Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Good-bye to Maewest

March 2011

Chickens can live well into their teens but rarely do. Maewest was 14 months old when I found her dying in the nest box the other morning, lying quietly, head down. She was the crazy hen, frantically afraid of being handled from the day I brought her home, though most hens can be easily trained to come take food from your hands, be picked up, and even sit calmly on your lap. She was always jittery, launching herself after the others with a piercing squawk, last to find the doorway of the pen when it was time to go back inside. Yes, after more than a year of going in and out the door.

I thought she'd expire last year when she prolapsed and I had to grab her (oh, the screams!), wash off her innards and stuff them back inside. The directions for this procedure found on the 'net do not include advice for restraining a struggling chicken and her big, clawed feet. Since the cause of prolapse or egg-binding in laying hens is often lack of calcium, I gave her extra calcium by dissolving tablets in water and coating the scratch feed with it. I think she wasn't metabolizing it properly, since all my other hens have been fine with the oyster shell calcium I provide in a cup throughout laying season.

Given her defects, I wasn't surprised at her shortened life.  Not a lot is known about the way chickens feel pain. Years ago, people used to think they and most other animals didn't feel pain at all, simply because they didn't express their reactions the same way we humans do. Everything that's alive wants to hold on to life. I've seen the struggle in the tiniest scrap of a day-old bird. I've seen those little birds die and I've seen people die-- that quiet, sudden moment when they're gone and you struggle to comprehend what really happened. With or in this case without grief, it's a fearsome moment every time.

June 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Easy frosty paws

How about something cold to eat?

Pick snap peas

Blanch 3--45 sec. and cool in ice water

Visualize whirled peas


Add plain yogurt, maybe 1 cup.

You can also add an egg

Blend in egg

I poured some into coop cups, which are also used as water bowls in small crates.  Some people pour the contents into paper cups but I used these because the dogs can lick out the contents rather than crunch up the whole thing in ten seconds. A few blueberries add decoration.

And I poured some into Kongs and put them all in the freezer.

 Indoor dining kept Miro busy for all of ten minutes.
Outdoor dining
The two had to eat in separate quarters; otherwise Miro would take Alanis' treat afte finishing his.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Verbless Vednesday

New bed
Good taste?


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Home from the conference

For three days I've been gone from early morning to late evening at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference taking place 45 min. down the road in SeaTac. Although my son was here to let the dogs out, none of the animals received the usual amount of exercise and attention during that time. This evening I arrived home to find
hungry adult son

hungry dogs

hungry snake

hungry parrots (blurry photos because a faster speed with flash would freak them out)

and chickens tucked up for the night.
I'll spare you photos of the amount of dirt that accumulated in the floor in that time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

FDA still warning about chicken jerky

After reading warnings on my Airedale list, I stopped buying chicken jerky treats made in China some time back. Rumors about unsafe foods circulate all the time; some are based in fact, some not. I didn't do any research but decided to be cautious. Recently a listmember sent a link to the FDA warning containing this information:

"FDA is advising consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to watch their dogs closely for any or all of the following signs that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products:

decreased appetite;

decreased activity;


diarrhea, sometimes with blood;

increased water consumption; and/or

increased urination.

If the dog shows any of these signs, stop feeding the chicken jerky product. Owners should consult their veterinarian if signs are severe or persist for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi-like syndrome (increased glucose)."

The FDA can't issue a recall because it hasn't identified what has caused dogs to become ill. It could be that problems only occur when people give their dogs a lot of these treats (many rawhide products are made in China, too). The page was last updated in May, so it's worth checking out the link.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Live stuffie society

The day after I decided not to spend the big $$ on toys MirĂ³ will tear apart, I happened to be standing right outside a pet supply store. Good time to buy training treats. Oops, something else found its way into the basket.

Both dogs like to lick peanut butter out of the rubber Kongs but otherwise don't play with them. Last year's Wubba with its ballistic nylon didn't have a chance, though the inner ball was a favorite until Miro killed it.
He's slowly shredding the rim of this bone, simply called the Ballistic. But, hey, it has lasted a whole week so far! I think it'll last for several more, expecially since the squeakers aren't loud and enticing and it's not as soft and furry as a true stuffie. When Miro was otherwise engaged, I offered the toy to Alanis. She took it, walked a few steps, and dropped it. She doesn't know what to do with toys.
The beginning of the end? Maybe I should take bets on how long it'll last.

Also serves as a pillow.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Favorite chew toy

Miro's favorite chew toy always inspires his artistic expression.
It's also the reason why I stopped buying stuffie toys. All he does is de-stuff them immediately, the result being both costly and messy (excuse me--artistic).

Avon calling.

The dead stuffie society. Who's a member?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

RW&B day

To all those celebrating red, white and blue day, may it be a quiet one (for Alanis' sake) and safe. We are simply happy to see the sun after days of horrid, wet, cold, yucky, turn-the-heat-on, very cruddy weather.