farla: (Default)
So, um, the chickens.

See, there's been this raccoon. It started coming around like one AM, but then earlier and earlier in the day, until finally it got dark one night and when we went to put the chickens away something had already gotten in. From the looks of it, it killed Fluffles but couldn't figure out how to get her back out. Somehow - we're still not sure how - Chubbycheeks got out. We found a huge patch of feathers midway on the lawn and then a trail of feathers leading across the street into the bushes and assumed it had made off it her, but the next day our neighbors called to say she was hanging out in the bushes by their house. She was an absolute mess, with her tail and back feathers gone, but with only a small bite mark. I cleaned her up and a lot of the damaged skin just sort of peeled off with healthy skin underneath. And now the whole area's covered in nailed-down chicken wire, and she gets put inside before it gets dark.

But it meant we were down to one chicken, which isn't good. Chubbycheeks has never been a cuddly chicken but she was desperate to be around us, to the point I sat out there to watch her and she jumped in my lap. Plus winter's coming up and a single chicken can end up freezing.

So, my great-uncle has chickens, and we went down to check them out. He was insistent we take the young healthy good laying ones, but I wanted the beat up ones, both because I figured they'd be less trouble on Cubbycheeks (who is not a dominant bird at all) and because I figured they'd be better off (ten of them in a pen maybe a third the size of our pen). Oh, also the young ones were mostly Leghorns and those things are apparently total assholes. We were actually intending to just borrow them over the winter, but he'd decided to get rid of them so we're keeping them. He wasn't there when we went back and the woman taking care of them agreed with us on taking the pathetic ones, so we got the old buff orpington, who's missing half her feathers and turned out to be so low on the pecking order even Chubbycheeks could successfully bully her, and then a plymouth rock, who did not put up with that bullshit and started attacking Chubbycheeks right back, which was good because it meant also protecting Blondie, who finally relaxed and could do normal chicken stuff. They're both big birds, so they should do well at keeping Chubbycheeks warm, and both extremely docile birds, although they weren't handraised like ours were so they're not used to handling. I'll cuddle them a lot over Thanksgiving.

That may sound ominous to you but that's silly, they're chickens.
farla: (Default)
So today I found a bunch of ducklings that'd just hatched. And that whole thing about the mom abandoning them if you mess with the nest is bullshit, so I picked up a couple because fuck it, they're baby ducklings, and one of them had a massive cataract over one eye, which made me realize that hey, the other eye did look kinda milky compared to all its siblings and long story short, totally blind.

What followed can be summed up as "Farla's adventures in trying to communicate simple things with stupid people". Things I did not need to know but was informed during this involved: the fact ducks take care of their young, the fact excessive handling stresses out ducklings, the fact wildlife rehabbers exist, the fact I should not assume the mother has abandoned the nest (she had), the fact I clearly did not know what I was talking about, the fact ducklings would be fine, the alternative fact that if there's anything wrong with a duckling it's "sick" and going to die, the fact ducklings naturally die a whole lot, and the fact nature needs to take its course. It took multiple tries to get across that I wasn't speaking about some hypothetical ducklings nor was I curious, in general, about the nature of duckling fitness. I wanted to know if any wildlife places could remove cataracts or not. This is a specific question, granted, but not really a complex one.

One of the major disconnects seemed to be that people assumed I was objecting to the philosophical concept of death. The philosophical concept of death was not the issue here. The issue was that this was not a sick duckling. It was not a duckling that was going to follow around its duck mommy until it keeled over in a few hours. It was an otherwise healthy duckling that was going to die a slow and horrible death. If the answer had been "no, we handle that by killing them" this would have been acceptable. What was not was everyone and their grandmother telling me it'd be "fine" and to just chuck it in the general direction of its mom and then never check back so we could all assume it worked while it died of exposure.

