Owls are fascinating if only because they are so quiet in flight. I have been “overflown” only once, but I distinctly remember the feeling of my hair lifting and the breath of air that brushed my cheek as I realized an enormous Great Horned Owl had just gone past!
If you’ve ever seen the talons on one of these guys close up, you can only have respect for these fierce but silent predators. Those Great Horned talons are nearly as long as my fingers, and razor sharp!
At home in Arizona, we started having problems with something killing our chickens. They were roosters, in a big cage on the ground, where they’d be safe from skunks (which we had a lot of) or raccoons. We had an acre that was fenced with 6 foot chainlink, so I never worried about the coyotes.
Anyway, these roosters were pretty happy in their cage, they got moved every day to eat grass and had a roof to keep from getting hot and provide some shelter if it should rain. And the cage was made out of one-inch chicken wire, so we figured they’d be fine.
But one morning I went to feed before going to work and two of my roos were dead. They’d had their heads ripped right off! Ewww!!!!! Their poor bodies were just lying there, and the rest of the roos were terrified.
We immediately thought “skunk or raccoon” and so that night my hubby set the live-trap up on top of the cage. We double-checked the live-trap to make sure it was ready to go, and went to bed, expecting to have to carry some furry miscreant creature off to the release site (20 miles away) the next day.
Imagine our surprise in the morning when we found, not a skunk (thankfully), not a raccoon, but a nearly full-grown Great Horned Owl in that live-trap! Now, I have to say, that Owl was determined, because he didn’t have room to turn around once he got in that trap.
And those eyes! His (or her) eyes were as big around and just as bright as a new copper penny! I could have held his head in two hands (If I wanted to lose some flesh in the process) it was so big. That wicked beak! And remember those talons, too!
We could tell that it was not mature just by the fact that it had gotten crazy enough to climb into the trap, and were really relieved that it wasn’t hurt. When hubby released it, he said it was just incredible to see that nearly six-foot wingspan unfold out of that 8X8 inch trap!
I remember one researcher that I worked with many years ago telling me a story about an owl that didn’t like him – he was playing a recording of an owl call to find a particular species, and one night he finally called one in. The last time he played the call that night was just before the owl flew up behind him and bonked him on the head with its balled up talons. He said it felt like getting hit with a ball bat!
So, remember tonight to listen for the owls, whether huge, majestic Great Horned Owls or itty bitty Burrowing Owls. They’re all amazing!
I have to say that I never realized how fun a “simple fish” can be as a pet until I met my Aunt Lorraine’s Betta, “Mr. Fish”.
I started feeding Mr Fish in the evening after work for her, and he quickly figured out what was going on! Within two weeks, he’d come up to the surface of the water under my hand to get his food, and a week after that he started jumping for it!
My hubby was still working out of town at the time, and I was hanging with Auntie to keep her company while we sold our property down the road.
Mr. Fish learned really fast that if he jumped out of the water at my hand, that I’d let the food drop, so it became a twice a day ritual. I’d call his name, touch the side of the tank, and here he’d come, rocketing out of his hiding place, ready to roll!
I remember telling Jim on the phone about it one day because his reaction was complete disbelief! He actually thought I was making it up! I told him “Fine, but I’ll show you when you get home for the weekend…”
Boy was he surprised t how high Mr Fish was able to jump to get a bite of food, and how funny the look on his face was!
Fast forward about 15 years, and our son asked if we couldn’t get some fish….
Okay, I told him, but just a couple of guppies or… “This one! I want this one! Look Mom, he’s red, white and blue!” And so, Rico came home with us. Rico was your average WalMart Betta, small, very hungry and VERY shy.
And, so it took a little longer for Rico to figure out that when I said his name, and touched the side of the aquarium, that meant food was on the way. But, figure it out he has!
Last week I had Tyler feed Rico, and he actually followed instructions…He said Rico’s name, he touched the side of the tank, and then he put his hand down over the water.
Then he jumped and hollered! “Mom, he touched my finger! He jumped out of the water to grab his food!”
And so he had. Rico may be “just a fish”, but he’s a special Betta to us. He’s helped show our son how special every life is, and how much we still have to learn about animal intelligence and behavior.
Betta fish are easy to care for and can teach you and your kids a lot! Give a Betta fish a great home, and they’ll repay you with their beauty, elegance and relaxing ways for years to come. What better investment for just a few dollars and a bit of your time?
Want to learn more before you jump in the water? Not sure your kids are ready for a pet?
Available on Amazon: My Betta Fish Journal https://amzn.to/2QZy7H4
As always, feel free to drop me a line at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments!
