By the time we went to bed on Monday night there were seven new puppies lined up at the milk bar – warm, dry and feeding enthusiastically.
What a relief! I hate it when expectant mums go beyond their due dates, I always worry, but so long as they seem well and happy it’s best to leave them alone.
Most Border collies are excellent mothers and the whole process is straightforward but it doesn’t stop me surreptitiously watching them like a hawk though!
Anyway, the pups are 3 days old now and very quiet. That’s just what we want, it means they’re warm enough and feeding well; and they certainly look dry, clean and contented.
There are three boys and four girls, some with lovely broad white collars, and there seems to be about the same balance of black and whites and tricolours.
No dew claws, thankfully – I hate having to cut them off but I know I’ll hate it more if I leave them on. They look awful and are always vulnerable to damage when the dog’s working or playing.
In a few weeks' time we'll look at the puppies and say "Oh look, there's Vic (or whoever)" but for now it's just a sea of black and white.
We’ll get to know The New Kids over the next few days, and can’t wait to see how their characters develop in the coming weeks.
All the other dogs in the yard have been curious to see what’s been going, eager to catch a glimpse of the new arrivals in the “maternity ward” on but they’ll be kept at a safe distance until the puppies are bigger. Chester (the black and white chihuahua v papillon hates to be left out! He's always anxious to sneak a look at the puppies before the other dogs have a chance.
Not that attention from the other dogs is worrying the mother in the least! In fact, she’s not letting anything worry her, she’s so relaxed about it all. The morning after the birth all she was interested in was getting out into the field with everyone else and to put her maternal duties aside for an hour.
The plan is that we’ll keep all these puppies through the winter, and start to train them as sheepdogs when they’re about 6 months old.
It’s hard to imagine them chasing sheep just at the moment, but March will be upon us before we know it I suppose.