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Archive for May, 2009

It’s been a long time coming…

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

This is a sight I've been waiting to see all season, and it looks like he finally pulled through.  This is our little lesser boy we got last year.  I've been pairing him up this whole season, but until now we haven't actually caught him locked up with anyone.  It's about freakin' time!

Total bust at the wildlife refuge

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Bald Eagle Perch © R. Niebrugge

 

I felt like going out to our local federal wildlife refuge Sunday.

I prodded Chris to go with me, it was a beautiful day and PERFECT for going out with the camera and hiking! We headed out there around 6 pm. There we're a few cars, we started onto the hiking path, camera in hand, when we hear screaming up ahead.

Okay, it turns out the screaming was the joyful squeals of a 3 year old. We see up ahead a young woman carrying her child back to the car, followed by the young father with an excited dog on leash and one more kid. Well, thats good, we don't need screaming kids and an excited dog scaring everything off the path. (Not to mention, pets aren't allowed on the path :/)

So, Chris and I head out, almost immediately the family is back out on the path, on our heels and just trucking. Regrettebly, we wanted to take our time to not miss anything herp-wise, so we sped up. A hundred yards in, there was a fork on the road and we saw this as our chance to take a different path as them. We had the choice of "woodland path" or "marsh path". We chose at first, the marsh path.

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Feeds

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

makura_web

I've been looking, reading and doing research into different hog feeds for feeding ASF's, and perhaps the domestic rats, and let me tell you, this is no easy task. I've contacted Nutrena, and I am looking at some of their diets.

The problem is, finding a feed that doesn't have the "roughage" products, which I am suspect isn't easily digested by rats, and a feed that is NON medicated. Beyond that, many hog feeds have a lot of animal products and high copper levels.

While I am used to seeing animal porcine fat products, I'm not sure all of the meals being used. And the most troubling thing, some hog feeds have a really low amount of fat. Sometimes as low as 2%. I really like at least 6% fat, but I prefer 9% if I can.

I've also been looking at what a few local mills mix for their own hog feed, and I actually really think a local mill has something I can be happy with, but again, such a LOW amount of fat, it will probably cost more to have them add it in, and the main ingredient is corn. We'll see how this goes, I'll keep people updated with what I find.

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ASF racks

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Also, something I realize has been bouncing around over here. Our ASF production has just bloomed lately. We have 4 producing colonies, and I am blessed with a full, steady supply of LARGE males to feed off weekly! (^_^)

Things are going so well, I've revisited different tubs for building an ASF rack with.

I've always been hesitant because the tiny little pups, even before their eyes are open, will run out of the nest and drink from the water bottle. In a rack, the water bottle nozzle wouldn't be low enough with the normal soft tubing and water nozzle set up.

So, if we do go with this, we'll either continue to use water bottles, or have to figure out if it's worth it putting in a water line for them.

Water bottle woes

Friday, May 15th, 2009

I bought a brand spanking new water bottle for my ASF's last weekend. Filled her up and thought all was well in the world. These guys go through a lot of water during the day, so I bought a larger size.

Except, I return in the morning to see this. Not one drop gone! What in the world? I know this group goes through a lot of water overnight...

So I start messing with the sipper valve ball, and water is coming out, the rats hear the ball and run over and start drinking like none other, having little wrestling matches over the water.

Feeling sorry for the guys, I gave them a couple of bowls of water to help quench their thirst. I thought it was a cute pic.

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Interacting With Feeder Rats

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Rats! Frequent handling of rats will make them gentle and easier to control. This is easy to accomplish if you start while they are young.

If you are allergic to rats, take an anti-histamine an hour before you go to work with the rats and wear a mask.

If you worry about being scratched, garden or welding gloves will keep you from getting scratched, although this can make it more difficult to handle the individual rats.

While you are holding them, it is a good idea to check them for physical defects (scratches, bites, shorn areas) and the presence of parasites. It's easiest to do with very young rats. Begin handling them while they are still with the mother, and you will find it easier to work with them when they are adults.

"Rats are highly intelligent and sensitive. They need attention and will usually come to the front of their cages when a human being approaches. Rats will stay cooperative and easily manageable if they are treated kindly and if their cage area is kept clean and quiet." (http://www.labdiet.com/)

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