Around the clock I am feeding my new little babies. They are so sweet and each one has it's own personality. They are already getting more active!
The last five days have gone something like this, although the exact times may very:
Five am and I am up to feed the babies. I stumble out of bed and pour the milk in the bottles, warm some water and put the bottles in the water to heat. I start with baby number one and bottle feed and work my way through all seven. Each pup is different and each one nurses differently. Some nurse quickly and I worry that they will suck the milk into their lungs. The little runt doesn't move when I feed him, but knows exactly how to gently extract the milk from the bottle quickly and efficiently. The big one, that I call Bruiser, sucks it all down so quickly that I don't even have time to get comfortable before he is finished. Then there is the pup who will not sit still but has to turn his head and twist his body constantly making it difficult to get the milk into him at all. Some will push the nipple away when they are finished and others will fall asleep with the nipple in their mouth. After each tiny pup is fed, I have to wipe it's bottom. Seriously. Puppies can not go to the bathroom without being stimulated by the momma dog and since I refuse to use my tongue like she would do, I use a soft cotton ball or soft kleenex to get the job done. Then, I tuck them each into their warm bed that has a heating pad and nice soft blankets to sleep on. They snuggle in together, usually without a whimper, unless one of them decides to suck on someone foot, ears or other parts of their anatomy. When that happens, the puppy being violated will squeal in protest and I have to make some new sleeping arrangements. By the time I have them all settled in, about 45 minutes has passed and it's time to go milk the cows.
Around six am I head out to milk the cows. Mike helps me in the mornings. He usually does the actual milking and I feed the animals. I let the Hunter and Oscar out from their room on the sunporch. Sinc Hopie died, I have moved Oscar in with Hunter to be company for him. Hunter and Hope were inseperable. Hunter has been very quiet and loving since Hope's passing. When I am feeding the pups, he lies looking through the door at them, just quietly watching. I wish I knew what he was thinking.
I let the Corgis out of their pen and then feed the goats, chickens, calves and make sure everyone has water. We then take the milk to the house and I have to strain it, pour it into jars, put it in the frig and clean up the milker. By this time, it is usually close to seven-thirty. It's now time to get ready to feed the babies again!
I go through the whole routine of feeding babies every two hours and in between try to get a shower, straighten up the house, mop the dirty floors, do the laundry and keep track of Cookie's new calf whom she is forever losing. Cookie loves her baby dearly but has been a dairy cow for most of her life and obviously has not raised her babies. We do a lot of "losing" and "finding" this little guy. He seems to take it all in stride. In fact, last night when he lost his mom, he found me instead.
Late afternoon I fix supper from Mike and Mikey somewhere between feeding pups. Then around six, it's time for evening milking. I go through the whole morning routine only this time I am doing the actual milking as well as all the other outside chores.
I try to get the humans fed and the dishes cleaned up and it's usually around 8 pm before that happens. Afterwards, I feed the pups again. The next few hours are spent prepping the adult dogs for bed, locking up the chickens for the night and giving all the animals a look over to make sure all is well for the night.
I try to feed the pups again around eleven to midnight, get a shower and get in bed for two hours. Throughout the night I get up every two hours to feed the pups, ending up with the last "nightly" feeding around five am, when it's time to go milk the cows and the whole routine starts all over again!
Mike has been so supportive and loving through it all. He has had to run the produce stand without my help these last few days and in the evenings, he helps me to feed the pups. I could never do this without his love and support.