Sunday, 27 January 2008

What a weekend

Dear me, it has been a busy weekend!

Saturday was spent having a big clean out as usual. Then in the evening we had a new arrival in the form of Snowberry, a syrian hamster who had been advertised on my local Freecycle.

In the evening I was feeding some of the degus when one climbed out of the door of the cage and fell to the floor. I went to pick him up and he took his confusion out on my finger. He got me in jst the right place and oh boy did it bleed.

Sunday morning I went out to clean the rabbits and give them their second mite treatment and found that Shadow had been scratching again :( He has caused more wounds on his sides and they have now gotten infected. So he and Kitkat have had to come indoors again.

Later we had two more degu arrivals. Two little girls and one boy from an accidental litter. The girls are staying here and are now lodging with Calista, Emilia and Latoya. The little boy has gone to Emma to live with some boys there.

And finally we took in three baby syrian hamsters. Their Mum was purchased from a pet shop and turned out to be pregnant. I'm a little worried about one of them who seems a bit underweight and bloated so I'll be keeping an eye on them. They're terrible pictures but you get an idea of how cute they are anyway

Friday, 25 January 2008

Sad baby news

I was quite excited Wednesday night as Uma mouse looked like she was going into labour. When I checked on her Thursday she looked slimmer but I couldn't see any babies. I needed to check everything was ok so I looked in her nest and there was some blood but no babies. It would appear that being moved just a few days before she gave birth was too much for her and she must have eaten her babies. Pragmatically, it's for the best. She is very young, has already had at least one litter of babies and obviously it's a whole lot fewer mice to find homes for. But I was still ever so upset at the thought of all those little lives which never got lived :(

The good news is that all 5 girls have homed lined up already but I'm worried that one of the older babies, Moretta, might be pregnant herself as she is looking a bit round too.

I'll keep you posted anyway with mousey and degu baby news.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Comings and Goings

We're having a little flurry of activity, the first since Christmas really.

Gorgeous Gus has gone to his new home this weekend :) But he is to be quickly replaced by two more gerbils due to arrive tomorrow. I'm also expecting three rats and two more degus imminently.

Also this evening we have taken in 5 female fancy mice, one of which is very pregnant. I've not had baby fancy mice born here before so that should be interesting! Here's Mum showing off her big lumpy tummy

We've had a fairly naff couple of days as we've both been poorly with a bug. Grandpa is doing much better though and everyone who was poorly is looking better so things are looking better generally.

Sunday, 13 January 2008


I feel much better today :)

I have spent literally all day catching up with the cleaning out and doing the last bits of reorganising left over from our refurbishment. So I am finally up to date with the cleaning!! Yay!! And the room is all clean and tidy! Well apart from the two fat, grumpy rabbits currently living in the play area, much to their total disgust!

We have had some new arrivals too. I neglected to mention that last Sunday we had a gerbily arrival. A handsome, single older boy who I have called Gus. Today we took in three degus (as if we didn't have enough of those already!). These people thought they could make some money out of breeding and selling degus. When the second litter failed to sell they thought they'd let a rescue pick up the pieces of their stupidity. Grrrr!!! So Emma has Daddy and the baby boys and Mummy and two baby girls have come here. Mummy (now called Calista) is more than likely pregnant again. They are blue degus which just means they are slightly different in colour really. Apparently blue degus are prone to malocclusion but what's a painful, life threatening dental problem compared to getting very slightly prettier and easier to sell animals, eh? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 12 January 2008

A tough few days

Advance apologies, I'm feeling pretty :( tonight. It has been a rough few days.

*self pitying whinge alert* Things are still difficult outside the animal side of things. Grandpa was finally released from hospital yesterday and is doing well but has had to go to a care home for now. This is in part because Grandma is now ill with a severe chest infection and fluid on her lungs and is on bed rest at my Mum's. Added to that I'm having a really busy and stressful time at work at the moment too. Oh and I think I have an ear infection, hence me writing my blog rather than being upstairs cleaning out as I should be. Dave insisted I have a rest cos the room keeps spinning whenever I stand up!! *end self pitying whinge*

Thursday night I took Fudgey degu and Nutmeg the foster rat to the vets. Fudge had overgrown teeth and Nutmeg had an abcess on his throat. Both stayed overnight to have anaesthetics the next day. Fudge was to have her teeth burred and Nutmeg would have his abcess lanced and flushed.

Friday I had a call to say Fudge's teeth were worse than was originally apparent and the back teeth were severely overgrown. The vet suggested we put her to sleep. Now, naughty as this is, I have to confess that Fudge is my favourite. When she arrived with another possibly pregnant female she was terrified. Anytime I went into the room she screamed and panicked. I was sure she was pregnant because she was so very fat! But her cagemate gave birth a couple of weeks later but she didn't. When the time came to home them all I decided to keep Fudge here and put her in with my others. She was a bit more used to me but still very nervous and I just couldn't put her through the stress of moving to a new home. I started a campaign to win her over and made a point of handfeeding the degus every night. I can still remember the first night she took something from my hand - it brought tears to my eyes! These days she has blossomed into a confident girl who is alpha of my degu group. She's not keen on being touched by us but she is very happy to come and take treats. So, given that she was still distinctly round and full of energy and otherwise in good condition there was no way I could agree to the euthanasia. I asked the vet to burr her teeth down so that we could see how she got on for a while. If the teeth regrow quickly and cause her problems then we will have to consider her future. But if all she needs is her teeth trimmed a few times a year then I think that's worth considering. She bounced back incredibly well from her ordeal and seeing her give all the others kisses and make little greeting noises to them all was so touching.

