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!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Month In Review

July has whipped by - oh my!  It was a bit of  a crazy month.  The early part of the month consisted of 10 days of visitors which is tough on the critters.  They did pretty well though.  Winston made a new friend but also felt the need to issue the occasional turdy memo that he was the top pig.  For the most part he did well.

The little critters are enjoying the ability to go outside into their play space.  They all seem to be doing just great and we had no health issues to report with the ferrets or the kitties over the course of the month.

Emma is doing well - she really can't hear much but other than that she seems quite happy and healthy.  She had a great month as she was the center of attention with all the visitors and enjoyed having my mom's dog Quincy around as well.

Winston had a good month with the exception of eating himself sick on Emma's dog food and getting into a citronella candle.  Luckily he recovered quickly from both incidents.  He is not loving the crazy hot weather we are having - it shortens his outside time.  He is quite the happy piglet though....

The baby birds are dong well - they are growing quite quickly and their nest is getting pretty squishy. I put down some towels under the plant they live in just in case one of them should fall out.  The flagstone patio wouldn't be a very friendly surface to land on.  I love seeing them over the course of the day.  Fingers crossed she will have another brood or two this summer.

All in all - things here at the zoo are good.  As I type this - I think every critter we have is outside. It's a tiny bit cooler this morning than it has been the last few weeks.  August will be crazy as well I fear - stay tuned!!  :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

In General

In general - things here are going pretty well. Other than sweltering heat, piglet's dog food incident, and my freak out moment with the baby birds things are pretty status quo.

Winston is having a bit of a rough week - we had a citronella candle outside - sitting on a table.  I think it may have gotten blown over by the lawn guys when they blew off the patio.  Needless to say - in this heat it was in a totally liquid state.  It made quite the mess on my patio - still trying to figure out how to clean that up....but - of course Mr. Curiosity headed right over there and stuck his snout in it.  I don't believe he ingested any and he certainly did not like the smell on his snout.  He came running over for me to fix it which I did by wiping his face with my t-shirt.  There was nothing else handy....  I called our vet just to have peace of mind and he assured me that the pig was going to be fine.  Even if he at some the citronella was not at a level where it would be harmful and the wax would likely just make his belly upset rather than cause a blockage or other issue.  I am keeping an eye on him.  He had his dinner and is feeling quite frisky - banging on the kitchen door with his snout when he hears me cooking - hoping for a treat.

Emma is doing well - she is not a lover of the weather - goes out, does her business, checks the perimeter and wants back in.  Her tummy was upset yesterday - some lamb and rice wet dog food seemed to settle her.  She has always had a touchy tummy.  Today she seems to be feeling good.  She gave the lawn guys the what for whenever they got too close to the doors.  Crazy dog!

Kitties and ferrets are all doing well.  The ferrets have all had a turn playing in our room.  I will start over with Tabby in a couple of days.  They are all doing well although they have been a bit neglected with Mom time the last two days - wow - its been busy around here!  Kitties are all doing well - need to get them in for annual vet visits - not sure when that will happen - too much on the calendar at the moment...cripes!  Targeting first week of August....fingers crossed.

Baby birds are growing and getting some feathers and mommy bird is doing a great job of keeping them fed.  I have seen her several times over the course of the day today - being a mommy bird is a lot of work.

 All in all things here are going pretty well.  I will keep an eye on piglet but I do think he is fine...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Monday Morning Relief

I am happy to report that all is right in the zoo world this morning.  After a day filled with worry yesterday with the pig not feeling well and a night filled with worry about the baby birds and the fact that their mommy hadn't been around for several hours - I am so glad that everyone seems just fine.

Piglet was up bright and early this morning asking for cookies.  Yesterday that was the first indication he wasn't feeling well - he didn't ask for any cookies at all.  I put him back on pellets today but only half his regular amount.  I will let that set for a bit and then give him some more mid day - I don't want to introduce too fast as he did not have anything but fruit and baby food yesterday.  He is active, grazing and seemingly happy this morning.  I am so glad he is feeling better!

As for mommy bird Lauren - I have no idea where she was last night.  I watched for her on the security camera we have on the porch until 12:30 and never saw her.  I woke up at 4 am - still no mommy.  Thankfully at about 7:30 this morning she hopped down the walk and got in her nest to feed the little ones.  I am so relieved.  I thought for sure I was going to have to call the wildlife rehabber this morning and take the babies in to be cared for.  I have seen her twice more this morning - she is actively going for food and bringing it back to the babies!  We did a project in the front yard yesterday that involved hammering and drilling - I am wondering if it upset her and that is why she was absent for so long?  I am going to try to steer clear of the front area today - I will go in and out the garage so she can get comfortable again.  I did water the plant they live in this morning - I want it to stay green and full to help conceal the nest.  Don't worry - I will have the camera app on my phone on all day keeping an eye out.

Being a zookeeper is a hard and worrisome job some days - but it's so worth it.

I am off to feed kitties and ferrets, give the kitties their meds and clean up critter land.  Have a great Monday!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Piglet With a Tummy Ache

So - we had a happening yesterday.  We had to run out for supplies for a project and I didn't realize that I left the bedroom door open which left Winston access to our room and such - Emma's dog food feeder.  Ugh.  He made quite a pig of himself....he didn't eat it all but he ate quite a bit.  In addition the other door to our room was also open so when we got home he was playing in the living room.  I feel terrible because now he feels cruddy and it's my fault.

Eating lots of dog food can be dangerous for pigs as the salt level is very high in dog food and pigs don't handle salt very well and can easily move towards salt toxicity.  Keeping him hydrated is important but too much water can also cause its own problems so you have to be careful.  Winston was obviously not feeling great but he did not show signs of anything more than a tummy ache.  He was not lethargic, he still had a reasonable appetite and he was going potty just fine.

I skipped his pellets this morning - substituting in banana and pumpkin baby food instead.  Mid morning he threw up which was actually a good thing.  Thankfully he was outside so cleanup was easy with the hose.  I think he started feeling a bit better.  I gave him a fairly good portion of fresh, cold watermelon which he happily scarfed down.  Then back inside for a nap.  He still wasn't back to 100% but on the mend.  Then he napped in our room for a bit - hanging out with Emma.  A bit ago I got him outside using his favorite cookie - Scooby Snacks.  It took some coaxing but he finally did go potty and I think that made him feel better as well.  He did not want to come inside when I did - he is outside rooting in the shade at the moment.  Dinner will be the same - baby food and watermelon - skipping the pellets once again.  I am hoping by the morning he will be feeling back to normal - I hate it when my furries don't feel well.

Friday, July 22, 2016

July Pics

As I type this - 3 wild children are playing in our room - Kai, Theo and Fiona are racing around like little freaks.  Last night Tabitha was down for a visit and over the next couple of nights Bash, Violet and Maddie will get their turn as well.  Seems like they are happy, healthy, active little babies - here are a few pics taken over the last couple of days.  Enjoy:

Winston wants a cookie


I do love that snout!!

My birdie mommy Lauren

Aggie napping outside

Tabitha and Madison


Tabby - it's rare for her to be so cooperative - she is not a huge fan of the camera



A very sleepy Violet - not impressed with photo time

The darling Fiona


Aggie in the background and ornery Oliver

This picture says it all - Oliver is all about being the center of the universe 'take my picture' and Phoebe is giving me stank eye for waking her up

More stank eye





Bash - those eyes get me every time


Two Theos the real and the reflection

A blurry Miss Emma - she hates the camera so you have to be sneaky and quick....

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Latest and Greatest

So - here we are on an exciting Tuesday morning.  Winston is outside playing until the lawn mowers come later this morning.  He loves them but is afraid of the equipment so he prefers to hang out inside while they do their thing.

Emma has been out and about this morning and now she is lounging on the bed while I type this.  She is feeling quite frisky this morning.

The ferrets are up and about playing outside and inside and with each other - they are wild little children!

The kitties are all three doing well - they have had their canned food and Phoebe and Ollie have had their meds.

I have critter land chores to do today so I will be in and out of their area quite a bit.

The little critter seem to love going outside during the day.  I am so happy they like it.  Winston likes having them outside as well and can often be found napping next to their play space.

Our sweet little birdie Lauren is doing well this morning - she was in her nest when I checked on her. I have moved a bird bath and feeder not far from her location - I don't want it too close as other birds will visit the feeder and I don't want any of them disturbing the nest but I also want to make it easy for her to get to food and water.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Babies on the Porch

I am so excited!  Yesterday I went to water my poor droopy plant on the front porch only to find a birds nest had been built in the plant and it has four eggs in it.  After some Googling once I saw the mommy bird I determined that it is a Carolina Wren!

You can barely make out the eggs....

From the top you would never know its a nest
I found this great page with lots of info on Carolina Wrens - http://www.animalspot.net/carolina-wren.html

I ordered some yellow Do Not Enter tape that I will put around her area - its where the UPS guy drops packages and I don't want her to be scared.  We should have little babies soon and if she likes it here the article says sometimes they will do 2-3 broods over the summer.  Fingers crossed!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pet Peeves

It's been awhile since I posted an edition of Pet Peeves.  For the most part my sweet furry children bring me much joy and happiness - but - there are things that make me nutty the little darlings do....

For instance - yowling at the critter land door.  OMG - Oliver!!  He is a very vocal cat...he talks and talks and talks and talks some more.  Regardless of whether you are with him or not - he talks.  He could hear voices of visitors in the living room and proceeded to yowl at the door.  He never tires of meowing it seems so he can yowl for hours....joy....  He has gotten in trouble twice today for yowling - not going to deal with it every day.  He is doing this because he got attention when we had people staying with us.  So obnoxious.  Phoebe (kitty) tries meowing occasionally but if you holler at her she stops immediately because she can't stand to be in trouble.

To add to yowling - Emma (dog) is a yipper.  In her old age she is quite chatty....so - when she goes outside for 6 seconds to do her business she will yip at the door until you let her in.  If you don't let her in for an hour - she will yip for an hour.  She yips if you are in one room and she is in another.  She yips if she hears you talking to someone (human or critter) that is not her.  She won't stop when she is told and she never tires....she and Oliver need a sound proof room so they can yip and yowl together....

Piglet (Winston) - well - he is still head swiping on occasion.  It happens when I stand next to him with my legs even to his ears.  I think that because he has such limited peripheral vision that he finds that spot threatening in some way because he can't see what I am doing.  He swipes and then he gets in large amounts of trouble and then he pouts.  Swiping is much better since we trimmed the tusks - at least he isn't accidentally drawing blood....crazy pig.  Oh - and the fact that he is a giant pink turd to guests.  I have my fingers crossed he will outgrow that eventually.

The girl kitties and the ferrets are not currently on my list.  They are all pretty go with the flow so they aren't doing anything to make me crazy - but give it time.  All of them have been and will be on this list again....

I love my yowling, yipping, swiping little dears.....


Monday, July 11, 2016

A Busy 9 Days

Wow!  Our crazy 9 days of people staying with us is coming to an end.  The bulk of our company leaves tomorrow.  The critters will be quite happy to get back to a regular routine.

The littlest critters are probably the least impacted....they get less 'mom' time and things have been so busy that I haven't done a great job of keeping up with the cleaning necessary in their area but other than that they aren't really impacted by company.  They have to sleep in their bedroom rather than having access to their full area but now that they have access to outside during the day they really don't seem to mind.

Emma has been good - she likes having company - lots of targets for begging for people food, getting love and attention and play time.  She has done well this week.  My mom's dog Quincy is here and she has enjoyed some dog play time as well.

Winston is definitely the most impacted when we have guests.  He is inside a ton more than he or I would like because he is such a pink turd when it comes to visitors.  His schedule gets all outta whack and he really would just prefer his humans and his schedule and nothing else.  It doesn't happen like that all the time little piglet - so sorry....

He did well with my cousin - but - he still feels the need to send a pink turd message that he is higher in the herd every now and then.  I think tomorrow will be close to back to his regular routine with Wednesday being a regular day.  All in all he has been a pretty patient pig - spending lots of time in his room without putting up a fuss.  As I type this he is napping on the patio.

Emma is sacked out on the living room floor, the kitties are sleeping outside in the sun and the ferrets are in various sleeping spots throughout their area.

All in all - things are good at the zoo!!!

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Happy Birthday Tabby and Kai!!

July is a busy birthday month - today Tabitha and Kai turn 2 years old!  Time goes so fast!  Tabby and Kai joined our crazy little zoo in November of 2014.  I would be remiss if I failed to mention my sweet Harlow - it would have been her birthday as well but sadly we lost her to a systemic disease called FIP last September.  We miss her very much but we are thankful that we see lots of her personality in her siblings each day.

The ferrets all got play time, Ferretone - their favorite supplement and a tiny bite of a yogurt covered pretzel - their absolute favorite people food treat....

Kai is still my wild and rambunctious child - full of piss and vinegar each and every day.  He is very affectionate and he loves to play.

Tabitha is my beautiful, petite girl.  She is very sweet but fiercely independent.

What's that you say?  It's my birthday - perhaps I should get up from my nap...

Nothing like a good birthday wrestle to start the day off:

The litter mates - Tabby on the left, Kai on the right

Wrestling with a little help from Bash
And a heavenly happy birthday to my darling Harlow - I hope she is having a big party with Nigel the hedgehog, her ferret brothers Clooney and Finn, her kitty sisters Zoey and Isabel and her Grandpa....

This was taken on her first birthday - which we were so lucky to celebrate with her.  No one thought she would make it to that date - we actually got an additional three months with this sweet girl.  Miss you my cutie!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Winston Made a New Friend

Usually when we have new people at the house I post about what a giant pink turd Winston was.  I am happy to report that he was a sweet pink boy today instead.

My cousin is visiting and he and Winston totally hit it off.  There was no head swiping, no lunging, no nipping.  He got cookies and flopped over for belly rubs.  He was quite the well behaved little piglet.

What was the difference you might ask?  I am convinced that the difference is fear.  The people who are unsure about the pig or who are afraid/intimidated by him are the ones who experience Pink Turd Syndrome.  The people who show him no fear are the ones who he is super well behaved with.

I am happy to see him making friends with people other than us and I am glad that people other than me get to see what a sweet boy he can be.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Winston's Birthday

Winston's birthday happened to fall at a time where things here are whacky busy.  His birthday is on the 3rd of July - I cannot believe he is 2 years old!  I guess in some ways I can't believe he is only 2 - I can't remember or imagine my life without a pig...

The 3rd was packed with errands and chores and events and Winston didn't get much of a celebration - lots of extra loves and some cute birthday hat pics.  So - I decided that we would officially celebrate today - which unfortunately wasn't a whole lot calmer.  Little dude got some 4th of July sunglasses and a birthday balloon which he wasn't all that interested in.  He was very excited about the frozen strawberry fruit bar cut up and covered with strawberry yogurt.  He also got four or five Hot Tamales - that pig loves those little candies....

Yes - I had to break out the mop - he is worth it!  And yes - he desperately needs a bath!!!