Monthly Archives

June 2017

Guinea Pig

Guinea Pigs Are Social You Say?

June 27, 2017
Waffles the guinea pig

Super Cute Waffles

I started out with one really cute guinea pig.  I named him Super Cute Waffles, Waffles for short.  He was just so adorable, with his cute wheeking sounds he would make.  I bought him a playpen so I could have him out in the living room with us while we watched tv in the evenings.  I noticed right away he was smart. He would wheek loudly if we were holding him, to let us know he had to go pee. I would put him down, and he would go pee in the corner.

I wondered if I could teach him to spin on command.  I got out some carrots, and I started to teach him to spin.  It only took 15 minutes, and we were spinning for food.  I was so excited I had to video Waffles doing his new trick.  Next thing I thought of was an agility course.  I set up on in his playpen.  I made it out two toilet paper rolls and a straw.  He would jump out of his little bed, jump over the straw and go back.  How adorable is that!

Waffles spinning for the first time!

Waffles can really spin now!

Waffles doing agility!

 

I got to thinking maybe he does need a friend; the pets store clerk mentioned he didn’t like the piggies they had there, so he was in his cage.  My thoughts were to get a baby guinea pig, that way he would be older.  That is where Nibbles and Moonpie come in the picture.

Nibbles the guinea pig

Nibbles

guinea pig

Moon Pie

 

I bought the double decker C&C cage, so they had plenty of room.  Everything was great Waffles seemed like he was happy to have friends.  As time went on Waffles one day decided he only like Nibbles and MoonPie needs to leave.  He chased him around and wouldn’t let him eat.  I tried feeding in separate areas, but if Waffles heard Moonpie doing anything, he would hunt him down and chase him up on top of his hut.  Poor Moonpie had to stay there all the time.  I couldn’t take that anymore, and I had to buy a second C&C cage.  Now we have two cages, and Moonpie is safe now and seems happy he is away from the meanies.  A few more months go by, and Nibbles is getting bigger and bigger.  I notice he had a really big nose and feet.  I started researching and found out that in Peru, Guinea Pigs are raised for meat.  They are called Cuy, and they get up to 6 pounds.  Some of the pet stores have been selling them, not knowing they weren’t smaller pet Guinea Pig.  I was getting worried, thinking what am I going to do with a 6 lb Guinea Pig, but Nibbles only ended up weighing 3lbs, Thank Goodness!   guinea pigNow Nibbles is starting to hit puberty, and he decides he doesn’t like Waffles anymore.  He wants him out of his cage.  He pulled his hair out, bit his armpit and toe.  I had to take Waffles to see the vet because he was injured.  Waffles ended up losing his toe over this and costing me 350.00 in the process.  So needless to say, Waffles is now in his own cage.   So you say Guinea Pigs are social?   Then what is going on here?  Is it because they are all males and it might be different if it were all females?  Maybe I just happen to get three alpha guinea pigs, and no one wanted to be the 2nd pig.  Whatever it is, I do know they like being next to each other, but they do not want to share a cage.  I can relate to that, I know growing up I did not want to share a bedroom with my sisters.  Maybe it’s the same, heh

Piggies, before all the drama

 

Farm Life Guinea Pig

Things to know before you buy a Guinea Pig

June 22, 2017

Things to know before you make the leap and purchase that adorable little Guinea Pig from the pet store or the rescue group.

Guinea Pigs are smart, I have trained them to spin for a carrot.  I even set up an agility course for Waffles.  He was jumping over a straw held by two toilet paper rolls.  

 

Food Requirements:

They always have to have fresh hay to eat all day long.  Eating hay helps keep their digestive tract running smoothly.  Hay also keeps their teeth from overgrowing.  They are like rabbits, their teeth never stop growing, and you will need wood blocks to keep that in check.   If they stop eating, the first thing to check is the teeth.  I go thru a 48 oz bag of hay a week. I purchase it at Amazon or Tractor Supply as it is the cheapest I can find.

Guinea Pigs cannot produce vitamin C they have to eat foods that contain it.  Every week I purchase a large container of organic spring mix.  I also supplement with orange sweet pepper, this is the highest of all the peppers in Vitamin C.  Important note, they cannot pass gas, so do not give them anything that would cause gas.  Cucumbers would be a vegetable that could cause gas.  

