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 a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Recap

Another month has whizzed by - geez - where does the time go?

April was a good critter month - no illnesses or injuries to report.  The new additions - Fiona and Bash breezed past the 21 day incubation period for ECE and no one ever showed any symptoms.  They are doing amazingly well and are truly a part of our family.  Emma has walked many a mile this month with her humans. Winston is still going through his "terrible ones" and pushing the limits to see what he can get away with.  All in all though he is still a pretty good piggy.

The ferrets are fantastic - happy, active, healthy and all of them getting along fabulously.  They spent the month playing, snoozing and eating gravy!  :)

The kitties are all doing great too - Aggie just keeps plugging along with no health issues - she seems pretty content.  Zoey is doing great on her new dosage of thyroid meds - gaining a bit of weight which is great - she was pretty scrawny for a bit.  Oliver is full of mischief as usual and Phoebe is my ever sweet girl who sticks to me like glue.

All in all it was a great month.  In the next couple of weeks I will take Bash and Fiona in for their first check up....

Happy May (almost)!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Mornings

How is it Monday already - the weekends really do just fly by....

This Monday morning has been critter filled.  I spent the first part of the morning with the ferrets.  Madison was up really early - she comes up on the bed and gives you kisses and then she is off and running doing her own thing.  She is usually back in bed when the rest of the gang gets up.  Fiona and Kai were up first - begging for their gravy (ferret food in warm water).  Then Theo, Harlow, Tabitha and even my usual late sleeper Violet joined in.  Theo is my allergy sufferer and he had a sneezing fit this morning so I decided it was time for everyone to have a dose of colloidal silver.  I put some in a cup with some water and offered it up. They love to drink from a cup so everyone had a big drink and most came back for seconds.  Theo is not sneezing anymore and hopping around playing with the others.  They are wild little babies and they spent the morning chasing each other and wrestling.  I do adore those funny little weasels.

Ollie and Phoebe were upstairs on the bed - Phoebe was wonking ferrets who got too close on the head and Oliver was trying to give everyone a bath.  When I came downstairs Aggie was chattering at the cardinal family through the window and Zoey was perched on her regular spot on the kitchen table.

Winston and Emma have both had their breakfast, gone outside for a potty break and come in and had a cookie.  Winston found his way into a pizza box last night and enjoyed a couple of slices - little turkey.  Right now he and Emma are laying side by side in the sun.  They do love each other.

The weekend was quite busy for the humans and there wasn't much out of the ordinary to report for the critters.  Emma had two long walks but other than that - just normal spoiled and lazy days for the rest of the gang.  Hope your Monday morning isn't too painful.....

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Temper Tantrums

I am chuckling at my sweet piggy and his newest thing - the temper tantrum.  It used to be when he was younger and smaller that he would stand with his front hooves on the sofa while you were munching on a snack and sometimes he would get a bite or two.  As he has gotten bigger he is a giant pain in the rump when it comes to food and we are working on making him wait politely for a bite.

His latest thing goes something like this:  he gets his front hooves on the sofa and gets told he has to get down.  He makes a ton of noise and puts his butt on the floor so in essence he is sitting but his feet are still on the sofa.  Then he gets told he has to get all the way down which is followed by more incredibly loud protests while he gets down.  Then he has to sit nicely for a nibble.  He is quite a comical piglet.... love that boy...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Cookie Bin

Yesterday I went on an very important mission - a trip to the pet store to replenish the cookie bin.  The pig and the dog go through lots of cookies and the bin was getting a bit bare.  I like to have a good variety in there so they get different things over the course of the day.  I also try to make all of them meat free since we are not trying to bulk up the piglet's weight.  The other thing I try to monitor is the percentage of protein - wow - some of them are 25 - 30% protein and that won't help when trying to control a little piglet's weight.  I try for 5% and under which is pretty hard to find.  I don't usually go over 10% as a rule.

Emma and Winston love it when we replenish the bin because they get a bit of a buffet as I let them sample the new cookies as I get them out of their packaging and into the bin.  There are a variety of sizes and flavors ranging from tiny little stars that are great for training - you can do 5 - 6 of those before you equal the size of a regular cookie - to sweet potato fries which are a big hit with both of them.  We adjust Winston's food intake accordingly so on days that he has an abundance of cookies he gets a little less in his dinner.  Emma never seems to budge in the weight department  - she has been 46 - 48 pounds for years.  I don't worry so much about her especially since she walks with us each day.

This run I got enough to fill up the bin (a plastic box with a lid that snaps shut) and have a few spare bags/boxes in reserve.  I would hate to see what happens if one lets the cookie bin get to empty....

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Too Much Togetherness???

Constant togetherness is fine - but only for Siamese Twins.... - Victoria Billings

We have been going through a bit of a naughty phase with Mr. Piglet here lately.  I think he just wants to test the boundaries and try to see how much he can get away with.  We are trying a new approach to how our days go and I have to admit it seems to be working.

It used to be that I would spend ALL day with him - heading downstairs around 7 am and heading up to bed sometime around 9 pm.  He would have constant companionship all day long and I think he got a bit spoiled.  In addition - the ferrets sometimes got short changed on the amount of time they got the humans for.

Last week I had to be in the office which is not the norm - and I found that he was much better behaved on the days that I was away.  Our interactions are much more positive for some reason.  So - I decided to change things up a bit.  I still feed him at 7 but I come back upstairs and hang with the ferrets and get ready for my work day.  Then I go back downstairs over the course of the morning depending on my meeting schedule.  When I go its specifically to interact with him so he gets my undivided attention.  It might be a short training session, a trip outside to go potty or maybe a grooming session where we clean out ears or file his hooves.  Rather than having me all day long with my attention being other places he gets very focused one on one time throughout the day and his behavior is much better.  In addition - I get little weasely visitors while I am working upstairs which I love.  Everyone seems pretty happy.

Emma splits her time - sometimes she hangs out downstairs with Winston and sometimes I bring her up with me.  Kitties are mostly downstairs - Ollie and Phoebe occasionally head upstairs but not all that often.

Now - don't worry about my boy - I promise he gets lots of love, attention, kisses, cuddles, etc.... but having less together time is making our interactions that much better.  I am happy with our new way of dividing our days....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ferret-y Snaps

I have a few ferret snaps that haven't been posted - thought I might share them for your viewing pleasure....

My handsome Theo

Madison sacked out in my craft room  - she has taken over a bag of stuffing....


Violet with Ollie in the background

Violet and Fiona

Miss Madison

Theo (left) and Kai

Wrestle mania - the tub is the best place for playtime

Crazy boys...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Saturday Night

It's Saturday night and we are curled up in bed watching movies.  Its a bit rainy out so its the perfect night for it.  Winston has had his dinner, playtime with his ball, hugs and kisses and nighty cookies and has settled in to bed.  Emma has had her dinner and is snoozing on the bedroom floor. Most of the ferrets are up playing and munching on their dinner and Phoebe the kitty is sacked out on my pillow.

We went to dinner with friends and while we were gone Bash trapped himself in the bathtub with a shirt, a roll of toilet paper and a bath mat.  After figuring out that he couldn't get out he made himself a bed with the mat at the bottom, then the shirt and then a bunch of toilet paper.  He looked pretty comfy in there but woke up shortly after we went in the bathroom and was happy to see us and to get out of there.

Hopefully we will have a restful night and not have to get up too early in the morning.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Week in Review

Wowser - what a crazy, crazy week!!!  Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were just jam packed with work stuff.  Tuesday had 8 hours of back to back conference calls and Wednesday and Thursday I actually had to be in the office which is a rare occurrence. This meant lots less time with the critters than usual.  Add to that finishing taxes and the time it takes to do our walking each day and Kai being sick on Wednesday night made for an excessively stressful week that I am happy to see come to an end.

So - not sure what was up with Kai.  Ferrets very rarely throw up - for instance I had Clooney for 7 years and he did only one time ever.  I think since Kai had never had that happen before he scared himself and felt like he needed to hide.  He did a great job - going under the bathtub where you couldn't see him or get to him in any way.  I think he must have curled up and gone to sleep.  He was under there for a really long time. When he came out he was perfectly fine - thank goodness.  Needless to say - the door to under the tub has been sealed so no one can get under there again.  I am always shocked at the affirmation of how much you love one of your critters when you think they might be sick.  I am so relieved that my boy - and all of my sweet weasels - are doing well.

Mr Piglet had a tough week - lots of alone time.  He was very well behaved - not into any mischief while we were gone but he was quite the stinker once we got home.  He is still doing his tricks and playing with his treat ball.  Today I did a bit of an experiment where I spent time working both upstairs and downstairs which let me spend time with Winston and Emma and also with the ferrets.  It seemed to work pretty well and there didn't seem to be much complaining from anyone.  Might have to adopt this new way of dividing my days.

Emma had a rough week as well - multiple days of rain made her very unhappy and she spent a good amount of time under the bed.  Kitties - well...they are just as lazy and happy as always.  So long as they have food and a clean litter box they don't seem to care much if I am home during the day.

Tonight we are hanging out at home having a bit of downtime.  Winston is in bed, Emma is tuckered out from her walk.  Phoebe and Ollie and hanging out upstairs and Zoey and Aggie are downstairs.  Ferrets are playing.  All in all a much needed quiet evening.  There are no formal plans on the docket for the weekend so I hope we can make up for some lost time with my sweet critters....

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gold Star

Winston gets a gold star for today!  I had to be in the office for a LONG time today which is unusual.  This meant that Mr Piglet was going to be home unsupervised for a long time and that his dinner would be late.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I got home but I am happy to report that he was a perfect angel today - he didn't get into anything that he shouldn't have.  Even more impressive was that he was truly by himself all day because Emma was upstairs hiding under the bed because of the rain.  His dinner was about an hour and a half late and he had very few cookies before I left so the fact that he didn't get into garbage or anything else is impressive.  He also decided to wait to go potty til I got home rather than using the box so there was no scooping required.

Now - in the spirit of full disclosure - he has been a bit of a stinker since I got home.  He has made it perfectly clear that he is not happy about the events of the day.  He is frustrated and keyed up so I will be spending some one on one time with him before bed giving him plenty of attention and play time....

All in all - quite pleased with how things went today...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


The ferrets eat kitty food for the most part. Sometimes they snack on dog food as well...both have been approved by the vet and have the right nutritional values for them to be healthy.  At the pet store they feed the ferrets Marshall ferret diet - so - when Bash and Fiona came home with us I made sure to have some on hand.  They offer it to the pet shop ferrets dry and mixed with water into a paste.

My ferrets love to drink warm water for some reason - all of them.  They love bath time and love to lick the water - so much for bubble baths.... Anyway - I decided I will make the new babies some wet food as well as offer the dry food in addition to the cat food.  I put some of the ferret food in their bowl and then added warm water - way too much warm water which made for a very soupy gravy like substance. Well - wasn't that just a happy little mistake??  They LOVE it!!

So - now every morning and every evening we have the ritual of making gravy.  I put the dry food in there and they stand around the bowl waiting for the addition of warm water.  Once it goes in they start lapping it up.  They are very silly - sometimes they think that what the other one is getting is better so they stretch their necks across the bowl to lick closer to their sibling.  Sometimes they think what the other is getting is so great they try to lick it off each other's chins.  Bash and Fiona love it - would expect that since they are new babies.  My almost one year olds - Kai, Tabby and Harlow also love it.  Maybe its like a comfort food for them?  I wasn't sure if my 2 year olds - Violet and Theo would like it - they do!! Even Madison my 3 year old has a bit of a taste now and then.

Happy they love it and they still enjoy their cat food as well.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Miscellaneous Mid Month Snaps

Lots of random shots that didn't get posted for one reason or another:




Bash and Madison













Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekend Recap

It's already Sunday evening and tomorrow starts another crazy week - its official - weekends are too short.

Critter weekend was pretty uneventful.  Emma had two 8 mile walks with the humans which wore of some of her energy for sure.  Winston had playtime with his treat ball both days.  He also had playtime and cuddle time with his humans both days.

Kitties did their regular lounging - not much exciting to report with them.  Ferrets were wild and crazy as usual.  I got to spend some time with Fiona and Bash which was fun - we are still getting to know each other. Flea meds went on today - it was the first time for the new guys - Fiona was brave and stoic and Bash was wiggly and whiny.  Their different personalities fascinate me.  Tonight when we have hands on all critters I will finish up the flea stuff for Tabby, Maddie and Vi.  Right now I have to sign off to clean out cat boxes - oh joy....

Hope your weekend was fun!

Friday, April 10, 2015


Spring has brought not only an icky coating of pollen but some very loud and crazy thunderstorms.  Last night we had a bunch of nervous nellies around here:

Of course Emma was freaked out - she spent all evening under the guest room bed and she was so scared that when we went to bed she wouldn't even switch rooms so she ended up sleeping in there as well.  She is happier this morning with the sun out for sure!

Winston wasn't a fan of the storms either and he spent the evening under  multiple layers of covers in his bed. He did not seem particularly scared but just a bit uncomfortable.  He is full of energy this morning wreaking havoc by getting in the garbage and pushing furniture around.

The ferrets tend to be sleepy when its rainy - but Harlow was up and quite frightened by the thunder - it would crash and she would run and hide behind the dresser.  Then when it was quiet she would run and get in my lap.  Fiona was also up and she just wanted to be held the whole time.

Zoey and Aggie are old pros - neither one cared much about the storm - Ollie and Phoebe on the other hand - under the bed with Emma.  Oliver in particular was quite unhappy.

All in all we fared the storms just fine.  Emma and Winston have been out exploring for their morning potty. Unfortunately - we are in for more storms this evening so it might be a repeat of last night.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The State of the Business

Looks like I need to update my header with Bash and Fiona - but for now this will do I guess.  In general - the state of the business is FANTASTIC!  I couldn't be happier:

Madison has taking quite the liking to Bash and the two of them are rather inseparable. Its fun to watch the tiniest member of the ferret family and the largest play and hang out together.  Madison is her same sweet and joyful self.  She is quite active and engaged - I am pleased that my eldest girl is doing so well!

Theo is doing just great - he is still BFFs with Kai and the two of them find trouble multiple times a day. Theo is my side kick - he immediately finds me when he is called and then stays right with me until all the other ferrets are located.  He is so sweet and affectionate and he is very active - playing and wrestling with everyone in the bunch.  My poor boy is a seasonal allergy sufferer so he has been getting colloidal silver and some extra love and attention.  He is faring pretty well given the thick coating of pine pollen we have at the moment.

Violet is the ever elusive girl - she has her own schedule and her own way of interacting.  That said - she is doing very well.  She hangs out most with Tabitha and a bit with Fiona.  She is very vocal and she is the alpha ferret so she gives everyone the what for when she doesn't think things are going right.  She is bright and full of life - she had fun playing with the others during bath time last night.  No complaints...

Kai my wild child has mellowed a bit since we added Bash to the family.  He is still wild and crazy and totally fearless.  He adores Theo but can often be found playing with Bash or the girls.  He is still a bit of a biter - not unusual for a young ferret.  He will be turning 1 in July - along with Tabby, Harlow and Winston.

Harlow is still my beautiful mellow girl.  She is gentle and sweet and a bit shy.  She does like to play though and I saw her wrestling and playing tag with Bash this morning.  She also likes toys and can often be found hoarding them from one hidey hole to another. Such a sweet girl!

Tabitha is doing amazing - her summer coat is coming in so her markings are changing a bit.  She is putting on a tiny bit of weight which is just fine as she is tiny like Maddie.  Tabby is much like Violet - quite independent and aloof at times - she kinda does her own thing.  I find it interesting that she and Violet are close - two peas in a pod I guess.

Bash is really thriving since he came to live with us.  He is slimming down and I think he really loves being a part of a large group of ferrets.  He plays with anyone who will play and he is quite exuberant.  Bash is quite the biter - we work on it every day.  Again - this is not unusual for young male ferrets.  Bash and Fiona are just 5 months old.  He will get the hang of it soon - we went through this with Clooney, Finn, Theo, Kai....I am so happy to see him happy and I love that he is a part of our family.  I am still amazed at how many characteristics of Finn I see in Bash.  It does make me smile and think of my Finney even more often....

And last - but most certainly not least - the darling Fiona.  She is darling on the inside and out - her markings make her adorable and I just love those little white feet.  She also has a darling personality - kind of a combination of Madison in her joyfulness and Harlow in her mellowness.  She is a very active girl and loves to play.  She is also a scratcher...ferrets have very tough skin and one of the ways they play and show affection to each other is by scratching.  She does this on your feet, legs, arms - um ouch!!  We are working on it....

So - all in all - my crazy bunch of weasels is doing amazing!!  Next week they get flea meds and I will be making a first vet appointment for Bash and Fiona very soon as well.  It's all good in ferret world!!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Stories of the Day

Ahhh - the stories of the day - let's see....

Ferrets were up bright and early this morning.  We had some play time and they all willingly had a bit of colloidal silver and water to combat any allergy symptoms as they are really in full swing here.  Everyone is happy and seems to be in fantastic health - no signs of any viruses or icky things brought in by the new babies.  Phoebe also got a dose of silver - she is by far my worst allergy sufferer - poor kitty.

We headed downstairs for chores, work, etc.  Today was littler box cleanout day - fun times!  The pig box is getting used less and less as Winston is getting really good about putting on his harness and going outside to potty with Emma.  Emma had a bit of a stressful day as rain showers moved through and she decided hiding under the guest room bed was the way to go.

Kitties didn't accomplish much today - lots of lounging.  Winston is working on a new trick - I am trying to get him to take a plastic ring from me.  He gets it but is quite a stubborn little piggy.  A few more days and he will have it down pat.

Tonight will include tricks and treats for Winston and Emma, ear meds for the kitties, ferret play time, perhaps a bath which makes the ferrets happy - they love bath time - and then some rest for the humans.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Early on a Monday Morning

It's getting close to 7:30 am here and our little zoo is waking up.  I got up a few minutes ago to feed Winston who starts to make unhappy oinky noises if he has to wait for his breakfast.  He gets fed right around 7 am.  I came back upstairs and gave Miss Emma her morning cookie.  She has a pretty sensitive tummy and we have discovered over time that she does much better with cookies throughout the day and then her large meal when we come upstairs for the evening.

Oliver and Phoebe are upstairs at the moment - Aggie and Zoey still downstairs snoozing....  The ferrets are in different states of sleeping and awake.  Kai, Tabitha and Theo are "helping" the hubs get ready for work.  Harlow is munching on some breakfast.  My late sleeper crew - Maddie, Violet, Fiona and Bash are still sacked out.  Uh oh - as I type this the three helpers just got locked in ferret jail aka the shower because they were biting the hubs feet....

Mornings are fun - soon I will head downstairs and hang out with Mr. Piglet and Emma and the kitties for the bulk of the day while I work.  I will peek in on the ferrets several times as I hear them get up during the day.  I can't believe the weekend whizzed by and we are back to the work week once again. This whole 5 day work vs 2 day fun ratio is not working for me...  :)

Happy Monday!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

A Lazy Saturday

It's a lazy afternoon here.  We did a 9.2 mile walk this morning so Miss Emma is tuckered out - she and Winston are downstairs napping.  Zoey and Agatha are downstairs as well.

Upstairs Phoebe and Oliver are sacked out on the bed - some of the ferrets have been up - Theo, Fiona, Harlow, Tabby and Kai.  Theo has decided that today he is going to show Fiona who is boss.  She doesn't like it and lets him know by being quite the noisy girl.  Bash and Violet were up earlier in the day.

Agatha let me have the what for this morning as her water bowl was empty.  Piglet tips it over and makes a big mess and Aggie decided to report it.  Winston has been a bit better behaved the last couple of days - he is still ornery and stubborn and not listening but it is getting better.  Removing the kitchen chairs has been so good - I am able to sleep til 7 now which is quite nice.

Now that I am finishing this post up its gotten very quiet here - I think everyone has decided its nap time - perhaps the humans will follow suit!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Supply Run - Hit By A Bus Series

It's been awhile since I did a Hit By A Bus update. The premise is what would happen if I got hit by a bus - who would take care of my babies and who would have the information necessary to keep their lives as status quo as possible.  So - as I went out for my monthly supply run I thought it was a good time to do an update:

Winston - he is currently eating Mazuri mini pig food - the active adult formula.  I get it from our local Tractor Supply Co store.  He gets a total of 1.25 cups of food per day half in the morning at around 7 am and the other half in the evening around 5 pm.  He also gets treats throughout the day.  I try to make sure the treats he gets are around 5% protein.  They are hard to find - I don't go over 8% though.  I make him do his tricks for treats - sit, speak, around in a circle in both directions, up, and play the xylophone.

The kitties are free feeders.  Currently I have them on Purina Indoor Formula.  They have access to their food at all times - it has to be kept in a spot where Mr. Piglet cannot get to it .  For litter box - sometimes they use the pine litter in Winston's boxes but mostly they prefer the clay litter.  I use Tidy Cat - either the small spaces formula or the order control formula.  Again - the clay litter has to be kept in a place where the piglet can't get too it or else he will eat it and make himself very sick.  Oliver, Zoey and Phoebe need thyroid meds on their ear every morning and every evening.  Ollie and Zoey are on a higher dose than Phoebe so you have to be careful to give them the right one - I label the vials when I get them.  Dosing instructions are on the bag they come in.

I currently have Emma on Biljack Sr Formula from Petco.  I free feed her the dry and she gets one wet meal each day usually in the evening.  The ferrets and the kitties also like the Biljack which is fine.  Emma gets treats throughout the day - same as Winston.  I make her do tricks as well - sit, up, shake with both paws, lay down, speak and if you are really adventurous, balancing her treat on her nose.  Emma has to be on her leash when she goes out to potty - she is a runner.

The ferrets - they are also on the Purina Indoor Formula and they have access to Marshall Ferret Diet as well.  I have a free feeder of dry ferret food and a bowl with the wet version available to them.  I use warm water in the morning and the evening to make them a soupy gravy which they seem to like very much.  I offer Ferretone to everyone but only Theo, Madison and Bash take me up on the offer.  I also give them ferret chew sticks but usually only Theo and Kai are takers on those as well.

Flea protection - it is delivered monthly by Petco - around the 12th of the month I apply it.  The kitties and the ferrets get a dose each month.  It's the feline version of Frontline and they get one vial on their backs - between their shoulderblades so they can't lick it off.  Winston does not need flea protection and Emma wears a Seresto Flea collar - it needs to be replaced in September of 2015 and every 8 months thereafter.

Hands on every critter rule - I try to make sure I put my hands on every critter every morning and every night before bed to make sure everyone is happy and healthy and accounted for.

There you have it - the latest info just in case....  :)

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Stinker Pig

Remember this bratty little dinosaur - that's who Winston is reminding me of...
We have entered the terrible ones or whatever its called with piglets.  Wowser - he has been a naughty little piglet for two days.

As for kitchen chair tipping - so over it that the kitchen chairs have been carried upstairs - really I am done. Now we need to work on his behavior at the gate that keeps him downstairs.  When he is hungry or wants attention he pushes at the gate - it makes me crazy.  This morning he got in big trouble and got sent to his bed - he really hates that.

I gave him a good bit of playtime with his treat ball and we did lots of training sessions today - not sure what his deal is.  Maybe its spring fever.  I don't think its that he is bored but maybe - whatever it is I hope it passes soon because I am over it!

Love that pink boy to death but he is pushing my buttons....I guess that's what "kids" do...

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Injury Obsession

It amazes me that the critters are so in tune with the humans in the household.  A few days ago when I was out for our daily walk I managed to get a giant blister on my foot.  The next day I was sitting on the couch and Winston came up and popped it with his snout.  Ouch!  He is totally obsessed with it now - he checks it multiple times a day.  The ferrets are obsessed with it as well and I get frequent inspections.

Yesterday Bash accidentally scratched my eyelid (the dangers of having critters) and it left a mark - they are constantly monitoring that as well - how do they know?  They are funny - if we have to wear anything like a bandaid or an ace bandage they are adamant about trying to take it off.  The only thing allowed is a ring and sometimes they bite on that as well and Kai does nose and ear inspections on a regular basis.  Silly little furry doctors....