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Q Litter Homegoings!

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Feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you wish to enquire about our 2022 litter plans.  I am hoping to get through the 2022 interest emails by the old tax filing deadline of April 15th.

Over the last couple of weekends the Q Litter has gone to their new homes.  They are really a handful at 8 weeks old and I am so glad that they are with their new owners getting into a routine and having plenty of individual attention.  We still have Sally here (her litter name was Quarry) and she is very sweet but obviously does normal puppy annoying behavior, like chewing stuff that she is not supposed to and having potty accidents.  I am not going to try and sugar-coat housebreaking a Griff.  They are really one of the toughest breeds to get through in my experience.  Where I can have an English breed fully broken by 12-16 weeks, I’m honest with myself in knowing that I’m still going to be struggling at that point and not to expect to be accident-free until 20 weeks with a Griff.

The only thing that I can think of to account for the longer period of time is that they have so much to learn as a versatile breed that it just takes them longer to get everything down.  And they are just a slower maturing breed anyway; Obi is 17 months-old and still has some very puppy behavior.

Let’s do photos first, then I’ll talk about what we’re working on with Sally.  I’m just going in the order of pickup for simplicity’s sake.

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Joe and family, with Qbert going to Iowa

We are excited to have Joe and Qbert (he will be called something else, but I always forget to write down their new call names and so I’ll just refer to their litter names, sorry) just across the river in Iowa and hope we get to train with them soon.

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Ricardo and Quartz are off to Colorado

Ricardo has an older Griff who will be showing Quartz the way on pheasants in Colorado.  They have a population of white ptarmigan out there that I hope that we get to chase someday, so maybe we’ll meet again.

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Cliff’s family and Queen on their way to Oklahoma

Cliff also has Belle from our “C” Litter between Sam and Mae, so this is their second Bluestem puppy.  They had just come up from taking their granddaughters to show their pigs.  Belle and the pup are still figuring out their relationship but it is going well so far.

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Greg and his wife with Quince going to North Dakota

Greg also has Epsilon from our J Litter between Sam and BB, so yet another two Bluestem puppy family.  He will be getting spoiled since both Greg and his wife work independently and someone always has the dogs with them.  And of course North Dakota is one of our favorite places to visit during hunting season, hopefully the bird population up there bounces back in the next few years.

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Jim and his family with Qiana

Jim and his family lives out on an acreage in central Nebraska.  This is their first Griff, so they are in for an adventure.  But Jim has had hunting dogs his whole life and his dad was a trainer of Labarador Retrievers so they’re ready for action.

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Aaron and his wife heading back to Ohio with Quest

Aaron has a Bluestem pup that goes by Pepper from our D Litter between our original breeding pair Sue and Sam.  He says that Quest and Pepper are getting along splendidly and she is really fitting in with the family.  Aaron also wins the “traveled farthest” award for coming almost 800 miles one way to pick up his puppy.

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Quentin going to Michigan with Paul and Deb

Second in the “traveled farthest” award is Paul and Deb, flying out from Michigan to rent a car and drive back home with Quentin.  They also own a pup by the name of Fielding from our O Litter between Fire and Chief with their daughter Galen and her fiancee.  Galen works in IT for a major Detroit auto manufacturer and her fiancee is a police officer, so all four of them take turns raising the dogs with schedules all over the place.

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Travis and family with Quetzal going to Kansas

Travis and I have been in contact about getting his family a puppy for a long time, but being active duty in the Army with consistent deployment and his wife home with three kids, there was no way she was going to let him get a puppy until he retired!  So happy military retirement, Travis and thank you for your service!  Bird numbers in Kansas have been good lately, so I’m sure you’ll get a chance to chase some of them around.

I suppose I should set up a tripod and take a family picture of us with Sally, but it has not happened yet, so here are just a few candids from around the house.

Charity Upchurch Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Puppies

Sally and I taking a selfie

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Sally on top of her big sister Ruth, who is almost exactly four years older

On Good Friday, Charles took Caleb and mama Fire out for some preserve hunting.  Caleb shot a rooster and a few of the chukar, with Charles harvesting the rest.  The most important to me was that Caleb and Fire had a good time.

