Pet and Animal Sitting
As the first of our House Sitting assignments draws to a close it has become obvious that the care of pets and other animals is a significant part of the things that a house sitter is called on to do.
The really good thing is that the animals that are being managed will actually help with what needs to be done.
The Chooks: Easy to manage
A prime example would be the chickens, or as I prefer to call them, the chooks. Where we are right now, foxes could be a problem at night if the chooks are not locked away safely. And since these chooks have free access to a large area, this could mean that the end of each day could be spent rounding them up.
But no, that is not necessary. As dusk hits the chooks make their way back to their house, with the rooster making sure that all of the girls are safely inside. Then the door can be locked. Well that’s the way it is supposed to work. For 6 of the 7 night things went that way. On the other night one stray chook could not get back because she had flown out the yard, and that meant a potential few minutes rounding her up. No need to worry. All I had to do was just open the gate to the yard, and she wandered off to the house to join her friends. Door locked. How easy was that.
The ducks: Now that is another story.
The 3 ducks, have a separate enclosure with a secure house built above ground where they are locked in overnight. Remember, foxes like to eat duck too. And the ducks also manage to find their way back into the enclosure and also up the ramp and into the house.
Well 2 of them can get themselves into the house. It seems that one of them is genetically programmed to refuse to step onto the bottom of the ramp. That crazy duck, who is under threat of becoming roast duck, has to be caught and physically placed on the ramp (or in the house) so it can be securely locked away overnight.
On two nights, however, it was necessary to catch all 3 ducks. The first was because I had allowed the door of the house to close but not using the catch to keep it open. When I went to put the ducks away for the night I found that the door was closed and they were wandering around on the ground level. When I discovered that, the door was opened and I left them for about 10 minutes for at least the two who normally make their way up the ramp to settle in.
Obviously the change of routine had confused the ducks and they didn’t find their way into the house, even when I gave them another 30 minutes. There was nothing to do but catch each duck and help it get into the house. That took some doing, and probably caused some stress that night. Thankfully they got back to their routine for the next few nights.
Except for the rainy night. It seems that they enjoyed the wet conditions and despite being given extra time, it was another night of catching all 3 ducks.
Ducks, Pigeons and Chooks: Sharing Food
The morning routine for me, the Pet Sitter, is
- Open the door to the chook shed and top up the chook food.
- Open the duck house, but keep the duck enclosure closed. Top up the duck food.
- At around mid-day, open the duck enclosure.
The reason behind this strategy is that the chooks tend to invade the duck enclosure to see if there is any food left. Keeping them out
Pigeons raiding the duck food
gives the duck more chance to get to their food. However, opening the duck house allows pigeons to get in help themselves to the grains. By the time the gate of the enclosure is opened there is no more grain left, but that does not stop the chooks from lining up as I open the gate.
The routine at the end of the day is as follows:
- Lock up the chook house, after counting to see that all chooks are inside.
- Leave the ducks outside, to give them a little “chook-free” time, then close their enclosure when they have returned.
- When the first 2 ducks have climbed into their house, catch the last one to return it, and put the catch on to keep them safe.