A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with twelve crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


We are always tweaking things around here - trying new products and methods to streamline the care of 12 critters.

I have two new things we are trying - funny - they are unplanned things but we are trying them none the less. They stem from wanting to have a one stop shop for all things critter.  The pet store has dog, cat/ferret food and litter but no pig food.  The Tractor Supply has pig and dog food - tons of cat food but not what they are currently eating but no pine litter.  I don't wanna have to make two trips and quite frankly - the prices at Tractor Supply for pet food are much better than the pet store.

So - I bought a small bag of new cat food to try...so far all four cats seem to love it but I have been down this path before.  They like it because its different but they don't want it every day forever more.  So we will go slow and see what happens.  I also need to try it out on the ferrets - getting them to try new things is TOUGH.  The good news is - that even if they like the old - I can get that at the grocery and still avoid two trips for pet supplies.  The new food I got is called Taste of the Wild - we shall see if its still popular when we get to the bottom of the bag....

The other new thing is moving from pine litter (pellets) to shaved pine in the litter boxes for the cats and pig.  I am not at all unhappy with the litter - but it gets a bit expensive.  I decided to try shaved pine - the same thing you would use in a barn stall in the litter box to see how it goes.  So far one kitty and one pig have visited and deposited with no angst.... hopefully it will work because before it was 2 bags of pine litter every 10 - 12 days at 9$ a bag.  This is $6 and I filled both cat boxes and only used about 1/3 of the bag....woohoo!  Fingers crossed....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In General....

Things at the zoo are good!!!  Let's see... what's been up around here?  Things have been pretty status quo.  You saw that Winston had his first walk over the weekend.  Since then he is quite interested in the door wanting to go on another adventure!  We will soon I promise.

Kitties are doing pretty well.  Ollie hurt himself today jumping over the ferret gate.  He was limping a bit but after some love and rubbies he was fine.  He has full range of motion and is no longer limping but I will be keeping an eye on him.  I will be taking them to the vet in a couple of weeks... ugh ZoĆ« and the vet.

Emma is doing well... pretty much behaving herself.  She was not particularly impressed with Winston's first walk but she is always a pretty good sport.  She does have an amazing amount of tolerance and patience.

Ferrets are great!!!  The baby ferrets are learning their names and getting used to finding me when they are called - this is good!  I found everyone by 8:30 tonight which is unheard of.  Elder ferrets are doing great as well.  No complaints...

All in all things are going quite well with the zoo...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winston and Emma Go For a Walk

We hit a milestone today with the piglet - his first trip out and about in his harness.  We might have pushed the envelope a bit here - gone a bit before he was ready - but I think he had fun....

Getting him in the car is tough - he has to be lifted and he does hate being picked up.  Unfortunately he is a bit afraid of the car so he tends to do what pigs do when they are afraid which is poo.  I was prepared - rugs across the back seat floor and a roll of paper towels.  We were no worse for the wear - although - he did make 3 deposits - so we had multiple cleanup.

All in all it went better than I thought - we went to a neighboring town with a large open park which had no one there because it was rainy and cool.  Once he quit pulling backwards trying to get out of the harness he got the hang of walking and going with us - he followed Emma so I had her we went first.  Then the hubs and the pig followed.

We took lots of cookies for bribing him to go where we wanted.  On the way home he did great in the car - either he was more comfy or his back end was empty - or both...  :)

Once we were home Winston got a 'sponge bath' - a warm towel to wipe him down and clean the mud off his face and hooves.  Emma got a shower and a new clean scarf.  They are both sacked out napping - exhausted from their adventure!

Here are a few pics:

Mud and splashing is fun!

Rooting around like a pig should do...

I think I get it now - walks are fun!

A pig, a dad and a dog...

Muddy nose

First walk under our belts....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Week in Review

Whew - we made it to Friday - it was a short work week that felt like it was 100 years long.  It was a pretty good critter week around here...

Winston had a good week - he was a pretty well behaved piglet for the bulk of the week.  He is happy that we are back to a normal cadence and spends his days playing and snoozing....the rough life of a pig.