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Caleb trying to pose with Fire

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Caleb showing off his rooster and his smile

As fas as what we are working on with Sally, I focus on the housebreaking and crate training.  If someone isn’t watching her to catch accidents, she is in a crate near the rest of us so that she can still interact and hear what we are doing.  Charles is working on whoa and heel using treats in the morning.

When we started out working with dogs twenty years ago, we didn’t do much other than housebreaking the first year and letting them on to wild birds.  This was sort of the old field trialer dog training mentality.  But as we’ve matured as dog owners, we’ve found that the sooner we work with them the better.  Not overtraining or hacking on the pup, but just fun basic command learning and general obedience.

Especially with Griffons, if they are not exposed to a little pressure to behave right away, because they are so sensitive it is extremely difficult to impossible to break bad habits since their feelings get hurt so easily.  It’s better to get them used to being trained early so that when you get to the more advanced steps they are not as difficult to handle.

Speaking of advanced steps, Charles is taking Obi and Ruth down to Lincoln for AKC Senior Hunter runs this weekend, so we’ll see how those go.  I had forgotten about the tests and am scheduled to lifeguard, so I am a little bummed that I won’t get to do some field photography.  We’ve also got them signed up to do the Utility Preparatory Test for NAVHDA in May, so I need to make sure to keep my calendar open that weekend to get some good photos.

Good luck to everyone with their Bluestem puppies, we are all in this challenging and joyous situation together so don’t hesitate to shoot me an email with questions.  And of course don’t be afraid to turn to your local NAVHDA chapter members for help and advice.

Q Litter Seven Weeks

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This litter is all microchipped with their new owners’ information and they start to go home on their eight week birthday on Sunday.  Our next litter will be in Spring of 2022 between Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and Bluestem Peaches En Regalia, NA I “Ruth”.  We keep going back and forth on a final repeat breeding of Fire and Chief next year and have not yet made a final decision.  Once these puppies are all in their homes I will start responding to my backlog of new interest emails.  If you want to join the queue, shoot me an email at bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

I’ve made sure that the puppies all been over by the pigeon coop and have had a bird fly up near them so they get used to that wing flapping sound and are not startled by it.  We’ve all had a couple of turns on the leash.  They’ve spent time in the crate.  They run around the yard like wild animals and run out into the woods so far that I’m afraid a coyote will eat them.  They have their shots, microchips and vet checks.  The papers from the AKC and NAVHDA are here.  They are ready for their own people.

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Queen (female) is going to Oklahoma as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quartz (male) is going to Colorado

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Quentin (male)  is going to Michigan as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Qbert (male) is going to Iowa

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Quince (male) is going to North Dakota as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quest (female) is going to Ohio as the family’s second Bluestem pup

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Quetzal (male) is going to Kansas

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Qiana (female) is going to Central Nebraska

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Quarry (female) is going to become AKC/NAVHDA Bluestem Sally Forth “Sally” and stay with us.

Here is the video that I took this week: Q Litter Seven Weeks Old

I really need to run and do puppy chores, but for now I’m just going to post the photo of Charles and Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” and their sweep of the Walking Derby at the inaugural AWPGA AKC Walking Field Trial, winning first in both the Amateur and Open Divisions!  We are so proud and thankful that the club was able to pull off such an event.  Biggest thanks to Tom and Kristen Mathis for their work.  Also thank you to our Griffon friends for showing up, I really wish that I could have been there and thank you for all of the messages of being missed.

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Charles and Wyo Plainsman Kenobi, NA I “Obi” First Place ribbons in both the Amateur and Open Divisions of the AWPGA AKC Walking Field Trial

 

 

 

Q Litter at Six Weeks Old

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All of these puppies are spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if you are interested in our Spring 2022 litters. I am working with a considerable backlog of emails right now but I am receiving them and will be responding and placing you on our contact list for the future when we are ready to do interviews and take deposits for 2022. Due to the demands of home and family, it is pretty much impossible for me to manage raising a litter and communicating with those new owners, while trying to work with interest on future litters. Sorry.

