Category Archives: Livestock

National Pet Week: 4th-10th May


This week is National Pet Week – a week to remember your loving pets; past and present.

All the companion animals that made their way into our hearts; the members of the family that we can’t live without. From large to tiny – no matter what species, pets are held close by their families.

Here are some photo’s of “People’s Pets” shared via various (Ali’s Answers) social media pages (if you want your pet adding to this post, share via the social media options at the end of this post:-

Picking a Pet


There is plenty to consider when you think about getting a pet… I doubt I will cover anything but I hope to get across some of the main things in this post. So I’ll just dive right in…

What kind of pet is right for you?
Species, breed, age, lifespan, lifestyle requirements, environment – these are all important factors to consider when thinking about a pet.
– what sort of pet would fit in with your lifestyle?
– is your home suitable for the pet you want?
– what type of pet is your home suitable for?
– do you have time to give the pet the attention and care it needs?

Chilean Rose

Think about what pet you want. Think about whether or not you can commit. Can you commit to…
–  walking a dog daily, often multiple times daily?
–  ensuring a cat is exercised daily?
–  cleaning the glass, substrate, decor and filter of a fish tank?
–  cleaning a rodent cage multiple times a week?
–  the lifespan of the pet you desire?
If you cannot commit, either choose a different species or consider waiting until you are in a positions to commit fully to the pet you desire. If you do not have the time or the space for the kind of pet you want; then you may need to look into either waiting, or consider a different species/ breed.

Horses

There are many things to consider before adding a pet into your family.

Consider your finances – can you afford the pet you want? – Not just the one off payment for the pet and accessories; but the regular payments towards food, healthcare, replacement bedding, etc.

Space – Where will the pet live? Does it require specialised housing? Will it have free run of your home/ garden? Is your home suitable for the pet you want? Does this pet require large housing building/ buying? Do you know what housing type is best for the species you want?
Consider the positioning of any specialised housing – not near busy thoroughfares, or in direct sunlight/ under bright lights,  anywhere too dark, too cold, too hot, etc. Does the housing need to be outside? Do you have enough outside space to accommodate the animal?

Socialisation – Do yo need to buy more than one due to the animal being of a social species? Does the animal need socialising outside of the home? What is the best way to socialise the species?

There are many things to consider! So do some research, ask a professional (nb. not every person who works in a pet store, etc. is a professional!), check out a few different individuals of the species you want, and be as prepared as possible before diving in to pet ownership!

 


If you have any questions or comments, or would like any more information or advice regarding this post; or if you have anything specific you would like me to cover in a future post, then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

World Animal Day


4th October 2014 – World Animal Day

Also known as International Animal Day or World Animal Lover Day. World Animal Day is a day for remembering all animals; by the people who love and respect them.

So enjoy the following animal images…

Common Behavioural Problems: Introduction


What is a behavioural problem?
(a) A natural behaviour that is undesirable to the owner, but very desirable to the animal.
(b) A natural behaviour that us undesirable to both owner and animal.
(c) An abnormal behaviour exhibited (and often done in repetition) that suggests the animal has an inability to cope with something in its environment (known as Stereotypical Behaviour).

Common Behavioural Problems:
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.)
– Coprophagia (eating faeces – not abnormal for certain species)
– Aggression
– Excessive Vocalisation
– Scratching/ biting/ kicking/ rearing/ bucking
– Anxiety
– Tail Chasing
– Feather Plucking/ Fur Pulling
– Chewing (things that they are not meant to chew)
– Hyper-excitability
– Excessive Grooming
– Wind Sucking/ Cribbing

Stereotypical Behaviours:
– Pacing
– Weaving/ Swaying
– Head Bobbing
– Circling
– Neck Twisting
– Bar Biting
– Rocking
– Self-Mutilation
– Vomiting (and then eating it, and vomiting again)
– Coprophilia (playing with faeces)
– Coprophaga (repeated)

How can behavioural problems be approached?
(1) Educating the owner
(2) Modifying the environment
(3) Modifying the animal


I will be doing some follow up posts on some of these behavioural problems, and some ways to tackle them. If you have anything specific you would like me to cover then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Pet Health Check: Body


