FREE $50 Bonus
Spread the Joy
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook
Google+
Google+
http://redbarnblueskies.com/category/pets/
Pinterest
Pinterest
LinkedIn
INSTAGRAM
Handmade Soap - Kids Soap, Glycerine Soap with Essential Oils
Follow Us


Follow

Archive for the ‘Pets’ Category

postheadericon Common Sense Critter Care

Over the years, we’ve learned many things about caring for our pets and farm animals. We’ve developed our own little rules of common sense critter care, just like you should. By using our brains and relying on experience, we can usually prevent any mishaps and most illnesses our animals may come across.

We’ve always had our veterinarians’ phone numbers on the fridge or on speed dial, but we want to avoid having to use those numbers. 

Common Sense Critter Care at Red Barn Blue Skies

We want to keep our animals happy and healthy. Our hope is for you to do the same, so today we’ll share a few of these easy tips for common sense critter care.

Fresh Water – Number 1 Priority

Always have fresh water available. Many new (or irresponsible) pet owners think that as long as the animal has some dirty water left in the dish or a puddle in the yard, it’s acceptable. While it’s true any water is better than none, a clean fresh bowl of water is the absolute best for your pet’s optimal health.

(Letting them drink from the toilet bowl or swimming pool is NOT a good choice. There are lots of bacteria and chemical residues that can harm your animal.)

Feeding Your Pet

Discuss the best food options for your pet with your veterinarian. Each animal is different and their needs will also vary. This is especially true as our animals age. There are many very good commercial foods out there, you’ll just need to do your research to fit your individual situation.

Poisons and Toxins

Have the pet poison control number (888) 426-4435 posted somewhere prominently on your fridge along with your personal veterinarian’s numbers. Programming them in your speed dial is also a good idea. Valuable time can be lost searching for these numbers in an emergency.

Keep any type of chemicals, medicines (human and animal), cleaning supplies, automotive and garden products or other possibly toxic substances out of reach of your pets.

Better yet, try to use natural products in and around your home that are both pet and child safe. This is especially important on your floors. Most animals lick their paws and will ingest residue from whatever cleaning projects you use on the flooring.

Common Sense Critter Care ASPCA Poison Hotline Red Barn Blue Skies

Deadly Plants

Find out HERE if any of your houseplants and/or garden plants are toxic to animals. It is always surprising for new pet owners to find that plants such as aloe, ivy, and dieffenbachias can cause serious problems for our beloved animals.

Just as you childproof a home when a new baby is coming to live there, you’ll want to do the same for your animals and pet-proof it. This includes keeping an eye on electrical cords as some animals love to chew on them, kittens especially.

Spay and Neuter Your Pets – Not Just Because Bob Barker Said So

Bob Barker always ended every episode of “The Price Is Right” with the words:

“Help control the pet population, get your pets spayed or neutered.”

He offered the daily reminder because getting your pet spayed or neutered is extremely important for so many reasons. Fortunately, Bob’s successor, Drew Carey has continued this tradition in the hopes it will prompt people to take appropriate action. This country has a problem.

Your pet’s health is the primary goal. Altering your animal will help keep them from becoming aggressive and makes for a much calmer, happier animal. Contrary to belief in certain demographics, your animal really doesn’t need or want to experience parenthood. And testicles do not make for a more macho dog. Snip ’em.

There are many programs available to assist with this much-needed procedure. Contact your area’s local animal shelter or animal control. Many veterinarians also have their own programs to assist with the cost.

Please help lower the unwanted pet population. Listen to Bob and Drew – they preach common sense critter care on a daily basis.

Common Sense Critter Care at Red Barn Blue Skies with a Scaredy Cat

Quality Time

Spend as much quality time as you can with your pet. They love you unconditionally and crave time with you. Even if you’re just weeding in the garden, your dog will enjoy laying on the ground next to you while you work. Your cat would love to curl up on the couch with you while you watch that movie. Togetherness is very important for your animals.

Playtime is also a pet favorite. Our cats love to chase anything and everything. We have several that play fetch with us, bringing the toy back time and time again for us to throw. The dogs also play their own game of fetch with a large ball or a Frisbee.

