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Maggie's 2014 Litter Day 17

Wow, these first two weeks have flown by. We were a little stressed by the puppies arrival in the world. This was the first time for our family that we had to make a decision to have a litter by c-section. The irony is that we elected to breed Maggie young so she would potentially be so healthy that there would be no whelping problems.  What never entered my mind was that she was so healthy her puppies grew too big before they were born. First whelps for young females are usually on the smaller size, so even the number was high to begin with, as the average Labrador litter size is six.

But the real kicker with Maggie's litter was birth weight. These puppies were born 1-2 days early. Usually one would expect slightly lower birth weights with earliness. Average Labrador puppy weight is about 450 g. Maggie's smallest puppy was 410 g and the largest was 600 g with an average weight of 500 g.  Granted because these puppies were by c-section they did not have to spend energy being born, but still the litter was heavy. So despite all her pushing, Maggie could not get them out. 

And so the story of big and heavy continues. At one week a puppy is expect to roughly double in weight. The demands on Maggie to feed these puppies and double their weights was huge. She pretty much spent all her first week in the pen, feeding them.  Despite her best efforts, they did not double their weights. However they did gain about 50 g a day that is a healthy weight gain. And they have continued to gain from 50 to 100 g a day in the second week.  Because the feeding demands are so high, we have started to introduce the puppies to solid food. Well it is not solid right now, as we soak if for a few hours, mash it up and then add more water to make a gruel.  Some of our puppies have gotten right into this eating method.  

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