You know cats are kind of different anyway, right? But you also realize that your Siamese is truly unique, even in the cat world? Here are some fun Siamese-only facts that you may not have known:
Siamese are named after the country they came from originally: Siam (now Thailand). An ancient Thai manuscript (The Cat Book Poems) is illustrated with a Siamese. This manuscript has been dated as being from somewhere between the 14th and the 18th century A.D.
The Siamese we are familiar with today is a lean and lithe, athletic cat with a triangular face. Originally, however, they were a lot stockier and had a more rounded face. Both types are still around, and it’s purely personal taste which you like better.
The Siamese star of “That Darn Cat” (1965) was played by a rescue cat named Syn. He’d been left at a shelter because he was too independent, and an animal trainer adopted him for five dollars. He went on to win the first PATSY award for animal performers!
In Thailand, Siamese are called ‘wichien-matt’, which loosely translated means ‘moon diamond’.
Siamese’ “points” aren’t there when they’re born! All Siamese kittens are born pure white, and their color doesn’t begin to develop until they’re a few weeks old. This is caused by an enzyme that reacts to body temperature, and it only works on the cooler parts of the cats’ body.
Siamese mix cats (like the one in this photo) are just as interesting and individual. Officially, there are several accepted point colors including lilac, blue and chocolate, besides the original seal point.
You’ve probably found that your Siamese is very vocal and opinionated! They seem to believe that we are only here to provide for their well-being, and that we should anticipate their wants and needs. I know that my Siamese mix, China Belle, believes that she should be fed whenever I walk into the kitchen! To prove it, she jumps up onto the tub where her dish is located, and meows to make sure I know where she is and what she wants.
If you’re looking for a responsive and verbal companion, but you’re not quite up to having a human roommate, a Siamese may be just the thing! They generally snooze the day away while you’re at work, and are happy to see you when you get home, as long as you realize that their wants come before yours!
I invite you to purchase “My Siamese Cat Journal” at https://amzn.to/2pyRjjh if you’d like to learn more about Siamese, or if you want to record your Siamese’ latest adventures! You’ll find facts, stories, quotes and trivia to remind you how precious our furry family members are!
As always, feel free to shoot me an email with questions at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com, and God bless and have a Fabulous day!
Have you wondered about those interesting looking hermit crabs that you see at the pet store? Maybe your kids want one? Here are some fun facts that you might not know!
1). Hermits have to have a variety of shells in their habitat. They don’t change shells until they ABSOLUTELY have to, and when they do emerge, they must go right into a new shell. If there isn’t one that’s the appropriate size, they’ll die.
2). Hermit crabs can live to 15 years old, if they’re taken care of properly!
3) Hermit crabs are easy to feed! There are several different hermit food formulas out there, and if you also provide daily bits of fresh fruits and veggies, they should be happy and healthy. Sometimes hermits don’t eat at all for several days (especially if they’re molting), but you’ll still need to provide food every day.
Live or dried insects like crickets or mealworms are great treats, along with unsalted popcorn, unsalted crackers or raisins. Most hermits are nocturnal, so you’ll do best to feed them in the evening as they wake up for the night.
4) When one hermit decides he’s changing homes, he’ll be surrounded and climbed on by a bunch of his roommates. As soon as one shell is vacated, someone will move into it, and the process continues down the line.
Remember that they keep growing their whole life, so add in bigger shells and take out smaller ones every few months.
5). Hermits like to live in groups, and they like to climb on rocks or each other! They’re a fun pet to watch, and are very low maintenance.
Cage cleaning can be done once a week, and food and water must be changed daily, but that’s about it. Use sand or dirt in the bottom of your hermit environment, so that if any of them fall down climbing, they won’t get hurt!
So, go ahead and add a few hermit crabs to your family! You’ll find they can be just as fascinating as any pet, and because they’re easy to take care of, you’ll get a pretty good bang for your buck with these tiny creatures!
If you want to see if your kids are ready for the responsibility, I invite you to get “My Hermit Crab Journal” at https://amzn.to/2DBR7qj, and have them brush up on care feeding and info on hermits for 45 days first!
And, as always, shoot me an email at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with questions. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll surely find out!
God Bless and have a fabulous day!
You probably know that Llamas are basically a camel without a hump. But did you know that Llamas are actually a purely domestic species?
Apparently the native people of Chile and Peru not only domesticated Llamas four to five thousand years ago, they also began selectively breeding them at about the same time. With our human need to “improve” everything, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to learn this.
Today, Llamas are still important as pack animals and wool producers worldwide.