These puppies are ready for action. We are going out in the yard around three times a day and if it is raining I have the garage picked up enough for them to run around. This is a big week for the puppies since they are going to be de-wormed for the first time, also introduced to the pigeon coop and a dead quail. It is always fun. Oh and I want to get them started on crate conditioning. It is not full-on crate training, but just the opportunity to spend time in a crate so that it isn’t a totally unfamiliar experience. They already prefer to potty outside, so hopefully having the new owners housebreak them once they are in their new homes won’t be awful, although Griffs are notoriously long to housebreak.

They are weaned off of canned food and only eating puppy kibble and drinking from the water dish. They do still get to see mom at night. They are all conditioned to the weather and are no longer receiving supplemental heat to their living quarters.

I will be in touch with all of the new owners this week and picks will be finalized by this weekend since they get their microchips a week from today. Also make sure to have your pickup plans finalized so that I can have you on my calendar.

Okay, time for photos! I took these this morning in the yard, they are pretty random and I’m just going to post them in the order that I took them.

Queen
Quest and Quentin
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Quentin, Quartz, Quetzal and Quest
Quartz, Quince, Qiana, Quentin
Qiana and Quentin
Quetzal
Quetzal
Qbert
Qbert
Quest and Queen
Quetzal
Quartz
Qbert and Quincee
Quentin and Quince
Quest
Quetzal
Quest and Quetzal
Quest with rop, Queen and Quartz in the background

WordPress (what I design this blog with) just did an update and changed some things on me, so I just had one of those times when you do something, then click the wrong button and all of your work disappears so that you have to do it all over again. So putting those photos in took way longer than I had planned!

Here’s this week’s video which was taken yesterday evening between rainstorms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SszbnY3D_W4&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

Time to walk some dogs! Hopefully everyone out in Colorado and Wyoming is safe and digging out from the big storm. We just have had lots of rain these last couple of days, it should stay cool throughout the week and be nice over the weekend. It is actually easier to keep pups healthy when it is cool outside since you aren’t fighting all sorts of weird dirt fungi, bacteria and bugs. So the cool weather can just stay until these pups go home in a couple of weeks!

Q Litter at Five Weeks

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Five week old puppies keep you moving!  This litter is spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com regarding our Spring 2022 planned litters.  My responses are slow right now with everything going on and I keep being hopeful that I can get around to responding to emails, but right now my focus is on raising these puppies and caring for my family.  If email responses have to wait until April then so be it.

But I’m here writing to you all now and that’s what counts.  Just to make sure that I got pictures of every single puppy, I pulled them out individually yesterday and played with them on the front lawn.  I am really going to take my time on making picks with this litter, they are really all fantastic and I want to make sure that I talk to all of the new owners again and get it all right.  They get their microchips on Monday, March 22nd so final decisions all have to be made by then.

Here is what I ask that the new owners have in mind when we talk next week: 1) have your pickup plans pretty firm so that I have it on my calendar 2) think of the personality of the pup that you are looking for: do you want an alpha dog or somewhere in the middle?  Coat length?  Size for your purpose?  All of them are really lovely and we’re having just a terrible time even figuring out which female we want to keep.  Regardless of which puppy you get, you will be happy!

Okay here are the pics.  They are simply in the order that they were photographed the first time at the age of three weeks, no reason for the order other than the random selection that I did on that day.

Males

Quartz

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Quentin

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Quince

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Quetzal

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Qbert

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Females

Queen

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Quest

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Qiana

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Quarry

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Wow, those are some cute photos!  They were pretty nervous.  They would run around for a couple of minutes, then come up to me for a cuddle and pets, then I’d put them back down and let them run around for a few more minutes.  When you see where they are sniffing and searching around, they are looking for their litter or their mom.  They are still very focused on wanting that security of being together.

