me around. Since Reba is going to be a dock diving dog, she got to see the retrieving bumper just briefly.

Reba checks out the bumper while on a leash

Other trainers have told me that it is important to only use the bumper for the task that you are training towards, it is not a chew toy or reward item. So this was literally less than a minute. It has been pretty chilly here (for South Carolina) the last few weeks so their time in the water was pretty limited.

Pups in the swamp

There is a little swampy area on the border of our property after it rains, so they were able to climb around in that a bit.

Rosalind will be working some birds, so she got some bird exposure while she was here.

Rosalind sight pointing a wing
Rosalind retrieving a dead quail

The way that I do the frozen dead quail is that I put the pup in an exercise pen so that they don’t have a chance to run off and get distracted by other things. I tie a string to the quail and drag it around inside of the exercise pen to get the pup’s attention. Then they pick up the bird and carry it around to much praise.

Rosalind checking out our bird menagerie

She also got a chance to check out some live birds in the bird pen. Early exposure folks are divided on whether to let a pup get their mouth on a live bird. I used to let a pup play with a live bird, but where we are testing more with pen-raised birds that they are able to catch at times, I would rather just avoid a problem and start them at “look/point only”.

Reba going home to Kentucky with vet Dr. Blair to trail run and dock dive
Rosalind going home with Clint and his wife to Pennsylvania to hunt and blood track

Then first thing Sunday morning, both of the puppies went home. The timing was such a blessing because I would have struggled with only having one of them here. They would have basically needed attention as if I were keeping the pup and I feel so lucky that both of the new owners were able to make it on the day that they turned 8 weeks. I look forward to watching them grow, they are great little girls! (Please note: the 8 week birthday rule is a USDA regulation for dog breeders and should apply to all dog breeders in the United States. Anyone sending puppies home prior to their 8 week old birthday is in violation of APHIS regulations and is opening themselves up to potential US Department of Agriculture enforcement.)

Since Ruth is five and it took us so long to get a male purchased, tested and raised to our specifications, we will be doing another litter in the fall. It looks like it is probably all reserved, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to get on our backup contact list. After the Fall of 2022, our next planned litter is the Fall of 2023. Our daughter is graduating from college in May of 2023 and we need to be able to travel back to Nebraska for that event. Spring of 2024 will be Ruth’s last litter and then she will retire. We will keep a female puppy (or puppies?) from those last two litters. I suspect Spring of 2024 will be Sally’s first litter, as long as everything turns out with health testing.

Speaking of graduations, our son Conrad graduates from Clover High School two months from tomorrow! I am not sure when I’ll be back here blogging, but Sally has her UPT test and Obi has his last UT test (we’re trying for the UT I one more time, I told Charles that he is not allowed to test him ten times like some people do for the UT I) in May at the Hudson Valley (NY) Chapter of NAVHDA. I will also have to keep you posted as to when Ruth comes into season for the next round, I’m hoping that she can hold off until July to come in, but it may be June. She and I will be working out and getting ready. And Duke will be training with Caleb for NAVHDA Natural Ability.

So that is a wrap on “R” litter 2022, good luck to everyone out there training and testing this spring!

“R” Litter Seven Weeks Old!

Leave a comment

This week we will be heading to the vet for first shots, examinations and microchips! Then they go home a week from today on Sunday the 20th. This week we’ll work on walking on a leash a little bit. One of them will get bird and cap gun work. They will both get crate conditioning. I will continue with outdoor exercise every day, because it is fun! As you can see in the video this week, they come when they are called to the generic “puppies!”. They’re in the middle of their de-worming regimen.

It is always bittersweet when they go home because you will miss their company, but it is so rewarding sending them home to their new families!

Rosalind in the muddy driveway
Rosalind on the run
Rosalind running in the pasture
Reba giving something a stare
Reba on the run
Reba giving me a point
Rolling down the hill!
Chomp!
Exploration

And here is their seven week old video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DLy_E7JJP8&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

My daughter is here from Nebraska for her spring break, so I need to run and spend time with her (and not just the dogs!), so I’ll sign off for this week and be back next week with homegoing pictures.

“R” Litter Six Weeks and Hunting Ends

Leave a comment

The two girls are really getting active, come when called for the most part, explore, eat just hard kibble and love lots of hugs and pets. They go in for their shots and microchips a week from today and so we’ve sorted out who goes where. Reba will be going home to Kentucky and Rosalind with be rolling out for Pennsylvania in a couple of weeks.