Nutmeg, I'm pleased to report, is also doing fine and is on antibiotics to deal with any infection.

So, then this morning I went out to see to the bunnies and found that Shadow had a big wound on his side. So he was off to the vets and it transpires that he has lice. So he and Kitkat have been brought inside and both must be treated for lice. Shads also has antibiotics to help to heal his skin, poor lad.

So I'm still hoping for that magical time when everything settles down and gets back to normal and I catch up with everything!

Friday, 4 January 2008

A review of 2007

This time last year I computerised all my records and was able to see exactly what we had taken in and what happened to them. Well I've carried on with this throughout 2007 which is a great time saver and the time has come to look back over the last year and see what we achieved. Last years figures are in brackets for comparison.

In total during 2007 we took in 295 animals, actually pretty close to last years 292.

This breaks down as

4 chinchillas (2)
44 degus (8)
2 dogs (1)
7 gerbils (24)
1 fancy mouse (18)
128 rats (178)
8 roborovski hamsters (3)
2 russian hamsters (54)
99 spiny mice (0)

And what happened to them?

164 found new homes directly from here (201)
64 were returned to Furry Friends HQ to be homed from there (41)
20 of them died :( (12)
7 of them stayed here (9)
40 are still here (29)

It's interesting to review really, if a little disappointing. Rats are usually the biggest intake here yet we took in 50 less of them. Of course the big intakes of 2007 were degus and spiny mice which also explains the high number who were passed back to Emma to home as we swapped them between us to make the best use of home offers. It also explains why 13% of the animals we took in last year are still here :( Don't assume that these were Decembers intake - in truth we took in very few animals during December. 17 of those still here were admissions from January to April. Deaths are also up. More than half of these were spiny mice who arrived in terrible condition or who were born to sickly mice and didn't make it. There were also several degus who again arrived in terrible condition after years of neglect. There were also four baby rats from the Portsmouth Rescue who were horribly inbred and whose mothers were malnourished.

All in all, during 2007 we said goodbye to 31 dear friends.

Of my own animals:-
Apollo the chinchilla who died suddenly shortly after his second birthday
Dawn the roborovski hamster who finally scuttled off to the bridge at well over 2 years old
Squirt and Dumpling the rats who broke my heart when they were taken from me during a lice infestation
Dearest Poop the rat who made sure he was here to celebrate his 2nd birthday before he let that pituitary tumour take him
Fraggle the dog who died very suddenly from a virus after spending only 9 months with us.
Sweet Abbi rat who didn't quite make two and went suddenly but peacefully in her sleep

Of my foster animals:-
Fozzie the rat who had been returned from his home. A few weeks later he died from congestive heart failure.
Camilla the gerbil who was attacked and killed by her cagemates
Campari the russian hamster who died suddenly, probably from the stress of fighting with his cagemate
Trixie the very naughty rat who shocked us by dying very suddenly and for no apparent reason
12 spiny mice including Chummy, Scabby Hop-Hop and Chewy
Erwine the dog who was rescued from a horrible situation in Ireland. Sadly, just as things were finally looking up for him, he was found to have advanced lymphoma.
Donkey, Gordon and Nads the degus who I have written about recently.
4 baby rats from the portsmouth rescue, including little Merlin who had megacolon

My hope for 2008? To have fewer of these enormous rescues! In 2007 we had the huge spiny mouse rescue (99 animals), the huge degu rescue (44 animals) and the big portsmouth rat rescue (48 animals). In total these accounted for 191 of the animals we admitted - that's 65% of our intake!! The spiny mice rescue alone accounted for more than 1/3 of our intake. What made it worse was that two of these rescues were of animals which are hard to home, meaning that they spent a long time here and took up a lot of space, preventing us from taking in more homeable animals. Of course, it would be nice not to be needed at all but realistically I'd just like to be able to make good use of the little space I have here and be able to find more animals good homes quicker. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the year brings.

A little better

Well things are looking a bit better here. I finally managed to sort Skip out and everything seems to be working for him again (with a little help from me).

Grandpa is still in hospital but we're still waiting for real news on how he is. For now he seems to be doing a bit better anyway.

This week we have been working flat out to reorganise the rodent room. The main catalyst was a dire need to get the chinchillas and degus into a new cage before their old one collapsed. As the new cage was so much bigger this necessitated a big switch round and Dave has built a big shelf unit to hold all the small cages. Anyway we're really pleased with it but utterly exhausted! Today has been an enforced day of rest - the totally ditsy things I keep doing were a clear signal that I needed a day off!! I've taken the opportunity to update the website a bit - you should see some new toys to the right...I hope they work ok but with the way my brain is today I wouldn't guarantee it!!

The other good news is that the last of the roborovski hamsters are heading for their new homes today, narrowly avoiding spending a whole year in rescue.