Thursday, 23 December 2010

Horse topiary!!

They obviously enjoy eating pine but do they not realise this is not a good look?

Toilet training

Puppies naturally move off the soft bed and onto newspaper to go to the loo. I have now reduced the bed to about a third of the area and paper on the remainder. I need to change the paper often but the bed every other day at the moment. they are so clever.
The weaning process has begun. I soak puppy food and being Labradors, they love it.

We have a moated island which creates a safe haven for wild birds. The moat is frozen and the fox has taken advantage of it, as this morning, I found the remains of two moor hens. Poor things but the fox needs food too.
The pheasants hoover where I have fed the horses, much to the frustration of the magpies who have to wait their turn.

Puppy fix

Having a snooze after play time.

Hey! You guys in the back it's is snooze time

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Watch this space

I have just realised you haven't seen the puppies for a while. If I can get my partner to take some today we will update you. They are gorgeous of course.
I'll brave the elements and take some of the Christmas trees too. The horses love them!

Who loves the snow?

My partners dog (A huge Labradoodle) looks like a cartoon character with his nose under the snow and bum in the air running, creating a snow storm. The other dogs look on in amusement and a little baffled. Their curiosity gets the better of them and they join in. What fun!

Horses coats must have a great ability to retain their body heat as our young horse has no rug on, he has chosen to be out as it has snowed and has 2 inches of unmelted snow on his back.
They are coping very well. They have hard feed and unlimited hay. Water has presented a difficulty but there is always the tap in the house so we ferry water to them.

About 7 years ago I planted some tiny Christmas trees. They now stand 20 feet talk. Fabulous you may think but the horses have done topiary and very badly might I say, as to cut one for use in our home, there may be about 3 feet of green at the very top.  We had to go and buy one this year.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

All for a puppy

We are expecting a family who are travelling from Bristol to view one of our puppies.
They have had a look on Doodle Dogs Derby and obviously liked what they saw. They have asked lots of questions and they are obviously happy because what a journey to make!!!.
They particularly like the look of Jilly as she is more athletic and I am with them in that they are not too keen on the stocky, leg in each corner type of Labradors.

A puzzle  -  We live in an old, draughty farm house. We have a log burner which at this time of year eats fuel. Having chopped logs for years (4 tonnes per winter) I decided to buy a conversion kit for my burner to enable me to burn coal. Feeling quite relieved at the prospect of no more log chopping and looking forward to the ease of burning coal, I ordered 500kg of the best the merchant could recommended.
I went to the manufacturers of my burner to buy the conversion kit which was not cheep.
Within a couple of days of burning the fire my boys noticed the grill had bowed. I immediately called the manufactures to complain only to be told I was burning the wrong type of coal!!!.
I now have to burn slower burning coal which in turn does not generate nearly enough heat!!!.

If we cannot burn coal to generate the heat to keep warm, what is the point?

Why is the grill not capable of having a fire burnt on it?

Nearly sold all the puppies and they are only 3 weeks old today. Fantastic.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Oh No!!

We have just defrosted (and mended a burst pipe) and they say we are going back to - degrees again.

I managed to leave the doors of the log burner open and yes! of course! a piece of coal fell out onto my not very old rug GGGRRRR!  Yet another expense and so close to Christmas.  

Every cloud has a silver lining though as my dogs now have a lovely new rug in their kennel. I had to fold it and it sits a little up the walls too. Snug. Lets hope they don't chew it.

The labrador puppies are doing very well. Eyes fully opened and starting to waddle. I bought wormers today. Puppies always pass worms even though I am vidulant in my worming programme for my adult dogs and bitches.

Toilet training starts now too as I cover half of the pen with news paper and half vet bed. The puppies will waddle off the vet bed to use the paper. There is no great award to be give to us trainers as this is instinct for the puppies. If the new owners use the crates wisely the puppy will be house trained with a degree of ease.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Support your local blogger!

