I tried to line them up per color so you could see the differences. The two reds were born a dark dust color but their color is coming through and they look like they will be rich red like momma. 9 puppies, four girls and five boys. Four white, two brindle, one black brindle, two red.
The birth weights were lower than what we are used to in our litters – the smallest is generally more like 10 ounces with the largest to 16-17 ounces. The smaller puppy size, combined with Pippi’s statuesque physique is probably what led to such a text book whelping – we literally had not finished cleaning the previous puppy before she lifted her tail and shot another one at us. First puppy was born yesterday at 1:20 AM and last one at 5:30 AM – 9 puppies in about 4 hours.
Of course we love that some of the puppies gained weight in the first 24 hours, but weight gain in the first 24 hours is a bonus. We would expect to see the puppies maintain their weight or even lose a little in the first 24 hours. A combination of the stress at birth and the nutritional composition of colostrum means that some puppies will not gain weight the first day. Pippi’s real milk should come in within the next 24 hours, so for the non-weight gaining puppies (the three littlest ones) we expect to see some gain by tomorrow. We expect to have to supplement the litter because of the number of puppies, and we may start doing this sooner rather than later if the wee ones don’t have significant gain in the next 12 hours.
In any event, if we don’t see any weight gain by three days old, that’s a major cause for concern. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it, but not gaining weight in the first three days can be a sign of low immunoglobulin levels which associated with high neonatal mortality rate. You can read more about this and possible remedies in my article on fading puppies: http://puppyculture.com/fading-puppy-syndrome.html
Pippi is an outstanding mother and she’s getting the hang of this motherhood thing very quickly. She has her moments of panic and confusion, but we’re very encouraged by the fact that she seems to learn quickly. She’s gotten over having to stare at them every moment to make sure they’re still there, and she will voluntarily get up and go outside to potty. She’s even appears to be learning how to move the puppies around with her nose which is very unusual for a Bull Terrier. Baby steps :o).
Postscript On The Headlamp
Jane Messineo Lindquist (Killion) is the director of "Puppy Culture: The Powerful First Twelve Weeks That Can Shape Your Puppies' Future" as well as the author of "When Pigs Fly: Training Success With Impossible Dogs."