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Old 02-19-2020, 05:12 PM   #1
Vierville
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Default Animals -a full time job!

I've been ill with flu these last few days after getting back from a trip and am simultaneously looking after our four dwarf hamsters-three of whom are on medication which I need to administer twice a day as well as two baby birds, a dove and a sparrow who both fell out of their nests. The dove is a bit bigger now but the sparrow needs feeding every two hours or so throughout the day.

I've been unable to take time off work despite the flu so between my wife and I we've been managing the animals' needs. My wife sometimes takes the sparrow with her to work as she has a quiet office and can keep an eye on him and feed him there. My 'office' (an aeroplane) is somewhat less accomodating to bringing a bird to work.

Whew, it's very much a full time job! I really do have a huge level of respect for people who run rescue setups for numerous animals.

I'm really really hoping that 2020 sees a reduction in my hamsters' continuous illnesses. The latter part of 2019 and first months of 2020 have been insanely hard to deal with. After discussing it with the vet it has been agreed that Nanuk will be on medication twice a day for the rest of his life but other than that I just hope for healthy and well hamsters.

Last edited by Vierville; 02-19-2020 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:59 PM   #2
Littlephodopusmom
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

That is a handful. I'm sorry you've not been feeling well, it makes things that much harder to keep up with. It's very nice that you and your wife have been looking after the sparrow, I have them at my house all the time (outside lol) and enjoy them very much along with the local squirrel families and other wildlife. I hope your hamsters will be coping well with their illnesses, they are lucky to have you both looking after them so well.
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Old 02-20-2020, 01:53 AM   #3
Ithuviel
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

those animals are lucky to have you guys. you are wonderful
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Old 02-20-2020, 04:31 PM   #4
Ria P
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

Your hamsters and you have been very unfortunate to suffer from various ailments and i really hope that 2020 will be a better year for you all healthwise. I think that you are not your usual positive self because the flu is getting you down at a time when you should be resting in your bed and not flying airoplanes. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

I hope you are feeling better and recovering from your flu.

What do you feed the baby birds? Do they need water as well? Do you need to feed them every two hours at night too?I have seen birds in my garden before that had fallen out of the nest but didn't know that i could have tried to save them but i couldn't have taken them to work.

A couple of years ago i saw a young hedgehog out in broad day light so i fed him but two days later he was dead. Weeks later i found out that i should have taken him to a wildlife rescue but didn't know at the time. I still feel guilty about it now and annoyed with my ignorance.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:47 PM   #6
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

Thanks for your kind message RiaP, I'm feeling a lot better today. I was on standby but not called out to work so that helped a lot!

The dove was brought to us in August by my wife's aunt after a neighbour cut down a tree, destroying the nest he was in. He was a tiny baby with only a few feathers...after consulting our vet (who is a a wonderful guy and has a huge love for animals) we were advised to feed him a special baby bird handrearing porridge type formula called Avi Plus - (im not sure if you get that there?)

We had to give it to him in a teaspoon as syringe feeding can be very dangerous if the bird inhales the food into his lungs. Luckily he learned very quickly how to eat from a teaspoon and we fed him that for the first month, gradually adding some millet to the mixture. Eventually he just gravitated towards only seeds and was no longer interested in the formula.

The sparrow was brought to us by one of my wife's friends who is a school teacher. He was found on the playground by a child who brought him to her. He was a little older- i guess around two weeks old when we got him. He's been getting a diet of fresh mealworms mostly, supplemented by a small amount of the Avi Plus. The mealworms are a mess as you need to remove the heads but he loves them. He gobbles down about six to eight mealworms every two to three hours during the day until about 8pm. We've been giving him his first morning feed around 7am. Luckily we don't need to feed him through the night but when we had the dove as a tiny baby it was August and very cold here so we did get up during the night to check on his hot water bottle.

Don't feel bad about the little hedgehog, you were doing your best to help him and he probably died as a result of being sick already, so I doubt there would be anything you or maybe even a vet could have done. You have also learned now for next time that you can take them to the wildlife rehabilitation centre so next time maybe one will come your way that you can save.

Sadly, the urban environment is very hostile towards little creatures and they live dangerous and precarious lives. They need all the love, thoughtfulness and help they can get.
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Old 02-21-2020, 11:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

Thank you so much for all the detailed information, Vierville.