As pack animals they have few rivals! With their leather-padded feet, they don’t tear up turf or loose soil, and they are extremely agile and sure-footed. Although they can’t carry a heavy load like a horse or donkey, they can travel farther on less water and less feed than either.
If you’re into hiking, a couple of Llamas can make a back-country expedition a lot more enjoyable! They’ll carry food and water enough for you and themselves, and a lot more besides. They’ll browse a little, but generally don’t even leave a trail, so the “leave no trace” thing is very do-able with a Llama or two.
Your Llama will need to be sheared every spring, so you’ll want to either learn how or hire someone. Their wool is very fine and dense, and can command a respectable price at any spinner/knitter event.
They generally eat hay, as you’d suspect, and they are easy to clean up after for the simple reason that they choose a potty spot and stick with it! It’s SO much easier to shovel up Llama ‘beans’ because of this habit – they’re always in a pile in the same place. You don’t have to walk all over their corral looking for piles and that’s a time-saver!
One thing to remember is that while your Llama will probably get used to your own dog, they’re quite intolerant of wandering canines. Llamas make great herd guardians for sheep and cattle because they’ll actually attack a coyote or a strange dog. And while they may look comical, they’re pretty scary when they’re in protection mode. They can easily break an arm or leg, and if you’re on the ground, you’ll get stomped pretty badly!
If you do get a llama, it’s better to get two! They’re very social animals. If you can’t get two llady llamas, you can generally keep two neutered males together. Llamas don’t really fight each other, they just don’t care much for strange canines. If you think about it, that’s pretty understandable, since coyotes are their primary predator in the wild.
If you like to hike a LOT, and you have the room, get a couple of Llamas to take on your next vacation! They’re interesting, intelligent companions, and will carry a couple hundred more pounds of gear than you can carry by yourself without complaining.
And don’t worry about overloading your Llamas. If you put more weight on them than they can carry comfortably, they’ll just sit down till you fix it!
If you’d like to learn more about these interesting and versatile animals, I invite you to purchase “My Llama Journal” on Amazon here : https://amzn.to/2VrHdia and enjoy finding out more facts and trivia while practicing gratitude and mindfulness.
As always, feel free to drop me an email at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with questions, comments or criticisms!
Here in Kentucky, our Cardinals don’t migrate, but stay all winter long. (In fact, Cardinals don’t migrate at all!) They’re a regular visitor to the bird feeder that I keep on the porch, and some have gotten enough used to me that they’ll barely fly away when I refill the feeder.
I ‘m not the only person to have been captivated by these strikingly beautiful birds, and they’ve had admirers for as long as there have been people around to see them. The Cardinal is the State bird of seven different states, and why not?
With that striking scarlet red body, expressive crest, and those clever, bright eyes in his black mask, he’s definitely one-of-a-kind. The female is less bright, but then she needs to be to maintain her camouflage while she incubates her eggs. She’s still very pretty, and they’re delightful to watch as they grab all the sunflower and safflower seeds they can possibly hold before letting anyone else get at the feeder.
Come spring, the male will start to feed the hen as they start to warm up to the idea of starting this year’s family. Scientists think that this “mate feeding” gives the hen a good idea of whether a rooster will be a good provider for the babies to come, and that’s a pretty sensible idea!
Whatever the reason, it’s adorable to see the rooster stuff himself at the feeder, then fly over the driveway to coax the hen into letting him feed her, then returning again for his own meal.
Cardinals will nest twice most years, and so have a better chance of producing babies that will survive into adulthood. Interestingly, Cardinals are one wild bird that’s not disappearing, but is actually expanding its range northward!
Perhaps because birdwatchers like you and I are feeding them regularly, or perhaps they’re just that good at adapting to new environments, but either way they must be a welcome addition to the winter landscape. Few sights are as beautiful as the bright red Cardinal against a snowy background, and the fact that they’ll come to associate you with food has to help.
Cardinal moms get really shy and secretive when they’re nesting. They REALLY don’t like to be disturbed, and will abandon their eggs if they feel at all threatened. If you’re fortunate enough to find a nest, the eggs are a cream or buffy color, with brown spots. The nest is a twiggy thing, but with added bits of bark, leaves, rootlets, and lined with vines grass and hair, then some feathers, it’s pretty substantial.
The Rooster bird will feed the hen while she’s on the nest, and when the babies are within a couple of weeks of flying, the hen begins to build the next nest. That last two weeks before the first chicks become independent, he stays pretty busy, between helping to feed the chicks, feeding the hen, and defending his territory from other Cardinals!
Cardinal hens will lay from two to five eggs in each nest, and she incubates for 12 to 13 days. The male will call her off the nest to feed her, and this is the most dangerous time for the eggs or chicks.
