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“S” Litter Four Weeks Old

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The pups are four weeks old and really moving and grooving! All are spoken for at this time, but if you’d like to be on the contact list in the event that someone backs out at the last minute, email bluestemkennels@gmail.com. That will also put you on our list for information about future breedings. Plus, I always post here. Our next litter is planned for Fall 2023.

I have to run my son to his fencing club practice, so let’s get down to the business of pictures and video!

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 (it was hot out so he is panting)
Male pup, Samson body

Female pup, Simi face

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

They moved out on to the covered porch yesterday so that they get more acclimated to the outdoors to make them tough hunting companions. I had to get up in the middle of the night to put them in the dog house, but they were all in there when I woke up this morning. I’m hoping that they learn quickly that the dog house is warmer at night than the cement.

They also have transitioned from puppy mush with formula/canned food to just straight canned food. I suspect that once their teeth start to pop out, we’ll have them on kibble soon. Here is their video for the week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95zASVo8bmA&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

Alrighty, it is time to get suited up for my son’s fencing club practice and on with the week. We’ll start talking about puppy placements next week and making sure that our travel plans are lined up for pickup.

Caleb and Duke run in the Natural Ability Test at the Foothills Chapter of NAVHDA on Sunday, so I’m hoping that they have great success!

“S” Litter Three Weeks Old

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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

“S” Litter Two Weeks Old

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The puppies have just opened their eyes and so it is time for individual pictures and kennel nicknames. All puppies are spoken for at this time, but feel free to email bluestemkennels@gmail.com to be on the backup contact list in the event that spots open up prior to homegoing. Once these pups go home, I will start interviewing for the spots remaining on the Fall 2023 list.

Now that their eyes are open, we will start on puppy mush of puppy food and formula as we work towards solid food and weaning. They will spend more time out of the whelping box being exposed to both indoor and outdoor environments.

Here are the individual pictures. They are not very photogenic at this age where their eyes have just opened and are not super mobile except to scoot themselves around the whelping box. Once they get on the mush and have more exercise, they will become more mobile.

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
Female 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 this week’s video where I put the puppies out on the back porch while I was getting ready to clean out the whelping box. They are still in walrus crawl mode but are starting to get around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYgDz8LUxG4&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

The evening is getting away from me and it is time for my son to do homework, but I hope that everyone had a nice Labor Day and maybe shot some stuff. Charles got out with the neighbors on some doves, so we didn’t spend the weekend crying about missing grouse opener in Nebraska. Looks like it was dry and hot out there, I’m not seeing much for body counts online so I’m assuming we didn’t miss much, but we still miss it.

“S” Litter One Week Old

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The six puppies of the “S” Litter of 2022 are a week old today! They literally triple in size from the time of birth until now. They had their tails docked, dew claws removed and first vet check on Friday. Everyone passed inspection with flying colors and they are all super fat and adorable.

The puppies were fussing in the laundry basket at the vet after their tails and claws were done and Ruth just couldn’t take it anymore.

Ruth taking care of the puppies at the vet

They will stick with only nursing from mom until their eyes are open. Right now my main focus is keeping Ruth in food and water, then making sure that she gets plenty of potty breaks.

I took the pups out into the sun on to a blanket on the lawn and it didn’t faze them much since it was so warm. But their favorite place is in their box with wood chips and mom nearby. I took this weeks video outside: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyx_zI5a52s&ab_channel=CharityUpchurch

I took this week’s photos after the video once they had gone back to sleep.

The puppies 8 week birthday will be Monday, October 17th, so I’m hoping to confirm with the new owners that they are available that week or the weekend following to pick up. I will be starting to call out tonight and am not sure if I will get through everyone or if it will take me a few nights. I emailed out my phone numbers if it is easier for you owners to call me than to try and reach you.

Charles has been working with Caleb and Duke on getting ready for the NAVHDA Natural Ability Test in a few weeks. Then Charles and Sally follow with another run at the NAVHDA Utility Preparatory Test in October.

