Wednesday 31 December 2014

Happy birthday, Pasha & Loki puppies

Today Pasha and Loki's 2013 puppies turn 1, so this post will be about the pups and the lives they are living. Thanks very much to all the pup owners for sending in pictures of their poodles! Happy birthday puppies and happy New Year to all their families.

Wywylwynd Dubhe

Dubh was Pasha’s firstborn puppy. He lives with his family in the Republic of Ireland, where I am told he is quite a well-behaved boy who enjoys being groomed, although he is having a tough coat change as his family currently have another puppy and a very dribbly other dog. He has been to a few shows so far and received an ‘Excellent’ judging card for them all. He reminds me so much of his mother in his pictures.

Wywylwynd Sirius

Zo was my 'Royal Mail Special Delivery' -- the last puppy to be born when I took Pasha out into the garden, and a big cream pup came out while she was doing a wee, whom I caught in my hands! The postman then turned up and found me and Pasha and Zo in the garden, and said she'd never seen anything like it before, and kindly opened the door so we could get back in the house! Zo was a lovely little puppy with a very characterful expression (which I see in his photographs he has retained) and he liked to travel in the car: I would put him in a crate on the front seat of my van, and he would stand in it craning his neck to see, as though he was surfing, and never seemed to get ill or even to mind if the crate wobbled or tilted. He stayed here a little longer than the other puppies as his new family were on holiday. While he was here he was a calm little boy who was no bother, and his owners tell me he continues to be well behaved and a sweet character.

Wywylwynd Betelgeuse

Theo was Pasha’s only little brown puppy in the litter. A number of people expressed an interest in him who either then decided against it or were not suitable, and he was one of the later pups to be reserved, finding his new owners when a couple who had been recently bereaved of their poodle came to look at him and his two sisters with an open mind as to sex and colour, and decided on him when they met him. His owners tell me he is in excess of 28 inches at the withers and very strong, and he is currently going through a difficult adolescence. Fortunately with some help from a gundog trainer and lots of work and patience, Theo’s owners have good recall and can control him, which is especially important with a big dog.

Wywylwynd Adhara

This puppy was the one I called Pink, who was my favourite in the litter. She is co-owned and lives with her co-owner and her toy poodle. There was some difficulty in deciding on a suitable name, and she started off as Laurel before Hilda was settled on. The picture isn’t very recent, as her coat change was difficult to deal with and she is currently shorn very short! Hilda attends occasional small local shows with her owner.

Wywylwynd Rana

This was the puppy I called Lavender. She was quite a big puppy and precocious in that she seemed to do most things before her littermates, but despite my early impressions she turned out to be a very calm, chilled-out puppy. Rana went to live as the first poodle for a couple who were experienced dog owners. She has become friends with their cat and their GSD Leisha. Rana's owners are currently doing a lot of obedience work with her and have been told by several trainers that she has great potential, and are considering beginning agility once she is old enough. Rana's owners groom her themselves -- it is very easy to learn to care for short, simple trims like these, and a great way to bond with your poodle.

Wywylwynd Vega

Leisha was the naughtiest puppy in the litter and was constantly escaping from the pen. As a very bright and lively little dog, it was important to me that Leisha went to an active home where she would have an outlet, or she would likely start making her own amusement. Fortunately a lady in Wales who was an experienced poodle owner with an interest in obedience and agility enquired about a puppy, and Leisha was a perfect fit. Leisha already has her KCGC Bronze award and will be able to start agility now she has turned 1. She is still naughty and her owner posts pictures on Facebook of things she has chewed!

Wywylwynd Capella

As a puppy, Fleur was a pretty honey colour, and she often would bounce around the pen in her own quirky way as if she was in her own little world. She seems to be holding her colour well so far, as this recent picture sent by her family shows, and she has lovely dark eyes and pigment. A few months ago, her owners told me her coat was unfortunately spoiled when they took her to a careless groomer, which was upsetting for them, but they have recently begun grooming her by themselves, on a makeshift DIY table, and the results are much nicer. Fleur is a happy, lively girl who likes to run around in the garden, and apparently she also ‘pronks’ like an antelope, and likes to gently hold a person's hand in her mouth, like her father does sometimes.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Available birds for spring 2015

I have available the following birds:

Two Khaki Campbell ducks. These are THE laying duck to have. Born in late 2014 and should be coming into lay soon. Nice little ducks, just surplus to my breeding programme. £15 each -- can go together or separately to add to an existing flock.

