Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blog Hop and First Day Out

Friday was sunny and warm enough for the chicks' first day outside. An old cockatiel cage is now a mini chicken tractor. They can be moved to fresh areas after they eat the tenderest grass buds and mini-fertilize the area.

At three weeks old they're scruffy with a mix of old fluff and new feathers. When offered some small worms, Bazooka quickly snatched one up and ate it. Maewest eyed hers with great suspicion. Bazooka must have regretted eating the one, for she declined a second offering.


Thinking about making a break for freedom?

Friday, March 25, 2011

What friends think about when they think about me

A friend in Kentucky saw this and knew it was for me.
The package reads, "Grandpa says, 'If ya got dry lips, put chicken poop on 'em so you won't lick 'em!'"
I'm glad my grandpa never said that.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Interesting tip on dog food quality

Dr. Kelly Swanson, an Animal Sciences professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine,  explains why dogs can get the same amount of nutrition from both lower cost and premium dog foods.



"The main difference among the myriad options lies in the ingredients used. Specific diets, such as 'lamb and rice,' indicate that a primary protein source is lamb and a major carbohydrate source is rice.


But what constitutes quality? That may be a matter of opinion. There is a difference between lower cost foods and the 'premium' or 'super premium' diets. Premium and super premium tend to be more nutrient dense and have better digestibility. Better digestibility can mean fewer 'restroom' trips and possibly less gas. Yet that still doesn't mean that your pet cannot get all the needed nutrients from a lower cost diet." I take that to mean there's some advantage to buying the best you can afford; but your dog will be fine on ordinary food.

She also explains that the term "natural" can mean just about anything and natural foods are not regulated, while organic foods must meet USDA standards.

Here's the part that will make many Airedale owners laugh: the important thing is that your dog likes the food. I've heard of the rare Airedale who is picky but about the only food my Airedales have ever refused is iceberg lettuce. I don't consider iceberg lettuce as food, either.

Source: An article from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Thoughts On What to Feed Your Dog.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

First flight

Bazooka decided it's time to perch.  She flapped her wings and popped up to the side of the box. Being larger and heavier, the Buff Orpington (Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Maewest) is not a flyer--yet.
That's why the wire mesh goes on as a lid. Both birds are entering the homely adolescent stage where tufts of fluff stick out among small feathers. Like typical adolescents, they're starting to test what they can do.

Saturday blog hop

Shhhh, it's Saturday and we're sleeping in late!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What to do when it's pouring rain?

People in today's St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Seattle will have to hide their green costumes under waterproof gear because rain is pounding down. Alanis and Miro went to the back door a few minutes ago, looked outside when I opened it, then looked up at me as if to say, "Well, do something about that!"

Fortunately we've been rescued by the generosity of Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie. We were amazed  and thrilled to discover that our honorable mention in the costume contest netted us a prize. Prizes are a Big Deal; they don't happen often!
This fetch toy bears an amazing resemblance to somebody else in the house.

Now named Fetcher.

The English Buff Orpington turned Irish for the week.Miro is not allowed to play with this one.

Today we play throw, fetch and run-around-like-crazy in the living room.


There's also this Ruff & Tuff ball. With a plastic outer shell, it's good for rain or the lake. Miro will have to improve his retrieving before we try it in the lake next summer!


Alanis checks out her personal favorite. We'll need these treats to teach Miro to give back Fetcher. He understands the part about running after the toy and bringing it back (rare enough in Airedales) but giving it back is something else. Then there's the part about leaving my fingers intact. These particular treats seem to have an intoxicating effect that makes a dog forget himself.
Thank you Baby Rocket Dog, Hootie and your people!

Saturday Blog Hop

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New residents!

First, find a small room

and clear the decks.

















Chicken Salad and friends have relocated to a new home and here's what appears instead:

What is it?

Something is in that room!

I hear noises! Let me in!

Ah, now I see what's taken up residence in the guest bathroom. Let me just get my nose in there to check 'em out.

Two chicks are occupying the guest bathroom for the next couple of weeks. This is what guest bathrooms are really all about. They're small, easy to keep warm, free of drafts; and you can shut the door to keep chick dust in and big doggie noses out. When Miro tried to get his head right down into the box, I was afraid the heat lamp would burn him; but in typical Airedale fashion, he didn't notice the risk.

The chicks are a Buff Orpington and a Black Sex Link. That name is so weird that they're also dubbed Black Stars. Only a few days old, they require a temperature of 90 degrees F. for the next week.

What will my name be? Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Maewest?

She's talking about calling me Bazooka.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Saturday blog hop and Miro's guide to the game of tug



Wait and look innocent.

Leap for it.

The grab. Use those jaws!

Pull hard and don't let go.

It's easy to get distracted.

A change of perspective

You know how you recognize people by their dogs, whether in training class or on the street: the lady with two Airedales; the couple with the really big, red Golden Retrievers; the rarely seen lady with two Corgis (in an area of less than 6 sq. blocks, there are three pairs of Corgis); the extremely slow-walking guy with the excitable white mop-dog. And so on. Shocking as it sounds, this morning I was thinking that dogs are not the only way to recognize people.

Even though they sometimes bring a dog to work, the guys from the athletic shoe store a few miles down the road might see differently. Think of them driving to work, glancing at the walkers, runners and bicyclists along the way. "There go the Brooks Defyance, size 8, nice and stable. Ah, that's my neutral Asics, size 9.5. Look at those Nikes! You hardly ever see ones that old still walking around, poor things. And there's tiny Pearl Izumi flying through the mud."

As for any dogs riding by with noses out the car window, their thoughts are much more complex.