Monday, February 1, 2010

Dumb Doom.

I'm feeling doomed at the moment; and "dumb" because, as is so often the case, it's my own doing.

When we lost the cat, we were sharply reminded of how expensive it is for us to be without cats.  Really expensive; we live in the woods and the Peromyscuses are freaking everywhere, and breed like hyper-rabbits.

Then- the other house cat vanished.  When he was gone for 4 days, we started to believe he was really gone; partly because this cat is a bit on the slow side, physically.  If you push him off your chair, he'll land on his head, or back- not his feet.  No reflexes; which is very dangerous in a forest full of owls and whatnot.

So; we started urgently talking about getting kittens; now, because of the need.  And, baby animals are a lot of work; first they poop everywhere, then they climb everywhere, then they eat everything...  lots of hours training.

And I thought to myself; hm; if we're going to have two; or three kittens inside, and be going through all that; maybe we should get the next puppy now, and do it all at the same time; won't be much more work, and we won't have to be stepping over (some of the time anyway) poop for two episodes; just one...

I talked my gullible family into it, and Spice was authorized to start looking.  She didn't have to; immediately she said our friend at the shelter had called her a couple days ago, asking if we were ready for the next puppy (we knew we needed "more") - because she had a litter of Collie/German Shepherd crosses on hand, right down our ally.  Pics on line.

Ok.  Why not?

Then.  In the next phone conversation it turns out that there are two sisters left of the litter; and they were scheduled for the end of the line next week; been held a month; no takers...

Crap.  Ok, I said, to my gullible family- maybe we should take both sisters.  Only have to go through all the puppy training stuff once, see...  and I'd wondered about getting sibs from  one litter; might be easier handling... maybe...

As the two puppies are being picked up- the wandering cat- came back.  So, not quite so urgent to get the house kittens right this second; he's a good mouser, even though his reflexes are slow.

And right now, in day two of New Puppy world, I'm asking myself "What the hell were you THINKING!!"


Ah, well.  A few more days of total exhaustion, what the hay.  It'll get easier, right?


nettle said...

I believe that there is some sort of Blog Law that says that if you mention getting new puppies, pictures must soon follow. I will be checking in for compliance with this law.

congratulations on the new pups! glad your cat came back, too.

belinda said...


What can I say.. my dogs are 6 months apart in age and not littermates and it was enough to remind me that I really want that 3 year gap. The idea of talking yourself into litter sisters just blows my mind particularly with German Shedder in the mix.

Good Luck

crowson2000 said...

wow. i have to say that after our last time getting a puppy I thought I would only go for grown working animals after that. Then we got a "working" livestock guardian dog for the goats that was a year and a half old. That flopped miserably too and the that dog allowed other dogs in the pen to "play" with the goats. Only thing it did worthwhile was keep coyotes away.

So now I am back to square-one on which stance I would go with: puppies or grown animals. But I don't think I would try two at once hehe...

Good Luck, and let us know more about the guineas. I got some of my own this past fall and have been debating when/if I should let them out. Right now I have them in a 10x35 ft pen that I made and covered with bird netting. I was wondering if I let them out whether they would immediately run away or not?

Since you seem to be the "blogosphere" expert on guineas I thought you might have some input.

Aimee said...

where's the pictures? I bet they are adorable!

Moriah said...

We also took the last two sisters of a litter. It has been the best, most amazing experience. You have a lot more exposure to animals than I, so when we noticed the way the sisters communicate and work things out, we were AMAZED! It is jaw dropping to see the care these two take of each other. Our prior experience with dogs was one at a time, never again. These gals have become members of our family and we have become members of theirs.

The hard work in the beginning will end and you will be in for an incredible treat. Best of luck!

Greenpa said...

Thanks for the good wishes, and thanks for the comfort, Moriah. I was beginning to wonder, particularly after the "German Shredder" crack! :-)

I'm working on pics, but so far it's been difficult getting my slow old digital to focus on the various parts of the tornado.

