Baby bunnies

After much discussion, one year we decided to let our girls get some rabbits from the local pet store. The clerk told us rest assured that they were of the same-sex. Apparently they did not know what they were doing over at that pet store because we ended up with dozens of domestic baby bunny rabbits! We gave away all that we could and finally gave the parents to a good home as well because my girls simply could not keep up with caring for them.

Here’s the tips I learned:

1.Check the sex of the animals yourself!

2. Separate the male from the female or he will impregnate her immediately following birth.

3. Place a warm water bottle under the bedding for them. Mom will not keep them warm, although she may make a nest of sorts for them.

4. Don’t worry if it appears like she is not feeding her babies, she is just doing it when she doesn’t feel the stress of people crowding around to watch.

Owls

We had a nest of owls living in our large maple tree two years ago. This is a baby that fell out of the nest. I think it is a Great Horned Owl because of the tufted ears, but I can’t be sure.  Here’s the tips I learned:

1. Don’t let the kids get to close! They may look adorable, but they have razor-sharp little talons. It will clap its beak loudly and spread out his feathers to make it appear larger. It will also make an aggressive hissing sound.

2. The best bet is to leave it alone. If its got feathers it will likely be okay even if it is not able to fly. (They can actually walk back up a tree like a squirrel!)

Ducks

We live close to the Mississippi river, Rock river, and numerous lakes, ponds, and streams. People are always feeding bread, french fries, chips, crackers, even cookies to the ducks. This is not the right thing to do!

Tips I learned:

1. Only feed the ducks nuts, grapes, seeds, oats, or cracked corn. They get little nutrition from the other carbs and it makes them fat, unhealthy, and unable to fly well.

2. If you see a duck nest with eggs it is very important to not touch it. The mother is likely near by and if she feels threatened may not return to her babies.

3.  If you are positive that the mother is not coming back, do not try to hatch the eggs yourself unless you have experience and the proper habitat to do so. Its better to contact your nearest wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible.

Geese

This is (was) my mother-in-laws goose! They raised it from a gosling that they got from a friend. This goose had free range around the yard and fed on poultry feed.

Unfortunately this goose had a destiny of becoming food.

Tips I learned:

1. Have a constant water source such as a 5 gallon bucket or children’s pool.

2. Give the goose good quality poultry feed.

3. Don’t become attached to the goose if it is going to be butchered!

Frogs

My kids have brought home many frogs, toads, lizards, and turtles over the years!

Tips:

1. Do not have your kids go crazy trying to catch bugs for them. Simply keep an aquarium open outside in a shady location. Place about an inch of water (preferable the mucky water that they captured them from) in the tank. Place a large rock in one corner so it can get up and out of the water when need be. It will also hide behind the rock when it feels threatened.

2. Cover the tank with mesh screening at night to keep critters safe from predators. Enough bugs and mosquito larva will feed it from when it was left open during the day.

3. If you fish, put a night crawler or a few minnows in there when your done fishing!

Monarch butterfly

Young kids love watching the caterpillar transform into the beautiful monarch butterfly!

Tips:

1. Get a large pickle jar. If the jar is to small they could damage their wings when you release them.

2. Place milkweed about 1/3 of the way up the jar.

3. Place a stick with many nodules or mini branches coming out of it. (So it can hang from its green chrysalis.

4. Place in a shady location and wait for the butterfly birth!

Raccoons

You can read more about my experience with them on the post “Garden guests…Please do not make yourself too comfortable.”

I do not recommend anyone keeping these as pets! They are so cute, but beware, they can become very destructive and dangerous! If you find an abandoned baby please contact the wildlife rehabilitation center nearest to you!

Stray cats

This poor little stray has been living on our back porch and deck for about 3 months now. She will not leave our yard and comes running up to us every time we come outside. As soon as finances permit we are going to take her to the vet to get shots. It’s such a shame when people take in animals and then abandon them like this. We will rescue this poor little baby for sure!

Tips:

1. Do not give adult cats milk, it will only give them a sour stomach.

2. Stay away from wet food except for an occasional treat. The crunchy food will be better for their digestion and their oral hygiene.

3. If you cannot afford to take in a cat…don’t! Take them to your nearest no-kill shelter, but please do not let them roam around making more hopeless and hungry strays.

Sassy the Himalayan

This beautiful cat died in our care last year. The cat was not drinking adequate fluids and had blood streaked urine. We made the vet appointment as soon as we became aware that something was wrong but unfortunately Sassy died within 3 days of noticing her symptoms.

Tips:

1. Please see your veterinarian for immediate medical attention, especially if your cat is straining to urinate or crying out in pain. This could be a medical emergency!

2. When you adopt a grown cat, make sure to get a medical history from the previous owner. We believe this cat had serious problems that the owner was aware of but did not mention to us.

Pigeons

Pigeons are everywhere! In the city or in the country they are always the catfish scavenger of the bird world!

Tips:

1. Contact with pigeon droppings may pose a health risk. Three human diseases are known to be associated with pigeon droppings: histoplasmosis, cryptococcosis, and psittacosis.

2. If you feed the pigeons, give them dried field peas…not bread! It is much healthier for them and their droppings will be less frequent.

A dog named Hawk

We adopted this cute little Beagle/Basset Hound from a no-kill shelter. He was my oldest daughter’s dog at heart and lived with us 8 years. One night he wandered into the street just as an unsuspecting motorist was coming along a side street and Hawk was struck down and died instantly. It was a devastating night for all of us, especially my poor daughter.

Tips:

1. If your dogs are not fenced in, buy them a bright, reflective collar to wear at night.

2. To help your children through the grieving process, have a funeral and burial service complete with flowers, words of reflection, and prayer. It may sound strange but I think it’s very important for working through the loss.

Ziggy

This is my beloved doggie Ziggy. He’s an australian shepherd mix and is quite a handful!

Tips:

1. Train them to walk properly on a leash when they are puppies! Zig still can’t quite get it right (He walks me!)

2. Give you dog a vitamin supplement with omega 3’s. It’s really good for their heart AND their furry coat.

Critters are awesome!

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3 responses

  1. I have no plans to get any critters (I have an indoor cat that looks like Sassy but with a regular long nose and blue eyes), but thanks for the great info!

  2. Anonymous says:

    great info about critters. i especially liked the par about never touching baby wildlife or wild nest of any kind. thanks!

  3. lucindalines says:

    Such useful information and such precious pictures of the pets. I can relate to the loss of the dog. We had to put our “puppy” down after he attacked my husband. I haven’t been able to walk seriously since he has been gone over two years now.