Just be sure to not tire your dog out – many dogs that are very play driven will run themselves ragged for playtime. Cats are easier as they’ll just stop playing and start ignoring you.

Hot Feet, Cold Feet, Short Legs

If you walk your dog on city streets or anywhere with hot ground, please keep in mind that the heat will burn the pads on their paws. I’ve seen people standing on a hot, city sidewalk talking away while their poor dog is doing a dance as his little feet are frying. Hot sand at the beach can also burn sensitive paws. Owners forget that the dog isn’t wearing any shoes. Severe burns and blisters can be a result of this neglect.

Attention to your dog’s feet is also important in the winter for areas where salt and chemicals are put down for ice control. These substances can cause burn and irritation problems for the dog’s feet as well. There are doggy boots/booties made just for this situation. 

Another note, little dogs can’t jog as far as humans or run forever behind a bicycle – their legs just aren’t quite as long. Keep your animal’s limitations in mind when you’re out and about. You may need to carry the little guy home if you travel far.


Dog in Hot Car Red Barn Blue Skies Common Sense Critter Care

Hot Vehicle

Never, ever leave your dog in a hot vehicle. It only takes a couple of minutes to cause irreparable damage leading to your dog’s death. The temperatures inside a car can quickly go over 100 degrees – even with the windows down. It can become an oven in there and your dog will be breathing superheated air within minutes.

If it is hot outside, leave your dog at home where they are either inside a cool building or have air, adequate shade, and water outside. This is common sense critter care at its best.

 

Kids

Be sure you monitor any kids with your pets. Many people assume their animal will love children and this sometimes is just not the case. Kids tend to come at animals quickly, startling the pet and often putting them into defense mode. Children need to be taught how to approach animals and how to properly care for their pets.

They must learn to be gentle with their pets and not hit, pull hair, or drag the animal around. Adults must be diligent in making sure that the kids feed and water their pets as they do tend to forget.

Common Sense Critter Care Girl and her Bunny

Common Sense Critter Care Starts with Education

Educate yourself and your family on the type of pet you have or are thinking of acquiring. You can find information on just about any kind of animal online or at the library.

Research the care and needs of a pet before getting it. The more knowledge you arm yourself with, the happier you will be with your newest family member. The ASPCA offers a wealth of information to help you and your pet(s) have a happy, healthy life together.

The most important tip of all – enjoy and love your pets! Treat them like the family they are. What are some of your common sense pet tips?

postheadericon Greta Does Goat Parkour Like a Jedi

It is never a good sign when you find one of your animals in an unexpected or unwanted place. It is even worse when you can’t figure out how they’ve done it.

 

Goat parkour with Greta at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Two days ago I finally learned just how Greta the (baby) goat was getting out – she is a master of goat parkour at only 5 weeks old! Or she’s a Jedi – I can’t decide exactly how she rolls, jumps or flies. Whichever way it is, the Force is obviously strong in this little one. Fortunately, just like her mama Nibbles, Greta can be bribed with goat treats and head scratches.

 

Goat Parkour with Greta at redbarnblueskies.com

 

You met Greta and the rest of the goats a few weeks ago. Well, despite everything we “thought” we could do to keep them contained, we failed. We knew we’d have to eventually relocate the bantam chicken coops to the other side of the runs/pens, but Greta forced us to do it a little sooner than planned.

 

Greta started bouncing off one of the chicken wire covered panels with all four feet when she was about two weeks old. We didn’t think anything of it except that it was cute and very acrobatic. That is until she figured out how to use the rebound from the panel to throw herself against the side of the coop and right up on top of it! She obviously saw someone doing the sport of parkour in another life and decided to turn it into to her own brand of goat parkour.

 

Greta the Goat demonstrates goat parkour at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

What Is It?

(People) parkour has its roots in military training exercises. The aim of parkour is to get from one point to another in the quickest and most efficient manner using only your body and elements in the environment such as walls, rocks, rails, etc.  Jumping, rolling, crawling, bouncing, swinging or just about any other movement that can propel you is used in parkour. It is most often seen in more urban settings, but parkour can be practiced anywhere.

