Owning a home means I can have pet ducks. Any neighborhood that doesn’t allow chickens isn’t going to want me, either. I bought a couple used ducks right after I moved into my first little house in Seattle. Hens came soon after. Thirty-five years later I still have a yard full of poultry, but they’re rescues, now. Read the rest of this entry
Tag Archives: Lula
Daily Drama 56
Since my last post, I have welcomed two incoming farm residents, heard of a surprising demise, racked up expenses for several veterinary visits, and I am considering renaming Carl Sagan the Guinea pig “Methuselah.” The new washer has astonishing capacity, making Dobby’s daily washing a breeze, and his gigantic blankets drop into it like the Enterprise entering a black hole.
Squirrel is my new Guinea pig, and working him into the Dude Ranch is exciting. He came from a nearby rescue and had not found a permanent home. Until his well-pet check, he lived quietly in his own cage. He’s a friendly boar, leaning out of the cage, interested in anything coming in through the door. Digging through his vegetable dish, he runs off with the carrots. Eventually he tastes everything and then the dish is empty and he’s back to begging.
The veterinarian agreed with my age estimate of 2-3 years, well under the 5 years I was quoted. This means he is still young enough to neuter, and that little surgery took place last week. He’s so over it, raring to go again. Because, you see, this one is a maniac. I don’t know where that quiet one went that I adopted, but I don’t think he’s coming back.
Once Squirrel was deemed healthy, I took the next step of partitioning the Dude Ranch in order to introduce him to the herd. Ancient Carl is too fragile to live with anyone new, but eventually, Stevie Ray will appreciate a companion. They can live side-by-side until I am certain they will get along. So I put little Squirrel into his side of the Ranch, and he went wild! He grabbed the partition with his teeth and shook it until all the water sloshed in the bottles and food started to fly from the food bins! Wow! Stevie Ray and Carl both came over to investigate, and I realized how close their tender little ears were to the toothy fury that was their new neighbor! Out Squirrel went, back to his old cage. It was quiet again.
I put a double divider in, a space between them, a demilitarized zone, so to speak. Squirrel went back in, the fury ensued, the cage shook, the boys came to investigate, and Squirrel was airlifted into his old cage. Wow! I continue to maintain that I am smarter than a Guinea pig, smarter than a capybara, even. Because if I’m not, I can’t do this. So I thought about it overnight and the next day I implemented my solution: I lifted the wire cage top off of Squirrel’s cage, plopped it into the dude ranch, thrust him in with his food dish and hay box, and stood back. He calmly walked around his familiar territory and started begging for vegetables.
The Bartender glanced in as he passed by.
“He’s in jail!”
Yes, I suppose so. A couple days later I lifted his wire cage jail out of the Ranch, and Squirrel barely noticed.
I left the demilitarized zone in place, though. Carl is now too fragile for even indirect contact, even though Squirrel has calmed down a bit.
Blur the banty hen came to me as the result of a failed backyard chicken experiment. Her buddy was taken by a raccoon and her owners threw in the towel. She was too noisy: lonely for chicken friends. She is absolutely minuscule, about the size of a pigeon, and I can hardly wait to see her eggs. To tell you the truth, when I saw her I was concerned that my bigger hens might not accept her, or that the cats might take an unhealthy interest in her. I put her in the infirmary with my handicapped hen, Lula, and they have bonded and are nearly inseparable. While Ping (the tiny new duck) was sequestered in the bully pen, they spent their days with her. They shared the safety of the apple tree pen during the afternoon garden parties. Now that Ping has been integrated with the other ducks, Blur and Lula continue their friendship wherever they are. Princess Blur seems to feel she is in charge, and knowing the routine runs over to be picked up when we are changing venues. She can walk, but Lula can’t, so they both have to be carried everywhere.
“Honestly, if ever I was tempted to bring a hen indoors, it would be little Blur.”
The Bartender looked a bit panicky when I said that out loud, so I won’t mention it again and we’ll see what happens.
Ping, the little white duck, has settled in with the flock and follows the drakes everywhere. I’m not sure why they haven’t noticed how cute she is. She and my goose, Cubicle, have long amicable conversations, and I think she is getting some good advice. Or maybe she’s hoping to interest Ping in Shamrock, the relentless drake who shamelessly follows Cubicle everywhere, to the annoyance of her mate, Norman.