As a response to a message asking to know more about health checking your pet at home, here is some information… part two:

Last weeks post covered the face, this week will cover health checking the rest of the body – as a continuation from the face/ head…

SPINE:
From feeling for lumps, nicks, cuts, etc. on the head and face of your animal; run your hands gently down the spine, feeling all along for anything out of the ordinary.
– check the spine is straight, not sticking out at any odd angles
– no lumps or swelling around the spine
– check the skin around the spine is not punctured or wounded (open)
– feel gently, slowly, and carefully

TAIL:
– same as above, just continue down the spine to the tail, checking the same things
– if your pet is a tail chaser, check that your pet has not caught its’ tail and done damage (with their teeth)

ABDOMEN:
– gently apply a slight pressure, to check for any pain
– feel for any internal lumps

RIBCAGE:
– check it feels normal for the species, not oddly shaped
– gently apply pressure, checking there is no pain (nothing feels broken)
– no lumps or swelling

LEGS/ WINGS/ HIPS/ SHOULDERS:
– no lumps, swelling, cuts, nicks, etc.
– free from pain when gentle pressure is applied
– joints bend normally; no pain or stiffness

FEET/ NAILS/ HOOVES:
– not too long; curling
– not flaking or split
– clean and free from dirt, debris, stones, etc.

FUR/ FEATHERS/ SCALES/ SKIN:
The fur patterns on your pet tend to match up with the skin colour; i.e. black patches of fur will have dark skin beneath, white fur will have pale skin beneath, brown fur will have brown skin beneath (etc. etc.) so know what your pet looks like all over so you can tell if anything is unusual. Know what is normal for your pet in terms of fur/ skin/ feather/ scale type, note any benign abnormalities so that you are able to ascertain when anything unusual occurs.
– skin: free from dryness/ crusting; fur/feathers: free from dandruff/ debris
– fur free from matting/ knots
– feathers should have a healthy shine
– fur should be soft and shiny
– wire hair/fur should not be brittle
– scales ought to be normal; not raised, or discoloured
– free from parasites, abrasions, lesions, infection

Male Bearded Dragon

Pet Health Checking: Face


As a response to a message asking to know more about health checking your pet at home, here is some information… part one:

First and foremost, wash and thoroughly dry your hands. Ensure you are clean before health checking your pet. If you feel the need, wear thin medical gloves.

Start with the eyes. Always.
If there is anything anywhere else on the body, you don’t want to transfer it to the eyes accidentally; staring with the eyes will avoid this.

EYES:
– free from discharge
– free from foreign bodies
– not red, bloodshot, or discoloured in any way

Next move onto the nose.

NOSE:
– free from excessive and/ or unusual discharge
– clean and clear
– watch also for excessive sneezing

Then the mouth.

MOUTH:
– gently lift up your pets lips to check the teeth
– small animals with split lips can have one side of the lip lifted at a time, the bottom lip can be gently pulled down to check the bottom teeth
– check for tartar build up
– know the colour your pets teeth ought to be, so you are able to tell if there is any discolouration (e.g. rats have yellow teeth, cats have white teeth)
– check gums are not discoloured or bleeding
– rabbits and rodents; check teeth are not overgrown (or likely to cause damage)
– check tongue is normal size/ shape and not discoloured (e.g. Chow-chow dog has a blue tongue unlike other breeds)

Next check the ears.

EARS:
– check the external ear is free from cuts, nicks, lumps, not extreme temperatures, and not painful when in normal motion
– check there is no excessive wax build up
– no unusual odour (dogs ears smell pretty bad normally, ensure you do not mistake this for infection)
– no mites, fleas, ticks, or other parasites

GENERAL FACE:
– free from cuts, nicks, lumps, and pain
– fur/ feathers not matted and free from debris
– skin is not dry or infected


Look out for the corresponding post next week, covering the rest of the body.

Did you know? The 5 Freedoms


Short one this week. As much as we love our pets, not all animals have it as good as our little sweetie’s. Some have it very bad which sucks. It’s lovely to read rescue adoption stories and see animals get a second chance at happiness (they needn’t need a second chance, they should be loved right the first time).

