Mutual of Omaha Presents…

The Burlingame WILD KINGDOM!  OK, no one under 40 will even get that joke, but some of us “oldsters” think it’s funny right?  You know who you are!

Scarlett was taking a “dust” bath on the arm of my sofa.  This does not say much about the quality of my housekeeping that she found sufficient “dust” for her bath on my furniture!  Rowdy (foreground) and Sammy (background) enjoyed her display of fowl behavior while I (Marlin Perkins) filmed the animal action…

Notice halfway thru the video you can see Jim (Fowler) in the top left corner. 🙂

I do plan to make her a real dust bath to put in the yard when the weather clears, but for now, she seems to find pleasure in wallowing on the Davenport. (another reference the youngsters won’t get!)

A Scarlett Pansy?

Before the cold snap, we had a warm sunny day so I let little Scarlett loose in the pansy bed.

Since she’s never felt grass or dirt beneath her feet before she was confused and curious.  Sammy and Buster tried to explain things to her…

but she got bored and just walked between the chickenwire.

I'm outta here!

She won’t be able to do this much longer.  🙂  She seems to grow before my eyes.  I wonder if she thinks she’s a bunny or a kitty?

I’m Supposed to be Afraid of These Guys?

No one has told Miss Scarlett that she’s supposed to flee if she sees an animal of the feline variety.  To her, Sammy is a very unusual-looking rabbit!

Looks like a "Scaredy Cat" to me!

Rowdy is convinced we are fattening this chick up for a tasty snack.

About the size of an appetizer...

You have to SHARE Rowdy!

No, I am not in the mood to play. I'm seventeen years old for God's sake!

The old Lady Cats are unimpressed.  They’ve seen it all before.

You are getting on my last nerve...

In all seriousness, we do NOT leave Scarlett unsupervised around any of the kitties.  Until Scarlett gets bigger than a buttermilk biscuit, we stay very close while she gets acquainted with her fluffy sisters.  Do NOT try this at home!

Learning Curve

Scarlett is gaining some chicken knowledge without the benefit of another chicken.  I’m amazed at the miracle of instinct.  She lives with two Homo sapiens, four Felis domesticus and one Oryctolagus cuniculus (had to look this one up) and yet, she is doing little chicken activities as if she read the manual.

Always stretch before you start your day…

Hunt for worms…

Perch…

Fall gracefully…

Find the warmest sleeping spot…

Relax whenever possible…

Hide from danger…

And above all, be as cute as possible so no one will want to eat you.

She’s got that last one down pat!

None Shall Pass!

Scarlett is trying to make friends with Buster, but his temperament isn’t like our sweet little Bistsy.  He’s not a mean guy, he’s just an older gentleman who is very set in his ways.  His bachelor pad is off-limits to little yellow chickens, but Scarlett makes an effort anyway.

Later, she tries to sit on his rooftop patio and manages to stay…

At least for a little while.

If I know this spunky little bird, she’ll have this guy eating out of her hand in no time.

What did I tell you!

Joy and Pain

I scheduled Bitsy’s surgery with Dr. Glasscock, our wonderful vet and friend.  Why would we need to spay our bunny you ask?  Even though Buster is neutered, all pet bunnies are happier and healthier if you have them fixed.  The reasons are threefold: One, they can’t reproduce (not a problem in our situation.) Two, female rabbits are prone to uterine cancer and taking out the uterus eliminates this chance.  Three, bunnies are notorious lovers.  They can never relax if they are still intact and they harass all other animals in their vicinity as well as inanimate objects that might look slightly “bunny-like”.  Before we had Buster fixed when he was a youngster, he had a favorite stuffed toy that withstood his attentions with great forbearance.  Bitsy was trying to mate with Buster constantly and he was gentle but firm in his desire to “just be friends”.

So, on the morning of her surgery, Dr. Glasscock did confirm that yes, she was a little girl.  We left her in excellent care and planned to return in the afternoon to collect her.  At 2:00pm I got a tearful phone call from Dr. G informing me that Bitsy’s heart stopped during surgery and she was unable to wake her up.  She had never lost a bunny during surgery before and she was very shaken.  I collected my little girl and Jim and I had a small service in the back yard for our pet of one week.  She is buried next to Boo Boo, Buster’s little sister who died two years ago.  A flat pink stone marks her grave.  Her death was peaceful and pain-free, and her last week on Earth was probably the best she experienced in her short little life.  We will miss her terribly and so will Buster.

Such is life when you have animals.  There is always some pain mixed in with the joy.  In my opinion the joy is worth every ounce of the pain.  Good-by Bitsy.  You were loved.

Sweet Rabbit With a Side of Chicken

My parents live on a farm in Mississippi and they have about 30 Rhode Island Reds.  Daddy recently tried to hatch a clutch of fertile eggs in an incubator.  He wasn’t sure if the eggs were actually fertile so he took a gamble.  Only one little chick hatched.  Dad has two beautiful roosters, but neither would own up to the deed.

WHO'S YER DADDY!

It’s improbable that a lone chick will survive since they need the warm bodies of other chicks to thrive and grow.  Mom & Dad brought the baby inside and put a heating pad, food & starter feed in a cardboard box.  Mom put one of her fleece lined slippers in the box for a warm nest.  The little trooper survived the first day, and then the next, and the next, until it looked like she was going to make it.  She thought my dad was her mommy and she was very content to sit on his shoulder for hours during the day.  If he walked around the kitchen, she followed him, cheeping at full volume for him to pick her up.

I bought him this shirt last Christmas.

My parents knew that I was sad after having to give up my three back yard chickens, so they offered me the chick to take home and raise up to coop age.  I jumped at the chance.  She made the 280 mile trip to our house peeping, pooping and sleeping the whole way.  When we got home, we fixed up Bitsy’s cage for her new home.  Bitsy didn’t need a cage anymore since she was using her litter box and behaving nicely with her big brother.  We decided she was a girl (we actually have no idea) and named her Scarlett, since she is a Rhode Island RED!  My neighbors came over to see Bitsy and they got a bonus!  I wanted Scarlett to feel another soft animal body for the first time, and they don’t come any softer than Bitsy. We put the little babies together in my friend Lauren’s arms.

Bitsy was very still and Scarlett settled down into the soft fur of her new friend.

In less than 30 seconds Scarlett was sound asleep.

Sweet little Bitsy sat still the whole time letting Scarlett get her first cuddle with another of God’s creatures.  These two little creatures were orphans no more.

Itsy Bitsy

On January 31st, I brought a baby bunny home from the animal shelter.  She had been abandoned and they couldn’t tell me if she was male or female.  She also did not have a name and no one knew how old she was.  I introduced her to my four-year old Holland Lop bunny named Buster.  At first he was unsure about this new house guest…

…but then he grew to like her.

First date.

We named her Bitsy and began introducing her to other furry family members.

Everybody seemed OK with the new situation.

Is there room for one more species in this Animal House?  Check back tomorrow to see for yourself. 🙂