Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A nice evening out

Or, well, maybe not.

I had to take Annie to the vets yesterday. Her teeth were on the long side, and her bottom ones were behind her top ones instead of underneath them, like they should be. Vet number one diagnosed her with dental malocclusion, potentially caused by a gum infection, or a vitamin D deficiency. One suggestion was putting her on a course of baytril (antibiotics) and metacam (anti-inflamatory), which would cure any potential infection and hopefully make chewing less painful so she'd wear the teeth back down herself. Option number two involved putting her under general anaesthetic and looking properly in her mouth, filing down any spurs or protrusions that might be hiding in there, and trimming the errant incisors.

I ended up going with option number two, and we sat in the vet waiting room for another hour and a half until vet number two was free to root around in her mouth. He said afterwards that there was nothing wrong with her back teeth, so all that he did was trim her bottom incisors. Possibly the anaesthetic was unnecessary, but then the baytril would have been too. She may still end up on a brief course of metacam if she has issues after the trim, but it is apparently unlikely.

She recovered really well from the anaesthetic, too. When I put her back in her cage, she sat looking at me with a really dopey expression on her face until I put her in front of her house, and then she slunk in, but about twenty minutes later she was running around being her normal self. I'm keeping an eye on her food intake and weight to make sure her teeth are better, but hopefully I will not have to take her back to the vets any time soon!

Thursday, 18 April 2013


I know I promised cage tours, but this is much cuter!

Winter apparently doesn't mind being a pillow!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

My gorgeous Robo boys

I took a couple of pictures and videos of the Robos this morning!

Darla was not co-operating!

I think this is Winter on the wheel and Rocco behind

Rocco in front and Winter under the cork

I need to do a cage tour for Darla too, as you can see he has a new platform in there! Today is clean-out day, so we shall see.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Winter and Rocco

So, I picked up these little guys today! I suppose that means it's intro time.

Roborovski squish!

Winter and Rocco


They are both husky Roborovskis, and are a father-son pair. They are also technically brothers, as Winter's mother is also Rocco's. They are the result of an unexpected, unintended litter.


I picked them up today 13th April 2013!


After commenting on the thread about the unexpected litter on a hamster forum I frequent, I ended up talking via PM to their owner. She offered to let me rehome a pup or two when they were older and I leapt at the chance. Since there was only one male pup and Winter did badly without company, I ended up taking the father-son pair.

  • Toy: I have it on good authority that they love their flying saucers!
  • Treat: Millet, apparently! Imaginative of them!
  • Activity: Digging. Dear lord, these two know how to dig!


Mary needs a new home

Hope this girly finds herself a new home soon!

Mary needs a new home
Mary was found last week on the Roecliffe to Bishop Monkton road where the road regularly floods. She had no hair on her tail or back and despite being only 4/5 months old she was pregnant and very skinny!!
Mary was first spotted cowering at the side of the road by our MD’s wife who stopped and Mary ran under her car. With a little gentle persuasion the Kitten was coaxed out and allowed herself to be picked up - she was shaking. The poor little thing was wrapped in one of Basil’s old dog towels and driven straight to the vets. She spent the entire journey purring and kneading into our MD’s wife’s lap - she was clearly very happy to be found.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Oh dear...

In good news, I finally have internet!

The bad news is I dropped my laptop while trying to stop Annie from going behind the sofa cushions. It's quite dead! Since I have been thinking of getting a new one for a while -- it's over four years old and been through a lot -- I've taken the opportunity to buy a shiny new (blue!) netbook. But yes, my internet usage now depends entirely on whether my boyfriend wants to use his laptop or not!

Thirdly, Winter and Rocco are arriving tomorrow! I have a picture of Winter being sleepy for your viewing pleasure.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The "best" pet shop in Leeds

I moved to Leeds about 3.5 weeks ago, and of course one of the important things to do is to scope out the local pet shops! There's one not too far a drive from where I am that claims to be the best pet shop in Leeds, so of course I had to take a look. Their website didn't fill me with confidence, to be honest -- their reptile and aquatics sections looked extensive but the rodent ones didn't -- but I know not everything shops sell will be on their website, so I thought a look wouldn't hurt.

Oh my. Pulling into the car park, I saw a row of rabbit hutches sitting outside the front. They were tiny, though, 3 or 4 feet long at the most, and certainly not suitable for a rabbit!
At first glance, inside seemed to be better. Closer inspection, however... Their toy selection was not as extensive as it looked, because they had so little that was actually suitable! They had those horrific metal barred wheels that can break a rodent leg, and the metal mesh ones that can trap toes. Most of the selection was tiny -- while they did have the 12" silent spinner and the largest size comfort wheel (I think it's 10"?), those were swamped by the piles of tiny wheels and the horrible mesh ones. What was worse was that the wire barred ones were the ones provided in the hamster and gerbil enclosures!

The actual animal enclosures were a mix of good and bad... but mostly bad. Their Syrians were separated, their dwarfs were in single sex groups with clearly labelled enclosures... But some of their rabbits and guinea pigs were also alone, their gerbils had a thin layer of wood based cat litter and nothing else for digging in, and none of the cages were properly secured off from the public. The Syrian pens were open to the roof and the rabbit/guinea pig/dwarf/gerbil pens all had the doors on the top half of the front of the cage open. I could have easily pocketed (literally!) any of the smaller rodents, there was no one even visibly watching the section. There was a sign saying do not touch the animals, but nothing to actually prevent it.