Here is the video that we took in the backyard yesterday afternoon, pretty unscripted and random: Q Litter at Five Weeks Video

It is really getting to be nice weather here and I’m looking forward to when the puppies start to let themselves out which will be any day now.  Right now when I open the gate, they still pretty much want to stay in their kennel but that will change soon.  I did put collars on them a few days ago, those will stay with me when they go home.  Some of those camo collars on the boys are 10 years old!  Those are the small puppy collars, they will be ready for their new owners to bring medium puppy collars when they go home in three weeks.

We are trying to transition from soft canned food to puppy hard kibble, but they still really like canned food so they get it once or twice a day.  They have access to kibble at all times.  Mom generally goes out to see them once or twice a day and spends the night with them.  With the limited nursing, they do drink from the water bowl.  I will start our deworming regimen over the weekend, then next week is when I’ll defrost a dead quail to let them have a go at picking that up and also letting them inspect our live pigeon loft.  I’ve been doing noise exposure daily when they eat and they know to expect that and are not reacting.  We’ll mess around with a leash next week and practice being in a crate a little.  With it being spring break I’ll be able to have my helper Caleb assist me with all of this.

Of course right now sanitation is a continuous job and it will just get to be more so.  I’m able to get away with a once per day cleanup now but soon it will be twice a day and will continue that way until they go home.

Charles is preparing for the Griffon field trial in Illinois in a week and a half.  I am excited to see who shows up and how it all goes.

Time to sign off, enjoy the spring weather and good luck to everyone who is training, trialing, testing their big dogs or raising puppies right now.

Q Litter at 4 Weeks

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This litter is spoken for and my next litters will be in spring of 2022.  I appreciate the overwhelming desire to get a pup from us, I really do.  I am receiving your emails and will be sure to reach out once I get our taxes prepared.  If you want to be added to my list of contacts, you can email bluestemkennels@gmail.com and I will get you on there and shoot you an email here in the next few weeks.

Why doesn’t she have any time?  Blogging takes time.  Not only do I have to take a couple of hours to write this post, but I have to set aside the time to do the photography beforehand.  Of course, there is taking care of the puppies which now includes daily feeding them and play time.  The big dogs need to be walked several times a day.  I am swimming two miles a week.  We are big foodies, so all of our food is homemade.  Like, I felt guilty for using store bought breadcrumbs in my meatloaf yesterday kind of homemade.  I don’t have a housekeeper and my kids don’t have tutors.  I probably spend six hours a week on tutoring my two boys.  And I try to squeeze in some professional time substitute teaching middle school and lifeguarding.  This is how I have always lived my life, bouncing from one completely unrelated thing to another.  Someday the kids will graduate from high school and I might retire from my out-of-the-house jobs to work on dogs full time.  But I’ve got to “make hay while the sun is shining” as we say out in the Sandhills.  Not time to be an old dog lady just yet.

The puppies are doing great.  Fielding a lot of questions from the new owners about how their personalities are developing and whether they show any curiosity or independence at this point.  The short answer is still “no”.  This is currently how they spend the majority of their life.

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The Q Litter at Four Weeks

They are most comfortable with their litter.  They have brief moments of being up and around and trying to explore with their limited mobility.  But it is not a lot yet.  The photos that I took on Saturday in the yard, they are really only separated from each other and exploring for like five minutes at the most.  Then they were ambling back to me to all curl up together on the beach towel.

Another thing about the photos, is that you can’t really see much of their total personalities in them.  I not only pick photos for the action, but also the general photo quality.  Like here’s a perfect example, I got this blurry shot of Quentin with the grouse wing but the one that turned out is the one where he is howling for mom.

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You would not see this pic normally because it is out of focus

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But no, the crybaby pic of Quentin is the one that turned out

It’s also tough to balance the number and quality of action photos on the puppies at this point.  I’m just shooting and I get what I get sometimes.

