Becoming a Brood
Once a brood has passed our stringent approval requirements, she is viable for insemination from eighteen months of age. Bitches are pregnant for approximately nine weeks.
After insemination is completed by Onderstepoorts’ Reproduction Dept. the brood returns to our facilities to complete her season in safety. She then returns to the Brood Stock Carer who in most cases is the family who raised her through the Puppy Program.
The embryos become embedded in the uterine lining where they begin to develop. They will become enveloped in a protective membrane, which provides them with nutrients. This four-celled embryo quickly multiplies to 64 cells, ready to form a head and spine.
The broods are de-wormed at day 20 of their pregnancy and again throughout the parturition period along with her puppies who are treated at two, four and six weeks of age.
Day 35 marks the end of embryogenesis (the first phase of gestation). The organs are now all beginning to form, the embryo is referred to as a foetus. During this foetal phase (and in particular from the 40th day onwards) the foetus’ weight will increase by around 75%.
It is important to maintain the moms’ weight in the first 35 days. She could be prone to nausea (morning sickness) and may refuse her food. It’s not recommended to offer tasty bits as this could cause gastric upset at a time when her health is paramount to the development of the puppies.
From day 42 the foetus begins fast development, this is the third and final phase. Claws, digits and whiskers develop, the skeleton begins to solidify. Due to this; the brood requires a 50% increase in her daily diet to compensate for the fast growth of the pups. The brood is moved onto a diet of puppy food containing a higher protein content. We recommend that her meals be split into three or four over a twenty four hour period, thereby making room for the expanding uterus.
By day 45 the first signs of fur are appearing. The coat and bones are the last areas to develop.
Broods enter our Puppy Centre seven to ten days prior to their whelp date to settle in to the new routine, be under twenty four-hour surveillance and begin the nesting process.
Whelping is attended by experienced staff members and mom is supported throughout.