Hello, Possums!

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Hello! I’m Tahlia, a mid-twenties girl from a rural town in southern Western Australia. I live with my fiancé, Corey, on a large block with gardens, lawns, lots of fruit trees and veggie patches aaaaand a chook pen (and a house).

We have a zoo. Close to 100 furred, feathered and finned friends we choose to share our lives with.

Yep.

My plans for this blog are for me to talk about my animals and for you, my reader, to talk about yours. Have you got a story, anecdote, photos or advice about your pets you want to share? Go for it!

Enjoy the read, whoever and where ever you are :-)

<3 Tahlia

Yippee!

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Today the Convict Cichlids brought their babies up to the front of the tank to say hello! Me and Corey and all our mates that are over gave up trying to count them- close to 150? Maybe more? They’re hidden in the big pit in the bottom of that half of the fish ornament they were laid in. Eeeeeee!!!!

This is their second brood in 4 weeks. None from their first survived (Mum and Dad Convict didn’t exactly know how to take care of them and I had a few more fish in the tank..) but they seem to be doing well now, this lot hatched last week and they’re still alive :D! I didn’t update earlier because, well, I honestly thought one of the catfish got into their nest and ate them all the day they hatched. Not a SIGN of them until this evening when I got home and Dad fish is up against the glass giving the kids what I assume was a show and tell:

“Kids, this shimmery tall thing moving towards us is the food god. It has magical powers and makes light and food appear sporadically. We’d tell you exactly when but…ummm…we ain’t got the best memori—- HEY FOOD!! GUYS, LOOK!!! FOOD!”

I’m hoping it all goes well and I can sell a couple dozen. They’re a great starter cichlid for new aquarists.

Oh yuck dogs are disgusting, why do we even own them?

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Oh Jesus, Corey and I are dying. What a gross start to the day.. It appears our beloved old man river, Link, ate a rotten duck egg yesterday because I woke up to the worst stench at 9:30 this morning. Within seconds that “no no no I don’t want to deal with this but I have to” anxiety kicked in and I staggered into the laundry and was greeted by a poo-tsunami and three animals pleading “LET US THE FUCK OUT OH MY GOD MUM WHAT THE FUCK CAME OUT OF LINKS ARSE?”

It was nooooot pretty. However once I deducted that it was Link ( most of the time if someone drops a plonker it’s Sophie or the cat and a game of “who dun it” but today it was easy- Sophie had her jocks on and the mess was a larger amount than the weight of her and Abby combined) I kinda perked up becaaaaaauuuuuuse I didn’t have to clean it uuuuuuu-uuuuuuup. Yay!! Its the only thing that ain’t my job when it comes to our animals. That dog is huge, he’s a mastiff / rottie / ridgeback / pitbull mix, weighs almost as much as me and takes shits worthy of a geological survey benchmarch. 

“Oi Babe! Wake up it smells like popcorn!”
“Huh? You seriou- OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK?”

Took him half an hour to get it all cleaned up. Remember the Beavis and Butthead episode where Daria finds them in the puddle singing diarrhea-cha-cha-cha? The scale of it reminded us of that, for some reason, so we were laugh-drywretching as well.

The whole laundry got boiled water and hospital grade disinfectant. Twice.

Three and a half hours later, even with all the windows open, scented candles burning, the electronic air freshener on full blast and another wash of bleach WE STILL CAN’T GET RID OF THE SMELL. I think it’s melted into the paint on the walls. I KNOW it’s melted into my sinuses.

Help!

Sophie’s got her wünder undies on.

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Well I woke up to a murder scene. Sophie’s on her first ever serious heat. Thank you, mother nature. She was obviously having trouble staying clean so we did the smart thing and took her for a trip to the pet shop for some “feminine necessities” (Oh my god I never thought I’d ever type that sentence, ha!).

So now pup-pup is rocking some seriously nifty thing made of elastic straps and “pleather” that has a napkin insert. All she needs is a cape and she can be Super Menses Mutt! When she’s outside we just slip it off so she can feel the breeze and it takes only a few seconds to put back on so she can go back inside.

I highly, highly recommend these sort of products for anyone with a dog on heat. It’s a bit kinder than exiling her to the bitches box up the back, especially with the really horrible weather lately.

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Convict cichlid nest :)

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If you look in the middle of the above photo you can see lots and lots of little orange spheres with black dots in them. These are fertile Convict Cichlid eggs! They’ll be hatching tomorrow night, me thinks. Mum convict has gone insane digging a rather large pit underneath the ornament she laid them in to keep the babies safe. After they hatch they’ll eat mums slime coating off her scales for nutrition and then they’ll move onto fry food. My plan is to catch mum and a few dozen babies and put them in a breeding net hanging off the side of the tank they’re currently in. If they survive and grow big enough they can be sold on or traded :-)

I love how this hobby pretty much pays for itself. 

More babies!

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My male and female pair of convict cichlids made a nest and laid  eggs in the tank last night! I did a substrate change and siphoned out some of the crap from the bottom of the tank and that appears to have been enough for mum fish to lay her eggs.

