Tuesday, November 30, 2010

More about the Guinea Pigs

So here is some more info about the guinea pigs at the shelter. The three possibly pregnant guinea pigs are definitely pregnant. They did some tests or something yesterday. They can have anywhere from 1 to 8 babies. 1 to 4 is more common though. So we are expecting a lot of guinea pigs at the shelter! All small critters are free at the shelter starting Wednesday and going through the weekend since we have so many right now. I think that the shelter is only adopting out the male guinea pigs right now, because they want to be sure that our non-pregnant female guinea pigs really are not pregnant too. I think there are five girls and seven boys. Two of the boys are babies. They are so cute! The two girl guinea pigs who aren't having babies are my favorites. I gave them the names Piper and Lily. They are both long haired guinea pigs. I gave them baths today and now Lily loves me. She was very dirty before. Piper likes to talk to me. I immitate the guinea pigs "wheeking" sounds because it makes them more comfortable and less nervous around me. Whenever I do Piper always "wheeks" back. They are also the least messy. The boys tend to be messier.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Guinea Pigs, Guinea Pigs, and MORE Guinea Pigs

I had just been thinking the other day that there haven't been any guinea pigs at the shelter in a little while. Then I walked in to the shelter today and saw GUINEA PIGS EVERYWHERE! The shelter just got TWELVE guinea pigs at once. Typically we only have one or two or not any at all. But right now the shelter has twelve and three of them are going to have babies soon. They all came from one person. I don't know how one person could even think that they could properly take care of twelve guinea pigs! They are all very nervous. Two of them are babies so they are very cute. I hope they start getting adopted soon.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tip of the week.

Here is my tip of the week:

If you are ever adopting a rabbit think about this:

Do I want a big one or a little one?

Many people think little ones are easier to handle and can be kept in a smaller cage because of their size. Well the opposite is most often true. Very small rabbits tend to be extremely active so they need about as much space as a large rabbit would if not more. Since they are so active they tend to be more territorial, dominant, and much more difficult to handle.

Large rabbits tend to be easygoing laid back and enjoy being handled more than smaller rabbits.

Remember there are exceptions to everything. I also find that if you handle a rabbit a lot as a baby they grow up to be much more friendly and even enjoy being held.

Things to consider when getting a pet rabbit

If you are ever thinking of getting a pet rabbit here are some things you should consider first:

Can I afford one? Rabbits are actually pretty expensive. You need to buy a cage and the rabbit and supplies. Hay, pellets, vegetables, and bedding get used up pretty quick.

Do I have the space? Believe it or not, rabbits do take up a lot of space. They need a large cage and they need to be able to get some time out of the cage each day.

Do I have the time? Rabbits take up a LOT of time. You need to spot clean the cage, feed them, give them fresh water, give the out of cage time and attention each day. Their cage needs to be completely cleaned out at least weekly, and they need lots of grooming.

Is the personality of this rabbit right for me? Rabbits each have a different personality so don't buy a rabbit based on looks. Some rabbits can be quite aggressive and territorial. Some are like the energizer bunny and require tons of room to run and lots of out of cage time. Some rabbits are down right lazy. Some like to play a little and love being handled and cuddled. A lot do not like being handled at all.

Questions and Answers

I have some questions that I was asked that I would like to answer.

"I've heard of people who let their litter box-trained rabbits roam the house like a cat or dog. Is this possible, considering the amount of damage a rabbit can do in a short time? Sounds like the house couldn't have carpets, cords or wood. That definitely would limit the home furnishings!"


Yes some people do let their rabbits roam freely around the house. It is possible. It depends on the rabbit. Some rabbits are not at all destructive, but some like Munchkin like to destroy things. Some rabbits don't pay any attention to carpets, but cords definitely should still be out of their reach. Some people just leave a few rooms or a hallway for their rabbit to roam in. 


"Your critters sure must keep you busy! Do you have a written schedule like a calendar to keep it all straight?"


