Sunday, 30 November 2014

Chicken Run

Yesterday my friend and I took a drive over to Okehampton to take on some ex caged hens, these birds were part of a group of 3000 'spent' hens that have come from an intensive farming unit. I have kept chickens for quite a few years now and am very fond of my birds, so it came as quite a shock to see the sad state these birds are in. They are about 18 months old and should be in full health but these birds are almost bald due to the stress plucking that goes on, their combs are pale and floppy, their nails are overgrown as they have spent their lives in a cage with a wire floor and the space allocated to each bird is the area of an A4 piece of paper, they have never experienced natural light, they have never enjoyed a dust bath and have only ever eaten a commercial diet :-(. Now I am not daft, or overly sentimental, I understand that regardless of the conditions they are kept in, all laying birds have a limited useful life, and slaughter for most of these birds is the only practical solution, and in fact I don't have a problem with this, but I do have a problem with the way these birds are kept prior to them being shipped. I don't want to preach but please think about these pictures next time you go to purchase cheap eggs.

These two girls, Babs and Bunty, will have to be housed separately from my garden girls while they recover from their previous existence and learn how to be normal chickens.

Margo's kittens, Thelma and Louise, are fat lumps, Margo is proving to be a wonderful mum :-) Both kittens have homes waiting for them.
Mustache man and Bushy tail are growing well, they had their 1st vaccinations yesterday.

I know that there are a few people who are anxious to hear news of Spirit and Audrey with regard to them coming into season, unfortunately they are still keeping us waiting, can't be much longer!! I promise I will update you as soon as there is any news.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Goodnight Bob

Margo and her two girls, Thelma and Louise, are doing very well, but unfortunately Bob, the little black and white boy, stopped suckling properly on Friday. Despite me bottle feeding him every two hours (which he took well) his condition quickly deteriorated and we lost him in the early hours of Sunday morning. Sometimes Mother Nature seems very harsh, but I think she generally knows what she is doing when a young animal just suddenly goes downhill for no apparent reason, I suspect that had I managed to nurse him through this, other health issues would have become evident as he grew.

Harleys babies have reached the age where they are playing non stop, they are great fun :-)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Margo is a mummy :-)

Margo was due to kitten on Sunday, but it is quite usual for a cat to go a couple of days over her due date. Whilst we always keep a careful eye on our expectant mums, life still has to go in and the other animals have to have their needs met. yesterday morning Margo didn't eat her breakfast, which is always a good indication of impending labour, but appeared quite relaxed and happy, so I took the dogs for a walk. When I got home, just over 2 hours later I found Margo sat on the sofa with a stillborn kitten hanging out of her, the kitten was not stuck but she simply wasn't pushing. I then sat with her to reassure her and to monitor her progress, there was no progress so after 2 hours we set off to the vets.

My vets are fabulous (I may be a touch biased as I work for them ;-) ) and were set up for our arrival, we didn't hang about and a caesarian section was carried out at 1pm, producing 3 surprisingly active kittens.

On our return Margo, still very wobbly from the anaesthetic, wolfed down a full bowl of food (well she is a Devon rex, labrador of the cat world, who had missed her breakfast) but when she saw her kittens she had a panic attack. I had to remove the kittens for an hour or so whilst Margo recovered from the effects of the anaesthetic, then I put Margo on my lap and started to introduce the kittens to her. It took a while but eventually she started to take a positive interest in them and I was able to introduce them to the nursery quarters. At this point they still had not suckled and it was now 6pm.

I really do try not to interfere with puppies and kittens when they are new born, I feel that Mother Nature has the best methods, but these kittens were now starting to flag, so each was given a drop of honey and 1/2 ml of formula milk. This proved to be just enough to reboot their systems and they started to hunt for a better milk source, by 10pm all 3 kittens were latched on and mum was purring her head off :-)

At 1st glance, and most of you know not to rely to heavily on this, we have a lilac and white girl, a white and black girl, quite unusually marked, girl, though I suspect she may well have cream patches too which will make her a torti and last but by no mean least, a black and white boy. All have been born with good coats.

I elected to have Margo spayed at the same time as her surgery as I don't feel that this was a good start for a breeding queen, I am very disappointed as she is the only Sybil baby that I have kept, and Sybil hasn't had any kittens since Margo was born.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Lights, camera, action!

We had a Russian film crew visit today to film my Devon's as part of a series about pedigree cats. The cats behaved beautifully, not phased at all, I on the other hand will not be giving up my day job and will be turning down offers for I'm a celebrity and Strictly, lol. Even managed to get Cash in on the action, so who knows, they may be back for the poodles :-)

 I am very pleased to say that Genie also left for his new home yesterday, early indications couldn't be better, he has played with the two resident dogs and is already enjoying walks in Cornwall. It also gave me the opportunity to see one of Tiffany's brothers, Bard. He was the smallest pup in the litter, but he's not small anymore and now stands an impressive 26" to the shoulder. We managed a very quick group shot of Bard, Tiffany and Audrey (apologies for the scruffy state of my two girls)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Good news

I am absolutely delighted to say that Genie already has a new home to go to, he will be joining an Itzapromise standard poodle, a labrador and their owner in Cornwall.

Monday, 10 November 2014

My quiet period, ha ha!

When we waved goodbye to Nina's pups at the end of September, Graham and I were looking forward to a bit of a break from babies for a few months because much as we both love having the puppies and kittens, they are a huge commitment and normal life has to be worked around them, but someone, somewhere decided that we are not due that break just yet :-)

Firstly we took on our lodger cat for a friend whilst she recovers from hospital treatment, she presented us with two delightful kittens, which are proving to be cracking little boys

Then, completely out of the blue I was contacted by a Russian film crew, who are making a program about pedigree cats, asking if they could come and film my cats as they wanted to film them in the place of their origin. I have no idea why I agreed to do this as I hate having my picture taken, let alone being filmed for Tv, on the other hand my daughter is terribly excited about it, lol. Will let you know how badly I embarrass myself after the event.

Then this weekend I had a call from the owners of Nina/Cash pup Genie (the tiny pup that we had nicknamed Penfold). Unfortunately due to a very traumatic experience a while ago, one of their existing dogs was unable to deal with having a bouncy pup living with her, so the owners have had to make the heartbreaking decision to return him. I cannot stress enough what a fantastic start they have given this boy, he is a real credit to them and the work they have put into his socialisation is very evident. I would dearly love to say he could stay with me, but it just isn't practical, and I really feel that given the attention he has already been given, I would like to see him find a home where he is able to be the centre of attention. I am therefore going to be looking for a new home for him and will be giving priority to someone who can offer him a similar home to the one he ha come from (and someone prepared to continue his raw meat diet would be the icing on the cake). He i already changing colour and I think he will be a stunning steel blue when he matures. He is going to be a small boy, like his dad, but also like his dad, he has a great cobby shape and I really think that he would hold his own in the showring. These pictures were taken within two hours of him being dropped back, showing just how confident he is.