Emma had a good week as well - no inclement weather driving her under the bed.  She spends a lot of time playing and arguing with the piglet - they are funny to watch.  She is a good girl for the most part...

The ferrets are all doing fantastic.  They spent their week playing and snoozing and the all seem quite happy and healthy.  The 50 foot tunnel is still a big hit and gets used multiple times each day. Wednesday was flea and tick medicine application day.  The ferrets REALLY hate this except for Tabitha who did not seem to care.  They are protected for another month so a few seconds of discomfort is worth it.

Kitties also go flea and tick meds - but they don't care so much when you put it on.  They are doing quite well.  We went through quite a pukey period for some reason - all three of my thyroid kitties were effected.  Not sure if there was a mild bug they shared or if maybe the vial of thyroid medication wasn't full strength but what ever was going on has resolved itself and we have been good to go - thank goodness.  I hate it when my babies are sick and let's be honest - its messy to clean up as well.

All in all - it was a pretty good week for the humans and the critters.  Looking forward to the weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Critter Bracelet

My critter bracelet is coming along quite nicely.  I have made a few finds and I was spoiled at Christmas with several new additions:
The kitty section - the silver one from my brother and sister in law looks like Isabel, the tabby cat I found on ebay and it looks like Ollie, the black kitty I found on Amazon and it looks like Aggie and the white kitty I found at the beach - reminds me of Phoebe
The ferret/hedgehog section - the brown one  and the white one I found on ebay - the brown one reminds me of Kai, the   I love ferrets is from my brother and sister in law and the hedgehog  representing my sweet Nigel from my brother in law and sister in law - its the bead that started it all off

The Winston section - the silver pig from my brother and sister in law, the two pink pigs I stumbled across and the crystal paw I found very early on in the evolution of the bracelet

The Emma section - the lampwork glass bead from my brother, the dangly one is a recent addition I found on ebay and the silver one from my brother in law and sister in law

Here it is - the whole shebang - love how its coming together!
I am always on the hunt for new additions.  I need an orange kitty for Zoey.  I am not sure I will ever find an individual bead for each of the ferrets - for some reason the ferret beads are few and far between.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Corn Cob Rubbies

Corn cob rubbies are quite popular in our house....that's our name for when the critters use their very front teeth on each other and look like they are eating an ear of corn.

Emma does this often to Oliver and he loves it - he lays on his side and she nibbles between his front and back paws - back and forth - then he rolls on his back and she does the same to the belly.  Winston does these rubbies to Emma, Kai does them to human feet, Oliver does them to Kai - its quite the happening thing.

Speaking of Kai and Oliver - that little ferret is completely enamored with the cat.  He goes from being wild and crazy ferret to a giant puddle of goo whenever the cat is around and Kai cuddles up to him in the hopes of getting a bath - its quite cute.  Ollie usually obliges him and the two of them cuddle until wiggly ferret annoys the cat and he is off to a spot where ferrets can't reach.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The State of the Business - a 6 Ferret Update

My crazy ferret brood is doing so great - I am very pleased!  Violet and Madison - the eldest girls are doing just great - they are part of the shenanigans at times but also content to be off by themselves where it is a bit less rambunctious.  They have totally accepted the new babies and they truly are one big happy family.

Kai and Theo are wild boys - they adore each other and are pretty much inseparable.  Where one goes the other is close to follow.  The two play so rough and really love hanging out together....  Healthwise the two are doing fantastic - healthy appetites and outputs and both are at a perfect weight.

Harlow and Tabby are amazing!  They are playful and engaged and seem to be fully settled in.  Harlow is much less timid and he personality is starting to shine through.  She is still a very mellow and sweet ferret but she is starting to play and is much less frightened by the humans and their noises.  Tabs is just about one of the boys - by far the most rough and tumble of the girls.  Both of these babies love their toys.  Their health is also great - no issues to report.

I am hoping that between today and tomorrow I can work on the junk/craft/ferret playroom and get their play area set up - I am excited for them to have it.  Sadly there is alot of work to get there so I will need to catch a motivation bug for that to happen - wish me luck....