He’s is starting to formulate his hunting plans for the fall, which sound like they will include a trip back to the middle of the country. I’d like to start taking some cracks at woodcock and ruffed grouse on this end of the country in the winter, we’ll see how it all comes together. Right now hunting season is just something to daydream about until we get through puppies and testing.

Take care until next week!

Welcome “S” Litter 2022!

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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.

Everything at once: UT Prize One and Breeding

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We had our first mating between Obi and Ruth over in Valentine, Nebraska on June 20th, so today should be their last day of breeding most likely. Assuming that everything is successful, that puts puppies being whelped at the end of August and going home around Halloween. I will be getting in touch with those on my reservation list soon, but wanted to get a blog post done. My son graduated about a month ago and it has been non-stop since the last week of school in the middle of May. If you’d like to be on my back-up contact list for this litter or are interested in future litters (the next will be planned for Fall 2023 since my daughter graduates from college in Nebraska in the spring), you can email me at bluestemkennels@gmail.com.

On Saturday, May 21st, something happened that we’ve been waiting on for our 12 years in NAVHDA. Obi and Charles got a NAVHDA Utility Prize I and punched their ticket to NAVHDA Invitational 2023. They tested with the Hudson Valley NAVHDA Chapter outside of Charles’s hometown of Newburgh, New York. If you’d like a step-by-step walkthrough of a NAVHDA Utility Test, you can go back to my blog post from October 28, 2021 titled “Our 2021 Utility Tests”. I wasn’t actually at the test this spring, I was at home in South Carolina taking care of kids and dogs, so it is tough to write about something that you didn’t participate in. I appreciate the Hudson Valley NAVHDA Chapter hiring a photographer to document the event, I think that this is something that all chapters should consider doing. Thank you to photographer Jacquie Kuritzky for the use of the photographs!

Obi at the UT test photo by Jacquie Kuritzky
Obi retrieving photo by Jacquie Kuritzky
Charles taking instruction from the judge, photo by Jacquie Kuritzky

She also captured some photos of Sally on her first shot of the Utility Preparatory Test. She didn’t pass, but has plenty of time at the age of sixteen months. The only skill she didn’t perform was the retrieve of the dead duck, which led to the no-pass.

Sally and Charles, photo by Jacquie Kuritzky
Sally has a high-style point like her great-grandmother Sue, photo by Jacquie Kuritzky
Sally retrieving a chukar in the field, photo by Jacquie Kuritzky

The grand finale after the reading of the scores:

Charles getting the water cup for the Utility Prize I with Obi, photo by Jacquie Kuritzky

After our graduation reception here in South Carolina and our youngest son Caleb’s trip to YMCA camp, we headed out to my hometown of Valentine, Nebraska to see my family and have some fun.

Ruth, Obi and Sally wasted no time getting down the road
Puppy Duke is closest to the camera here, it took him a bit to figure out the game: run!
All together now…
Mama Ruth bringing it back in
Then a swim behind the kayak
Taking it way out
Sally and Obi swimming back to shore
Ruth swimming back to shore
Duke swimming back to shore

All of this exercise was right when we got to town around the 14th, long before Ruth and Obi started breeding, so none of this should effect that. We had a good visit in Nebraska and the dogs enjoyed their outings.

The next step is to have a pregnancy confirmation ultrasound in a month, so I’ll let you know how that goes. Charles and I will keep working with Sally to get her UPT skills down for a fall re-test, then Caleb will run Duke in the Natural Ability Test. I need to find somewhere in Charlotte who does Penn-HIP x-rays for Sally in the next few months. I should probably also find a place that will collect and store Obi’s semen in case an accident were to happen. You hate to consider the possibility, but they are dogs.

One other item to note: we are not really planning on studding out Obi. He is a part of our breeding program and it would take a really special female with a fellow breeder friend to get me to stud him out. Stud services come with risks: there are sexually transmitted dog diseases, the female can turn and fight an unfamiliar male; there are just too many bad variables for us to want to do it.

I’ll keep you all posted as things progress here, everyone stay cool this crazy hot summer.

Spring Test Prep

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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

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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!

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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

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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.

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