Friday, 7 September 2018

All Things Wild

We were looking for a day out that was half way between my sister-in-law's partner's parents house and our place, so we searched the internet and came across All Things Wild online, which looked like a great place, especially for our nephew, who has just turned two.

We pulled up in the car park and waited for the other half of the party to turn up. There was plenty of parking spaces, although the disabled parking spaces weren't very big. Whilst we waited for them, we went on inside, used the facilities and pre paid ready for the others to arrive. There was a deal for five people being £50 and Oscar my nephew got to go in for free as he was under the age of 3.

There was five of us, My partner's dad, who was in a wheelchair, My partner, My partner's sister and her partner, our nephew, who was in a pushchair and myself.

There was plenty of wheelchair/pushchair access into the building, as you walk into the door, you walk straight into the toy shop, which is where you get your wristbands, map and stamp card. With the stamp card, there are stamps hidden around the park and you fill in the card and at the end can get a sticker - great for the kids!

You walk through into different areas with different animals, play areas and even a cafe to sit down and eat. There are plenty of toilets around the animal centre, although not all wheelchair friendly.

Oscar loved looking at the animals and playing at the park areas, he sat on a tractor and didn't want to get off! The cockateel was very talkative and is located by the go kart area which was also a great hit with the nephew. The food was very good, lovely portions and you could ask for half portions for a child, not badly priced either, plenty of places to sit inside and highchairs available.

After lunch we walked around the dinosaur section, they have dinosaur statues on a trail along with facts about them, a good walk with some interesting facts, before we headed home.

I would definitely recommend All Things Wild for a day out with the family, lots to do and fun for most ages.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Ladies United Facebook Group

Ladies United is a supportive Facebook group for females to post, created by a group of girls who met online, created 17th August 2018, we already have over 1000 members and would love the group to grow. It should be a safe place to post, we hold raffles, competitions, play games and chat in general, feel free to ask questions, admin and moderators are also there for support, you can private message any of us, we can either try and help or we can post in the group anonymously for you to get answers from the other ladies in the group.

The group also has some admins and moderators introducing themselves, so if you have a specific need or query then you can find the right admin or mod for you.

We hope you enjoy the group as much as we do and did creating it, we hope the group can grow and be a safe place for all you ladies to enjoy.

We currently have a free competition to win some Yankee candle votives, all you have to do is comment on the relevant competition Facebook post.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Basic Punch Card

Cards with dimension do not have to be complicated, expensive and you don't need that many materials either. 
Today I will show you a really simplistic card using just a plain 6x6 inch card, scraps of white card, a Tonic punch, PVA glue and some rhinestones or flat back pearls.

Making your flowers, punch out lots of flowers using your floral punch.
Pull up the edges of half of your punched out flowers, put a dab of glue in the centre of the flat flowers and place the 3d flower on top.
 Once you have a large amount of flowers, in my case, 21, then you want to place them into a circular shape onto your card - you may want to draw a circle on first, but I did it free hand.
 You want to then select your centre of your flowers, I chose some colourful flat back pearls, but you could use rhinestones or even just hole punched coloured paper.
 I selected my colours and then stuck them down onto the centre of my flowers with my PVA glue.
You could then add a sentiment into the centre, a photo, even a coloured in image or simply leave it as it is.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Inexpensive hamper

Father's Day hasn't long gone by and I'm sure I'm not the only one that has a father that they never know what to buy for them. His birthday is coming up soon too, which is going to be another tricky one to find a gift for!

I saw some baskets on a local Facebook selling page that were perfect for small hampers, 2 for £4, so I asked to see if they would let me have them for £3 and I went and collected them, from the next street. I was thinking of either putting together a hamper of bath stuff, such as bubble bath, flannel (maybe shaped into some sort of animal) a rubber duck and other toiletries, but I also thought that he loves his food and loves cheese and crackers that would maybe be a better option.

So we popped to our local Asda to get some supplies.
I selected the following, costing me the following, although I could have saved myself something by buying different crackers and biscuits, but the box I bought was perfect size for the hamper and had a selection already in it.

Jacob's Cracker Selection £2.99
Cheddar pickle onions and chive cheese £2.00
Wensleydale cranberry cheese £2.00
Double Gloucester onion and chives cheese £2.00
Sweet Pickle 57p
Mustard Piccalilli 78p
Tomato Chutney 90p

I already had some cellophane wrapping and I reused a bow that was on a gift for my partner so the hamper cost me £12.74 in total, which isn't bad for someone on a tight budget and a gift that my father throughly enjoyed.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Sedrick's Ordeal

After falling in love with one of our foster, female, dwarf hamster and finding her a forever home, I was really interested and would have loved my own dwarf hamster, I hadn't had much experience with them beforehand, but have later fostered quite a few more and found them homes.

We came across a Shpock Advert for a male dwarf hamster who loved to eat a lot and occasionally bites, the only issue was the hamster was over an hour and a quarter away. He was the only dwarf hamster that came up for adoption around that time and nobody wanted a hamster that potentially bit and was already one years old, I had my heart set on him, even though there wasn't many photos of him, only a tiny picture of him sitting by his food bowl through the bars and a picture of his little pink cage with a green wheel in and a bottle held on by an elastic band.
(Cage is NOT Suitable for housing any species of hamster.)

I arrived at the property, a large group of people in a small flat, they were moving house and were unable to take him with them, so were looking to re-home him. I peered in the cage and couldn't see him, he was hiding in the little house, I asked to hold him and they were more than happy for me to but apologised encase he bit me. He was as good as gold and just sat there, I popped him in the carrier with some of his bedding and took him home. 

Once he had time to settle in, we would get him out most nights, whilst he explored us and the area. He is a gentle old soul, he was never very speedy, he loves his food especially mealworms. We expanded his cage and gave him more enrichment, including sand baths (one which he used as a toilet) more hideaways and tunnels, a larger 20cm wheel and a unbranded Whimzee to chew on and enjoy.
(Hamster heaven 80cm by 50cm)

(As he got older - Zoozone Cage is suitable for dwarfs, it meets the UK minimum requirements and measures 72cm by 46cm, for UK information you can read more HERE.)

Sedrick in his prime

It was the best decision to get him, he is my heart ham, as he has got older he has had a few issues, mainly with one of his eyes getting stuck together, which he has had eye drops for and has been tested for other things as he keeps getting it. He is now very skinny so is also having porridge and baby food, his favourite being chicken Sunday lunch, he is loosing his sight and isn't as easy on his feet as he once was, but he is getting old being around 28months old.

Sedrick sadly took a turn for the worst this week, having a large lump growing under his chin, could anything else go wrong for this little fella?! After loosing Roxy last month who had a tumour I thought the worst, especially with his age and his current health.

But we just got back from the vets and it turns out he had an abscess caused by his bottom teeth, the vet popped it and there was blood and pus everywhere, the smell wasn't that pleasant either! Luckily he made it through the ordeal and we have to keep cleaning it, making sure the wound doesn't heal, leaving him with a hole in the underside of his chin. He is on Baytril and Metacam all his life now most likely and will continue to eat baby food and porridge if he can't manage much else. The one thing he will really miss though is his sand bath.

*WARNING* - If you are screamish or would rather not see the following before and after the vet appointment then please do not continue scroll down.

If you have a hamster with a lump then please get it checked out by a vet, it may not be what you think and could be treatable or at least put them in less pain.

Before the vets

 After the vets

Back home lapping up some porridge.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Importance of Hay - Murphy's Story

The Importance of Hay

A rabbit's diet should be at least 80% of hay, they should eat at least their own body size in hay a day.
Rabbit's need constant access to hay to snack on throughout the day and night, this is to help keep the gut moving and to stop any blockages of fur or other things ingested. The long fibres help keep the muscles in the stomach stay strong.
Rabbits have 28 teeth and they are continuously growing, they grow around 12cm a year, hay helps grind these teeth down and stop them growing into the side of their face and cause abscesses.

Murphy's Story

After a few messages back and forth, I was speaking to a lovely lady who was looking after her daughter's rabbit, after her daughter moved out and was unable to carry on caring for him. He was around 5-6 years old, known to be in good health and hadn't had any of his vaccines or been neutered. We arranged for her to drop him off with some of his food and we'd plan on getting him neutered, if it was advisable due to his age, have both his vaccines and pair him up with a female bunny.

I was passed a cardboard box where this little bunny was sitting hunched up inside. I gently lifted him out, gave him a big cuddle and placed him down on the floor, where he ran to the litter tray full of hay and sat there peacefully.

After speaking to the lady more and observing the bunny I asked if he had had his teeth checked recently and she said 'why do you think there is something wrong with his teeth?' I stated that I ask these questions for most of the bunnies that were handed over and I was being more cautious as this bunny was stated not to of eaten hay for over 5 years.

Once the lady had left, bunny, now named Murphy, picked up some hay and kept spitting it out, I offered him some of his food which he seemed disinterested in and some treats. We would normally let a bunny settle in before we did anything for them, but we noticed some very overgrown nails and they had to be cut straight away for his own comfort.
Whilst trimming his nails I noticed his two front paws - one looked deformed without any hair on and the other was missing some hair, looked sore and had yellow fur around it.
An hour went by, he hadn't moved, drank, eaten or shown any interest in anything, his paws were sore to touch and I had a bad feeling about it all, so I rang the vets immediately. They managed to book him in for that evening.

It is always better to phone the vets if you are worried about a bunny's health as they can go down hill very quickly, especially with new rabbits, although sometimes it takes awhile for them to settle in, so they might not be in the greatest spirits, but even if you just book your new rabbit in for a general health check!

Whilst we were waiting for the veterinary appointment time to come closer, Murphy would sit grinding his teeth, so loudly, every ten minutes or so, still wouldn't eat or drink. This was very concerning and I was so grateful for the later appointment, I just wish it came sooner.

We arrived at the vets, they weighed him, checked his body condition, checked his ears and teeth. We explained our concerns and explained our plan for neutering and finding him a lady friend, which they completely agreed with but told us before he would have surgery for the neuter, that he would have to get better first.
The deformed bare foot and the balding yellow foot was burns from where he had been drooling, a life without hay had badly done damage to his teeth and now his paws, the vet prescribed him some gut stimulate, antibiotics and pain relief to try and encourage him to eat and poop, as a bunny with gut stasis isn't a good bunny to operate on and he would have to go back in the morning for an operation on his teeth.

After a night of him still grinding his teeth, we kept him indoors near our room so we could hear him. We heard nothing through the night, he hadn't even moved from where we placed him by the looks of it. Nothing was eaten, still no poop, but the vets decided he needed his teeth looking at or he may never eat again.

After a long afternoon of waiting for him to come out of surgery I received a phone call, 'Hello I'm calling about Murphy, we did all we could with his teeth, the operation was going well, we managed to complete the operation, but unfortunately he didn't wake up, I'm so very sorry.'

We did all we could for him, I loved him so very much in the small amount of time of knowing him. The dreaded collection of the body had to happen though, so we went to collect him right away.
We spoke to the vet further and they said it was the life without hay that left him malnourished and with bad teeth, his teeth were the worst they had ever seen at the surgery, they even photographed it to show us. Most of his teeth were rotten, rotting or had already fallen out, he had some growing into the side of his face, which was the ones they had to remove, this was causing him all the pain.
Murphy had woken up for a few minutes after the operation but he was too poorly to carry on and his body just gave up.

How to get your bunny to eat hay

If your bunny won't eat hay there is lots you can do and try. There are a large variety of different hay available, the most popular being Timothy hay which also comes in lots of different brands and from different places, all tasting differently and of a different quality. So just because you've tried one type of Timothy hay, doesn't mean your bunny won't like a different brand. The greener more stalker hay is the best. There are other types such as meadow hay, oat hay and alfalfa hay but alfalfa hay should be limited for adult buns as it can be quite fattening.

There is also a large variety of hay that contain different mixes, from dandelion mixes to marigold mixes, apple mixes to carrot mixes, they aren't good all of the time but to help encourage them to eat hay and they are a fantastic treat.

Cutting down on pellets can help encourage them to eat more hay, after all an adult rabbit over the age of 6 months, only needs a tablespoon of pellets per kilo gram of rabbit per day.

Put hay above or in their litter tray, rabbits love to eat and poop at the same time, this will help encourage them.

Mix hay with grass and herbs this will encourage them to eat more.

Hay cookies are available to help them get used to eating hay, but only give 1 or 2 a day.

Try rubbing some hay around their mouth, sometimes this encourages them to bite it and find out that they actually like it.

Make toys out of cardboard tubes stuffing them with hay and herbs.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Rabbit 101 - Gut Stasis

What is gut stasis?
Gut stasis is a deadly condition which can cause a rabbit not to want to eat or drink, it is where the bunnies digestive system slows down or completely stops. Bad bacteria then builds up into their intestines and releases gasses into their system which can cause very painful bloating.

What are the signs of gut stasis?
Gut stasis usually shows itself by your rabbit not wanting to eat or drink anything, not wanting to do much and generally not themselves, sat hunched up and their poop will likely be very small or nonexistent.

Why do rabbits get gut stasis?
Gut stasis can caused by a number of things, a bunny in pain often gets gut stasis, if a bunny gets spooked that can cause them to go into stasis, bunnies with bad teeth, a stressed bunny, even lack of exercise can cause it. Every bunny can get stasis, for a number of reasons, it is just important that you spot it before it gets worse or before it is too late.

What should I do if I suspect my rabbit has gut stasis?
If you suspect your rabbit has gut stasis, you should contact a vet immediately, rabbits go down hill very quickly and need urgent veterinary care. Your vet is likely to administer pain relief and inject them with a gut stimulant, to get the gut moving again and get them poop. They may also give some antibiotics to help combat the overgrowth of any bad bacteria.
They will sometimes send you home with more medication usually pain relief and sometimes more gut stimulant to administer later on or the next day. It is good to also offer Critical care to encourage them to eat more and to get food and nutrients into them. Critical care is a powdered mix that you mix with water to a consistency where it is able to be put through a syringe and syringe fed orally to your rabbit. Depending on the vet and the severity of the problem, they may want to do some x-rays to check their is no blockages before treating and sometimes also like to keep them in on an IV drip to get them hydrated and to soften the the mass in the intestines. 
Once you are home you can offer them lots of fresh water, hay and greens to encourage them to eat. If you usually offer a bottle then it is good to put out a bowl of water too, to encourage them to drink.
After treatment your rabbit should start to perk up and begin to eat, if your rabbit doesn't show any sign of improvement or gets worse it is important to re-contact the rabbit savvy vet for immediate action. With the correct care and time, your rabbit can make a full recovery.

How do you prevent gut stasis?
Ensuring your rabbit has a good diet will help prevent gut stasis occurring, it should be mostly a diet of good quality hay, this is to help with their digestive system, provides them with a large amount of fibre and also keeps their teeth ground down and healthy. You can see a good diet in our Rabbit 101 - Diet post.
Reducing the amount of stress and noise around your rabbit can help keep gut stasis a bay, also giving them enough space and enrichment will keep them active and help.
Regular vet check ups can help keep your bunny healthy and can help check to see if there is any underlying issues with your rabbit or their teeth which can help keep your bunny healthy.