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L to R: Qbert, Quince, Quartz and Quetzal

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Quest and Qiana

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Quentin, Quarry, Queen

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Quartz, Quince, Quetzal

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Quest

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Quarry

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Quetzal

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Quarry

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Quartz

I just posted all of those in the order that I took them.  Like I said, that was over a period of just a few minutes before they wandered back to me and the beach towel.  Several of them didn’t get closeups.  There will be more action photos as they get up and move around more during the day.

Here is the video that I took of them last night as I was cleaning out the chips in their box: Q Litter Four Weeks Old

I do have more to write this week about Obi’s 4th place finish in the AKC Amateur Walking Derby at the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club Field Trial last weekend and an invitation to our own American Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Association’s breed-only AKC Walking Field Trial in LeRoy, IL.  But it will have to wait until Wednesday.

Think Spring!

Q Litter Three Weeks Old

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All of these pups are spoken for, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com if interested in future litters (Spring 2022).

After hitting us with seven inches of snow yesterday, Mother Nature is going to give us a break with snow-melting temperatures for the foreseeable future!  The puppies are really upping their output, so it was time to get them into the garage with woodchips.  I was struggling with indoor bedding, as Fire would dig at any blankets that I would put underneath the whelping box and I was afraid that a pup would get wrapped into it and get hurt or die.  So we settled on a layer of cardboard on the bottom with brown builder’s paper on top.  Okay absorbancy and needed frequent changing.  But it was totally safe so that was the most important thing to me.  Wood chips just make a huge mess in the house, but are the best thing if they are in a space that they can mess up.  They are old enough to regulate their body temperature now and I’ll have a warming lamp and heater on them for a couple of more weeks.

Here is this week’s video, taken today: Q Litter Three Weeks

And the moment that we’ve all been waiting for, individual pictures and names!  I do not call the puppies these names, they are just silly names that I give them to identify their pictures.  They generally get called “puppy” or “puppies”.

Also because of the perspective, angle, lighting, etc. it is tough to really tell too much about them at this point.  We’ll have a better idea after 5 weeks.

Males

Quartz

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Quartz face, three weeks

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Quartz back, three weeks

Quentin

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Quentin face, three weeks

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Quentin back, three weeks

Quince

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Quince face, three weeks

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Quince back, three weeks

Quetzal

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Quetzal face, three weeks

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Quetzal back, three weeks

Qbert

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Qbert face, three weeks

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Qbert back, three weeks

Females

Queen

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Queen face, three weeks

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Queen back, three weeks

Quest

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Quest face, three weeks

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Quest back, three weeks

Qiana

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Qiana face, three weeks

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Qiana back, three weeks

Quarry

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Quarry face, three weeks

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Quarry back, three weeks

Okay, that is all nine puppies.  Between moving their living quarters, giving them their first mush meal and getting these photos taken I worked up a sweat today with dogs.  Here was what I fed the puppies, some Science Diet puppy food mixed with dog milk replacer.

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We’ll do this everyday until they get the hang of it.  Then we’ll get rid of the milk in a week or so, then after awhile we’ll add kibble, then the soft food goes away once they can handle the kibble.

Everyone enjoy the warm up and hope that you were all spared any power outage related horrors (we were all fine).  Until next week.

Q Litter Two Weeks Old

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Fire and the Q Litter at Two Weeks Old

With all of the snow clearing and bitter cold I am running behind on responding to new interest emails.  At this point I don’t know when I’ll be caught up, since we have another cold day off from school tomorrow and I have to keep up with the boys as well as the puppies.  All of the puppies have homes at this time, so if you do email it should be for interest in future litters.  Our email is bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

Today it is so bitter cold that we are subject to rolling blackouts, so I’m going to keep this short.  The puppies are growing.  They are starting to push themselves up on their legs and their eyes are opening.  Next week we will definitely be ready for individual pictures and names.  We’ve passed the critical two week mark and I can see that these guys and gals are all going to make it to long, happy lives.  It is also time to start them on mush soon to take some of the feeding pressure off of mom.