Pair (a stag and a hen) of pied (Crollwitzer) turkeys from separate sources so unrelated breeding pair. Again good breeding stock and too nice to eat, just surplus to my requirements. £40 for the pair.

Pair (duck and drake) of Silver Appleyards. This is a breed that does not always breed true in terms of colouration, and these ducks are not quite the correct colour, but will still make nice garden pets for someone looking for a source of eggs and slug control! Born 2013. £10 for the pair.

All birds have been hatched and ethically reared here and have daily access to open pasture and water baths (in the case of ducks).

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Season's Greetings

We have been eating the geese and they are delicious.
Goose stuffing recipe
Peel bag of chestnuts from shop and cut up small. Soak chestnuts overnight in red wine. Fry 2 red onions chopped up small in 1 oz of butter. Add onions + salt and pepper, bag of pork sausagemeat, chopped-up sage from the garden, and breadcrumbs from 6 slices of bread. Add 1 egg and stir together. Stuff in goose and freeze leftovers for another goose (should fill 2 geese).

Special potato seasoning recipe:
Equal quantities of dried rosemary, mustard seeds, nigella seeds, and fennel seeds + sea salt + black peppercorns. Grind up in a pestle and mortar. Cut potatoes into size sort of between chips and ordinary roast potatoes. Put potatoes and goose fat in a roasting tray and manoeuvre them around until they are coated in fat. Spread potatoes out and put seasoning on them. Roast in oven as normal.

I like to use this recipe for bread sauce, with the slight modification of using as many bay leaves as possible. I love bay leaves and would have a whole hedge in my food if I could.

The pictures are from our Solstice lunch. This time of year is important to us, as the nights at last stop getting longer, and the year turns towards spring, and the time for eggs and hatching will come again!

All is well, apart from with poor Cally who has something the matter with her eye again. The vet prescribed her an unguent and anti-inflammatories, but it does not seem to have improved and we are going back tomorrow. It doesn't seem to spoil her enjoyment of life, though:

Thursday 11 December 2014


Twiggy has gone to live with a lovely couple and one other poodle in Kent. Whilst I will always miss her, I feel her new home will be much more suitable for her to live out her retirement, as she does love lots of human attention, and will benefit from a quieter life where she won't be jumped on by pups and silly young poodles.

Big thanks to Poodle Network UK for matching Twiggy up with this nice new family.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Gadding about

Today I took Pasha to the vet for her eye examination, which she passed. I also took Indi along for socialisation and she enjoyed meeting the opthamologist and the other staff. Afterwards we went to the pet food shop. A man who works there has a long pigtail down to his waist, which Indi thought was very exciting!

Meanwhile, Hobson has been put into a Continental cut. Although I love the Scandinavian/Modern type trims, Hobson's coat is extremely thick and the time it takes to dry after washing is just getting longer and longer, and this time it took 3 1/2 hours. As she is in coat change, she needs washing more often. The time of year is also horrendous, since not only are there precious few hours of good daylight to dry and trim dogs in, but everything is wet, and a run in the grass makes legs soggy, and Hobson's coat never dries properly because it's so thick, so her legs end up smelly. Hopefully like this she can still be nice and fluffy without it being so much work.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Long nights

As the winter solstice approaches, the nights grow longer and the weather grows soggier. Lately the daylight is so scant it seems, by the time I have let the birds out and taken the dogs out, it is time for lunch, and by the time I have eaten it and drunk my tea and replied to some emails, it's time to put the birds away again. No birds are laying and the slaughter of the surplus stock and the filling of the freezers has already begun. Some of the turkeys have been sold to people as pets or for breeding and of course I am keeping some for my breeding programme. One of the spare West of England ganders (quite possibly the best one, but which I am not keeping as I got two geese from the same clutch and I need to keep birds as little related as possible) is going to another breeder next week. The remaining ducks, geese, and turkeys not part of the breeding programme will be humanely killed over the next few weeks.

I am also hoping to start training Pasha and Loki for field trials with a local club, which should be fun. They have both today passed their 'entrance exams' with Pasha scoring full marks, and Loki losing some marks for getting up when he was supposed to be lying down.

