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June 18, 2010

In category: Lindsay's posts

Crow makes local news.

hoping he doesnt poo on Steve's carpet.

Here is a photo of Scout and I that was taken last week, when he was too young to be left in his aviary.

The last time he was in the shop was on Monday.

Nicky, the lady who had brought the crow to me had written to the paper and got them to run a story on Scout.

This is why I found myself trying to hold the fledgling bird still for a photographer from the Mid Sussex Times, whilst trying to subtly brush out the straw from my hair and stand over the poop he had just deposited on the floor.

The photo-shoot felt a little bit silly but at least it is for a piece on thinking before picking up baby birds “to help”

One of the curious thing about Scout is that he has white feathers on his wings, which I assumed must be a natural chick coloring.

Since talking to Vanessa from CorvidAid (a charity that rescues injured/orphaned crows) I found out that it’s more likely to be a calcium deficiency from eating foods like Macdonalds and not a natural diet.

She told me that he may have been abandoned by his parents for being different and that because of this he is best to be kept in captivity for at least another twelve months! I will keep you updated on his progress. Maybe I will have to roll lumps of cat food in calcium powder or similar. Sounds squidgy!

 Today was another crazily busy Friday. Customers and animal enquiries lined up without breaks and much hay lay on the floor for most of the afternoon.

Somehow even the most rushed days at the Pet Centre come with interesting new animals and events. A strange caterpillar to look up, a kitten just opening his eyes and a tank full of snails bought off a young boy.

 These one-off moments with animals come unplanned. Because we encourage handling animals at H.P.C there is pride in my job that I am selling the tamest pets around. I’m also learning from the animals.

Amanda’s kittens are now starting to open their eyes. It won’t be long before they are tearing around the shop causing the usual mayhem.

“How old are the kittens?” is a constant daily question.

They were born on the 29th May.

No, we are not talking about selling them yet (I know that you just can’t resist) Let them grow up a bit first. They are in the best place and are about to enjoy their kittenhood. Besides they currently have the whole of Hassocks cooing over them.

June 10, 2010

In category: Lindsay's posts

Live from The Animal House

DONT FORGET SKY ONE TOMORROW. 6:00

PET NATION. ALL ABOUT THIS LOVELY LADY MISS SNOOKS!

On the eve of Miss Snooks television appearance I have finally got around to sorting out an old laptop and updating the website. Considering it has been my day off, I have been somewhat productive.

I made myself a new office (in reality a shed at the bottom of my parent’s garden) and built a large wildlife rehabilitation cage for the latest creature to come into my care.

Scout is a fledgling crow that was sitting duck in a children’s play park in Burgess Hill. It’s worth mentioning at this point that in most cases IF YOU FIND A BABY BIRD LEAVE IT ALONE! 

Many of the animals that get rushed into vets, animal sanctuaries and us too are completely fine. They just haven’t learnt how to hide from people that well yet. It may look harsh but this isolation from “mummy” is part of bird’s life cycle and is called the “fledgling stage”.  Too many animals are picked up because they were sitting stupidly on the ground apparently abandoned.  

Obviously if the bird or animal is injured or in immediate danger there may be something that we can do to help. Any serious casualties are normally referred to Rodger’s Wildlife in Woodingdean – an excellent local animal charity.

Scout’s rescuer was pretty desperate by the time she phoned me. Apparently neither the RSPCA or the local vets would help her at all. I said I would after I realized that there really was no safe place to leave him. So along comes Scout with his gaping mouth that indicated he wanted food. He promptly devoured tweezers’ full of mealworms and deposited a sticky dropping down the side of my leg!

It is easy enough to feed him, although it’s a messy job, so I took him back to my parent’s house* for my days off and put his cat basket in the Summer House which is also home to Rat-Tat the chipmunk. Scout quickly escaped and settled into a nest on top of Rat-Tat’s cage! Tucking his head under his wing he fell asleep as Rat-Tat sniffed at the giant corvid above him.