Nests may be parasitized by Brown-headed Cowbirds, but this isn’t nearly as bad for the Cardinal chicks as it is for other, smaller birds. Cowbird chicks grow at about the same rate as Cardinal chicks, and grow to be about the same size, so they don’t suffer from sharing with the Cowbird chick as badly.
So, enjoy these delightfully bright, feathered friends in your yard or even on your balcony! Set up a feeder and watch them enjoy the extras you provide to make the weather out there a little easier to endure. You’ll find they brighten your day as they do mine!
Whatever you call them, these are the cutest little parrots around! Yes, they are parrots, one of the smaller species, but not the smallest! The smallest parrot is officially the Pygmy Parrot, a little green bird with a buff-colored face and a short tail that looks a lot like a teeny lovebird. But back to budgies…
So, lots of people are surprised to find out that parakeets (budgies) are a parrot, because they’ve always just seen pictures of the bigger, really expensive ones that take a LOT of room and attention. But Budgies are really smart; In fact it’s a Budgie that’s recorded as the “talkingest” bird in the Guinness Book of World records! Budgies have a really high pitched voice that’s sort of squeaky, but once you get the hang of listening, it’s adorable.
Another cool thing about Budgies is the variety of colors! They can be found in Blues, White, Violet, Yellow and Green, and the combinations of these are nearly endless. Budgies have been pets since 1805, so they really are domesticated. Breeders have been finding and establishing different color variations for a long time now! Birds are the third most popular pet in the world now, right behind cats and dogs, so there are a lot of fellow ‘birdy’ people out there, too.
Budgies do need to eat something besides that seed mix they sell in the big box stores! Fruits and veggies are great healthy foods, and you don’t need anything special. Carrot shreds are really popular, and bits of greens (well-washed) from your salad makings are great, too. I give mine a couple of halved grapes once in a while, and grass from our lawn (we never spray ours with insecticides or weed-killer).
Here’s another thing about Budgies: Because they’re intelligent, they can get lonely, and if you’re not home during the day, you should leave the radio on for them to listen to for company! A single Budgie will learn to talk better, according to what I’ve read and seen, but I’ve never been able to keep a single anything because I feel so bad for them. I can’t imagine being stuck in a cage for any length of time all by myself, when it’s my nature be part of a flock. So mine don’t talk, but that’s not to say that they aren’t talkative!
So, when you decide to get your own Budgies, here are my suggestions:
1) Please get the largest cage you can make room for! Budgies need to flap their wings, fly as much as possible, and they love to climb up and down and play with lots of different toys. You also want to have a regular time to get them out every day to exercise and socialize.
2) Clip those wings! If you don’t, they can fly fast enough to hit a window and break their teeny necks or wings, so this is a no-brainer! They’ll learn VERY quickly that they can still fly a bit with properly clipped wings, and they’ll surprise you at how well they get around anyway.
3) Be responsible and feed them well. They will reward you with a pleasant disposition, plenty of cheerful chatter, and great company for 15 to 20 years!
4) Don’t breed your Budgies if you can help it! They’re lovely to raise and it’s lots of fun to watch babies grow up, but think of all the homes you’ll have to find! Budgies can raise 6 babies at a go, and three or four clutches every year, so I’m not talking about two or three extra babies here.
With all that said, get some Budgies and be responsible. You’ll have years of entertainment and cheerfulness to your day, at a small cost of time and money. Good Luck, and as always, any questions to me at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com will be answered! God Bless:)
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LeslieAnne Hasty is a Dangerously Different homeschooling Mom who grew up in the Arizona desert, but now lives in the foothills of Appalachian Kentucky with her family and lots of pets. An irreverent, irrepressible animal and nature lover, she dreams of a world where every pet and person is treated like the miracle they are.
Ever wonder what the attraction to chickens is all about? Compared to thirty years ago, there are lots of urban chicken flocks, and I’ve had people ask me “Why?”
Well, the obvious answer is, of course, eggs! Eggs are a great protein source, many people love to have them for breakfast, and they come with the added bonus of knowing that your own chickens produced them. I also want to add that a “home-grown” egg bears only a superficial resemblance to what you’ll buy in a store.
I distinctly remember my Mom calling and telling me that she’d given my brother a dozen eggs from her bantam chickens, not long after we got her set up with a small flock of five. My brother had cracked an egg into the frying pan, and immediately phoned her to ask “What’s wrong with these eggs?” “What do you mean, what’s wrong?” she replied. “Well, the yolk is REALLY orange and it’s standing up in the pan!” he answered.