I did for a while, but I tend to change or alter how I do things, so I kinda stopped using it. I mostly just keep track of everything in my head. I basically make sure that each animal gets its cage cleaned out a bit, gets fed, and gets fresh water and attention daily. Then weekly they get groomed and the cages get totally cleaned out. The dogs schedule is a bit different with grooming, since the lab doesn't need much grooming, but I typically brush my springer spaniel every couple of days. 



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Munchkin video

Here is a video of how Munchkin likes to sit with his head on my lap. If you listen carefully you can hear a sort of grinding clicking noise a few times. That is Munchkin clicking his teeth. Rabbits do that when they are happy.

video

Critter Pictures!

Here are some pictures I have been taking of some of my pets:

                                                                      Pipsqueak having a snack.


                                            A very cute moment with the dogs and the cat at the top of the stairs.


                                                             Awww...


                                          
                                                       Just a cute picture of Pipsqueak.

BIG NEWS!

Okay so I have some big news. I just discovered that my hamster Pipsqueak is a BOY! Not a girl. I hadn't really gotten a good look since I had never actually been able to flip him over easily, so from what I could see I thought that the poor little guy was a girl. Oops. At least I didn't by him anything pink. : )

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Munchkin Laughs

Munchkin has been enjoying living on the wild side and getting into a lot of mischief the past couple of days. He attempts to jump on the couch and chew up the carpet very frequently the past few days. And he thinks it is funny. Rabbits do crazy jumps and shake all over when they are very, very happy. This is what Munchkin does when I tell him no. If I shoo him away from his favorite corner of the carpet that he was furiously trying to dig up, he leaps and jumps and shakes all over in happy little circles. I think of it as him laughing at me. Apparently he likes to be a bad bunny sometimes. It makes me laugh. His other new habit is licking me when he has done something wrong. If I see him looking at the couch in that funny way with his head cocked to the side, I know that he is going to jump on the couch or is at least thinking about it. So I say "Munchkin, are you being a bad bunnny?" and he hops over and innocently licks my knee. Or hops into my lap. It is like he is saying "No, I am being a good bunny. See?" I love how much personality rabbits have. My other favorite habit of his is his obsession with his towels. If he doesn't want me to touch them he moves them into a pile and then sort of sits on them and holds onto them. I bet he is thinking, "If you want to wash these towels you will have to get through me first!"  I will have to get a picture of it sometime.

Rabbit Care: Out of Cage Time

Here are some things you need to do when you let a rabbit out of its cage. Make sure you let them out to play for a couple of hours or more each day.

You need to rabbit proof (rabbits LOVE to destroy things!)
Cover or remove any electrical cords
Keep anything breakable out of your rabbit's reach
Block off any small spaces where they can get stuck
Block off or remove any wooden furniture, books, etc, that you would not want chewed
If you have carpet, always supervise your rabbit. Rabbits LOVE to eat carpet.

Be prepared to have to keep an eye on your rabbit. Rabbits will chew anything: doors, baseboards, walls, furniture, tv remotes, and anything else they can get their teeth on. So prepare yourself for a chewed-up room. I know from experience. Munchkin has already taken a few chomps our of a new tv stand, eaten two buttons off a remote, and tried to chew up some baseboards and some carpet. Fortunately, he usually doesn't ingest any of these things. Rabbits are fast. It only took Munchkin about two seconds while my back was turned to take the buttons off of the remote. And he had to jump up on the couch to get the remote. He loves the couch because he knows he isn't supposed to go up there.

Hamster Care: Cleaning the Hamster Cage

Okay, so now here is how to clean a hamster cage:

1. Take your hamster out of the cage and put them somewhere safe and escape-proof.
2. Take all accessories out of the cage.
3. Take the cage apart (take the wire top off the plastic bottom, etc.)
4. Dump out any uneaten food and all bedding, and soiled chew toys.
5. Fill a bucket or sink with hot water and one or two small drops of very mild dish soap.
6. Wash the bottom of the cage, the wire parts, and any plastic or metal accessories such as the wheel, plastic hideaway, tubes, food dish, water bottle.
7. Now rinse all of it thoroughly.
8. Dry all of it off completely.
9. Put in a thick layer of clean bedding, put the cage back together, and put all of your hamster's accessories back in. Put fresh food in the bowl, and fresh water in the bottle.
10. Now you can get your hamster and let it explore its cleaned cage!


