little cow

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Everything posted by little cow

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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. Are horsepeople truly nuts?

    There is a certain stigma attached to horsepeople, especially horsewomen. Is it deserved? I have heard a few men joke about dating crazy horsewomen. I have seen the eyerolls and smirks. Are they misjudging us? Are we truly THAT crazy, or do we put ourselves in situations which are unusual and that brings out the worst? Boarding barns, for example. I think this is the biggest source of crazy in the horse world. Can you imagine any other situation where adults and teens would leave their favorite pets to live away from home? I think this does make some people obnoxious. I was "the help" at boarding barns when I was younger and experienced the frothing at the mouth, psycho, don't-touch-my-horsey types. They were rare, thank goodness. Or, am I missing something? Is there something about horses that makes us different? Are we risk takers and adrenalin junkies? Are we independent and used to having things our way? Does being around horses make us crazy? Maybe it's the fly spray. They are neurotoxins, after all.
  12. The Front Porch

    We have weird animals, too. I have no idea why. Really.
  13. 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.
  14. Sorrows

    We lost our beautiful German Shepherd Thursday. Luther was fine the night before. He seemed fine when he went outside to use the bathroom Thursday morning, but when he came inside, he threw up foamy, thick mucus. It had no smell. Alarms triggered as soon as I saw it. Within an hour and half, he was at the major vet teaching hospital in our area, getting prepped for surgery (it's an hour away). Unfortunately, his stomach flipped and twisted in such a way that it was too high up and involved his esophagus. His spleen also wrapped 360 degrees around his stomach. Blood circulation was cut off for too long. Not a dang thing we could have done differently. We follow all the rules about feeding and water (small meals, etc...). We don't exercise him near mealtimes. And yet, it still happened. Large breeds dogs always carry this risk. Luther would have been 9 years old in July. I couldn't write this before today. He was our house pet, farm dog, and our son's best friend. It is so unfair. Many animals on the farm are sad. It isn't just us. Nancy the goat, who loved to run the fenceline and rear up as if ready to headbutt him, is taking it hard, too. All the animals seem quiet and subdued. It's like they lost their king. We still have our beautiful Maddie spaniel, thank goodness. She is doing okay. Sticking to us like glue and we take her everywhere we can so she isn't home alone too much. Our barn cat, Bagheera, an 11 year old kitty that showed up as a starving kitten, has been laying low for about a week. When I pet her last night, I felt a hard lump on her scapula. Bone cancer. Most likely from a vaccine. It has grown very fast. She still seems mostly normal, but cats are deceptive. We didn't tell our son, yet. It's too soon. If he feels the lump, I'll be honest, but I am not going to tell him while he is still mourning Luther. I don't know how long she has. The vet will be out this week. There is nothing that can be done for sarcoma at vaccine sites in cats. We were on the conservative vaccine schedule and she still got it. We are moving at the end of May. I always pictured both Luther and Bagheera at the new farm. If we didn't have Jacob the kitten to distract us, it would be harder right now. Our son asked why we lost Luther. I told him God made wolves. People breed dogs. We don't always get it right.
  15. Shampoo Conditioner Ratio

    When you buy shampoo, do you buy two bottles and only one of conditioner because of the annoying ratio issue? Or, do you buy one bottle of shampoo and one of conditioner, hoping that, somehow, this time, you will use them both up evenly? Do you actually wash your hair twice with shampoo before conditioning, further disrupting the ratio of shampoo to conditioner? DO you have lonely bottles of conditioner that have lost their mates long ago, on the extra shelf in the bathroom? I don't shampoo twice. I try to scrub enough the first time. I still run out of shampoo before the conditioner is even close to running out. I switch around products, because my hair is finicky, but I still have all those lonely bottles. I keep meaning to change my habits and buy two bottles of shampoo for every one bottle of conditioner, but my continuing optimsm causes me to hope that, just maybe, this time, it will work out. Why they don't sell conditioner in little bottles and shampoo in bigger ones, is beyond me. Don't they know that we all want lots of lather for our shampoo and only a modest amount of conditioner? I think it's a conspiracy. I think the evil shampoo people plan this. Or elves are sneaking in our bathrooms at night to steal little bits of shampoo. They know women tend to have an embarrassing little conditioner collection (which baffles all males). It makes us look like hoarders.
  16. 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.
  17. 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..
  18. Sorrows

    Wow. I know there is a lot of work for that breed. We came up with a list of interesting breeds as a family. Doberman (natural ears), Kelpie, Giant Schnauzer (natural ears), Belgian Tervuren, and mutt, lol!. We also did some online quizzes for fun. Some of the same breeds kept coming up.
  19. The Front Porch

    We are more concerned about salmonella and leptospirosis, so we wash our hands meticulously after handling her. EPM is low risk since she is in the house and not the barn and her feces and urine have no contact with horse hay or grain. She will have an excellent release site away from the barn at the new property. The dog and cats will discourage her from hanging out in the barn as long as we pick up their kibble at night.
  20. The Front Porch

    RRW, can't wait to see what that project looks like! How do you find employees? General ads? Maybe you could ask local church offices if they know anyone looking for work? If they have a strong community, they should be able to help. Same goes for mosque, synagouge, etc... Even veteran's organizations.
  21. The Front Porch

    Anyone ever raised a baby possum? (Okay, disclaimer, I know they are formally called opossums, but it's a dang awkward word, so i am going with the Southern vernacular). I rescued one from a dog a few days ago. Had no idea what I was getting into. Called the wildlife rescue folks, but they never called back. Left a message after their recording talked about how busy they were. I suppose that's' why they never called back. First things first, possums are not a rabies risk. They can have other unpleasant things, but not rabies. I use gloves when handling her, but she has not offered to bite. I have a blanket that she hides in when she feels shy. I only handle her for 4-6 times per day feedings. Anyway, I found the Opossum Society online and have been getting a crash course in possum care. Since we just got Jacob to 8 weeks successfully, I figured no big deal. Well, actually, unlike kittens, which are relatively independent by 8 weeks, possums are dependent on their mothers until 5 months. This one is about 3 months old. I have 2 months of work to do to get her back out in the wild. We have a great place to release her at our new farm. Right now, she is sleeping on my lap in a blanket with a full belly of a special concoction that was suggested by the possum folks. Cute little bugger. About the size of a rat right now. We named her Martha, but she is not a pet. She is going home when she's old enough. Always something going on around here. As soon as one baby is big enough, there is another to care for. This is a great distraction from our recent losses, however. Our son was dancing around the house whooping and hollering happily when we found out she needs two months of care!
  22. Sorrows

    Wow, great info! Thanks! Hope your big dog settles down soon. I'm so sorry.
  23. Sorrows

    Well, it's fun to look at exotic dogs, but it is so complicated (and expensive). I hope there will be a mutt waiting for us. Herding types at our pound are extremely rare, but we'll try later this summer. In the meantime, I contacted the local lady who helped me train Luther to herd sheep and cattle. She raises herding dogs. Maybe she can help.
  24. The Front Porch

    RRW, what sort of monkey wrenches?
  25. Sorrows

    Our vet confirmed that our barn cat, Bagheera, has fibrosarcoma. She has about 3 months. She is 11 years old and holding her weight. This tumor came up fast. Three weeks ago, I couldn't feel anything unusual when I picked her up. Two weeks ago, I felt a knobby hard growth, about the size of three acorns, on her scapula, near her neck. This week, it has spread around to under her right front leg and protrudes even more from her back. The cause is any sort of traumatic break in the skin (vaccines) and probably, a genetic predisposition. It isn't the vaccines themselves. Even injecting saline can cause it in studies.