To keep an eye on the inhabitants of the shed, I have moved in too. I’ve set up a desk for my laptop and dragged as many books on pets and wildlife as will fit. So this is my first office too and I’m going to update the blog from either here or at the shop, which let’s face it, is another room full of animals. I wonder how long this computer will last before it is destroyed by droppings or hair. Hopefully long enough to tell you a bit more about my life working at Hassocks Pet Centre.

I am reluctant to let Scout go straight back into the wild. He is far from his mother now and is still gaping for food. His downy feathers need to grow a bit before he can fly but I took him out into the fields yesterday and watched as he rooted around in the grasses and pecked at cow pats.

Scout is back in the Animal House tonight but a new cage has been constructed at the bottom of the garden with a large door that can be left open when the time is right. My Father would rather that time is tonight because crows are rather messy but the weather is terrible and I don’t want him to get cold and wet. This new enclosure will come in handy for chipmunk exercise or any other strays that come my way. There are no cats in the area and it’s situated on mature farmland teaming with wildlife. My Mum has managed to encourage every animal imaginable here from shrews to deer. So Scout should be at home. 

Part of a crow’s life cycle is to hop around on the ground before it can fly and it relies solely on it’s mother for food. I guess it probably learns to feed itself at this time too so I’ve left handfuls of mealworms scattered around for him to practice pecking.

Stimulating wild behavior is so important with any animal, be it wild or a pet. I know that Steve hides baby chickens around his flat (the kind you buy frozen to feed to pet hawks) to allow his vixen Miss Snooks the enjoyment of “Hunting them” herself.

I do worry that not enough people realize that animals get bored. So if your cat is scratching the carpet -buy it a scratching post! Or wear the tiger out with one of our laser chase pens. Barking dogs? There are so many dog toys in the shop that we have a whole wall dedicated to them. You don’t need to spend a fortune. Stimulate the animal before you spend £80 on an anti-barking collar or moan that your pet drives you nuts.

Speaking of nuts, shoving a monkey nut into the bars at the side of your hamsters cage will keep it busy all night trying to prize out this treat. My chipmunk is rather good at it so I have to wedge them in but maybe start with a loose one for your hamster, at least till he gets the hang of it.

I’ve got to go now and feed this ever hungry crow. It’s back to work tomorrow and I’ve got a host of rodents, cavies and rabbits to feed, a shop to stock up, Smokey the parrot to talk to, Funny Bunny to train and of course, most of Hassocks to talk to.

Till tomorrow,

Lindsay.

* I am happily living here until September. Originally on a “no animals” rule which seems to be forgotten now!

December 27, 2009

In category: Lindsay's posts

Shop re-opens after Christmas

Christmas came with a rush of hamsters. A jingle filled store and Steve in a Santa’s hat.

I am now back home in Hassocks, after family visits and eating too much turkey.

The shop was open as usual today and I went to work knowing that there were less faces to feed.  I felt a little bit sad when I looked at the hutches and found that there was no surge of sawdust to pick up off the floor under hutch 6. This had been a daily chore from the messiest two guinea pigs “Porridge” and “Rufy”. They made a funny pair, one of them was a Texal- a complete furball and the other a Smooth – fat, white and porky. They were friendly and docile animals. perfect to show to kids and I had known them for a long time.

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November 3, 2009

In category: Lindsay's posts

Living with gerbils – Part One

I’m writing this to a soundtrack of gnawing.

My days and nights are rarely peaceful. I am surrounded by animals – at this moment five gerbils and a gecko. The gecko is called Stowaway and is the silent type, currently basking under the night bulb in his tank (which I had to remove from my window sill because the neighbors began teasing my landlord about living in the red light district) meanwhile the gerbils are crashing about in a whirlwind…

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October 24, 2009

In category: Lindsay's posts

Pet Shop Post

My name’s Lindsay, I enjoy writing about animals and I also have a day job. According to a woman who phoned me up for “Market research” the other day, I am a “Shop Assistant”.

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