frightened: Photo by Jason B (Default)
2011-12-02 08:34 pm

I've accidentally turned into an animal sanctuary

I blame the chickens.

Tomorrow I'm off to my birds-work to try and catch the nearly-full-grown red-eared terrapin (slider to the Americans) some bastard dumped in the koi pond. Hopefully once it's out and fostered at mine, I won't have to field idiots telling me "oh, but it's the kindest thing to do". No! No it bloody isn't! Skipping over the fact it's ILLEGAL to abandon animals like that, we have no way to provide it with an appropriate diet or the UV rays it needs. Also, the koi keep trying to eat its face. They're a lot bigger than it is. All we can do is hope it doesn't return the favour.

And they're a bugger to rehome, because they're a really common species for people to get sick of when they grow too big or need too much specialist equipment. Ho hum.

I managed to hand-feed and handle it last week, so I'm hoping that if I go in with a tin of sardines I can repeat the trick tomorrow. And I'm setting up its tank tonight.

I don't actually want to keep it though, so I've been emailing various rescue organisations. No luck so far.
frightened: Photo by Jason B (Default)
2011-10-12 07:10 am

Chicken prep continues

I did DIY in the dark. With hammering. I am legendarily clumsy and failed woodwork at school. I still have all my fingers, which is astonishing.

The two runs are both up, roofed over the wire to keep the rain out (with wood till I ran out of wood, and then with tarpaulins), lined with tarpaulins on the floor, and filled with straw, since my super-fast-growing grass seed, well, didn't. (They'll never have seen straw before. You get SO MUCH STRAW out of a compacted bale. It's gonna blow their tiny chicken minds, and it smells beautiful.) The coop roof is painted with: "These birds are checked at least twice a day. They are rescue birds and will need time and rest to recover. In an emergency call NAME on NUMBER." The run roof is painted with: "These birds were saved from tiny, overcrowded cages. Even this little run is big and scary for them. They had never been outside before. They will get more room and treats as soon as they can cope." Hopefully that will prevent well-meaning intervention. The coop and run meet and sometimes exceed recommended welfare standards - I wouldn't even think of using them if they didn't - but I look at it and think "that's a bit small", so I can't blame other people for doing the same. But chickens are creatures of habit, and I'm introducing them to all sorts of terrifying new things, so let's go slow.

I still have to join the two runs together, and join the ensuing megarun to the coop. There's gonna be a lot of hammering steel mesh over the gaps, because cheapass coop + uneven ground != fitting together well. I already covered the bottoms of the runs with mesh to prevent burrowing attacks. I also need to put hasps and padlocks on the hinged section of the coop roof (it wasn't hinged till I MacGuyvered it. Now it is) and the run roofs (ditto). Oh, and mesh over the bottom of the nest box and coop to stop foxes and rats getting in that way. I think... I hope... one more evening, and it's habitable? Better be, since I'm getting the chooks Saturday morning...
frightened: Photo by Jason B (me clown wig)
2011-09-20 09:47 pm

In nicer news

I'm getting 4 rescued ex-batt chickens on October 15th. Putting them on my allotment. Tasks yet to do:

- galvanised mesh floor for runs to prevent tunnelling
- replace wooden toggles and stupid little bolts with hasps and padlocks
- construct second run; finish painting second run; join two together
- draughtproof coop
- replace mesh roofs on runs with hinged wood
- acquire diatomaceous earth for de-lousing purposes
- knit jumpers in case of baldness
- tarps and some kind of soft scratchable flooring for runs
- sonic and stinky fox-repellents

Less worryingly )

Oh, and I need to make a sign explaining that it's not my fault they look like hell and don't seem to know what to do with enough space to stretch their wings, and if the state of them outrages people, then don't report me to the RSPCA, just buy organic eggs in future.
frightened: (sigh)
2011-08-31 06:42 am

Yeah, the aim is to keep them in BETTER conditions than the ones they were rescued from

So I bought one of these, with an extra run because I thought it looked a bit small. I'm transferring it over to the allotment and putting it up, box by box. So far I've got one of the runs constructed, though not reinforced to my satisfaction.

All the hen rescue places tell you to buy a coop and run that's meant to fit at least two more hens than you're planning to get, because the space in these things is seriously stingy. They're right.

6 to 10 hens? Seriously? Are you on crack? Have they been zapped by the incredible shrinking ray? You cannot keep 10 hens in that run. Well, it's physically possible, but it makes you an asshole. It's just over four feet by just over two feet - gives you just over ten square feet of space. Just over one square foot per hen. That's shitty. That's a couple of inches more than they had in a battery cage.

I'm only planning to keep 3 or 4 hens, and I'd feel seriously guilty about keeping them in one of those runs. I'm very glad I got a second one. I might get a third.
frightened: (toph bei fong fighting avatar)
2010-09-15 06:44 pm

Enquiring minds must know

Why is rabies so fascinating?

I remember when I first saw Russell Brand's Ponderland, and he was talking about childhood, and how when he was a kid he was obsessed with quicksand and rabies. And I was like, me too! In fact, I suspect we had the same reference book.

It's less frightening for me because we don't have proper rabies in the UK. We do have European Bat Lyssavirus, which is from the same family and responds to the same immunisation, and has pretty much the same prognosis. But it's a lot less contagious and apparently much less common than bat rabies in, say, the US.
frightened: (bike)
2010-09-14 06:02 pm

Charity begging post with disclaimer

So on Sunday 26th September, I'll be doing the Great Gorilla Run. This is a 7km run through London wearing gorilla suits. (Yes, I will at some point upload a photo of me in my gorilla suit. How will you know it's me? My gorilla suit will have PIERCINGS, dammit.)

This is to raise money for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, to help save the remaining 720 mountain gorillas. I haven't seen the film, but I've read the original Gorillas in the Mist book, and they really do need saving.

So if you could possibly sponsor me here, that would be awesome and I'd be really grateful. So far I've got £285 of my £400 target.

Disclaimer: I don't want anybody to feel uncomfortable about not wanting or not being able to sponsor me. That's cool, too. I don't plan to do this very often.