Cleaning out a cage like I just explained above should be done at least once a week. Each day you still need to: remove any soiled bedding and replace with fresh bedding, remove uneaten food from their food dish and refill it, and refill their water bottle.

Hamster Care: Setting Up a Hamster Cage

Since I did a post about hamster cages I decided I should do one on how you should set up your hamster's home.

Once you have your hamster's cage and put it together you need to put in all its accessories. First, put a thick layer of bedding in the bottom so you hamster can burrow in it if it wants to. In one corner place its food dish and in the corner next to it put the water bottle. In the third corner, put a little hut or something for the hamster to sleep in. Make sure you leave one corner free of anything because hamsters like to have a corner to use as a little hamster bathroom. The wheel can go anywhere in the cage as long as the hamster can reach it. Then you can put in chew toys and tubes to give your hamster something to do. Once you have your hamster in its cage, you should watch how it uses this arrangement for a few days. If the hamster is sleeping, eating, or going to the bathroom in a corner that you hadn't set up for that use, you may need to arrange it so that it works better for you critter. Also, if your bedding is not very soft, provide your hamster with a few tissues or some softer bedding for it to sleep in.

Pipsqueak videos!

Here are a few new videos of Pipsqueak:

Pipsqueak running around on my desk:
video

Pipsqueak running a marathon in her wheel:
video

Friday, November 12, 2010

Questions and Answers

So I was asked if hamsters could be trained.

Yes hamsters can be trained to do tricks. It obviously depends on the hamster, some respond very well others don't really pick up on training. They are actually pretty smart little critters. There are even hamster training books that you could find.

New blog gadgets

So since my recent ferret post has been getting so many page views and comments, I have a poll on whether or not you like ferrets this week. It is over on the right. I also have a gadget on the lower right that shows the posts that are the most popular right now.

A special note:
I would LOVE to have a ferret, but I know that I don't have the time for another pet right now. And my mother would NEVER let me. But I still think they are very awesome pets.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hamster Care: The Wheel

A wheel is very important for your hamster. They LOVE them.

Here is what to look for in a wheel:
A solid plastic wheel. Wire mesh is hard on their feet. If you do get a plastic one make sure that your hamster doesn't chew it.
The right size. Make sure it is big enough that your hamster doesn't have to arch its back to use the wheel.
Easy to clean. Hamster wheels get dirty, so make sure you can clean it well.
A quiet wheel. This is more for you than the hamster. You can buy special silent wheels, but for the most part plastic wheels are pretty quiet. Metal wheels tend to be very squeaky.

If your metal wheel squeaks:
You can try putting a bit of vegetable oil where the wheel attaches to its base or to the cage bars. This will help. Only use pet-safe vegetable oil.

Hamster Care: The Cage

So here is what you need to know about getting a home for your hamster.

There are many different kinds of cages you can keep your hamster in:

a wire cage with a plastic or metal bottom
an all-plastic modular cage with tubes
a plastic and wire cage with tubes
a tank meant for reptiles

Here are the pros and cons of each one:

A wire cage:

Wire cages are very good for hamsters. They provide good ventilation and hamsters love to climb the bars. They are also easy to clean. If you get a wire cage you need to make sure the bar space is the right size for your hamster. Typically a bar space of a half inch for large hamsters is fine. For dwarf hamsters however, the bar space should be around a quarter of an inch. Some wire cages come with a plastic or metal base. Metal is great because it can't be chewed, but if your hamster doesn't chew much a plastic one is fine.

An all-plastic cage:

I don't like these very much. They tend to be easy to escape from, they provide poor ventilation, and are very easily broken and chewed apart. They also tend to be very small. As I see it the only plus is the tubes. Hamsters enjoy crawling through them.