Jason- if you "let them out"; there's a GOOD chance they may all take off; partly just out of unfamiliarity with the world.

Here's what you do.

Go buy some white (proso) millet. Not red. We get ours in 50# bags at the feed elevator, where they use it in mixing their own wild bird seed.

Feed the birds only once a day- AT SUNSET. Which is a moving target, remember, but it's hardwired in the bird's behavior: sunset=roost.

Just before you feed them, scatter just a little of the millet around the feeder. Say a half a cup for 15 birds or so.

On day 1; they will ignore the millet like it was rat poop; guineas are suspicious of any new food in their world- but, they WILL try it eventually.

On day 4- they will ignore their regular feed until all the millet is (avidly!) pecked up. Dunno what it is; but they are just freaky about the stuff.

Oh, yeah; you need to be regulating their feed all this time so that a couple hours before sunset; the feeder is empty. You're training them; sunset; hungry; food is here, now.

Now! Don't let them out. Let just 2 out the first time. It can be tricky letting out just 2; have someone help. Let out 2 the second, and 3rd days. On day 4, let out 4. Repeat two or 3 days. Then let out half the birds at once; for 3 days; then 3/4 of the flock; for 3 days; then all but 2; for 4 days. Life is wonderful when you can just open the bloody door.

Getting partial groups all into the pen needs two people. When you scatter millet INSIDE the pen, the birds inside will go nuts; and when the ones outside see them- they'll try to walk right through the wire, and won't be able to find the door at first. One person working door, one person walking birds around the pen, so eventually they hit the door.

Never, ever, ever give the birds feed or millet outside the pen. Water, yes, in both places; feed- only inside; at or a half hour before sunset.

Once this process is complete, it's a breeze. Walk up, calling the birds, bang the feed bucket - they'll follow you in a pack, then run in front, then charge into the pen through the open door (we leave ours open all day)- then charge back out again. As soon as there is millet on the ground inside- they'll fight to get to it and to get in. Eventually they even learn where doors are.

We want ours inside at night; most of the birds we've lost have been out at night. Owls, mostly. If you want yours to roost in the trees at your place- feed them early, and just leave them alone- almost always they'll choose to spend the night in a tree.

oh, yeah; once the birds are spending their time outside during the day; you'll need to cut their feed drastically; like to 1/8th or so- the rest they'll now find for themselves.

Nancy M. said...

Good luck with the new puppies! I am not good at house training, working on a puppy right now. He's doing better than the grown dogs!

belinda said...

It's 'k. I said German Shedder, related to the prodigious amounts of coat loss, GSD and GSD crosses, often 0produce at various times of year, not German Shredder.

Kind Regards

crowson2000 said...

Thanks!!! I appreciate it a lot. I have been trying to decide what to do and you just gave me my plan of action.

healinggreen said...

ha ha ha. I feel for you. My mother breeds dogs and always has at least 6 in the house, and I know exactly how hard it can be to have two pups at a time! It definitely winds up more than twice the work. But the sisters will have a special bond for life, and you did a really good thing there :) You might as well get any kittens you are planning on now, too, so they grow up with the puppies and everyone gets along. And hey, the kittens will be a breeze compared to the dogs.

kai said...

well, it might be tough now, but dogs are better in pairs I think. Your reasoning is sound. Hang in there...

vera said...

Greenpa, you are needed at that blog post! I remember our discussion on casaubon about the crazinness of cranking out more food? Please join us there with your good common sense.

(Sorry, don't know how to reach you email wise.)

Holly said...

We adopted two male pups at the same time this fall after losing our older dog. They are from 2 different litters but both Shepard-Crosses, and same age, size. Best thing we could have ever done. The only thing you need to be careful about with 2 dogs from the same litter is making sure that they bond (respond) to you more than they do their litter mate. Since they've been together since the get -go, they are born partners in crime. Make sure you separate them occasionally for one on one bonding/obendience. Good luck!!