Hi, I'm Pete Bev's partner. She doesn't know I am hi-jacking her Blog,  but I thought I would sneak in while she wasn't looking and I had a few minutes break from designing her websites! If she lets me I may occasionally add a few thoughts of my own and that is why I am intruding today.

Bev and I are very keen on green issues (I have installed a geo-thermal heating system at home, but that's another story) and when I was recommended to read a fellow blogger's first offering I was both incensed and at the same time very amused by what had been written - I do hope there is more to come! Please visit Bothered, Baffled and Bewildered to see what I mean.

By the way, talking of green things (in the environmental sense) I am hoping to contribute a blog about dog poo (!) the next time Bev's back is turned!

Anyway hello again and back to the farm...

Contented mum

Jilly is looking great and back to playing ball in between feeding the ravenous puppies. She has unlimited food and is loving it.

I have sent off for the kennel club registrations today. It costs us breeders to register them and then, the new owners have the pleasure of paying again to transfer the ownership. At least you know what you are buying.

Jilly has a separate bed if she chooses to use it but often sits with the puppies and waits for them to wake for their next feed. I have no idea how long each feeds but I do regular checks by picking each of them up and you would soon feel if one wasn't thriving.  Jilly knows what she is doing better than I do and lets face it they have trebled in size already so don't need me interfering.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Soooo cute!

We have had a lot of interest and taken deposits to secure some, for the happy families who have chosen them. They are selling like "hot cakes".
This golden boy is  called Radley and will go to live in Liverpool with his lovely and very excited family.
We chatted today about what they could do in preparation for his arrival in 4 weeks. Things such as setting and agreeing ground rules for where he can and cannot go in their home.
Does he go upstairs, on the furniture or on beds. As long as they are all consistent the puppy will accept them and has every chance of settling in well.

What a pleasure it is to breed such beautiful puppies who go on to give their new family so much fun (and a little stress too of course).

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The reality of puppy training

Puppy training starts from the minute they are born, which is why we have them in our home and not an out house, shed or barn. 

We handle them, as long as mum is happy, from day one. The puppies get used to us, our smells and the noises we make.

Their sense of smell and hearing is far superior to ours. Eyes and ears open around day 14 but believe me they can certainly hear before then as they regularly confirm this when they squeal if I make a big noise. They are certainly not keen on me hoovering!

At around week 3 we start the weening process. We always us soaked specialist puppy food and call "puppies" when putting it down for them. By the time they are 6 weeks old (weather permitting) we could let them run around our extensive yard and call them and they will all come running.

By week 10 they should understand sit, down, stay and come. If you have done the right groundwork recall should be easy too.

Socialising is a fundamental part of training and whenever possible take puppy with you. This will aid building his confidence.

Other than feeding in the early months don't have a routine and then puppy won't fret if you break it. 

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Puppy training

Today I Thought I would put a few of my thoughts about life with a puppy...

As I always say to people who are considering having a puppy,
"It will be as easy or as difficult as you make it"
By that I mean if all members of the household set and agree the boundaries and you are consistent the puppy will very quickly learn and accept them. This will lead to a confident adult dog who knows what is expected of him and where his place is in your pack. (Below all the humans and that includes the children).

I am an absolute advocate of the use of crates. I first used one when I had my Rottweiler who is sadly no longer with us after 12 years. The trainer I used, when he was a puppy, listened to me moaning about dreading to open the kitchen door as I didn't know what scene would greet me. My carefully placed newspaper, shredded and strewn across the room often having been used to do his business on!!! My two toddlers would be at the door too, desperate to enter the room, as being boys were "starving", so using the crate transformed my household and made owning him a pleasure. His bowel and bladder control was almost immediate and never again was there the mess!
He clearly loved the crate and if ever it was put up he would go in and the only way to get him out was by shaking him out. well! you try and drag a Rotty out.

My partner's Labradoodle has been at our house for months but he went home yesterday, he disappeared and to my partners surprise he had put himself in his crate. He loves it too.

