Growing Wolf Pups at Wolf Howl Animal Preserve - by Maria Ferguson
Well, it certainly has been an interesting month of Wolf Pup fun, joy, sorrow and frights. Let us share our Wolf Pups Playing at 6 weeks old with this video. Our four Wolf Pups, Niko Akni, Chito, Nita and Woha are really keeping us on our toes. They are all eating meat right now and almost totally weaned from the Esbilac GME. They had their first taste of chicken in the last week and absolutely love it. They eat all of the legs and thighs including the bone. This is key in getting them off the formula as they will receive the calcium they need from the bone. See video.
They also have started having some dominance fights that have recently escalated into injuries. Chito and Nita had a fight yesterday that lasted a pretty long time. Even though Nita wound up submitting to Chito she wasn’t happy about it and both suffered puncture wounds to their legs. Today both Wolves are fine but I know this isn’t finished yet. Here is a video of a dominance struggle between them taken when they were 5 weeks old. This is mild in comparison to what we witnessed yesterday. These dominance fights aren’t always easy for us humans to watch but they are an important part of growing up as a Wolf and fitting into the pack.
We have been bringing the Pups to visit the Adults through the fence in the isolation area. Two of the pups, Chito and Niko Akni still initially growl at them while we are still holding them. Once we put the pups down the story changes and they are more submissive. The adults are thrilled to see them each and everytime. They are also chorus howling back and forth to each other in the evening. Two of our Huskies also join in the howl. The Adults always start and the pups join in. I’ve never heard the adults join in a howl that was initiated by the pups, though.
The pups are weighing in at 15lbs being Chito and the heaviest and the rest following closely behind. Niko Akni is the lightest weighing in at almost 14lbs. Their third Vet appointment didn’t go as smoothly for them as the first two did. In fact, it was quite a difference. They were drooling on each other in the crate in the truck on the way there. They didn’t settle down for at least 10 minutes. Once we arrived they were reluctant to come out of the crate. I finally took Chito out and Nita followed. When Dr. Harland picked her up, she relieved herself on him. In the examining room when let down on the floor, they started to relax and explore. Chito was after power cords. Dr. Harland examined Niko Akni’s leg thoroughly and is not sure if the occasional limp and hard time rising on his rear leg is from an injury he suffered or from something in the bone. We are treating him now with Glucosamine and Fish Oil capsules, which he takes both wonderfully. The good news is that he is playing, eating and generally happy. If need be we will x-ray next visit to try and determine the cause. We have seen improvements in his movement in the last few days. The Veterinarian visit ended with a chorus howl from the pups, which thrilled the staff that captured it on their cell phones video recorders.
Our collar and leash training are going well. The pups walk us but at least they walk and that is the main goal. We will work at direction when they grow more accustomed to the lead. This is a long process that takes the better part of an hour per pup lately. There are not enough hours in the day. We bought them a kiddie pool but not one of them but Woha has been brave enough to enter it. Woha had both front paws in but changed her mind. They are currently using it as a large drinking bowl. I tried getting in and splashing my feet but that brought out the prey instinct in Nita and she bit them. Ouch, those canines are sharp.
One of the most rewarding parts of handraising Wolf pups in captivity is seeing them quickly lose their fear of new people. Usually within minutes the pups are investigating new visitors to their territory. We also get tickled that they are not afraid to come in our house. If given the opportunity they scamper up the stairs and in the door. They walk through the house with their tails tucked in between their legs and low to the ground but they explore every nook and cranny. They seem to remember people who have only been here once before as well. This friend of ours, Gary had come with his family shortly after the pups were pulled. The entire family took over the feeding for that evening. Well, he stopped back one month later and the pups flocked to him, submitting. We were really impressed. The Adult Wolves always liked Gary, too.
One of the most heartwarming and joyful experiences of raising Wolf pups is the greetings we get in the morning or if they haven’t seen us in a few hours. They howl, whine, whimper, submit, kiss and are generally thrilled to see us. They have also come to love the outdoors and can’t wait to get out of the nursery in the morning. They howl and carry on until we let them out of the fence. See video. They then scamper to the door making sounds to rival a herd of elephants with their paws on the wood floor. Once the door is open they take the stairs gingerly. Chito has even taken to jumping from the first step down to the ground. She doesn’t have time for the ones in between; there’s a whole new world to explore.
The Wolf pups love our Huskies and show the proper respect. The Huskies are getting more physical with them as far as discipline goes as the pups grow rougher. I can see we will need to use the Huskies more to stop the sort of escalation of dominance fights that we witnessed yesterday.