Here is the video that I took earlier today: Q Litter at Two Weeks Video

And of course a photo montage:

I am going to do my part to conserve energy (the power company even called us with a message asking us to do so) and sign off for now.  The weather is supposed to break on Saturday and we will be looking forward to more normal temperatures.  It will be -25 without wind chill tomorrow morning.  May the Lord keep us safe and warm in these trying times.

Q Litter One Week Old

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Fire and the “Q” Litter at One Week Old

At this time the litter is entirely spoken for so any new interest should be considered for next year’s litters.  Reach out to us at bluestemkennels@gmail.com.  Aside from emails and phone calls from the new puppy owners, I am using my blog entries as my primary method of communication with the general public for the time being.  I am hoping to be caught up on new interest emails by the end of this week.

Snow on top of snow on top of snow and subzero temperatures have been making life difficult in Bellevue, Nebraska lately.  We shovel, and it snows, we shovel again, and it snows again.  The last little skiff of snow is just sitting there unshoveled as we stare at it disgusted, knowing that it won’t get warm enough for it to melt and that we need to shovel again.

I know that I only have a couple of more weeks of Fire cleaning up after the puppies before I am going to be shoveling lots of poop.  The setup might have to be in the basement if it doesn’t get warm enough.  Right now the puppies are in the kitchen.  I decided that the Step 2 sandbox was getting too small and moved the big whelping box in the house with a blanket underneath.  I will need to change the blanket every day so that it doesn’t get stinky.

The puppies are starting to get loud sometimes at night.  Hopefully the bigger quarters will prevent some of that but it might just be like having a baby for awhile where I have to get up with them in the middle of the night.  I’m not working outside of the house a whole lot these days, just a couple of afternoons a week probably until they go home.

You can see their little legs starting to work a lot in the video:  Q Litter One Month Old

Here is the montage of photos that I took today.  You can click on the individual images to make them larger.  The lighting in the pictures makes their dark liver coloring look black.  They are not black!  And in the video you see a bare patch on Fire’s back.  She does not have any disease.  This is where I went to grab her hide to stand her up during whelping and a big patch of fur let go into my hand.  It is not uncommon for females to get weird bald patches right after birth, so she is fine.  But anyway, here are the pics.

The only time that Ruth and Obi get a chance to see the puppies is when Fire is outside.  Otherwise she will growl and snap at them to get back!  A mother’s instinct is to protect her young when they are this small.  Once they are up and moving around, Fire will allow the other dogs to have play time with them.

Once their eyes are open I will take individual pictures, identify their genders and give them their silly “Q” names.

Charles is signing Obi and Ruth up for an AKC Walking Field Trial in Missouri at the end of the month to get primed up for the big show in Illinois in March.  Speaking of which, I had better sign off and get those premiums in the mail to the Heart of America German Shorthaired Pointer Club.

Stay safe and warm in these Arctic times.  Until next week.

Welcome Q Litter!

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Q Litter at 5 days old

I’m sorry that it has taken so long to post the official announcement of the arrival of the “Q” Litter!  At this time, I have all of the puppies confirmed reserved with a plan for the new owners to pick up.  I have one reservation backing them up in the event that someone can’t take a pup, otherwise they will carry over to next year’s litters.  I apologize if I have not responded to your email inquiry regarding puppies over the last week and a half, it has been crazy.  I have set aside time next week to get caught up.  At this point, it would be a very rare instance that I would have more than one person back out.  I am maintaining a list in the event of that situation, but most likely this litter is on the books and any new interest should be for next year’s litters.  If you have emailed recently and just haven’t gotten a response, hang tight.  My email address is the best way to contact me: bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

The story of the puppies arrival is this.  I went to lifeguard rescue practice on Saturday afternoon thinking that the puppies would arrive on Sunday.  So when I got home, I decided to take Fire out for a hike to get everything moving.  We walked over to the nature preserve that borders our house and the Missouri River.  It was a nice mile roundtrip hike in deep snow.