As well has the horrible mesh wheels, the enclosures were full of fluffy cotton wool bedding. Actually jammed full, in the case of the house in the female Robo cage. They had an extensive area of shelving dedicated to selling it, too. And the cages... the big green store has a better selection. Their guinea pig and rabbit cages were too small, and most of the hamster cages were tiny things like the Ferplast Laura, or habitrail or rotastak monstrosities. Their one redeeming cage was the duna multy, (and possibly the largest critter choice, but at £80+, would anyone buy it?), but nothing else met RSPCA guidelines, or could fit in an 8" or larger wheel. Even the big green store's horrible new range of pick and mix cages can fit an 8" wheel, and the big green store stock hamster suitable "rat" cages. These guys didn't even have anything "rat" sized -- okay, so I didn't see any rats in store, but they did have a selection of ratty books and a couple of degus, who also require far more space that any of the available cages.

It's weird. It's not like the shop was filthy, or the animals were obviously being neglected, but I still left the shop without buying anything and went to the big green store instead!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Thursday, 4 April 2013

My new boys!

I've been sitting on a little secret for a while!
Hamster squish!
This is Rocco (on top) and Winter, a son and father pair. A member of a certain hamster forum rescued a pair she thought was a mother and daughter, who she called Autumn and Winter, a gorgeous agouti and husky pair. However, they turned out to be mother and son! We ended up talking while their unexpected, unintended, pups were still young, and she agreed to let me have one or two, which I was so pleased about! I love husky Robos, they are gorgeous, and the litter was highly likely to contain a husky or two.

Little Rocco
The pups were the most awkward babies to sex, even an experienced Robo breeder was stumped! When pictures didn't help, the pups were actually taken to visit her, and she still wasn't sure. One was definitely male, and paired off with Winter at four weeks old. The other two were an awkward pair and stayed with mum for a bit longer.

Handsome Winter
Winter loved having a friend again, he did really badly alone, so when the other two pups turned out to be female, it was decided that I would take Winter and Rocco. I'm picking them up on 13th April, when Rocco will be seven weeks old, and I am really looking forward to finally meeting my two husky boys!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Totally addicted to bar chewing

Bar chewing in hamsters is a bit of a bizarre one. It's really not a good thing, as it can cause cause teeth to break or even be ripped out in extreme cases, yet it's something "everyone" seems to know that hamsters do. Whenever someone mentions that their hamster is bar chewing on one of the forums I frequent, the immediate response is 20 questions -- How big is the cage? How big is the wheel? What toys are there? Often it's a case of cage too small, wheel too small, hamster is bored out of its mind and chews accordingly. Sometimes it's not. Sometimes the hamster has learnt bar chewing means food, or playtime, or something else it wants. Sometimes a hamster can become addicted to chewing bars.

The Ferplast Mary, not exactly small!
Annie was in the latter category. With a spacious cage (80 by 50 centimetre Ferplast Mary "rat" cage), an eleven inch diameter wheel, and lots of things to play with and chew, she still chewed the bars! My first action was to mesh the cage with left-over six millimetre square mesh from making Darla's bin cage. While I only had enough to cover about two thirds of the cage, it actually stopped her chewing for a fairly long time, even in the areas that weren't covered. Then she started up again, chewing on the cage door, or the corner closest to the sofa where I sat, which looked a lot like "get me out!" bar chewing. For a while, a couple of the general remedies worked -- hanging chew toys in the area, weaving cardboard between the bars, coating the bars in olive oil. (I also tried lemon juice. She loved the taste, daft ham!)

It then got to the stage where she was chewing the bars anywhere she could, not just the door or near me, and had even started chewing the metal hooks that held up her cargo net hammock. It was this final development that made me realise it had probably become an addiction.

A friend of mine has a couple of hamsters who became addicted to bar chewing. One was a Roborovski in a converted rat cage, with really deep substrate, 100 by 50 centimetres of floorspace, and tonnes of toys. A second was a Syrian who became addicted twice, once when she was in a huge Rotastak set-up with a Savic Hamster Heaven, a Ferplast Mary and a three tier bin cage attached, and the second time when in her current two tier five foot long converted rabbit hutch. The first time, housing her in a barless setup for a couple of weeks kicked her out of the addiction, so I decided to try the same with Annie. Unfortunately, the only thing I had to hand was the old mini duna in the wardrobe or Darla's bin cage -- both too short for Annie's wheel -- and an eighty litre bin that had about the same floorspace as a mini duna but with enough height for her wheel.

She spent about a week in the bin (with the cage top of her Mary as the roof to provide ventilation), and in that week... she learnt how to wedge her wheel so that it couldn't turn, so she could climb up the back of it and chew the bars. My only option seemed to be getting hold of more 6mm mesh for her Mary, but that was easier said than done -- Wickes was the only store I could find that seemed to do it, and the nearest one was 5 miles away. Normally that'd be okay, but this weekend has also had some drama with the garage door key, resulting in my car being momentarily unavailable!

The Hagen Zoozone 2, a hamster paradise!
Then I found a gem at the local indoor market. A zoozone 2 -- 100 by 50 centimetres of "guinea pig"/"rabbit" cage, shockingly small for either but both larger than Annie's Mary and a tank style with bars only on the roof! Since it had been previously used (by a ferret for only one week, poor ferret!) I was offered it at just over half the recommended retail price, so I was not going to say no! The only thing it needed was the bars on the roof meshing, as the bar spacing is designed for guinea pigs and rabbits, so too large for a hamster. Off came the six millimetre mesh from the Mary, and on it went onto the zoozone lid!

I had to make a few other alterations because of Annie's metal-chewing habit. She's having to drink from a water bowl rather than a bottle after chewing the bottle spout so much she soaked her face and worried me about her teeth again, and anything that was hung with metal hooks is now hung with cable ties to prevent her chewing them, but I am loving the space and the fact that she can no longer damage her teeth on metal bars! I'm sure she'll find something else to exasperate me soon, but for now I am no longer anywhere near as stressed about her as I was!