Romeo, who went to the most fabulous pond imaginable, had a good month there and then suddenly wasted away before there was time to see the vet and he’s gone. Our ten cent diagnosis is hardware disease, a peril I have lost several Muscovies to. I feel badly that he probably ate some ugly junk here only to die of it at his new home. We will never know, but I guess it’s time to sweep the farm with my magnets again.
Carl Sagan (Methuselah) has again made it to his birthday month of October. Born in 2006, that makes him – YIKES! -ten years old! Sadly, he looks all of his ten years, and he is fading fast, but his appetite is youthful! He is my last goodnight, and the little pet I check on first thing every morning. In Guinea Pig years, he’s about 100. You are a champ, Carl!
In other news, Dobby’s presidential campaign has stalled somewhat. He is bitterly disappointed that he wasn’t invited to the first debate, but is now complaining that he was unable to prepare due to an unexpected
nap computer glitch. Maybe he’ll get off his throne and do some campaigning, maybe not. We’ll see.
Daily Drama 52
There will be more than one blog topic generated this week, but I will be lucky if I manage to write up even one. First, this is the worst trip to Florida I’ve ever taken, but the Seattle weather here at home is cooperating and we’re going to try a couple local Cuban restaurants this week and pretend we are in Hollywood Beach. My mint has enough tender new foliage for mojitos, we have stocked up on rum, and The Bartender is doing his best to take our minds off the unexpectedly aborted vacation. This is the stay-cation, classic version, and it is nice to have a week off my grueling 8.75 hour a week work schedule.
My little turtle, Quasimodo, emerged early in spring to say goodbye, I guess. He was never quite right, as you can tell from his name, but we had six nice years together. Doctor Pepper inherits his portion of the tank, and I hope he overcomes his extreme shyness the way Quasi eventually did. They rarely played “Turtle Pile” so I don’t think Doc had enough emotional attachment to feel grief, but animals are unpredictable that way.
Lula the hen still receives her daily pain meds, but has had a couple setbacks in spite of it. She has walked stiff-legged for about a year, but recently added a stanky leg flourish to her amble. On sunny days, I bring her out to the yard to keep Dobby company. It also prevents my crazier hens from pecking at her.
The bully pen has only three drakes this year, but one more has been “asking for it.” Romeo, Shamrock, and Emilio beg to attend the Garden Party every afternoon, but they are tricksters and I refuse to fall for their “Poor Me!” act. Tony, Vinny, and Sal have managed to retain their territory and it is refreshing to see them work together as a team. The twins Boondock and Boxcar are an even match to the trio, but one of them is a meany. Or maybe they both are, taking turns with sneak attacks. Because they work independently, Norman the Flock Manager is usually able to settle the disputes.
The big news is very rabbity. Honey Bunny, my foster, has been surrendered to me. I just scheduled her to be spayed next week and then she will be available for adoption. It’s breaking my heart because she has been here since December and she is the best pet rabbit I have ever had, except maybe for Wiley. But he was a garden rabbit. Honey has taken over the
house guinea pig room. Sadly, she is much more fun than my own rabbit, Fat Bonnie.
Fat Bonnie doesn’t move. She sits, hunkered down in unjustified fear. A gorgeous mini-rex, “black otter” in color, she is the softest rabbit I have ever had. Too bad she hates to be touched. She doesn’t tolerate much attention of any kind, come to think of it. She loved Wiley Wabbit so much that in a jealous rage she tried to kill her sister, Helen. Fat Bonnie bit her and drove her far under the deck where I found her two days later, scared, hungry, and dehydrated. So I don’t trust Fat Bonnie with other female rabbits and she has never met Honey. They are aware of each other, but live in different areas of the house.
Every night, The Bartender cleans and sets up Dobby’s kitchen area for her, and Fat Bonnie’s door is opened so she can scamper and run and explore and browse and interact with us. And every night we encourage and beckon and cajole and beg her to leave her pen and find the salad waiting for her around the corner. And every night (for eight months now) we end up pushing and nudging and shooing and sometimes I even just carry her around that corner to her evening play area. And there she sits all night until it is time to go back to her pen. She’ll emerge for a treat tossed her way, but mostly she’ll retreat behind the door at a sudden noise or activity in the kitchen. Like someone opening the refrigerator door. Is she the only pet on earth who is scared of that sound? The guinea pigs are down the hall wheeking, and Fat Bonnie is quivering under the shelves.