I’ve got a brood net all set up and ready to go for when they hatch- now it’s just a waiting game.

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The nest is in the ship ornament on the left :-) Tomorrow or the next day the eggs should be dark enough to show up on camera.

Happy Fathers Day!

My first clutch of baby pigeons are all growed up!

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I thought I’d show the two of them off now they’re not ugly little pink monster-things :-) Here they are on top of the chooks water tank- pure breed white fantail homing pigeons!

They’re pretty close to a month old and It’s crazy how fast they grow- less than two months from the time they’re laid as eggs to the time they are weaned!

Apart from my babies I also have five adult fantail pigeons. They all free fly everyday (there’s no roof on the chook pen), potter around in the gardens and have coo-ing contests while they roll around in the sand. They’re really curious little birds, too. One or two will act as lookouts for the flock all day and they’ll come fly down the yard and check us out when we’re hanging out laundry or gardening. Judging by the way these squeakers turned out they’re great parents, too.

A cats version of HDTV.

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If Abby isn’t bashing up Sophie or pondering her existence after a dose of catnip she can be found here, in front of one of our aquariums (yes that’s a lawn chair. It’s a damn fine piece of indoor furniture! At least it isn’t a milk crate anymore, we’re almost lower middle-class now!)

The addition of the pictus catfish the other day was quite welcome, according to kitty. It’s big, shiny and its feelers look like strings. Plus it looks like it tastes like fish! What’s not to love?

Fishy Fotos.

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Woohoo! Got two of my favourites to stay still long enough for a quick snap last night.

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This is my favourite jack dempsey cichlid. He’s preeeetty.

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And this is my neon blue acara. Yeah, he’s a bit fin nipped on the tail but he’s so retarded he deserved it. I found him stuck head first in an ornament next to a particularly cranky electric yellows’ cave the other day. Let me let you in on a secret- YELLOWS ARE BASTARDS!!!!! DON’T PISS EM OFF! Poor blue here was swimming on a wish and a prayer with a very sore bottom for a few days but he’s perking up well now.

And bonus Nards, eating a fish:

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Have a great day everyone!

:-D

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New addition to the cichlid tank today- an 8cm long pictus catfish, and one of the nicest specimens Corey or I have ever seen (we’ve seen a looooooot of fish). Given the right conditions he’ll grow to 20cm easily.

We also traded some guppies over for some new rummynose tetra at the fish shop, as well as found a new home for some of my uglier baby peacocks and jack dempseys (which is how I got the pictus, for freeeeee).

Less ugly fish in the tank means more room for prettier ones later on :)

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The dogs and cat all think Corey and I are Father Christmas today, by the way. We came home from a day in the city with a split up cow femur for them to share. They aren’t quite sharing, per se… more like playing piggy in the middle while Abby sits there confused, drowning in Links drool. Note to self, don’t pat Abby until she’s had a bath.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Buddy and Wally

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These two chirpy little things are my pet budgies (if you can see them through the blur) They’re about 14 months old, from different clutches and we got them mid 2013. I work every day with hand taming and getting them to respond to commands. My biggest tip here is to clip their wings and use food rewards for reinforcing good behaviours, like coming back to you and answering when called (great for when such a tiny bird is lost somewhere behind a couch or cupboard). Wing clipping has its upsides and downsides but I find they fly out a lot less doors and windows and build trust with owners faster that way.

Budgies are cheeky, inquisitive, chatty and make great first birds for parrot lovers. They don’t bite all that badly, come in amazing colours and absolutely love company- plus they’re quite the talkers! My mum had a budgie named Pip for a long time when I was little- he’d hide under your hair behind your ear and whisper “kick your arse, kick your arse” as threateningly as he could at you. Pip had a penchant for washing machines. Twice mum had to pull him out of the wash cycle. Surprisingly he lived both times. We think he liked being dried off with the hair dryer and totally spoiled, given how readily he dove back in a few weeks later.

On that note: always supervise parrots when they’re out of the cage! Give a bird a choice of seeds or electrical cord and the idiots will hoe down on all the insulated copper wiring they can eat. Or, in the case of my rather large Corella, Sydney, they’ll destroy your mountain bike. Yep. Back when he was about a year old he got out of his cage while I was at work. I came home to find shredded tyres and inner tubing pulled out, all the cushion from the seat chewed off, the handle grips missing, a fair attempt made at my brake cables and one very proud parrot perched atop the fridge, hitting the busted bike bell against the wall absolutely fascinated by the sound.

Budgies need a good size cage, fresh seed, water and veggies daily. At night they need to sleep in a dark, quiet room, and during the day they will need some flying time and toys to play with to stop boredom or destructive behaviours. I have seen, sadly, what lazy parrot owners often end up with: pluckers. Give a bird no love and it does its own equivalent of bashing its head against a jail cell wall- it pulls out its feathers, tears at its skin and can end up eviscerating itself. Be careful and be kind, always, to your pet parrot. They are very long lived.