On a practical level...

The crate helps the puppy gain bowel and bladder control. Open the door, lift out the puppy, put it outside and stay out with it, encourage it to do it's business. My partner used the phrase "hurry up" and now, as an adult dog, he still performs on his command.
It ensures your home and belongings don't get chewed. You must put things in that he can chew as he will be teething.

The puppy should come out for fun, food, walks, training and toilet but at all other times be in the crate as you are not giving him attention and that is when they get bored, wander and become destructive.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


This is off the bridge in Findern at dusk. The canal is frozen and the hedge looks like a child's crystal growing kit. As temperatures have plummeted to -14℃ We have struggled to keep the water from freezing especially for the horses. They eat dry hay so need water more than ever.

The dogs are doing ok. They come into the house for a warm up and are happy to play and wrestle outside. They adapted to the ice underfoot now so less slipping and sliding thank goodness.

Jilly and the puppies are great. They should be opening their eyes and ears any day now. We have had a lot of interest in them and have taken a number of deposits.

Holly our poodle with Addisons is doing well. She has 5 tablets a day and appears to be stable. She is such a lovely dog and I would love to find her a home where she will be pampered.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Beautiful days

This is our dogs playground. They never go on a lead and have ooodles of fun chasing each other around our fields. They walk with me when I tend our horses. I walk in a straight ish line across the fields and they do many circuits more. They know the routine and by the time i'm back at the top gate they have rejoined me as food is next.

You can see our frozen pond. It has many fish in and the heron is oftain stood by it. I think he is willing them to come to the surface but he has no chance they go deep down for the winter and in any event there is a few inches of ice at the top. How does the heron survive the winter?

They puppies are just over a week old now. They have doubled in size and doing great.
Oscar (Dad) paid them a visit yesterday.

Jilly (Mum) would love to be back out playing ball.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

More snow!!

It looks stunning of course and my children are delighted as their school has closed.

Our dogs absolutely love it. Charging around and sliding. They wrestle and play with such enthusiasm in the snow.

Gemma (our old girl, in human terms she would be in her 80's) decided to have a burst of energy. She raced around our ice covered yard as though it were a race track. Bouncing like Bambie and just having a lovely time.

The horses are all doing ok. They have unlimited hay and we are carrying buckets of water to them. They look a little fed up but at least they can wander around rather than being stuck in a very restrictive stable.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Keeping puppies warm.

We have lost a puppy on day 2.
 It is very difficult to say why but Jilly has lost 1 every litter she has had. You soon see there is one just failing. I have tried to put it onto the best teats, expressed milk and even given it lactol but nothing works. That puppy just cannot thrive. I have asked my vets advice he says it is "non thriving puppy syndrome". I feel that Jilly has just one bud that allows the egg to be fertilised and the puppy to grow whilst in her but once it is born it just fades. It's core temperature drops and eventually she pushes it out as she knows there is some thing wrong.

The rest are just gorgeous and thriving very well.

Jilly has unlimited food at the moment but lets face it she can have as much as she likes as she has all those hungry mouthes to feed.

We have our oil heating on 24 hours at the moment + Jilly has an oil filled radiator right by her.
The litter is on vet bed which is fantastic for keeping the puppies dry and warm.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Here they are.

Safely arrived and now resting. The whelping process can be very long as each puppy is delivered separately. There is limited time once the puppy is delivered for mum to clear the nose to enable it to breath. Here you can see mum and pups all doing very well and looking healthy.

Snow!! What fun!!

How they love the snow. It is the first time for Poppy, Toffee, Bella and Lulu. None of them understood how to apply their braked. Lulu looked like a white dog as she rolled in it.
The older dogs love it too. Gemma (our old girl) pops her tail between her hind legs and sets the charge and everyone runs after her. She can run like the wind even at her age.