Reba head on
Reba side profile
Reba facing the other way
Reba with a leaf in her mouth
Rosalind laying on her belly
Rosalind sitting down
Rosalind looking at the sky
Rosalind on the run
Rosalind through the fence, you can see Reba’s rump squeezing between the posts
Rosalind being accosted by Reba
Reba and Rosalind palling around
Girls on the prowl

This is actually a shot from last week that I forgot to include. They moved from the inside whelping box out on to the covered patio with a kennel and dog house. Outside is much more entertaining and where they start eating primarily solid food, they get pretty stinky to be indoors.

Outside is best after 5 weeks old

They also have spent time with our older puppy Duke and our son Caleb. It is fun for them to get exposure to dogs other than Ruth and people other than me.

Big puppy with little puppies
Caleb and the pups

Here is their six week old video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_yAKsP4BAg

End of hunting season

Charles and Quentin went out one last time on the final day of quail season in South Carolina. It took them all day, but they each put one in the bag. It was dark by the time they wrapped up, so there were no dead bird photos. Charles did snap this pic of the sunset with the pointers, setters and Griffons all together.

Sunset with a mixed bag of dogs

This was actually back on President’s Day but I somehow forgot to post this photo of our almost thirteen year old son Caleb with Charles, Obi and Sally and a big haul of preserve quail. Charles wanted to get Caleb even more excited about bird hunting and this seemed to do the trick!

Caleb and Charles with a big haul of preserve quail with Obi and Sally

This has taken me way longer than I intended, so it is time for me to get on with the day. Next week will be our last video before the puppies go to their new homes! See you then.

“R” Litter Five Weeks and Carolinas Field Trial

Leave a comment

For the remainder of the puppy time here, I’m going to shift to a Monday morning posting time. With the puppies needing to be fed and exercised twice a day, it makes for one less thing that I have to try and get done Sunday evening (along with dinner and tutoring the boys).

The girls are growing as they should at five weeks old and love to run and play!

Reba and Rosalind at five weeks old

They love their twice-a-day feedings of puppy kibble!

Reba at the top, Rosalind at the bottom eating food

They are also learning to swat items with their paws and pick things up with their mouths. Their teeth are starting to come in. They have finally mastered a decent run and don’t fall over when they are trying. All of these are normal developmental stages for Griffon puppies of this age. Looking at these photos reminds me that it is time to put their little puppy collars on!

For the next week we focus on eating and running. I have toys for them to pick up and carry around. They have also started to come when called (I don’t call them by their temporary internet names, I just call them “puppies”). I have seen where other breeders have toy gyms set up with PVC pipe where there are toys on a frame that the puppies can tug on. I choose not to do this intentionally because I don’t want them in the habit of tugging. Bird dogs need to pick up items and release them on command. I am concerned that if they get that satisfaction of tugging early on, that it will be harder to train them to release the bird later in life. So I stick with the old-fashioned “pick up your toy and carry it around” fun, which also taps into that retrieving instinct.

Here are some more action photos from the yard yesterday:

Reba on the run
Rosalind on the run
Here they come!
More running practice
Rosalind and Reba in the yard
Having a stare down
On the lookout

Here is their five week old video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5835uE9Mzg&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

Carolinas Griffon Field Trial

Charles took Obi and Sally to the Carolinas Griffon Field Trial in Benson, North Carolina on Saturday. Thank you to Kelly Hughes for organizing the event! I wish I could have made it, but I was home with puppies and kids. This event was formerly supported by the AWPGA (American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association, the AKC parent club of the breed), but appears to no longer be an official club event, even though it is mostly attended by AWPGA members.

Charles and Bluestem Sally Forth NA II “Sally” at the 2022 Carolinas Field Trial

Obi took second place in Advanced Gun Dog. Charles thinks that there were some handler errors that contributed to losing points towards taking first place. He said it was run in a NSTRA format and we’ve never run dogs in that, so it was all new rules. But hey, second place is great!

Carolinas Field Trial Second Place Advanced Gun Dog Ribbon 2022
Obi and Charles with the second place advanced gun dog ribbon 2022 Carolinas Field Trial

Charles is actually out today with Obi and Sally for the last day of quail season in South Carolina, so I’ll be interested to see if they bring anything home. One can hope! And at least quail country doesn’t have any gators!

It is time for me to go feed and run some puppies, but I’ll be sure to check back in this time next week.

Older Entries