Ratio Raw - Weaning
When to start weaning? This can be a individual thing for both breeder
and nursing bitch. One must consider the health, growth and
strength of the pups. It's also good to think that weaning is a
progression not a cold turkey jump, therefore it should take at least three to four
weeks to completely wean a healthy litter before sending them to their new homes.
Weaning is not only a time for the puppies to learn to eat rather than
nurse, but it is also the time in which you are teaching their
intestines how to accept new foods and digest nutrients from new sources.
Ideally somewhere between three and four weeks puppies can start to
get the "taste" of goats milk from the breeder's hand to the pup's
mouth, then advancing to eating out of a shallow bowl. It is important to
note here that the food bowl must be shallow similar to a plate and just
enough milk to cover the bottom. Boxer puppies aspirate easily and
even drown in food bowls when their legs are unsteady and they are
unsure how to eat.
Diligence and awareness are a must!!!
We start with plain goats milk once or twice per day so puppies can get a
taste and learn a licking action rather then the sucking action. It is
normal for puppies to use their feet because they are used to
*kneading* the breast to speed up milk delivery. Therefore, messy
puppies are normal!! This can be good as it can encourage an uninterested
mom to clean them off, as well as puppies to lick off each other
getting used to the taste of milk and again the licking action. Also,
the breeder/owner should be giving each pup a full body moist wipe down (we recommend water with a few drops of tea tree oil), looking for changes in each puppy. Again, regular handling makes for better
After the pups have started to get the idea that yummy stuff is found
in the bowl we blend together banana, yogurt, goats milk and an egg.
Start with small amounts in each bowl until it is gone, then refill and
feed until each puppy has a full tummy.
Each stage for puppies will be different in length and this is when
the breeder must be aware of how the pups are progressing, watching
the stools, the reactions of pups and how the bitch is maintaining
with her litter.
Just around five weeks our puppies will be introduced to two things:
digestive enzymes and a small amount of ground liver once per day
added to their goat milk mix. Please note the pups are still nursing full time on mom at this point.
Another four to five days into this routine (if puppies are thriving) we then make up
a ground 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 ratio mix for the puppies, making sure everything is very well
ground and mushy. Most veggies will need to be put through the blender
thoroughly. Small chunks of food are a large concern. Over zealous
puppies will choke easily, as well as be unable to digest properly
resulting in a lack of nutrients for growth.
Remember weaning is not just teaching a pup to eat out of a bowl but
is it to teach a baby intestine how to digest! Keep food simple, small
We always do our best to make sure pups are nursing no less then two to
three times per day after five weeks until they are seven weeks of age.
This then cuts back to once a day after seven weeks if puppies are
thriving and doing well.
We feed puppies four to five small meals per day between the ages of five weeks
and seven weeks, then move them to three times per day after seven weeks
for a healthy litter. Litters that are struggling or delayed must have their weaning times delayed.
Tripe can be started early, though as it usually comes in large pieces, it will need to be ground or cut. Tripe can be a potential choking hazard, so we don't usually give tripe until closer to eight weeks and it is given partially frozen. Alternatively, thawed tripe can be given, but each puppy must be fed and observed individually so they are free to chew without the worry of a littermate stealing.
If you can get ground tripe, please start giving it to the babies at five weeks.
This is the "grocery list" we use to feed our puppies:
- Goat's milk
- Digestive Enzymes
- Greens +
- Vitamin C
- Fish oils
- Chicken with Bone
- Beef or Bison Organ meat
For those wishing to move pups onto kibble, it has not been something
any raw or semi raw feeder we know starts until after eight weeks.
Vaccines and home change stress are contributing factors to this decision.