Fire Mo Valley

Fire looking down on the Missouri River

I thought it was going to happen that night with all of the panting and whining going on.  But it hadn’t happened by the end of Dr. Who on Iowa PBS (which gets over around 1 AM), so it was time for bed.  I got up and prepared the whelping area in the garage.  We took walks in the yard about once an hour all morning.  There was definite sign right around noon (I’ll spare the gross details), so I put her out in the area, made lunch and called my mom.  When I went out there next two puppies had arrived already.  They came in twos for the next six hours.  One of the round of two were two stillborns, which even after ten years of doing this is sad and unsettling.  But it happens with almost every litter, so you brush yourself off and keep going.  We ended up with a very nice litter of nine puppies: five males and four females.

Fire Whelping Box

Fire and the newborns in the whelping box

I think that the most important thing that I do during whelping is keeping the female walking outside every two hours.  Even if I have to pick her up and put a leash on her to get her moving, it is really important to keep the labor moving to avoid c-sections.  The puppies are fine to be left for a few minutes as newborns.  Now that we are a handful of days into their lives, mom likes her breaks out of the puppy box.

Fire is doing a good job of keeping hydrated and fed, which is an important part of all of this.  Her mom BB was always skin and bones at this phase of the process, but Fire eats and drinks good so that she doesn’t look emaciated.  The nice thing about nine puppies is that it is just the right amount to feed all-natural with no bottle feeding.  Anything more than that is too much and needs to be supplemented.  I am very lucky that my females have always been good milk producers and so the puppies are pooping like they should be.

So right now my main thing is taking care of mom and looking in the box when there are big squeakers.  They are starting to have a little primitive bark and it is getting louder, so I know when something is amiss (usually just on the wrong end of the box).  They are right in the kitchen where I am most of the time anyway, so not too far away at this point.

Q Litter Fire

Fire and the newborns in the kitchen

Q Litter Newborn

The Q Litter as newborns

We got their tails docked and dew claws removed at Heartland Pet Hospital in Bellevue with no issues and all of the puppies were inspected by the new lady veterinarian (she has a Dutch last name that I’ve already forgotten!).  She said that they looked great and did well.  Many breeders do their own tails and claws, but I just like having the vet do it and it gives the newborn puppies that first inspection.

Q litter at the vet

Q pups at the vet

I did get a video yesterday.  The SD card from my camcorder got misplaced and I need a new card, so it is just a phone video.  I don’t know on my phone how to do all of the titles and credits like I normally do, so it is pretty basic.  Click the link to go over to YouTube and watch it: Q Litter 5 Days Old Video

Here is a montage of a few more pictures that I’ve taken here over the last couple of days:

The boy in the pictures is our soon to be twelve-year-old son (our youngest) Caleb.  He does not know life before puppies.  We’ve always had puppies since he was a baby and he just loves them.  (Yeah, about that shirt.  I had it in the laundry slated for the donations bag, but it is his favorite and he pulled it out to wear it again even though it is too small.  Boys.)

In other news: Charles wrapped up the hunting season a week early and he didn’t get any photos from his last hunt.  The weather was rough and the roads were terrible.  There were gobs of hunters out where he was at.  A six hour round trip for one rooster, but hey, they had fun.

AWPGA Griffon-Only AKC Walking Field Trial

This is the next item of excitement on our list.  The AWPGA will finally be sponsoring a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon ONLY AKC Walking Field Trial on March 20-21 at the Moraine View State Recreation Area north of LeRoy, Illinois.  Charles, Obi and Ruth will be there along with some of our other AWPGA friends and their dogs from our area.  This has been years in the making and I thank Thomas and Kristen Mathis for finally getting it off of the ground.  I will post the premium once we get ours turned in!  For all of the rules, Google “AKC Field Trial Rules and Standard Procedure for Pointing Breeds”, it is a weird PDF link that doesn’t transpose well.

Signing off for now, but will be back next week for another update.  Stay warm and don’t hurt yourself in this snow and ice.