 

Goat Parkour

Greta’s goat parkour is definitely not being performed in an urban environment and hopefully isn’t militant in nature. When not being performed with the intent of escape, I think it may be more reminiscent of Stuart from MADtv when he exclaims “Look what I can do!” right before doing something goofy.

 

Goat Parkour post with Stuart from MadTV

 

Practice, Practice, Practice

Greta practices her moves daily in our temporary goat pen using the fence, the coops, her mother, and anything she can bounce a hoof off of. She tries to coerce her twin brother, Groot into joining her, but he’s much more mellow than she is. (It may have to do a bit with a small procedure he underwent recently. More on that later.)

 

Once we determined exactly how she put her moves to use to get OUT of the pen, we decided to do some redecorating. The photos below show Greta and Groot supervising the hubby as he removes the two bantam chicken coops from the area. Hopefully, having one less level to rebound off of and on to will keep Greta’s four little feet mostly on the ground.

 

Groot and Greta Goat supervising coop removal at Red Barn Blue Skies for goat parkour

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that they can’t crawl into the coop and do chicken impressions.

 

Goat parkour in the Chicken Coop with Groot and Greta at Red Barn Blue Skies

“Bawk, Bawk”

 

postheadericon The Goats Have Landed – Our Lives Will Never Be Boring Again

For many years the hubby told me that he didn’t care what type of animals we had, as long as there weren’t any goats. He had apparently been traumatized in the past by a little pygmy billy goat that had it in for him.

 

The hubby claims that the guilty-until-proven-innocent little goat ate parts of his Jeep. He supposedly broke the windshield on his other car by using it as a goat parkour springboard. I advised him that if there aren’t photos or a chewed up Jeep as proof, it didn’t happen.

 

Goat with tilted head at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So I went along with this edict without complaining, much. After all, we have horses, cattle, turkeys, chickens, dogs and cats. HE even had a Red-tailed Boa Constrictor as a pet snake for a while. It’s not like we are missing out on too many things.

 

But, anyone who is online these days knows the internet is overflowing with videos of baby goats. These kids are shown bouncing around and bringing joy to the lives of those who own them. You know I wanted to be one of those happy people. When hubby told me NO for the 500th time, I sounded just like my nephew at age 3. We had to tell him the pink Hello Kitty purse was his sister’s and not for him, “But I neeeeeeeeeeed it!”

 

(And before anyone protests that he should have been able to have a pink Hello Kitty purse if he wanted one, his sister was wanting to use her purse at that particular moment. We offered to get him his own, but he was immediately off and running to his next interest and adventure.)

 

Lawn mowing at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I used the fact that our spring has been one of the wettest in decades. We are overrun with tall grass and lots of weeds. My husband didn’t fall for my logic that if we had goats, he wouldn’t have to mow every few days. He couldn’t be swayed by the cute and bouncy videos I kept sending to his phone.

 

I reminded him that I would have access to fresh goat milk instead of canned for making cheese and soaps, he still said no.

 

 

 

Goat in Tree at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I know these things are true, but….. Then one magical day, he just gave up. My persistence/pestering/pleading paid off. A good friend of ours needed to sell her two pet does. She had to find someone she trusted to care for them like she would. The hubby graciously caved and told me I could get the two girls. I made the deal.

 

Of course, I sorta forgot to mention that one of them was pregnant, very very pregnant, but he’s a good sport. “In for a penny, in for a pound” or in this case, “What’s one more little goat?” OK, so I may have also forgotten to let him know that she had twin bucklings her first time…

 

Goats Cookie and Nibbles at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So without further ado and fanfare, meet The Goats aka The Goots.

