Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Neigh and a new quack!

Our pony Finney is young and full of energy! My friend Debbie came over the other day to show me how to lunge him...

He really seems to love it, and is very good with "whoa"! :)

Meanwhile, we have yet another new feathered family member...

This is Lenny! He's a, wait for it, 27-year-old blind farm mallard who was surrendered to the OSPCA by his elderly owners because of illness in the family.

We picked him up on Sunday! He was quite a hit with the lovely ladies who work at the shelter.

Right now Lenny is in a cage within the duck coop, but I'd like to try to integrate him, at least for part of the day. I want to make sure the others don't pick on him and that he can get around a bit. He does amazingly well for a blind duck! His owner said he that every day, Lenny got a banana in the morning, layer mash in the day, and some lettuce at night. So I'm obliging the old duck... you can see his banana offering at the bottom of this photo!

I initially found it hard to believe he's 27, but apparently his former owner swore that he was, and I've read that mallards can live 20 years in the wild, so who knows? I would guess that his blindness is caused by cataracts, but it doesn't seem to bother him one bit.

He likes to swim in his water bowl so I suspect outings to our bathtub (which I will video!) are in his immediate future. He's a special duck.

And that makes living being #83 that we're caring for!

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Greek girls!

My three little Greek transplants are adjusting to winter remarkably well!

Not that it's technically winter yet.

Honey boldly ventured out (cat door is held open with clothespins because not everybody gets the concept of pushing the door open yet!)

No fear! But Buttercup needed to think about it a little longer.

Hello, beautiful!

Wait, you can't go back in! You just came out!

Daisy was saying something to me.

Aren't these three gorgeous? And they have personalities to match!

Buttercup was channelling her inner meerkay.

And I think she smelled something interesting!

Yes, these Greek girls are fitting in VERY nicely!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What's that white stuff?

We are in the midst of our first real snowstorm of the winter. It started in the wee hours of this morning and should be over by tomorrow morning. This area may get up to a foot of snow when it's done.

It does look very pretty.

It is also the first real snowfall for our Greek kitties!

Daisy is asking Honey if they dare go out there!

Honey is thinking about it.

They decided to give it a try!

The cat door is pegged open because Gordon just installed five cats doors and the only ones who have figured out how to open them so far are the brain trust of Buttercup and Redford!

Missy joined Honey and Daisy to scope out the situation.


Daisy seemed a little confused but...

...she managed to explore anyway!

Redford was unfazed.

They didn't stay out for long!

And Daisy is earning her keep. She caught a vole in the barn today...

Redford came to check it out.

But Daisy said, "It's mine, mine, mine!"

The ponies were coping with the snow. But what was Finney staring at?

Deer in our fields! There were ten of them back there. When Gordon let the ponies out the other morning, there was a doe right in this paddock. Finney ran straight back in the barn and the doe jumped back over the fence.

And here are more Greek kitty antics! First time in the snow, and hey, Daisy caught a vole today!

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Soooo many mouths to feed...

So I tallied up the number of animals we have now. 

It's ridiculous.

It came to EIGHTY-TWO!!!! That includes ducks, chickens, quail, guinea fowl, turkeys, pot-bellied pigs, cats, ponies and a geriatric dog. 33 of those animals were rescues. The rest are ducks, chickens and guinea fowl. Five chickens, two quail, and two turkeys were adopted through the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry OSPCA.

Let's just say that Homestead Organics loves us and it's a good thing Gordon's law practice is doing well.

The pig pen is now fully insulated and the electrician installed a nice little heater. We won't be cranking it up to Miami Beach temperatures, but we can now keep the air temp above freezing, which will be better for the pot-bellies, who can't take as much cold as a regular farm pig. Well, they can survive it but they won't be happy. 

It was suppertime!

Meanwhile, Esme and Finney are doing very well.