Pellets are another thing they need daily, ¼ cup per pig. A bag of pellets lasts 3-4 weeks.  Pellets will provide them with the minerals they are missing from the other two items.

Total Food Cost for the week: $18.00

 

Cage:

Guinea pigs need room; they like to run and popcorn a lot.  They cannot have a wire frame floor as this will hurt their feet since they are sensitive.

 pee pads

I have purchased the C&C cages, and I keep them on a card table next to a wall.  

They will tend to urinate when they are sitting eating their hay and greens.  I keep that area in paper bedding. The rest of the cage is fleece.  Some piggies will keep a tidy cage and some will not.  You will have to clean up poop pellets daily or every other day.  I use a tiny hand broom and dustpan for this.  I have tried everything including a small vacuum and the dust pan, and hand broom is the easiest.

To handle the urine, I have purchased adult human pee pads that cover the floor of the C&C cage, I then drape the fleece of the base of the C&C cage, put in the C&C kitchen, so it’s snug.  I take the C&C cage and set it over the base.  The cage holds together when I pick it up and put it over the base.

The pee pads are washable, so I purchased enough that I always have a clean set when changing out the cage.

The only downfall to the cage is the paper bedding as it’s very expensive and last about a month.  $20.00 for paper bedding.

Treats:  

I only give baby carrots and never more than one a day.  Too high in sugar and will make your piggy fat.

Nails:

You will need to trim these.  I just use nail clippers that are for humans.

Fur:

Occasionally I have had to clean a poopy butt because they back themselves up in their hut and get it all dirty.  Typically they clean themselves, and you shouldn’t need to give them a bath.   I bought a baby brush to get all the dead hair off.

Lifespan:

Guinea Pigs can live to be 3-7 years old.  

Temperature:

They cannot regulate their temperature.  In the winter we keep a heater in their room so it’ never goes under 65.  They can’t handle cold drafts, so in the summer be careful of the air vent or if they are near an open window.  

Illness:

A guinea pig’s immune system cannot fight off a cold or an infection.  Make sure you know where you can take them if they get sick.  Waffles started getting sick on Sunday and first thing Monday morning we were on the way to the vet.  Waffles went into cardiac arrest while the Vet was giving him an antibiotic.  My Super Cute Waffles passed away that day.  

Let’s recap:

  • Monthly cost of ownership: $100.00
  • Large cage and special bedding required.
  • Must have a Vet on hand.
  • Long Lifespan – Keep that in mind if you’re purchasing this for a child.
  • Social creatures and need attention from their owners.  
Tractor

Everything is breaking!

June 19, 2017

Summer is in full swing here, and we have gotten a lot of rain, so things are growing fast. Jason was out on the riding mower and ran over a broken off t-post and punctured the tire.

Flat Tire

All I can do is laugh because the week before I was trying to start the push mower and Jason steps in to pull it for me. It takes me a few tries, but I get it started. He goes and pulls it and breaks the rope.

Broken Push Mower Rope

I said see I wouldn’t have pulled it so hard and it wouldn’t be broken. He laughed at me. I had to keep it running until I had everything I needed to mow by the chicken coop. Now, none of our lawn mowers are running. YAY! Well, at least it’s not engine troubles.

Well wouldn’t you know I spoke too soon, the tractor decides it’s only going to run for 30 minutes and die. Our tractor is an old 1948 or maybe 1943 9n.

9n

When I say that out loud, it seems crazy to think it is still running. I don’t know who the first person who owned it was. But I picture them being really happy as it was the first piece of machinery to replace the draft horse/mule in farming. At some point, I will be happy when we can fix it up, and it will be a showpiece instead of having to use it. It’s not very safe as it wasn’t made to handle hills and gullies, which we have and now it’s not working. We were discussing that we might have to pay someone to fix it. We don’t have a way to haul it yet, so we would have to pay for that too.

We were out driving around one day and noticed a tractor service guy right down the road from our house. We pulled in, and Jason went up to talk to the guy. I waited in the car, but I could not see what was going on I just assumed there was some interaction. When he returned, I asked what did he say? Nothing, he just ignored me as I waited there. He saw me but didn’t say hey I will be with you in one minute or nothing just sat with his feet up on the desk talking away. I just rolled my eyes, what is wrong with business owners today. First impressions are so important; I guess he doesn’t need the work. I have to say this isn’t the first time we have had bad experiences out here.