I ended up carting its siblings over to the mother (fuck you, everyone), who had run off after about half of them managed to get out of the nest because she kept getting attacked by other ducks. I attempted to bring the blind one over only for it to get in the water and swim in circles until it reached the shore again. I then found it a new mom with fewer babies who was extremely devoted and attacked me several times during the transfer, but once they got back on the shore it lay down to rest and didn't realize the rest of them left. I returned it to her, only for it to panic and swim in frantic circles while the new mom swam back and forth not understanding why it wouldn't follow her. Finally, I gave it to someone who said they could take care of it.

This is the second time I've had to deal with tons of bullshit like this. I get that generally problems are caused by people fucking around in the first place, but that doesn't mean the correct response is lying and stonewalling, and maybe if it wasn't obvious they were lying all the time people would be less likely to blow off what they said. I get that baby birds are really delicate. That's why if something really has gone wrong I need to be able to get information fast, not hit some sort of human phone tree where I say half a sentence, get told something that isn't an answer, then get switched to someone new every time I rephrase the question. And I get that maybe people do not trust my judgment in whether something has gone wrong, which is okay! I didn't trust my judgment for a good while there. But in that case it seems like the proper response is "ask me questions that would let you determine if something had gone wrong or if I'm just stupid", as not doing this means that I have to end up relying on my own judgment again.
farla: (Default)
I huggled birdies! In my hand because they were tiny. You have no idea how deliriously happy this makes me. I've had tiny pet mammals on and off for most of my life, but the chickens are really my first foray into avians and the chicklets, being flightless, could pretty much be handled like hamsters. The holding/restraint of tiny, angry birds is new and something I've been kind of horribly anxious about, but now I know how and know I know, and I'm actually very good at it and didn't hurt them at all and they bit me and it was adorable and they were adorable and :D so much.

Edit: Nononono, guys, these were not!chicken adults getting unwanted cuddles. Chickadeedeedeedee!

Pets

Jul. 6th, 2008 11:12 am
farla: (Default)
Petsitting again.

Here's what we have:

There's the hermit crabs, always good for crushing guilt and fear. They've been dying each time they molt. Mom brings them home and they promptly dig holes and prepare to molt. We find out that the diet we've been giving them is kind of like feeding a kid nothing but jello. We switch foods. They ignore it because they don't move when they're getting ready for molting. They're still alive, possibly, at the moment. One completed its molt but hasn't come out yet and we're still waiting to find out if it'll die or if the other one will kill it.

Hermit crabs suck.

Also, we need a third one or they'll be sad.

The hamster-gerbil-things are fine, except they've got bite marks on their ears. I don't know if they're trapped together in misery, or if they'd be lonely if I separate them. And this is one of those things you can't undo - if I separate them, they can't go back together. I'm thinking of setting up a second cage and connecting it, but Mom's pretty sure they'll just divide up the territory and fight more.

Also, they hate me.

We're taking care of dogs. Dogs suck. You have to walk them and you can't just leave food out for them and they shit on the floor if you don't let them out. The big dog we're taking care of for our neighbor is too high maintenance. And he wants to run when we walk and I feel bad if I don't but I can't keep up at him going at full speed even when I sprint and it's uphill everywhere here and it's exhausting just doing the walking. And the little dogs our friend gave us have the cats cowering in the basement (which is an improvement over not coming home at all because everytime they came near the little fuckers started barking their heads off and charging the door). They're also fat and needy. One isn't eating, and the other we don't want to feed because he's so fat. He doesn't want to go for a walk. He just wants to sit down on your lap and never ever move except to eat his food, the other dog's food, and the cats' food. He's a chihuahua. I tried to look up what the original purpose of chihuahuas is and after hitting a dozen pages that don't even mention it I found their purpose was to be sacrificed or eaten. Or both. They are like furry pigs if pigs had separation anxiety. And we have no idea if we should be feeding him or not since he's so incredibly obese. AND WHEN YOU EAT FOOD THEY JUST SIT AND STARE AT YOU. AND STARE. AND STARE.

And there's a betta, who isn't causing any problems.

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