I can’t really keep both rabbits. If they could live together or even if they would play together nicely, I would keep them both. I would prefer to find a new home for finicky Fat Bonnie, but it would be a hard sell. So I will be re-homing Honey Bunny, the better bunny.
Friendly Honey Bunny runs to EVERYONE for petting and attention. When I step into her area, she gets the zoomies and rips around the room in big circles, next around my legs a couple times, then the room for a few more circuits before she settles down for some attention. Toss her some lettuce and she’ll ignore it, preferring to come over for a pet. I had never seen a bunny who flopped her ears so much, and thought she had mites. Turns out it is a Happy Thing. (Fat Bonnie doesn’t do it.)
She hops readily into her cage at bedtime, but is perfectly well behaved out of it during the day. Well, except for the time she hopped up to the bookcase and broke a lamp. Or maybe that time she got behind the bunny barrier and ate her way through the guinea pig hay bags. Or when she opened the bag of shavings and decorated the room, or chewed a wire, or pulled a stack of towels through the bunny barrier. Or when she sticks her head through the gate to the hall and chews the edge of the hall runner.
She has made a couple nests. She has an active litter box in her cage, and another in the corner of her room that she doesn’t use. Twice she has pulled fur and made a nest in the clean corner box. A few days ago, I saw her pulling fur again and looked in the box. She had dragged a blanket in there and two little stuffed animals- the monkey and the hamster! Her babies. She knew that it would be wrong to include the stuffed banana toy.
So, little Honey is available. Let me know if you are interested!
Daily Drama 47
Oy vey, December was full of glitches. The month is nearly gone and and in spite of all the schmoozing, or maybe because of it, the blog posts are just not happening.
The Funny Farm has its ups and downs but still provides sanctuary for about 50 animals. A couple are pets, like Dobby, but most are rescues. I don’t think I need any more actual “pets” with so many second-hand pets in need of homes.
The story of Leonard the Koi is still unresolved, and I don’t know whether he will ever come here or not. Or when. Once he is settled, the goldfish will come here. I’m not holding my breath, but nothing surprises me any more.
Winter can be rough but at least Romeo, the putz, behaves himself. Lula hen has been on Metacam for almost a year now, and is much improved since last winter. The vet isn’t certain what ails her, but the meds are effective for all of the possible diagnoses, and she doesn’t kvetch about it. When I call her, she comes over to get her medicine. We can’t eat her eggs, but she doesn’t lay many any more.
The tomcats, Kitty Hawk and Grover, are busy and happy. Unfortunately, the vermin they chased from my aviary had the chutzpah to take up residence in the crawl space of my house, and were checking out the basement and attic, too. That is a fun holiday project I would rather not have to deal with.
On the bright side, Dobby has new hens! They arrived at dusk so they went straight into my infirmary. He got pouffy every time he saw them for the first few days.
The bully pen is available this time of year, so the hens spent their first few days in there. Jello the hen was not nearly as impressed as Dobby.
Seriously, The Prince was very excited about his new hens. They haven’t really noticed him yet, though he’s hard to miss. They will soon discover that he is a klutz and will become more wary.
One evening I discovered they had decided to perch on the fence, in the rain, within stranglehold distance of the overhead screening. Raccoon bait.
Back to the infirmary for the night. I didn’t get the door quite shut and found them wandering around the barn in the morning, sticking their schnozzes into everything.
Nobody was paying any attention to them so I decided to leave them out with the general population.
Bianca is a banty Americauna and lays these crazy blue eggs. She was very quick to discover the laying boxes and kick-cleaned them out for future use.
The next night I shlepped the hens into the infirmary to roost before they could do anything foolish. Dobby was fascinated by the roundup and helped me out by laying right smack dab in the most inconvenient location possible.
The following day, Bianca cleaned the shmutz out of a box for Conchita. Cleaning up is her shtick.
Conchita and Adelita are Welsummers and lay chocolate-brown eggs.
I finally figured out that Adelita has been laying her eggs way over there → away from the boxes in a hard-to-reach spot but I’m onto her now.
Suddenly the next night, the three new hens decide to roost up with Jello the hen. There are several configurations possible, though Jello (aka J.Lo) prefers that they roost way over there ←. It seems to change every night but they aren’t out on the fence in the rain any more.