As many people who read this will probably know, I don't like to overvaccinate my dogs. I do two shots on puppies for distemper, parvo, and hepatitis and titre after a year to check the dog has responded. Recently Indi went in to the vets to have her second shot. When we arrived, the vet was showing me some vials of a new Leptospirosis serovar vaccine from a rack where the vials are kept. I said that I only do lepto shots if I think the dog is at risk, and even then only in the spring as lepto can only really survive in warm, wet conditions, and confirmed I wanted DHP only. The vet examined Indi and found her to be well, then while we were talking about something else and I was getting Indi ready, she filled up a syringe from one of the vials. At this point I noticed that the vial seemed to be the same colour and appeared to have come from the same place as the vials she had been showing me, and I asked her if that was definitely the DHP and not the lepto, and as it turned out, she had picked up the lepto by accident and filled the syringe with it. Obviously, the vet did not do this with any malicious intent, and had made an honest mistake, but I thought I would share this as a cautionary tale to remember that vets are only human and to be aware in these situations. There is even this horrible case of a dog who was injected with pentobarbital instead of antibiotics and accidentally euthanised.

(No pictures on this blog post -- it's too dark)

Friday 7 November 2014

Low-maintenance (and not so low maintenance) ways to groom poodles

I thought I would post some pictures of my dogs groomed in different ways to show that poodles do not need to have show haircuts.

Loki is in an extremely basic and very short German type of trim. His ears and body are shorn with a #7 blade, his face, feet, and around his bottom are clipped with a #30, and the coat on his head is dried with a blower and trimmed into a ball with scissors, and needs to be brushed occasionally between washes.

Cally is in a clip which is possibly the lowest maintenance of all, short of shaving the dog's head as well as the rest of the body. The clip is pretty much the same as Loki's, but Cally's head is corded instead of brushed. When starting the cords, they take a while to form and need to be separated every few days, but as they develop they become lower maintenance. Cally does not need to be dried after washing, just squeezed to get the excess water off and rubbed with a towel. The cords need to be separated around once a week to stop them sticking together, which can be done easily while watching television.

Twiggy is in the trim she is in more because the vet sheared the coat off her leg when she was spayed, and I clipped the rest of her because I don't like looking at a dog with a 'hole' in its coat than any conscious decision. Her body is clipped with a #7 and the anklets and fluff on the tail, ears, neck, and head need to be dried with a blower and brushed occasionally between washes.

Pasha is in a show trim. This is actually the easiest of the traditional show trims to maintain, because large areas of the dogs are clipped off so do not need brushing or drying. Pasha needs to be washed a minimum of once a month and dried very thoroughly, and brushed in between washing.

Hobson has the worst possible combination for coat maintenance at the moment. She is 16 months old and in coat change, which means her coat mats. She is also in a show trim with coat all over, and she has an extremely thick coat. At the moment I am having to wash her every fortnight and brush in between washes. Her coat gets wet every time she goes for a run in the meadow, and she has a habit of getting wet when she has a drink, and because her coat is so thick it never dries properly in this weather, and so her legs smell like cheese. When she is washed, she takes nearly three hours to dry with a blower. As sometimes happens, she also got stuck to a bramble while outside running.

Sunday 19 October 2014

Angus's success

Indi has now been here a week and has settled in. Here is a video of her doing things about the place with the other dogs.

Meanwhile, Twiggy's son and Hobson's brother Angus today with his owners Kate and Adie attended the Hitchin and District open show, and Angus won reserve Best of Breed! We are very pleased for Angus and his owners, especially as this was their first proper show!

Monday 13 October 2014

Happy Birthday Pasha

Today Pasha is 4. Unfortunately we didn't really get much of a chance to do anything special together and I don't have a picture of her enjoying her birthday because it rained all day, and I don't think she was exactly enamoured with her 'birthday present':

Apologies for the poor-quality picture. This is a poodle puppy and her name is Indi. I was busy all day, as a breeder friend's husband had come over from the USA to choose a brother of Indi to take home, and I clipped the faces of the two boys and helped him to evaluate them, and after this we were sorting out a crate for the puppy to fly back in and getting a certificate from the vet. By the time I was able to clip Indi's face and take a picture, it was dark.

While I was trying to breed Twiggy back in the spring, I used a dog from Wylderhope and Supernova bloodlines whose pedigree I loved. This dog had sired only one litter before, with three pups in it, and while talking to his owner I found out that the person who had bred this litter kept poodles as working gundogs, and had a daughter from the litter named Ember, whom he was interested in breeding but was not sure what dog to use, and had an interest in keeping going old bloodlines. Ember's mother also had an unusual pedigree, that included a very unusual bitch called 'Lady Lucy Locket of Highlea'. I said at the time that I knew the whereabouts of Twiggy's brother and one other dog of old bloodlines, and said if they did use either of them, I would like to be on the waiting list for a daughter from the mating.

As it happened Twiggy did not get pregnant, but Ember's owner decided he would mate her with Twiggy's brother, and she did get pregnant, and four pups were born. So Indi is a very special puppy and I am very glad to have her.

