little cow

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    farming, gardening, science, teaching, Catholicism
  1. Martha the Orphan Possum

    She is kind of soft to pet. Like guard hairs on a shepherd, but softer. And her feet are warm and fleshy. More primate than rat. The good news is that they don't eat hay, nor do they like to nest where barn cats live. The only worry about feces or urine from possums causing EPM in horses is if your hay storage area has something to eat in it, such as cat food left out. If not, they will be happy to visit your farm and significantly reduce the population of bugs (they even eat ticks), but your horses should be safe.
  2. Martha the Orphan Possum

    I picture a koala bear when I look at her. She has the pouch and the feet with thumbs, like a koala. She also moves slowly, like a koala. If you think of them that way, maybe they can be cuter.
  3. Martha the Orphan Possum

    Thanks, guys. There is a family joke about me and possums. Years ago, I went out to the hay barn to check on the cows after dark. The single light cast a small amount of light in a little area. As I was looking for something in the barn, I heard something on the shelf next to me. I assumed it was the cat, because she always jumps up there for petting. I reached my hand over to pet her, absent-mindedly, but something wasn't quite right. The cat was black, but I saw something grey out of the corner of my eye. When I looked, my hand was hovering about an inch above a full grown possum. He was eyeing my hand, but was quite peaceful. Now, I realize it was because I was moving slowly. He didn't get petted, but almost, lol! So, if you startle a possum, move slowly and back up to let them go on their way. They should calm down a bit. They are nocturnal, but are sometimes seen in the daytime, but usually only if disturbed by a cat, dog, or other predator. Pick up your cat bowls at night. Lock up your chickens at night. If you make your coop rat-proof, it will definitely be possum proof.
  4. Martha the Orphan Possum

    I have learned a lot about possums over the past few weeks since we've had Martha. First, they are mostly slow moving and shy creatures. They are also gentle, with few defenses except for the infamous 'play dead'. Martha has never hissed at me, but she opens her mouth when she is startled. Possums rarely ever get rabies because of their lower body temperature. Baby possums need care until they are about five months old. At three months, (when we found poor Martha) they have pink ears. Over the next few weeks, black began at the base of their ears and moves up until they have black ears as an adult possum. Their paws look like they are wearing black, fingerless gloves. They are curious little creatures that like to explore their environment, but get scared easily and want a place to hide close by (for Martha, it's her blanket). Their feet look more like koalas than any other North American mammal. They are, in fact, more closely related to koalas and kangaroos. They are omnivores, but especially enjoy insects and fruit. They also eat cat food that is left out overnight. Martha's basic diet is soaked kitten food blended with fruit, veggies, and a calcium supplement. At 3 months Her cage Martha this morning. Notice the black on her lower ears.
  5. The Front Porch

    Poor kitty! She will live the good life, now.
  6. Hey y'all

    Glad things are going well for you and the kids!
  7. The Front Porch

    Heidi, glad you found her, but I'm sorry she's hurt. Poor little black kitty!
  8. The Front Porch

    Possum update! We still have her. The rescue didn't call us back. The message said they were very busy. I guess so!! At this point, we don't need them. We are in contact with a national rescue that is taking us through the process step by step. If the local wildlife folks call us back, perhaps she could go with another possum around her age before release. But, I'm not holding my breath. Her wound healed up fine. It must have been superficial. She recovered from her shock and we set her up in the garage in a big wire cage with hay, sticks, little blankets, and a water dish. Our son named her Martha. I got a quick crash course in making a formula for her and bought a little mini blender thing to grind it up. The formula is mostly kitten food, but has a little fruit, veggie, yogurt, and a calcium supplement. Apparently, they can get metabolic bone disease without supplemental calcium. She is doing well on four daily feedings and should be ready for release in two months. The last few weeks will be minimal contact with us and she'll be in a pen near her release site. The most important thing is not allow the dog or cats contact with her. She needs to maintain her healthy fear of them.
  9. The Front Porch

    Thanks, Jubal. It was a very mild colic, and I switched her over before it got serious. In fact, she colicked on the weekend when the vet was so far away on other calls that they couldn't make it out. Plus, since she responded to treatment so well, the vet never did have to come out. Cheapest colic ever! She is enjoying her grass hay/alfalfa mix now. The pony benefited from her belly ache as well because I thought since I switching one, I might as well switch both. The pony has never had an issue, but I'm done with coastal as a horse hay. I feed it to the cows, the donkey, goat, and sheep. No other animals have issues with it. In fact, the donkey would be at risk for founder on any type of alfalfa mix. Just horses and ponies. The wisdom from the vets around here is that it isn't a problem until it's a problem. Most people feed it because it's cheap. If a horse colics, switch them.
  10. Are horsepeople truly nuts?

    I have a friend with a farm called "Someday Maybe", lol!
  11. The Front Porch

    We have weird animals, too. I have no idea why. Really.
  12. Sorrows

    kdrown, thanks for the info! I think it will come down to which breeds are available near us. I was fine with buying a GSD from afar, but I knew the breed. If I get something on this list, I would like to meet the breeder and find out if they have avoided the common health problems in the breed. Bouviers sound like they have a short lifespan. I didn't realize they were that big. We don't want to say ' goodbye that soon. I'm also spooked about getting a Dobie, if they have a tendency towards bloat, like GSDs and Great Danes. That was a horrible experience.
  13. Sorrows

    You would think so...but, no, sadly. We already walked away from one Bouvier breeder and one Dobie breeder because they insisted on cropping the ears of all their puppies.
  14. The Front Porch

    Odie is awesome. My grandmother would love to borrow him before Christmas. She is notorious for peeking at presents before the big day..