The UK has the best animal welfare laws in the world, but even our laws do very little to help animals that really need it, without hard evidence. There are the 5 Freedom’s that were originally written by farmers for livestock, but have since been applied to domestic animals too. I have also realised that not many people have actually heard of the 5 Freedom’s – so this is merely an informative post to share what the 5 Freedom’s are and what they mean.

1. Freedom from hunger and thirst – fresh water readily available at all times, and a diet to maintain a healthy vigour

2. Freedom from discomfort – providing a suitable environment, including shelter and a comfortable area to rest

3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease – by prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment

4. Freedom to express normal behaviour – by providing sufficient space and proper facilities, and the company of the animal’s own kind (suitable socialisation)

5. Freedom from fear and distress – ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

I firmly believe in providing animals with the highest standard of care and good welfare that is possible. These are a good starting point.

Daisy Dog & myself
Daisy Dog & myself

Sleep Time!


I have been thinking about sleep this week, and how with longer days and more sunlight during summer, often we rise earlier and stay up later. This is because of serotonin released in your brain (the waking hormone) caused by sunlight (you can counter this with heavy curtains that block out most light). Melatonin is the hormone that causes sleep. Obviously these hormones work differently depending on what species you are, and whether you are diurnal, nocturnal or a crepuscular species.

Anyway – with all that technical nonsense floating around my brain I decided to share some random things about animals and sleep, with a few pictures for your enjoyment too!


Fish and snake need darkness to help them sleep due to not having eyelids – snakes may bury in substrate but fish do not, so remember to turn off tank lights

Some species of snails can sleep for as long as 3 years!

Elephants sleep only 3 and a half hours per day, usually standing

Horses and cows cannot dream unless they sleep lying down

Giraffes need less than 2 hours of sleep per day, often getting no more than half an hour of sleep daily – broken into several intervals of between 5-10 minutes – they sleep the least of of all mammals

Giraffe
Giraffe

When dogs sleep on their back, with their paws up, they are in a deep sleep

The little brown bat sleeps up to 12-20 hours a day

Cats (big & small) need a minimum of 12 hours sleep per day, on average sleep for 14 hours daily

Sharks must keep moving whilst they sleep, often covering great distances

Birds have a locking system to stabilize them whilst they sleep, perched

Kookaburra
Kookaburra

Dolphins and ducks can half sleep – where only half their brain is asleep at a time, the other half stays awake!

Flamingo’s also sleep half their brain at a time, whilst on one leg

Walruses can go up to 3 days without sleep, but when they do sleep they get on average of 14 hours (just like cats!) daily

Koala’s sleep approximately 18 hours daily

Sloth’s sleep 15-18 hours daily (not as much as you may have thought)

sloth
Sloth

Bats sleep (and rest) hanging upside-down as their wings are not strong enough to take off from standing – they need to drop into flight

The green tree-frog turns a tan colour during sleep

Prey species tend to sleep little and often in safe (often high) places, or stood up – whereas predator species sleep for long periods and where they like


I hope that you found that interesting – if you want any more information or have any questions, about anything animal related, please feel free to ask in the ‘thoughts’ box below or on the comments page, or via social media sites
– Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Rare Breeds: Cow


Vaynol cattle are white, with black ears, eyelids, hooves, and a black nose; sometimes also black socks and ends of the horns (black points). The females may even have black teats on their udder. The males have long horns, which grown out the side of the head, and then flick upwards (to quite a height); the females do not have horns. The breed on average weighing 300-450kg.

The breed itself is very old, dating back to the  late 1800’s. White cattle with coloured points are first mentioned in literature, dating back almost 2,000 years. It is also a beef breed (not a dairy cow).

Bull (male)

Vaynol cattle are on the Rare Breed survival trust list, classified as Critical – meaning there is less than 150 left in the UK. This makes them one the rarest breeds in Britain. They are a semi-feral breed, largely maintained on large estates and national parks. Due to being semi-feral, with little human interaction/ intervention, they are quite wary of humans and seen as a timid breed. Although, slowly making a come-back with more human intervention nowadays – with breeding programmes set in place and measures taken to avoid inbreeding within such small numbers of individuals.

Cow (female)