When we got home, I went scouring the internet and found a website written by a guy talking all about how to fix our model tractor. I sent it to Jason, I told him, you might as well start replacing parts he recommends until it is running. So that is what he did, and he got it working! Woot!! Woot!! I am going to write to that guy and thank him for his blog.

Jason Happily Mowing The Field

Farm Life Turkeys

Turkey Love

June 10, 2017

This is our first time experiencing turkeys. We started out with just 3 little turkeys. A Royale Palm and two Narragansett. Now they need a name; I kept calling them different things here and there. Nothing seem to stick. Until I said to Jason, what about Jack and Diane from the song? You know Two American kids growing up in the heartland. Who sings that song? Mellencamp right? Yep! Now, what to name the third one? Jason’s says we can call it Little Ditty from the song too. I am like what, he starts to sing the beginning verse. Ahh, okay yeah that is super cute! So now they all have names. Little Ditty, Jack, and Diane.

Next hurdle, keeping them alive. Turkey poults have to be shown where their food and water reside.  If you see yours not understanding food from pine shavings, you will need to replace the bedding with a towel. They will eat the pine shavings, and it will swell up and kill them. I had to do this for a few weeks. When I moved them to the garage, I placed their food on the towel and put pine shavings on the floor. At this point, they knew the difference. Also, putting them out in the grass too early can also cause problems. They have not developed a good immune system yet. With all this extra attention they will definitely imprint on you. This is where the turkey love comes in!

Sometimes too much love! They follow you around like little puppies. So far I have noticed they have learned some words and actually listen to me when I use them. Like “Come On Turkey Turkey” as I walk they follow. Starting to learn “No!” For some reason, Little Ditty can find everything that isn’t food and want to eat it. When I am sitting down, I can tap my leg and say “Come Here, ” and they jump right up on me for belly rubs. Turkey Love!

Farm Life Turkeys

Turkey Poult and Scaly Leg Mites

June 10, 2017

Turkey’s I love them, but it has been a rocky start!

I decided to document the problem my turkey poult was having with mites. I am not 100% sure where she picked them up at, but this is my suspicion. The poults were old enough to go outside and enjoy the sunny weather. We pulled an older cage we had sitting near the woods and brought it up to the house. It’s was made of wood that I got for free and I never painted it with anything. Note to self: Be Cautious of untreated wood. Typically I paint everything with a barn and fence paint. I use the oil base as it is a deterrent for any wood boring bugs. If you do have unpainted surfaces, you can clean them regularly with bleach water. I think I am going to burn that cage now and build any temporary cages out of something other than wood.

Let’s talk mites, eewww…

My first encounter with mites. I scoured the internet for days and all I could find were examples of bad cases. This lead me to believe it was not a mite issues, but I still treated for mites according to the internet. Diane the young turkey poult picked her foot until it had a gaping hole in it. I treated that with Vetericyn until I could go to Tractor Supply and get something different. Next, I bought Blu-Kote. This helped with the picking some, but not completely. A few days went by, and still, she was uncomfortable. I was at my wit’s end; I did everything. I kept her feet clean and oiled them also. It’s been a week now, I come home from work, and her face is all swollen and red. Now I am panicking, and I call the vet in our area that is a farm vet. I take her to him. He observes and tells me she has mites on her face and neck. Ugh, he also checks her for parasites and finds tapeworms too! Double Yuck!

He tells me to go pick up some Ivermectin for cattle and get some Valbazen for the tapeworms.
Ivermectin dosage for the poults is ½ ml and 1ml for adult once a week. He says it could take 2-3 doses before all the mites are dried up. I also made sure they could take a dust bath which will help also.

Here are the products I bought and used on my turkey poults.

Now back to her toe issue, I decided to bring her in the house and keep her in a covered crate until it’s all healed up. I clean her feet and spray Vetericyn on the wound. We are on week two the mites are clearing up and her toe is almost healed. YAY! I am so happy! I always keep Vetericyn on hand; it works great on wounds.

This experience was a big one. If I even think it could be a mite, I am not messing around with oils; I am going straight to Ivermectin.

Farm Life Farm to Browser Tech

Start a WordPress Blog

June 6, 2017

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