 

The Goats

Cookie is a Toggenburg doe who is just over a year old.

redbarnblueskies.com Cookie the Toggenburg Goat

 

Nibbles is a LaMancha doe around two years old.

redbarnblueskies.com NIbbles the LaMancha Goat

 

And then, we have the kids: Groot (mostly black) and Greta (mostly white) are the bouncing baby goats (called kids) born to Nibbles on March 27th. Their father is a wandering Kinder buck so they are half Kinder/half LaMancha. They obviously didn’t inherit the itty-bitty ears of their mama.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Groot and Greta goats

 

The hubby won’t admit it, but he is smitten by all of our newest additions. The very first night they were here he ended up sitting in the pen with them until after dark. He has also admitted to looking forward to some of my goat milk cheese with herbs in the near future..

 

I am so blessed to have married a man who is just as big of an animal lover as I am – even when he pretends otherwise. Our life is full of love.

 

Please join us again soon as we continue to share the adventures of Groot and Greta along with the rest of our menagerie.

 

By the way, have you ever seen those darling little miniature donkeys?

 

postheadericon Landmines and Hairballs Oh My! The Benefits of Proper Nutrition from Pet Food

I’m sitting here tonight going over our monthly and annual budgets. We’ve been doing pretty good at saving some money wherever we can in our goal to move to another state next year. I’ve worked at slashing our spending and am surprised at the savings I’ve found in one important area – pet food.

 

By pets, I’m not including the poultry, horses or cattle. Strictly dogs and cats – 3 pooches and 7 purrers. Even though we are now feeding a higher priced feed to both cats and dogs, we have actually been saving quite a bit of money. It all comes down to a better quality feed and the animals eating/needing less to be healthier and more satisfied.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Adolph and pet food

 

Even though I am fairly well versed in animal nutrition, I used to be bad about watching sales and using coupons for my cat and dog food. Whatever seemed to be decent pet food for a decent price AND had coupons available prompted me to try to save a buck. Unfortunately, my critters paid for it with poor coats and up/down weight issues. So I went to the other extreme and bought really pricey, overly hyped feeds. I think probably more to assuage my guilt than anything else. This also didn’t really benefit my animals or my pocketbook.

 

Flash forward to last winter when I went to work part-time for our new Tractor Supply. I chatted with a few of the nutritionists and feed reps to see what they were feeding their own animals. I found it very interesting that most of them were using the TSC brand “4 Health” pet food. It’s priced pretty much in the middle of the scale and the ingredients seem to be exceptionally good. So I gradually switched my crews over to the age or issue-appropriate formulas and I am thrilled!

 

4Health Mature Dog Food at Red Barn Blue Skies Pet Food

Both cats and dogs have all done very well with these feeds. Their coats are thick and glossy, they all maintain healthy weights, fewer hairballs for the cats and a large bonus overall – less poop. That may seem funny or trivial to some, but when you have a 125 pound hound, you want much smaller landmines and way fewer of them. Since there are so many less fillers and more of the good nutrients, the animals utilize the feed better and need less to be happily full.

 

So I’m curious what kind of pet food do you feed your furballs? Anyone else use 4 Health?

postheadericon Ernestina Hemingway – Our Polydactyl Cat

Just a quick post to introduce you to the baby of the house.  “Ernie” is a polydactyl cat with extra toes on each of her paws.  She actually has little “thumbs” on her front feet which makes her two times the menace of  the other cats ~ she can open drawers and latches like a person!  I’m baby-proofing several cabinets now.  I did try to get a better photo of her feet, but she kept swatting at me so I’ll wait until the monster is asleep for that.  You can see a bit of her thumb in the second photo.

 

As for her name, it obviously stems from a beloved and well-known figure in American history.  What isn’t quite as well known is that the Nobel prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway had a his house full of these “abnormal” polydactyl cats.  In fact, even decades after his death his home in Florida is still a haven for the descendants of his original six-toed cat that he received as a gift from a ship’s captain.

These type of cats are said to be much more common on the East Coast than here in the West.  I personally hadn’t come across one until we adopted Ernie after someone dumped her at our non-pet friends’ house.  At the time we had a hard time telling if she was indeed a girl, so I called her Ernie and Mr. MoonCat was calling her “Hemi”.  Got a little confusing since we already have a “Hammy” in the house.