When I took my volunteer out to show her the new hens, we discovered one of the doves at the bottom of the cage. She is a weak bird, Pirate’s mother in fact, and spends a lot of time on the ground, but seeing her there, I realized I had not seen her up on a branch for a couple days. I tucked her into my jacket, and as we finished up outdoors, I went through my spiel on why new birds are put into quarantine.
Sure enough, once I brought her in and looked at her with my glasses on, she went straight to the dusting bin. One week later, she is looking pretty clean. She is still not recovered enough to kibbitz with her daughter, though.
Snowy dove shares upper space in the guinea pig room, while another transient shares floor space.
Honey the bunny is staying with us while her owner is in transition.
Unlike my own Bonnie bunny who is afraid of her own shadow, Honey excitedly examined every inch of her space, tasting, digging, and testing the traction of the carpet. I followed her around, securing barricades, tucking away wires, and strategically locating new toys.
Honey is friendly and trusting. She has very tidy habits, and quite a healthy appetite! Maybe that’s because she was once a feral stray.
From the first day she would run straight up to me, begging for treats, and she still runs around my feet when I am in her space. Now that the novelty of her situation has passed, she is just as likely to flop over and stare away from me in the standard rabbit mode of disapproval.
Will Honey bunny ever meet Bonnie bunny? Bonnie has a history of aggression toward other female rabbits, so I just don’t know yet. Honey is only here for a short while, but you never know, do you?
Daily Drama 46
More dramas actually mean fewer blogs. My dance card is full, but thankfully, my mother was right. She said “You always worry about the wrong thing.” The Koi/Goldfish Rodeo hasn’t occurred yet, for various reasons. Leonard the koi is still in his home pond. It is a bit like waiting for the other shoe to drop. The Three French Hens had a Happy Story at last notice. Their owner has sold her condo and bought a house where she can keep her hens! That is the best kind of story, isn’t it?
I am currently helping to rehome a sweet bunny whose foster mother is moving this month. Honey is a young male with meticulous litter box habits and he is available now, so if you are interested, please contact me! (Seattle)
No blog is complete without Prince Dobalob. (We’ll skip the guinea pigs, too. They have had their 15 minutes of fame.) Here is the Dobster, so we can get that over with, and we can move on to more obscure residents.
Like this dwarf African frog. There are two in a tank in Dobby’s Kitchen. The outdoor turtles are hibernating, by the way. We can no longer hope for any pleasant weather before spring.
Bonnie Bunny is adjusting to indoor life. She isn’t one of those cuddly types, and she isn’t very adventurous, but it sure is fun to see her skid around on the slippery wood floors.
Bonnie enjoys a romp in Dobby’s territory once he has gone out for the evening.
She is getting very relaxed indoors.
The Pirate gets out in the evening, too. She has a special kitchen “nest” and a landing strip of her own but prefers to buzz my head to get attention.
My elderly cockatiels seem to like having a rabbit in the house again. They have been wandering around more since she came inside. Spike, the Puny Green Thing, invades their cage as soon as they fly down to the floor.
Wild mallards have invaded, as if to make up for the sleeping turtles. Feederwatch observations started up last weekend, but only 7 of these 24 ducks showed up on my count. I had a Kingfisher late last summer, and I’m hoping he’ll swing through on one of my count days.
My little flock is adjusting to the recent loss of an elder gentleman duck, Fabio. He is center back in the photo below.
He had a nice summer, but he was walking like a stiff old man and the other ducks were very deferential to him. Even Dobby seemed to acknowledge his frailty, though I doubt Fabio appreciated his nudges of encouragement.
Lula has been on Metacam forever and settles on a lower roost these nights, but she is much improved from a year ago. The cats like to walk past and swat at her tail.
Here is Jorge again, just because. I am his third owner, at least, but I think he is older than I originally guessed. He’s pretty frail, too, and his cage is lined with soft blankets because he falls off his perch. The Funny Farm is becoming an assisted living facility for elderly pets.
How about me? I failed at retirement and started a new career as a paraeducator at the elementary school where I have been volunteering for the past four years. I’m also designing new jewelry for Georgia Dee’s Gift Shop, in my spare time, of course. You’ll be seeing that here in about a week. I have plenty more to write about my trip to Paris, too, but this is not the time. It seems to me I was writing a book, too, or three . . .