Jilly, despite the weather has had her puppies today. She started around 12 noon and has just delivered the last on (we think). She has had a meal which is a usual sign that she has finished whelping. They all look great. One Golden boy and the rest are chocolate. The other dogs would love to visit the new borns but Jilly would object. She has no problem with us handling them though and my partner has done a couple of head counts as Mum can squash existing puppies whilst delivering the next.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Out for breakfast

One of my sons called me to our window this morning as there were a couple of pheasants on the roof of our dog pen. They looked lovely with the ice covering it too. We turned our attention to our lawn where there were 20 +.
What a beautiful winters scene.
We tried to take a photo but it didn't look great.
We threw some cornflakes (well is was breakfast time) but they all flew off. Lets hope they call again.

The horses find it hard to walk when the ground is so rutted and then frozen. Many leg injuries happen at this time of the year.

Out for breakfast

One of my sons called me to our window this morning as there were a couple of pheasants on the roof of our dog pen. They looked lovely with the ice covering it too. We turned our attention to our lawn where there were 20 +.
What a beautiful winters scene.
We tried to take a photo but it didn't look great.
We threw some cornflakes (well is was breakfast time) but they all flew off. Lets hope they call again.

The horses find it hard to walk when the ground is so rutted and then frozen. Many leg injuries happen at this time of the year.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Winter is here!

I love days like today. Clear sky and cold, crisp air.
I rode my lovely horse and he, despite his objections worked very well. We both sweated a bit !.
The hose has frozen so I had to barrow water to them all. My horses live out so have hard feed and limitless hay. We have clipped them and then wrapped them in rugs. This enables us to ride them, stops them sweating too much and  allows them to dry off much quicker before we turn them out again.

The dogs are all well. Jilly now heavily pregnant is in the porch. She has a heater on all the time just in case we have new arrivals. Puppies need the air temperature to be 18 degrees not to suffer from hyporthermia. Her due date is Monday (Gestation is 9 weeks).

All the dogs have extra rations and warm bedding. I gave the young dogs a new bed and by the time I can back onto the yard having ridden they had removed all the stuffing!!! What a waste that was.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Puppies on their way.

Please let me play!!
Jilly is looking very round. She is due her litter in a week but she would love to play ball. In fact she would play to the minute they are born if she had her way. Needless to say she is a very fit girl she loves nothing more than to play fetch. We are looking forward to the arrival of the pups as she is a good mum and has produced some lovely pups. Oscar the Dad is very laid back about the whole affair as his work is clearly done and he plays no further part other than to play with them when they get to an interesting stage.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A day off

Monday 15th November.
What a day to take off.
We headed up to the Peak District. Based ourselves at the George Inn at Alstonfields.
We walk 6.5 miles alone the river Dove, up gypsy bank and along Wolfcote dale. The weather was perfect, not a cloud in the sky but a slight frost had fallen overnight so the air was very crisp and clear.
It makes you feel good to be alive.
The views were stunning and the vivid autumnal colours were radiant.
We called into Alstonfields Manor and sampled their hospitality. Jo was, as always very welcoming, gave us a tour of the manor and a lovely cup of tea. We could easily have stayed as the rooms are beautiful, fire cosy and the views stunning but we had a lunch to enjoy at the George Inn Alstonfields.
It was a lovely day and we would highly recommend all elements of our day, just can't guarantee the weather.

Friday, 12 November 2010

The farrier.

This is Mark Brewster our farrier, based in Derby. He is never late and never lets us down. A "cast" shoe is not a problem and he calls as soon as he canto put it back on.

The farrier is the person who puts the steel shoes on our horses. This is done every 6 ish weeks and costs far too much money. The reason people started to shoe horses was during the war the heavy horses stood in small compounds and their own urine rotted their feet so shoes were put on to elevate them and we have done it ever since. they do have some practical benefits but the reality is if we never started a horses woof would adapt to the terrane.

My horse who was shod very recently has cast a shoe. (pulled one off) This is very common at this time of year as they get stuck in the mud. The farrier will re heat the shoe balance it and reattach it with new clenches.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Wet and cold!