 

2021 Puppies on the way

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We have a litter due to be whelped the first week of February between Bluestem’s Prairie Fire, NA I and Bluestem Otoe Chief, NA II.  I currently have ten reservations with deposit and a backup contact list in the event that anyone decides not to take a pup this year.  Should you wish to be included on this contact list, please email bluestemkennels@gmail.com.  Our pups are placed in hunting homes only and need to be picked up at our residence at eight weeks of age, air cargo is no longer available.

I took Fire down to Hillcrest Animal Clinic in rural Lincoln, Nebraska a couple of weeks ago to have an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy.  They saw 12-15 embryos in there!  Whether they all turn into viable puppies is a mystery, it is not unusual to have a couple of stillborns or one or two that are born alive who fail to thrive in the first week or so.  But it was fun to find out two weeks earlier than usual that she was indeed pregnant and it is something that I plan on continuing in the future.

Fire Ultrasound2

Fire getting her ultrasound

Fire Ultrasound1

View of the pups

There is no mistaking now that Fire is pregnant!

Fire Six Weeks2

Fire eating at six weeks along

Fire Six Weeks1

Fire flopped out with a full belly

Late Season Hunting

Charles has been staying busy in the field while I’m trying to finish healing a torn up right foot from a year ago.  My goal for 2021 is to swim 100 miles (I’m on mile 5), so I’m hoping that by grouse season in September I’ll be ready to rock and roll again.  I don’t walk with a limp and really only start to have pain when I get up in the 10,000 step range, but that is a normal day in the bird field.  My oldest son is at the end of his high school career and the beginning of his life in the work force, so I stay plenty busy keeping him and his younger brother (who starts middle school in the fall) on track.  I figure that as long as I stay in shape that I have the rest of my life to bird hunt, but only have a few more years with kids in the house.

The neighbor Sam and Charles headed over to close out Iowa’s hunting season with some success.  Compared to southeastern Nebraska, which hasn’t had a decent pheasant population since the nineties, it is a paradise!  I’m going to have to think about getting an Iowa license in the future.  We think that it is just the difference in terrain and agricultural practices.  Southeast Nebraska is flat enough that you can farm it fenceline to fenceline with no scrubby borders like pheasants need.  Iowa has more hills and draws, so you either have terraces that have the lip on the end that you can’t hit with a tractor, or just naturally occuring draws and creeks with the thick cover.

Obi Elsa Iowa

Obi our Griff and the neighbor’s DD Elsa with an Iowa quarry

Last Friday, Charles and friends braved the blizzard in Eastern Nebraska to head out to the southcentral part of the state to see if there were any birds left from the last time.  There were plenty of cars in the ditch and going off into the ditch between Omaha and York, but things were clear sailing by the time that they got past there.

It was a long Saturday hunt walking nine miles for the people and far more for the dogs, but with plenty of success.  Obi is getting lots of good practice running down and retrieving poorly hit birds that are still alive.  No offense against the shooters, it is just that the pheasant is a tough bird and can take some pellets.  The dogs really have to work some thick tumbleweed cover and it is very dry out that way (a town almost burned down from a prairie fire last week and had to be evacuated at 4:30 AM).  I am really proud of their hard work on these wild birds in wild country.

Obi Ruth SC Neb

Obi, Ruth and the southcentral Nebraska birds

This old bird caught Charles’s eye and I thought that it looked like Gonzo from The Muppet Show.

The neighbor is trying to get his DD certified in fur, so we’ve been trying to live trap a raccoon, but ended up with an oppossum instead.  He was happy to play dead while Obi fetched him (the oppossum was not injured and lived to see another day).

Obi Possum

Obi and his oppossum

So I’m now on puppy watch and we’ll see if Charles takes these last couple of weekends of Nebraska bird season off (ha) or not.

It is easiest for me to keep my Facebook page up-to-date, so keep an eye on that for when the puppies start to arrive!  I’m expecting them sometime between January 30th and February 5th, but the Good Lord and Mother Nature will let me know when it is time.  Keep us in your good thoughts for a safe delivery.

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