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Twiggy is Home

Twiggy is home, and we have penicillin and anti-inflammatories, and paracetamol and absinthe (not for Twiggy, but to ease the pain in my head and the pain in my bank account), and cruddy 80s DVDs, and minced offal. :-)

Hobson is glad to have her mother back, and then she had to go to bed so she didn't climb all over her.

Monday 29 September 2014

Time and Tide

Yesterday Twiggy did not want to eat her breakfast, which is unusual for her, and she seemed to be drinking more than usual. I took her temperature and it was normal, so I decided just to keep an eye on her. She ate her dinner that evening. This morning, she again did not want her breakfast, and had some snotty stuff with a slightly pinkish colour hanging out of her vulva, which disappeared after she had been out for a wee. I took her temperature again and it was normal. Later on she was wet around the backside, but there was no odour and her temperature was still normal. She was lying on a dog bed in the study and I was about to ring the vet when I noticed a sudden smell like amniotic fluid (which is what I assume to be responsible for the characteristic smell when bitches whelp and eggs hatch), and got her up to discover the bed underneath her was all wet.

I rushed Twiggy to the vet, and while stroking her in the foyer noticed that she suddenly seemed hot. When the vet took her temperature, it had shot up to 41.2. An ultrasound showed her uterus was full of pus, and as it was at once apparent she had developed pyometra, I told the vet to spay her immediately. So Twiggy has now been spayed and will be staying at the vet overnight. The vet said the pyometra was caught in time and her uterus has not ruptured, so fortunately it is very likely she will make a full recovery.

Sadly this of course also eliminates any chance of any more puppies from Twiggy. She was so far as I am aware the last remaining breedable bitch from the older Canen bloodlines. Unfortunately her biological clock has run out, and we hope Twiggy will soon be coming home to enjoy her retirement.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Birds at the end of summer

Turkeys eat raspberries (and a turkey runs around with part of an apple, failing to find peace and quiet in which to eat it!).

Unfortunately, while sorting the geese into groups to keep for breeding and feed for slaughter, one of the geese was attacked by others, and although I separated it to heal, it didn't look well and was miserable, so inevitably this happened.

And then this also happened. Hobson it seemed wanted an autumnal salad to go with hers.

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Paignton show

I had planned to go to the show at Paignton with Pasha and Hobson to meet a friend who lives nearby and was going to show her dog there, but unfortunately the friend could not come, and with no-one to hold one dog while I was handling the other, I decided just to take Hobson and go on my own.

Hobson came second in the Junior Bitch class. Unfortunately, despite arriving at 10:30 am, the class was not judged until it was approaching 4 pm. Hobson only turned 1 last week and is still not accustomed to large numbers of people and dogs, and although it started off as a good socialisation experience for her, after nearly 5 hours she was overloaded, exhausted, and thoroughly fed up of the whole thing, and I can't say I can blame her. Neither of us had any lunch, and I was starting to become concerned about being able to get home in time to the other four dogs, whom a friend kindly checked on and let out for a toilet break at lunchtime, and to put the birds away. Poor Hobson would not stand nicely for the judge to go over and we had to rush out as soon as the class was finished. This is not the first time we have had problems with shows and judging times, as last year I took Pasha to the Richmond show where in the catalogue, judging was listed as starting at 10:30 am. We arrived just after this time to discover that the judging had in fact started at 9:30 and the judge had been through all the dogs and was on to the bitches, and we had just missed our class, making the whole thing a total waste of diesel, time, and entry fee.

This time, although Hobson did get to show, it was a waste of our time getting up early and having to wait around at the show with nothing to do (I could have gone and visited my friend at home first if I had known how long it was going to take). What should have been a fun morning out with a dog turned into a tedious waste of a whole day, and Cally did not get to go to agility this evening because I was too knackered after getting home and sorting everything out. I often read in Dog World and on social media people complaining that not enough people enter shows these days. Perhaps more people would feel encouraged if the show organisers would post reliable guidelines of when breeds were to be judged in their catalogues?

Wednesday 30 July 2014

Happy birthday Hobson

Today is Hobson's first birthday. We celebrated by going to the river with Twiggy to meet Twiggy's son and Hobson's brother Angus, and his owners Kate, Adie, and Theo. Adie decided this river game was good enough for him if it was good enough for the dogs! Twiggy didn't want to go in (apart from when I shoved her in to wash her feet after she trod in a cowpat) and stayed on the shore to guard keys and phones.