When the puppies grew to the point that they could pull themselves out of the whelping bed it was time to reconfigure.
This is the layout of the puppy area. The kitchen is about 24 inches higher than the rest of the area. The wall between the kitchen and the puppy area is only as high as the counters in the kitchen (40"), giving a great view down into the puppy area.The whelping bed was in the area labeled "Puppy Palace I" and there was no divider between the whelping area and that area. The whelping area/Puppy Palace I is 24 feet long and 12 feet wide. To reconfigure, we took out the whelping bed and built a pipe frame/wire fence between the whelping area and the Puppy Palace I. The divider construction is basically chain link kennel divider construction, with green vinyl covered 2 x 4 welded wire substituted for the chain link fence fabric. This produces a quite strong divider that is easy to see through and does not have the sharp ends at the bottom that chain link fabric does.
There is an existing pipe frame/wire fence divider between Puppy Palace I and the puppy room (composed of Puppy Palace II and III). We then built a pipe frame/wire fence to divide the puppy room into Puppy Palace II and Puppy Palace III. The Puppy Palace II/Puppy Palace III room is 12 feet long and 9 feet wide.
The puppies spend most of their time running between Puppy Palace I and puppy Palace II, but can be confined to one or the other when we need to clean. There is a 5" high step on the west side of the divider between Puppy Palace I and Puppy Palace II to provide the puppies with some safe practice with steps.
On the Puppy Palace II side there is a ramp up to the top of the step. The floor in Puppy Palace I is textured vinyl and the floor in Puppy Palace II/III is rubber. Puppy Palace III is for when they grow enough to need to be separated into smaller packs (frequently the boys will pick on the girls just too much). I have promised to give the construction details of the rooms, but that will have to wait for another newsletter as we seem to be rather busy at the moment <grin>.
Here is an early morning view from the kitchen West through the whelping room into Puppy Palace I (with Myrna nursing some puppies) and on into Puppy Palace II(which you can not see because it is dark).
As the puppies learned to eat and appreciate the weaning diet, the demands on Myrna and on the human parents began to drop. By the end of the week they were eating just 3 times a day (weaning diet followed by Mom), with a supplementary Mom feeding at midnight. We could actually sleep in our own bed much of the night. Such relaxation, such joy. With the result that we both got sick.
Next week: we recovered