The farrier came to trim their hooves last week. Esme was great, Finney was an ass, but we got the job done. We are working on teaching Finney manners. He's sweet-natured but young and naughty. He was gelded at the end of September. He's a bit nippy and mouthy so I'm working with him on that, and also leading him (and Esme) around and teaching "walk" and "whoa", as we would love to have them as a driving team some day!

Fortunately I have quite a few friends around here who are experienced with horses and giving me lots of help and advice.

Esme is absolutely the sweetest. She is blind in one eye, probably due to uveitis (moon blindness.) Unfortunately this can recur and apparently has. I had the vet in last Friday to check her over and he gave me some ointment for her eye, which does seem to be helping.

Esme probably had laminitis at some point, too. We are going to make sure their hooves are well looked-after!

Speaking of eyes, I am sad to report that our 15-year-old kitty Julius has apparently gone mostly blind...

We noticed his pupils were suddenly dilated all the time, so I took him to the vet the week before last. We're still not entirely sure what's going on. His blood pressure is a little elevated, which could be the cause. He has been on meds for diminished kidney function for a year or so. His function has worsened a tiny bit in that year. The high BP could be causing the blindness, but the vet doesn't want to lower it and thus lower blood flow to the kidneys. Better a blind cat than a cat in end-stage renal failure.

And because this sort of blindness can be a symptom of toxoplasmosis, he tested Julius for that. His levels were very high, so he's now getting antibiotics for a month like Missy did. (We lost our barn cat Lionel to toxo about ten days after adopting him this fall.)  Apparently we're toxoplasmosis central around here! Many cats carry it and have no symptoms or problems, and a high reading is, as my vet said, "suggestive of an issue but not diagnostic of such." Julius is an indoor cat who's never had contact with Missy or Lionel. Regardless, he's on antibiotics and will have another blood test when they're done.

I also have steroidal eye drops for him that I'm putting in twice a day, but it looks like this condition is not going to reverse itself. We're sad for Julius but he's already adapting really well. Incredible, really! He's handling it much better than we are.

Speaking of dilated pupils, my friend Inari pointed out the similarities between Puss in Boots...

...and Redford.

Absolutely amazing! Redford's pupils are dilated because it's dimly lit in the barn at night.

Oh, and for people who think I spent 16 hours a day caring for animals, it's actually not so bad. I probably spend an hour  to 90 minutes a day feeding the barn crew, mucking out the pony stalls, and scrubbing buckets for the ducks, chickens and pigs's water. Any other time I spend with the animals is just fun. :) Because I work at home and for myself, I can structure my time the way I want, so it works great for me. I would like some barn help at some point, though. Dang, I knew I should have had kids... ;)

Hope you are all having a great evening. Thank you for all the lovely comments you leave me! They make me smile whenever I read them.

Snowstorm on the way. We may get up to a foot. We'll see if it fizzles out or if Environment Canada is right for a change!

PS Okay, I will 'fess up. I like cleaning manure out of pony stalls. It is immensely satisfying!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Infested with felines!

Aaaand still more barn cat photos!

A basket of Daisy! The cats aren't pissed off in these photos, by the way. The barn lighting can be a bit dim, which is why their pupils are dilated!

Half in, half out!

Daisy, on top of the world!

Unimpressed when Honey joins her and Redford saunters in.

They like checking out the feral cat shelter we made last year.

Pip snuggled up under the heater.

Redford has discovered the pleasures of the heated mat!

"Do you mind? I'm trying to take a bath here."

Speaking of baths, Redford is more than happy to give Pip a hand. Or a lick.

"Is there somebody behind me?"

Mootie, Queen of the Barn!

And her servant, Pip.

"Oh my cod, Redford has infiltrated my basket!"

"And now Emerson's in our little house!"

Daisy is not amused!

Lots of toasty spots for cats in here. That little greenish house also had a heating pad inside.

Redford actually slapped poor Buttercup off my lap to claim what he considers his rightful place!
Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend.