Choosing Among Several Reptile Cages and Terrariums

If you’re the type of pet owner who loves to raise cold-blooded animals as a hobby, then you should be familiar with the equipments that these species need, including a convenient home. However, with so many of these reptile cages and terrariums available in the market today, it will be harder for you to settle on a single brand, also considering that these products are often equipped with features, which satisfy a specific function. Fortunately, there are some helpful hints by which you can quickly go in and out of the store in record time, while still getting that prized furniture.

1. Reptile cages and terrariums come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and thus, you are required to take note of the body measurements of your pets, as well as its ability to crawl and climb from one place to another. If you feel like your pal needs more room to stretch its legs, or exercise its muscles, then a long vivarium should accommodate these needs. However, if your pal loves to attach itself to the glass walls, adjustments to the heights are required.

2. An ideal terrarium should already be equipped with a special fixture, where you can install your reptile lighting. It doesn’t matter whether the equipment is meant for fluorescent strips or small bulbs. What’s important is that there is an allocated space to accommodate these vital devices. If you’re having problems with locating these cages, then you’d be surprised to learn that you’re more likely to find the perfect pet home in the aquarium section of the store.

3. Your reptile supplies should also fit inside the terrarium. While this is one of the factors, which should be at the top of your priority list, it is surprising to know that many owners overlook this fact, resulting to an overcrowded home or a messy interior decoration.

4. Common reptile supplies, such as the terrarium, are always available in the market with a wide range in price that is meant to satisfy everyone’s budget. However, when picking the perfect home, you should also take the time to check every aspect of the house, without looking at the expenses. This way, you know that your decision will not be influenced by your savings. Instead, you will be more driven to settle on a product based on its quality.

Considering these few tips is sure to guarantee that you will bring home the perfect terrarium for your beloved friends.

How to Prepare for a Horse Show

With spring in the air and competition season beginning it’s time to get serious about the upcoming show season. Preparation is key, for both you and your horse. So work out what you’re doing and when and work out a schedule to build up to it.

Getting your horse show ready

  • Once you know what shows you’re entering, practise for that event. Try lengthening and shortening stride so you can get the right distance between jumps, and always practise on fences slightly higher than those in the show. This way your horse should be calm and composed on the day. And similarly for dressage – you need to be confident that your horse can comfortably perform everything asked of them, so it’s a good idea to show them at one level lower than the level they perform at home.
  • During the winter months, like humans, horses can lose some fitness. Work on building it up again to get them back to their peak for show season.
  • Get grooming and trimming to make sure your horse looks his best.

Preparing for a show

Think about everything you’ll need for the show, for both you and your horse and make a list. If you’re staying overnight or longer you’ll need bedding, hay and grain for your horse as well as tack, grooming equipment, buckets, first aid equipment, paperwork etc.

With all the focus on getting your horse ready, it can be easy to forget that you need to get yourself ready too. Good quality, well-fitting show clothes will not only be comfortable, but also create a really good impression. If last years are looking a bit tired, consider investing in some new show attire. Mark Todd have a new Italian Collection, which is both stylish and designed with the practicalities of riding in mind, with breathable fabrics and machine washable jackets. It’s a good idea to take a spare set of show clothing if you can, just in case there are any issues (like mud all over your white jodhpurs!) on the day.

Of course the best way to keep your horse looking good for show season is to care for them well all year round. So keep up with medical checks and groom them daily, paying attention to their tail and mane to avoid knots and tangles. Bathe them the night before the show and braid them too, so they’re looking their best on the day.

Feeding Birds – What Type of Feeder Should You Use?

Wild birds are surely capable of feeding themselves off the land. However, when weather extremes make things tougher for them, having an additional source of food or water can be a life saver.

You may see flocks of red-winged blackbirds descend on your backyard seed feeder before they leave their northern range. Feeders can help prepare wild birds for their long journey of migration. You may live on the southwest coast of North America and see Anna’s Hummingbirds at your nectar feeder in the winter. Wherever you live, your wild birds can certainly use a helping hand from time to time throughout the year.

Wild birds will come to feed at many different types of feeders depending on the type of feeder they prefer. Some birds prefer most to forage from the ground or platform feeders, as do cardinals. Others as this male house finch will feed from the ground, platform feeders, tube feeders, and seed feeders readily all as one. Others still, like the goldfinch prefer thistle seed from open fields or from tube feeders.

Platform feeders will attract Chipping Sparrows, Cardinals, American Tree Sparrows, Towhees, Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Grosbeak, Song Sparrows, White-Throated Sparrows, Meadowlarks, Evening Grosbeak, Blue Jays, Magpies, Steller’s Jays, Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves, Black-Capped Chickadee, Gray Catbirds, Eastern Bluebirds, Pine Grosbeak, Northern Mockingbirds, and others.

Platform feeders can be as simple as a piece of wood on your picnic table, or your picnic table itself. However, that can be quite messy. Another option would be to get a 4×4 post and nail a wood plank sized 12 x 12 or larger to the top of the post. Drill holes through the wood plank so that water does not just sit as a puddle. To prevent most of the food pieces from just falling off to the ground, you may take some thin wood trimming and nail it to the border of the wood plank. Nailing the wood trim to surround the border of the wood plank will help keep most of the nuts, fruit, suet, or bread from just falling off. Although, having some of the scraps fall to the ground is good, as this will also attract other birds that will like to forage on the ground most often.

Suet Feeders attract: Blue Jays, Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Black-Capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebirds, Northern Mockingbirds, Brown Creepers, Gray Catbirds, Wrens, Steller’s Jays, and more.

A suet feeder is typically made of wire mesh, and easily hung from a tree branch, hanger, or pole.

Fruit feeders/ Fruit & Jelly Feeders attract Orioles, Western Tanagers, Scarlet Tanagers, and Rose-Breasted Grosbeak.

Fruit feeders will typically utilize cups for jelly as in the feeder above, with side pins for sticking orange halves.

Peanut Feeders attract: Indigo Bunting, Blue Jays, Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Eastern Bluebirds, and others.

Hummingbird or Sugar Water Feeders attract more than Hummingbirds. They also will attract Bullock’s Orioles, Baltimore Orioles, Western Tanagers, and House Finch among others.

Seed Feeders attract: Painted Bunting, Purple Finch, American Goldfinch, Pine Siskin, Grosbeak, House Sparrows, Juncos, Common Redpoll, Red Crossbill, Tree Sparrows, and many more.

Keeping Your Horse Happy In the Heat

I don’t know about you but so far Spring in Los Angeles has been pretty hot. It’s been reaching almost 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) in some parts of the city. The heat not only affects us but it affects our horses (and all our other animals).

Here are some simple ways to keep your horse happy and healthy during a heat wave.

  1. Water – Always make sure you have plenty of water available for your horse at all times. Keep an eye out for bugs and mosquitoes. Not unlike us horses are less likely to want to drink if there are a bunch of bugs in the water. It is also safer for them to drink clean water.
  2. Shade – Have a large enough area of shade for your horse to relax in when it starts to get too hot. No one likes to bake in the sun all day.
  3. Electrolytes – Horses lose electrolytes while they sweat. Replenish salt loss during excessive sweating with a suitable electrolyte supplement. They have them available at most places where you get your horse feed.
  4. Ventilation – When possible, leave barn doors and windows open and install misting fans near each stall if you can. Keep a hose near by for a quick splash.
  5. Baths – Bathe your horse! He/She will love you for it. Nothing feels better then having a nice cold bath on a hot day.
  6. Coat Care – Keep your horse’s mane and tail trimmed. Apply a zinc oxide sunscreen to pink noses to help prevent sunburn. There are shampoos available with UV protection added to help protect your horse’s coat. Horses can get sunburn too. It’s not just for us.

These tips will help keep your and your horse happy during the spring heat wave. Not only will they be happy but they will be healthy. Many of times we can’t tell when our animals are suffering, especially during the hotter times of the year. If we keep up with all the items listed below then you are more then likely to have a happy and healthy horse. Horses can suffer from heat stroke just like any human can. Only we can speak up for ourselves. For more information on how to keep your horse happy you can always look to Google. Information is limitless on the internet and it never hurts to do your research when it comes to those you love.

General Considerations When Raising Tadpoles

Frogs are fascinating amphibians which are increasingly being kept as pets by enthusiastic herpetoculturists. Caring for frogs in captivity naturally results in a desire to have a go at breeding them, providing other frog-keepers with captive born stock, making some money to recover the costs of buying the animals and equipment, and an amazing opportunity of observing the amphibian life cycle from egg to frog. Any successful frog breeding project must include research about, and a plan of how to raise the tadpoles.

Tadpoles are the larval form of frogs. The vast majority of amphibian species reproduce through externally developing eggs which result in aquatic tadpoles, and after a period of growth, undergo metamorphosis, which completely changes their morphology to froglets, which can live on both land and water. Because of the huge variety of types of frog that are bred in captivity, this article will not be able to provide detailed information about raising tadpoles of a specific species, but will discuss some universal considerations that are applicable to all tadpoles.

The vast majority of frog species start their life cycle as complete aquatic larvae, making the care of tadpoles is not dissimilar to that of aquarium fish and fish fry. Once the eggs are laid by the female they should be removed from the frog terrarium and placed in their own aquarium. The water in which the tadpoles will be reared must be dechlorinated, the easiest way to achieve that is by treating tap water with an aquarium fish water conditioner, which removes chlorines and chloramines. The water should be maintained at a temperature that is specific for the particular species of frog that you are breading, which might necessitate adding a heater to the aquarium.

It is best not to use gravel in the tadpole rearing tank, since it makes cleaning easier. Initially no filtration or aeration should be used, since the tiny tadpoles will find it hard to swim against the currents created and could be sucked up into the filter. It is easiest to start with a low water level, and gradually increase it by adding more dechlorinated water at the same temperature as the tank water, since water changes with tiny tadpoles are difficult. As the tadpoles grow in size and the rearing tank becomes filled with water, daily water changes of 50% of the water will become necessary to keep the water quality high. Gentle aeration with an airstone and an air pump should be added about 2 weeks after spawning. Biological filtration may be added using a simple sponge box filter driven by an air pump.

Feeding strategies for the tadpoles will depend on their species, and should be researched for each species that is raised. During the first few days after hatching, the embryos will not require food, since they will be absorbing their yolk sac. It is however preferable to start feeding too early, rather than too late, since starvation at this early stage in development can seriously delay growth and might lead to developmental abnormalities. Many frog species are herbivorous during their larval stages and can be fed on lettuce and other greens, which should be blanched under boiling water to soften them. Tadpoles of the African clawed frog are basically filter feeders and should be raised on infusoria, or powdered algae tablets. Providing some light over the tadpole tank will encourage the growth of algae and green water, providing a non-polluting and self-sustaining source of food. Carnivorous tadpoles such as those of the horned frogs, are perhaps the most difficult to feed, since they need live food and would probably do best on fish fry. They are often cannibalistic and will require isolating as they grow.

Handling Your Horse’s Hooves Safely

Starting out

Just because a horse refuses to lift its feet for you it does not always mean that it is being disobedient. For a horse to lift its feet, it must be taught how. The best time to train your horse is when it is still a foal, but if you are handling an adult horse do not assume that it knows how to lift its feet, as this training may have been missed. As cleaning hooves is an essential part of horse care, you need to teach your horse how to willingly lift its feet when asked.

Make It Rewarding!

Positive reinforcement, as well as consistent practise, is the most effective method in teaching any new behaviours or developing existing ones. Learning the right timingis essential if you want to teach your horse to pick up their feet easily when asked.

Initially, make sure to give the reward after a few seconds of picking up their feet for the horse to understand the process. After the horse is responding easily, you can make it longer between positive reinforcement actions.

You can choose any sound you want to prompt the foot being picked up as long as that sound does not startle the horse. However, it is best to just pick one sound and then stick with it. For example, you can choose to say “pick it up”, you can snap your fingers, whistle or cluck your tongue. Choose a sound that you can easily create and remember. Make the sound immediately before touching to pick up the foot. The sound draws your horse’s attention as well as allows it to associate the sound to whatever it is doing.

The rewards or positive reinforcement can be anything that your horse likes or enjoys. You can provide food such as horse cookies, carrot chunks, mints, bits of grain, or wisp of hay, though these may cause your horse to fidget if you don’t have the treats with you at some time in the future. You can also scratch its withers, a definite winner with most horses,or pat its neck and praise them.

Safety without Stress

You need to consider your safety and your horse’s happiness when caring for your horse’s feet. Below are some steps so you can care for your horse’s feet effectively, safely as well as stress free for both you and your horse.

1. No surprises – Make sure your horse is aware of your presence. Walk towards your horse in its line of sight and talk to your horse while approaching. Do not position yourself behind your horse since you put yourself at risk of being kicked. Position yourself beside your horse’s shoulder about two feet out. While talking, pet your horse’s neck and slide your hand down from its shoulder to its leg. This allows you to check the tendon area for any issues.

2. Just above your horse’s ankle, with your thumb close to your hand, grasp your horse’s leg at the back and tell it to “pick it up” or use the signal you decided on above. The horse will immediately comply if it’s used to lifting its feet upon your command.

3. If it doesn’t; you can lean into the shoulder with your hip to take the weight off the foot, while squeezing in your thumb and forefinger and asking it to lift its foot until it complies. Always state what you want and reward it when it complies. In time, your horse will lift its foot up himself when you tell it.

4. Move a bit closer and be careful not to move your feet under your horse’s feet. Move your hand gently down to grasp the foot and then flex the ankle slowly. This will allow you to view the sole as well as have complete control over your horse’s leg.

5. As you’re holding the foot of your horse with your one hand, use your other hand to use the hoof pick. A cheap hoof pick is normally just as effective as an expensive one. Make sure the hoof pick is fairly blunt as this reduces the risk of wounding your horse.

6. Insert the point of the pick inside the heel bulb next to the frog and run it down from one side of the frog to the other, from heel to toe in order to remove the caked debris. Gently clean the cleft in the frog’s centre, where a horse with a chronic thrush may be tender and sore. Pull off any loose pieces of frog skin that will come off by hand, but make sure not to tear anything that’s not already loose.

7. Lastly, arc the hoof pick around the shoe’s interior rim to remove anything that is clinging. Put your horse’s foot down and transfer the hoof pick in your pocket or somewhere easily accessible.

8. Next would be to work on your horse’s hind legs. Let your horse know that you are approaching its hind leg by patting its shoulder and running your hand along its side. Talk to your horse while moving and stay close while you position yourself beside its hindquarter.

9. Just like what you did in the earlier steps, lean into your horse as you bend down while keeping your feet out from under its feet. Using your elbow and forearm is not only for establishing contact, they allow you to easily push away if ever you sense your horse preparing to kick.

10. Lifting the hind foot is where you need to have the most control as this is where you are at the highest risk of being kicked. To be out of harm’s way, you need to position yourself in a way that your shoulders are roughly parallel to the horse’s hip bone with your head out of the line of fire. Move your hand down until you are slightly above the top of the ankle. Tell your horse to “pick it up” or use your chosen signal while giving a slight squeeze. If your horse does not respond right away, reinforce your message by pulling the ankle forward and up toward the front of the horse.

11. If your horse threatens to lift their leg before you ask, or appears to be threatening to kick you, hold the tail in one hand while you are reaching down to lift the leg. You can gently pull on the tail to over balance them and get them to think twice about lifting feet when not asked to.