We are acquiring quite the collection of pets! Today marks 2 weeks having Uli at home. He is the current star of the show as we train and socialize him. Fanny is still trying to come to terms with Uli joining the family but is making great progress. The chickens are making it through their first winter and are all laying eggs regularly. Things are going really well and we are so grateful and happy to care for this collection of creatures. They each contribute to our lives in their own wonderful ways. On to the pictures!
Puppies need to chew and bite and chomp almost constantly. We have quite the collection of toys for Uli so that we can keep him engaged and chewing the right things instead of us or our things.
Even with nearly constant supervision and redirection to appropriate chew things, he still tries to sneak in bites on things he knows he shouldn't. This fringed rug I knit is a very hard to ignore temptation. It might have to go into storage until he gets a bit older and calmer.
In addition to exploring everything with his mouth, he also has a ton of energy for running and jumping, which also means lots of slipping and sliding on the wood floors.
We saw a lot of progress this second week when it comes to his comfort with being closed into his crate. The soft bed is a big draw!
Uli is also still taking visitors and was happy to snuggle up to Jason and Elise.
And to my mom, too! We really love that he can play hard and then settle down for some mellow, cuddling time.
He has also been going to puppy socialization classes and to puppy playtime sessions in order to make sure he remains friendly to other dogs. The first few minutes of his first class were kind of scary for him. He moved around the perimeter of the room with his tail between his legs and seemed intimidated by all of the puppies and the new space. And then, after he had taken it all in for a few minutes, he decided it was all right and he started wrestling and running with the other dogs. Hooray for socialization!
All that play can make a puppy tired. Uli's favorite napping spot is on top of this heating vent. This Minnesota dog is not a fan of the cold weather so far. I feel you, Uli.
For the first few days, Fanny hid upstairs. We don't allow Uli on the 2nd floor yet, so she very much stuck to that safe zone for the first few days. She had her food, water, litterbox and plenty of places to sleep up there. Even though her basic needs were met, she was peeking around the corner of the stairs and testing out the safety of the 1st floor before too long. She doesn't like being left out of the action!
She has slowly started to lessen the distance from which she observes Uli and his shenanigans.
He can still be a bit overwhelming to her when he tries to elicit play. Despite his comical attempts at engaging her through play bowing, growly flips and barking spins, she hasn't taken the bait.
We are optimistic that through a combination of our monitoring and calming of his behavior towards her and her growing confidence, we will be able to find a point where everyone has accepted each other.
And, the chickens! Winter is boring for chickens. They have a pretty tricked out coop that keeps the temperature at 20 degrees F or warmer, a string of lights that supplements the darkness to provide about 14 hours of light and we open the door to their outside run whenever the temperature is 10 degree F or higher. When they are in the run, they have access to a dust (wood ash) bath, some things to perch on and we give them food scraps, grit and scratch.
They must be happy chickens because they all started laying eggs! And, as I was hoping, Petunia's eggs are blue!
The blue eggs are such a beautiful novelty. The color of the shell makes no difference when it comes to the egg on the inside, but it makes me happy to have something so special looking.
Nellie and Camilla both lay brown eggs, but I have figured out how to tell them apart. It helps to be able to know who is laying which egg so I can have a vague sense of the frequency each bird is laying at. Three egg days are not uncommon for us but not an everyday thing.
Nellie's eggs are a bit lighter in color than Camilla's and Camilla's are a bit pointier in shape. I have learned that each bird has a signature shape to their egg based on the shape of their body. It makes total sense but I never knew that before!
We have been getting enough eggs that we have been able to start giving them away a half dozen at a time. It seems I am not the only one to be thrilled by the blue shells. The recipients of our eggs have all remarked about the color.
We have also been receiving egg gifts from my Aunt Audrey. She has ducks and chickens and has been sharing her duck eggs with us. Between her duck eggs and our chicken eggs, it is safe to say that we are rich in eggs!
It has been fun to make new recipes prompted by the need to use up some eggs. For example, I have been making Mark Bittman's cornbread recipe.
Thus concludes the pet update! Well...here is one last puppy shot for the road:
PS "Mullweiler" in the title is a mashup of my last name and Paul's last name. We decided not to pick which one to use for Uli but instead gave him this fun hybrid for his last name.