You seem to have your own little private rescue going. Do you release the birds back into the wilds once they are big enough?
I watched a little bluetit once in my garden who was so reluctant to make his move into the big wide world and sat on top of a bird feeder. The mother kept coming back to him to encourage him to fly and fed him little snacks. His siblings were way up in a tree and kept calling to him. Poor little thing looked so lost and worried but eventually picked up the courage to fly away.
Like you say, animals are a fulltime job and they become such a big part of our lives.
I permanently carry a DIY transport box, food and water in my car because i do pick up runs for a rescue and never know when and where a little hamster or guinea pig needs rescuing. After work today i'll go and buy another fluffy dog blanket to sew into guinea pig beds. Like you i totally respect and admire people who run rescues and it is such a rewarding thing to do to actively support them.
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Old 02-22-2020, 02:34 AM   #8
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

I am so sorry you have the flu - it can be debilitating. You will get through this stage with the feeling unwell and all the feeding and it's nearly spring.... I know I've sometimes felt I needed a week off from feeding the pets and we only have two hamsters! I actually do get a few days off a couple of times a year when visiting family and leave my OH to do the feeding When we went on holiday we have a trusted pet sitter to do the feeding.

If it's feeling too much at the moment, is there a pet sitter who could come in for a week to take over maybe? Just to give you a break?

I am fascinated by the care of the baby birds - that is a special thing to do and I have learned something from you there. I have rescued the odd bird in the past but never knew what to feed them (as children we were taught to give them bread soaked in warm milk and they usually died!). The hardest thing was keeping them in a nest/from escaping - I assume you have a bird cage?

The Dove sounds like they are your pet! You hand reared him/her and he/she will probably think of you as its parents! Will you keep it as a pet or let it go? I guess birds do fly the nest!
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Old 02-22-2020, 09:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

I can't say I've done lots of care for tons of different animals including wildlife, but I know that what Vierville is doing is extremely far from easy.

Even spending a good chunk of a day at a family friend's petting zoo(which is more like an animal rescue as at least a substantial portion of the animals are rescued in one way or another - ETA though I do know at least a good portion of the goats are at least born there maybe bred but they're all very happy doglike goats) I can say that caring for many animals is very hard work. It's all fun and lovely petting and seeing cute animals but so much goes into their care. I was offered the option of volunteering which I would've loved(all those amazing animals even a zebra), but since I can't guarantee my ability to always be there I couldn't make that commitment.

I have tons of respect for anyone doing this sort of stuff though, it's a very difficult and sometimes heartbreaking job that not everyone can handle - especially while dealing with the flu!

Last edited by AmityvilleHams; 02-22-2020 at 09:51 AM.
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Old 02-24-2020, 05:06 PM   #10
Vierville
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Default Re: Animals -a full time job!

Hello everyone, my apologies for the delayed reply, it has been a hectic few days as I've had a very big work-related exam to prepare for ( that's done now thankfully!) and have still had lingering flu-mostly post nasal drip coughing which is utterly awful- so have not been on here much.

Ria P, I really admire you for giving your time to help transport animals in need of help. That is really good and is such a help to the organisations looking after these little creatures.

Serendipity7000, a pet sitter is a fantastic idea and I definitely could have done with one, but my wife and I were both home most of the weekend and she has been an immense help with caring for the birds and hamsters. She has a very good way with animals, better than me!

We do have a very good pet sitter who comes to stay when we go away, she is also very animal-oriented and has experience with hamsters of her own too.

I'm so glad I could teach you something about the feeding of baby birds- different species have differing requirements but fresh mealworms for sparrows seems to be a big hit! This little one eats about eight worms per sitting! We have already exhausted the supply at two local pet shops.

The dove is extremely tame and to be honest will probably be a pet but with the freedom to fly anywhere as he wishes. We have a fairly decent size aviary which I got especially for him when it became evident that he may not be able to go back into the wild but he spends a lot of time outside it too. He tends to not fly very much and prefers to land on one of our heads and goes about the house that way. It's quite bizarre.

The ideal situation would be if we could get the sparrow to a point where he is able to live in the 'wild'. This will depend on how independent he is. He is still needing to be fed at this point so he is in a cage in the hamster room where the temperature is more constant but we will move him to the aviary when he's a bit bigger and able to eat seeds on his own and then he'll have freedom to come and go between the aviary, the outside and indoors as he wishes. He's just learning to fly now.

I must be honest, as a pilot and a flight instructor by profession, I get quite a kick out of seeing these little fellows learning to fly!
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