We laughed ourselves silly! I’d had home grown eggs for so long that I hadn’t thought about the differences from store-bought for many years, but we got a refresher that day. Our home-grown eggs did, in fact, stand up in the pan (picture a small yellow-orange ping pong ball in the middle of the spreading egg white), and they were definitely a different color as well. Store-bought eggs are a whole different animal!
The biggest reason that home produced eggs are different is that chickens at home get to run around and do chicken-y things like look for bugs, scratch in the dirt, take dust baths, flap their wings and just be chickens. All the exercise they get makes them a far different animal than the egg-producing machines that are kept in cages so small they can barely turn around. Those poor birds are treated like things, rather than living creatures that need to get out, stretch, run, scratch and breathe.
Home chickens generally are treated as a valuable part of the family, in that they not only produce eggs for their humans, they’ll also happily eat any leftover food that’s gone bad, any vegetable matter like potato and carrot peelings, and be healthier for the extras. Chickens in your yard are impossible to ignore as they chase each other, fight over who’s the boss, and generally act silly. If you scatter a handful of feed in your yard every day when you let them out of their coop, you’ll find yourself calling them over and talking to them. The best part of that is that they’ll talk back! Your own chickens will happily begin to come when you call them, expecting a treat every time, so you won’t want to disappoint! They’ll express their pleasure with your offerings in no uncertain terms, and you’ll find yourself learning their different personalities and quirks.
Another thing that chickens can be helpful with is pest control. Your home chickens will happily chase down and eat everything from flies to caterpillars, and as bonus they’ll entertain you with their antics. There are few things as immediately hilarious as looking out the window to see a line of chickens at full run, speeding off to a corner of the yard, then stopping in a huff to look around for the cause of the hubbub!
All in all, having a few chickens in your backyard is inexpensive, amusing, and unless you insist on keeping a rooster, pretty quiet! The eggs seem to be more of a bonus for us, and being able to give eggs to your family and neighbors is a fabulous way to share your bounty and make friends.
P.S. My Mom had to re-home her flock after just a few years, but by then the neighbors were all so addicted to fresh eggs that she had three offers of homes for them!
Rabbits aren’t just adorable outside pets anymore – they actually make a great apartment pet that’s quiet and pretty easy to care for. If you’re looking for an easy-going room-mate who doesn’t play the stereo too loud or spend all their time watching the television, a house rabbit might be the one for you!
All our domestic rabbits are descendants of the original European rabbit (Orctolagus cuniculus)! Variations of color, size and even ears are the results of careful observation and breeding over many generations. From the Flemish Giant (up to 22 pounds!) to the tiny Lionhead and Britannia Petite (never more than five pounds), any well-socialized rabbit can make a great roomie and a convo starter for the single person or student.
Photo by Sandy Millar via Unsplash
The upshot is that rabbits aren’t just for the farm anymore! If you’re a big pet lover, but don’t have the time or space for a cat or dog, maybe a house bunny will be just right for you!
And as always, feel free to email me at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com if you have a question! I’ll find the answer if I don’t already know… 🙂
So you have a Chin or you’ve thought about getting one? There are some fun things that you might not know about them, here’s a few!
Chinchillas can JUMP! As high as SIX feet, maybe more! So if you get one, you have to have really tall panels to “fence” them into their exercise area! They also need a tall cage with lots of shelves and perches so they can climb and hop while you’re not there.
Chinchillas like company, and two females are probably your best bet. Two males usually don’t get along after they’re adults, and one will get picked on. Or you can get your boys neutered by a veterinarian that does exotic animals!
Their teeth grow continuously, and if they don’t chew a LOT, the teeth can overgrow. This becomes a health issue that you can’t fix yourself, so it’s much more practical to just keep lots of good chew blocks around.I
A Chin that’s been ‘caught’ can actually “blow” its fur. They’ll loose a lot of hairs and have a bald spot, but it can happen. They only do this is they feel really threatened, though.
A happy Chinchilla will stand up on its hind feet and dance! Some Chins have been caught on video dancing to their favorite tunes, it’s just adorable. They are very sensitive to sound, and some owners leave the radio on for company.
Chinchillas like to have a bath EVERY day, but they don’t care for water at all. They take dust baths to clean their fur…
Chinchillas have the most plush fur – it’s so dense that they’re never bothered by fleas or ticks like most furry critters.
Chinchillas have very fragile bones ( a lot like bird’s) so they aren’t thought of a s a good pet for smaller or more active kids. It’s too easy to get excited and start dancing with a happy Chin and stumble or trip…
Your kids really want to get a Chin of their very own? Get this Journal and learn lots more useful information before you take that big step!