Well what a nasty day.

We have no pictures as the animals are all taking cover and I don't blame them. At this time of year the horses are having hay and those who work hard, a hard feed. My objective is to put bulk on them ahead of winter as when it is very cold and they have no stable it is hard to keep them warm. They are rugged up already and do have access to our field shelter.

The dogs all have shelter but Bella especially chooses to stand our and get very wet. Not sure that she feels the rain under her lovely coat but it does mean I have to change their bedding as she makes it very wet when she does go in.

The cats in the cattery are more than happy as they have their heat pads on and never have to go outside if they choose not to. Not a bad life.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The chase is on!

What fun they all have. We have just had our annual inspection  by the local council. The dogs were all very well bahaved of course.
Then it's out for their mid morning run. They all love to play ball. Bea has it and is not very good at letting it go. Jilly is the best at bringing it back to us. The dogs love to play and what a great way to get the dogs exersised and the puppies socialised.

I did stop my car and look a while this morning to whatch a large flock of starling in flight. How they synchronize. It is stunning at they make a wave across the sky

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Bring it back!

Poppy has settled very well. She has put some much needed weight on now she is having puppy food. She has a very gentle, demure nature, is very pretty and is also very obediant. 
Here she is with Oscar (Our very handsome stud dog).
She is actually running off with the cleaning fluid for the dog pens. Perhaps she is going to do it for me.

I had to smile yesturday when my partner asked me to keep an eye out for the shrew our cat kindly brought into the house, still alive. It went under the freezer!!.  It's because he loves you I reasured him. No consolation when he deposited another live mouse in his bedroom just last week.
Whatever happened to flowers?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Cleaning day!!!

All is a little quieter at the moment as holiday season finally comes to an end in the cattery. We just have a few guests.
Small pets, there are a couple in as their owners house move went slightly wrong.
Hope they get sorted very soon.

                  All those wagging tails!
Our young dogs are settling into the routines on the farm. The older dogs have accepted them and the pack plays quite happily together.
They all love to run across our fields, the puppies follow the adults. I just pray that the puppies have instinctive respect for the horses and don't learn the hard way!. They cover far more ground than I ever do, chasing one another.
 Labradoodles are incredibly agile and cover the ground with such speed and grace.
I have de-flead everyone over the weekend.

Today I clean and clear all the cat and small pet pens ready for Christmas. It is a challange to get all the cat hairs off the bedding ahead of putting it in the washing machine. (The cats and dogs have their own machine). I know some catteries use paper bedding but i'm sure the cats prefer soft quilts it just leads to a little more work.
I have a builder comming to alter the roof and carry out maintenance.  It's ongoing to keep it in good state of repair.

Saturday, 30 October 2010


Toffee. yes very cute! But she got fleas. I know not where and believe me, I turned all my other dogs over as that's best way to find fleas on their tummy, and no one had anything.
Toffee was crawling!!! she had been to the vets just a couple of days ago and he spotted nothing. As she is getting lots of attention and rolling around so we would have spotted them.
I find it quite incredible that within a short space of time she was covered.
No longer! she has had a bath in specialist shampoo and they are DEAD!
Typical for a poodle, under that lovely fluffy coat she has a skinny body and at least she is small enough to dunk into the sink!

We have just had Holly spayed yesterday as she developed a condition called Addisons disease. This is an inability for her body to manage its sodium and potassium levels. She lost coordination and if left untreated would be fatal. She became quite poorly a few weeks ago and Dr Rehman diagnosed it. Her prognosis is good she just needs medication. We will not breed from her hence she was spayed.
She is however a young KC registered and very well bred standard poodle so we will look to re home her. She is very affectionate so some one will get a lot of love from her.
She is sat by my side now with her head on my lap.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Horsey day today.

Why do we clip (shave) horses?

