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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.  
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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Chickens Farm Life Nesting Box

Nesting Box

May 23, 2017

After using different types of nesting boxes ranging from wooden to inexpensive types.  I decided to try out Miller Manufacturing Nesting Box.

              Top reasons I like them

    • Easy to Clean

    • Removal is a piece of cake

    • All my chickens use them

    • Roost flips up if you need it to

 

The first time I took them down to clean, it was a breeze. They are attached to the coop with screw slides. So no trouble there unhooking them from the wall.  I could easy clean, dry and replace them in a short period of time.  I find my eggs are cleaner too, compared to my other wooden boxes I have used. I would think having a hen that wanted to go broody in one must mean they are comfy too!  Here is Floppy after hatching a couple of her babies.

Miller Manufacturing Nesting Box

 Floppy Likes Them Too!

 

Farm Life

Pond Visitors

May 18, 2017

Belted King Fisher

It’s not a very good picture. The bottom one is a male and the top one is a female. Females have a rust color on them.

 

NC River Otter

Otter eating a fish

We have had a few different encounters with otters. The first time I saw one, wasn’t sure what I saw since I didn’t think we had otters in North Carolina. It freaked me out until I saw it up close up fully identify it.

Yep, it was a large adult otter. I learned a lot very quickly about them; they eat half their weight daily in fish. That is what it was doing, swimming laps in my pond eating fish and leaving lots of scales and poop behind. Typically they do not stay long in ponds, otters prefer rivers and streams, but I thought I would move the process along by bothering it every time I saw it doing laps. It would snort at me and come up out of the water like it was trying to intimidate me. I had the dog with me, so I was not too worried about its big teeth.

Beaver

A beaver came by for a visit. They can’t see very well so as long as it doesn’t smell you, you can get close to them. They also eat like to eat pine trees, and it cut a few down for me and ate the entire tree.

Ducks

Different kinds of ducks come off and on throughout the year. I only have pictures of the Wood ducks, but I have seen Hooded Merganser and a few Redheads too.

Garter Snake

I was running around the pond chasing the otter, and I almost stepped right on this guy. Good thing he wasn’t a poisonous snake.

Farm Life Featured

Happy Easter

April 16, 2017

Happy Easter Everyone!  

I wanted to make some graphics with our chicks.  The first one is our new baby Narragansett turkey, the rest are baby chickens an Appenzeller Spitzenhauben and a Buff Orpington chicken.  The Buff is a rooster, I call him TreeTrunk because he has some big legs on him.

 

Yesterday I decided I wanted to dress up one of guinea pigs and do a photo shoot.  His name is Nibbles he is super sweet although he does like to nibble on your fingers.  He is a large piggy and weighs about 3 pounds.

Bees Farm Farm Life Featured

Keeper of Bees

April 6, 2017

I’m officially a graduate of the Caswell County Bee School.

I’ve always had an interest in bees and have entertained the idea of getting some bees someday, so when the opportunity came up to take a 10 week course in beekeeping I decided that it was now or never.

First of all, bees are pretty awesome. I learned a great ton in the course and came away with a greater appreciation for bees and those who keep bees. There is a ton of information out there and this class made me feel like like “Hey, I can do this!”.

At the end of the course we were given information about the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association and their Certified Beekeeper exam. I took advantage of this as well. This required joining the NCSBA (a $25/year membership) and completion of a written exam as well as a practical test. I took the written exam before our field day and passed that. All that’s left now is to get a little bit more experience and take the practical exam.

I’m looking forward to learning more and hopefully we’ll have enough bees to have some honey next year.

During the class the instructor told us about a local man named Dan who would have NUC’s available. I reached out immediately and got them ordered.
When I picked up my bees from Old Dan’s Bees I was super excited. We went through the hives that he had and picked out 2 NUC boxes worth of bees. That’s 5 frames and a queen for each NUC box. Got them home and got them all settled in.

 

Working with Dan was quite a learning experience. He’s only a few miles from the farm so I offered to help any time that he needed it. He has 5 sites that he has bee’s on and said that he’d love the help. Really looking forward to learning more about the honeybee.