A plastic and wire cage:

These combine a wire cage with connectable tubes and expansion kits. This is the kind of cage that Pipsqueak has. It can connect with plastic tubes to other cages and can be expanded by adding other floors to it. If you have a hamster that chews a lot then you either won't want one of these or will have to check the tubes and plastic bottom for damage. Pipsqueak's cage doesn't have tubes yet, but I plan on expanding her cage soon.

A tank:

These make good hamster homes, too. They don't provide as much ventilation as a wire cage, but it still gives enough. They are escape proof. However, hooking in water bottles and wheels is not as easy as in a wire cage. They can also be tricky to clean because they are heavy.


So here is a checklist for getting a hamster a suitable home:

Is the cage chew-proof? If not, you will need to make sure your hamster doesn't chew it.
Does it provide enough ventilation?
Is it big enough? (large syrian hamsters need a lot of room, dwarf hamsters can be kept in smaller cages.)
Is it escape proof? Do the doors lock? (hamster are very good at opening cage doors)
Is the bar spacing the right size?
If it is a tank does it have a mesh top with locks? If not, you will need to get one.

Hamster Care

The hamster necessities.

Here is a list of the things you need for a hamster:

a cage or tank(tanks should have a wire mesh top)
a wheel (wheels are a MUST!)
a food bowl
a water bottle
bedding
a place to hide in
a chew toy
food
a run about ball
some tunnels and toys to occupy them

Ferrets

I think ferrets are awesome little creatures. Right now the shelter has two of them. I clean out their cages three times a week when I go to the shelter. Their names are Snoopy and Sheldon. Snoopy is funny-looking because on one side of his face he has black whiskers, and the other side has white. Snoopy is a kind of quiet laid-back kind of guy, while Sheldon loves to play and is very friendly. He follows me around on his ferret leash while I clean some of the other animals' cages. I also take a few minutes to let Sheldon and Snoopy out of their cages to play together. Watching ferrets play is very fun. They roll all around, bounce and jump all over the place, and run around very fast. And when they are done Sheldon likes to come climb in  my lap. Sheldon is also trained to use a litter box which is awesome for cleaning his cage. So if anyone out there is looking for an awesome ferret got to the Kennebec Valley Humane Society.

Ohio dogs update!

The shelter's rescued Ohio dogs recently went up for adoption, and good news! Bob was adopted! He went to a good home with someone who loved him very much. Fred and Millie are still waiting for new homes, so I am crossing my fingers that they will find a really awesome one!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hamster Care

Hi everyone!

I am doing posts about Hamster Care now, too. To start off, here is a little bit about hamsters:

Why hamsters make good pets:
They are easy to care for. They are not expensive. They can be very friendly. And of course, the are really, really CUTE! They also do not take up a huge amount of space.

Reasons why a hamster might not be the best pet for you:
They are  nocturnal. This means they sleep during the day, and they possibly can be pretty noisy at night. It also means that if they are woken up during the day, they may be grumpy and nippy.

Hamsters are small, ranging from two to seven inches. The most common breeds are syrian (or teddy bear) hamsters. These are the largest hamsters measuring from six to seven inches typically. Dwarf hamsters have become popular recently. There are many breeds of dwarf hamsters: Winter White, Roborovski, Campbells, Russians, and Chinese Dwarfs. Dwarf hamsters are usually between two to four inches long and only weigh a couple of ounces. Hamsters come in lots of pattern and color varieties. They each have their own personality.

A day in the life of Munchkin

Here is an example of a day in Munchkin's life:

He chews some of his special log and relaxes till I come down to clean his cage in the morning.
Before I clean his cage, he digs around in his towels, then he hops into his playpen to wait while I clean his cage.
He waits very impatiently for his morning snack and gobbles it down when he gets it.
After I finish with his cage, he eats some of his food, checks everything out, and goes back into his playpen for another nap.
He eats and snoozes with some playing and cage accessory rearranging mixed in for most of the day until about three or four o'clock.
Then he gets an hour or so of time upstairs in the tv room. He runs around, gets some papaya, and sits in my lap for a while before stretching out on the floor.
Then he is put back to his cage and waits for his veggies.
When he sees me coming with his veggies, he frantically hops around.
Then he spends a very long time munching on his lettuce, celery, and carrots.
After this he plays for a while then naps some more till he gets to go upstairs again in the evening.
He might be very well-rested by now so he shows off with a few spectacular bunny binkies (big funny looking bunny acrobatics) then he gets his second papaya snack and sits in my lap before hopping off to play with all his favorite toys. Then he lets me chase him around for a bit because he doesn't feel like going back downstairs.
Once I finally catch him he sits with his head on my shoulder and rubs his head into my shoulder a few times (I don't know why but he always does).
Then he goes to bed in his cage and eats all of his hay during the night while he waits for the next morning.
And that is a typical day for Munchkin.

How all my pets are doing

Just thought I would tell everyone how all my pets are doing. They are all enjoying the good life. Sheba, my older dog, is enjoying her naps in the sun and licking the carpet. Lacey, my younger dog, is enjoying life on her recliner (yes, she really does have a recliner all to herself) and chasing leaves in the yard. The cat is helping me read as usual by trying to lay on my books, and snoozing in my chair. Munchkin is enjoying some extra-special broccoli that he is getting this week as a special treat. He has also been enjoying trying to nibble some furniture and sleeping on his favorite towel. And Pipsqueak is in her cage right now taking a nap after running around in her ball, climbing all over me, and eating a snack.

Ohio dogs update

I am so excited. All three of the shelter's Ohio dogs are up for adoption. I have been walking them every chance I get, particularly Bob. I am working on giving them all baths. Millie got her bath, and it is Bob's turn next. Then it will be little Fred's turn.

Animals at the Shelter update

I was reading my comments and one of them asked if the shelter ever got ferrets and birds. I cannot believe that I didn't think of ferrets when I made my list of animals that the shelter gets. We don't get them all the time, I would say we have probably had about six ferrets over a year or so. We get birds sometimes but not very often. There is a bird rescue that most of the birds go too. The shelter also has two rats, which I might have mentioned in the last post.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tip of the Week

I realized I have fallen behind on my tip of the week. So heres the one for this week:

Got a rodent, rabbit, or guinea pig? Then this one is for you.

Is your small pet always making a mess with their food or water? Use a ceramic non tip bowl. They are heavy and can't be tipped over or dumped and they can't get chewed up.

Or...

Use a special bowl that locks to the cage. They can be found at pretty much any pet store.

Got a messy dog or cat?

You can get ceramic bowls, special stands  that hold bowls, place mats, and bowls that lock into a crate for dogs and cats.

More info on litter boxes

I was asked a few questions about taking care of a rabbit's litter box such as how often do you clean it out, do you dump the whole thing each time?

It depends on the litter. If you are using something like wood shavings, shredded paper, or hay in your rabbit's litter box, it should probably be dumped every one or two days since these beddings aren't very absorbant. Hay should definitely be dumped every day.

I use recycled paper pulp bedding which is very absorbent. Every day I spot clean the litter box by cleaning out all droppings and wet or soiled parts, and then adding some fresh bedding. Once a week I completely dump out all the contents of the litter box and rinse the litter box out with hot water and sometimes a very small amount of vinegar to remove the mineral deposits from the rabbit's urine.

Animals at the Shelter

I was asked what kinds of animals the shelter gets. Right now at the shelter we have the obvious dogs and cats, but we also have a rabbit, four degus, eight gerbils, a mouse, two rats, and two guinea pigs. There have also been chinchillas, reptiles, and a tortoise at the shelter before.

Pipsqueak video!

Here is another video of Pipsqueak. She is running in her run about ball. She seems to like running into things.
video

Pipsqueak's Cage

Here is a picture of Pipsqueak's cage. It is a critter universe hamster cage.

Pipsqueak videos!

Here is the first video of Pipsqueak the hamster!

video

Munchkin's Favorite Toy!

Here is a video of Munchkin playing with his new favorite toy! Enjoy!
video