This is Trigger our 13.1HH gelding. As winter draws closer his coat thickens and when we work him he sweats. This causes problems with drying him, which if not done thoroughly he will loose weight and condition. You may be thinking "don't work him in the winter that way he wouldn't sweat up!.

The other option is to clip him.

And that is what we did!

This is the same horse 2 hours later.
We have left the hair on his legs as this is thought to help prevent mud fever and his ears and above the cheek piece on his head.
This is the colour a bay horse at the end of it's hair.
He looks so much slimmer and if you had seen the mountain of hair on the floor you would understand why that is.
What a shine. He is fed corn oil every day in his feed and this certainly looks to be helping.
We rode him after clipping and he said he has his go faster stripes on!!

Tonight he has a thick quilted rug and a full neck turnout rug as we must keep him warm.

What a beautiful day; a friend, my boys and myself all rode. Well we have to make the most of the weather whilst it is here!!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

I didn't chew the cable!!!

Me?? I wasn't doing anything!

Toffee's day

Toffee who is now 10 weeks old has such a huge personality. She thinks all our other dogs are fair game for her to wrestle with even Buster who towers over her.
She has had her first bath complete with doggy shampoo which she enjoyed drinking. We then did some puppy training which she learned very quickly.
A number one and two on the carpet, well accidents do happen!! and they have to learn.
She is fascinated by her own image in the glass gallery, running up and down to chase herself.

What a lovely view from our window, a pedigree calf suckling milk from its Mum. I guess now the weather has turned the cows will be going in the barns for the winter. We'll miss seeing them wandering and grazing.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Lulu and Bella day

What a beautiful dawn!! cold but crisp.

Bella carries a piece of tree bark in her mouth whilst Lulu carries Bella's leg, In her mouth!!!. Both girls trotting across the yard, Lulu on three legs of course. Soooo funny!

My partner and I made the most of the lovely afternoon and put the girls on a lead and venture down our very quiet drive. As we approached the bottom Bella had a panic attack as a car sped by!!. It was just too much for her so we carried her the short distance (thankfully she doesn't weigh as much as Lulu). We went on to have a lovely walk.
We discovered a conservation area between Findern and ourselves. It is very well groomed and someone clearly takes a lot of time over the management of it. We reached the train line and let the girls experience the trains flying by. Bella did very well.

Both girls spent time off and on the lead accepting the training very well. They are getting very good at recall, sit and down. They are such a pleasure.
Interestingly there is a clearly marked bridleway with no access off the highway for horses, a very low tunnel which at best our 13hh pony may be able to access and a pair of close to vertical steel bars which are clearly not welcoming to either horses nor ponies. How can this be called a bridle path?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Beautiful day

I have had the dogs out on the yard lots today in the sunshine. Whilst out I have taken the opportunity to clean and clear their pens. I have put new wall to wall carpeting in. They will ofcourse not appreciate it and rip it to shreds!!!.
They are so playfull, even my old girl, Gemma.

Off to the vets

Dr Rehman
 Blagreaves Veterinary Centre
Littleover Derby
No name (our new chocolate labrador puppy)  has had her first visit to Dr Rehman our small pets vet. She wasn't very impressed but he was so efficient and gave her a treat afterwards.
We discussed the merits of hip scoring and will revisit the option when she is a year old.

She has forgiven me now as she then got lots of one to one attention and enjoyed playing with a new toy. It was very nice giving her undivided attention and training. She is very quick to learn and eager to please.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Welcome to my first blog!!

A number of people over recent months have commented on our website as they enjoy looking at our menagerie Some asked if I would do a blog and let them have an insight into day to day life on the farm. My partner and computer guru has got me off first base so here goes and I hope you find it interesting.

Bad Bad weather today the horses have spent most of the day in the field shelter.
The dogs are always up for a good run around (other than our new labrador puppy) and are still enjoying eating apple and pear wind falls off the lawn.
The cats are all happy as they have their heat pads on and choose whether or not to venture out. Most don't!