Tuesday, 27 March 2012

That's Green: Have Breakfast with the Birds

That's Green: Have Breakfast with the Birds: Haith's know a thing or two about birds and therefore it comes as no surprise that they’re about to launch a Limited Edition Bird Breakfa...

Monday, 26 March 2012

Chickens become firm family favourite in time for National Pet Month

Vanessa's daughter cuddles Victoria
With National Pet Month approaching, which this year runs from 7 April to 7 May, it’s time to start celebrating the animals in our life.

But it isn’t just cats and dogs that are getting all the attention. As animal feed specialist Dodson & Horrell reveals, more people than ever before are turning to an alternative to our four legged friends.

Chickens and hens are wowing animal lovers across the UK this year, with the feathery friends increasingly proving their credentials as family pets.
In the lead up to National Pet Month animal feed specialist Dodson & Horrell has recorded a 25% increase in chicken feed sales across the UK in the last two years and a surge in demand for chicken feeders and accessories.

The popularity of chickens has been backed up by the NFU Poultry board, with an estimated three million hens now being kept in people’s back yards.

Chris Gordon, Technical Director and Dodson & Horrell’s resident chicken enthusiast says: “As well as demand for chicken feed and accessories increasing, we also hear lots of anecdotal evidence to suggest that chickens are fast becoming a viable option when people are choosing pets along with traditional choices like dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

“We used to find that chickens were limited to farms or smallholdings and in the gardens of those living in the country but now it’s increasingly common for chickens to reside in backyards in our towns and cities.”

To help chicken lovers bringing these clucking friends into their lives, Dodson & Horrell has these top ten tips and facts.

Dodson & Horrell’s Top Tips

1. Scrupulous cleanliness is the key. Birds need regular worming and the house needs spraying against red mite.
2. Be sure to feed your chickens an appropriate food for laying hens but do not over feed. More feed does not equal more eggs and a fat bird readily succumbs to liver disease and can become too fat to lay.
3. Birds are thirsty animals so clean water must be continually available.
4. Shut your chickens in at night so they don’t get attacked by foxes.
5. To achieve good laying buy a ‘pullet’, a young domestic hen.
6. Birds should have good housing, one to four square feet per bird, and a fresh run area where they can peck and forage. Include a dust bath, sand, ash box or a half square foot pit per bird.
7. A good, well kept chicken will produce between 150 and 250 eggs per year.
8. Bantams are essentially scaled down versions of the hybrid hen, lay smaller eggs and can be a sound option if space is limited.
9. Egg laying takes place when there is no cock bird (a male over 12 months old) present. Traditional breeds lay in spasms, basically enough to sit on at any one time.
10. Modern, developed (hybrid) birds are bred to lay almost continuously.

For Vanessa Kimbell, who has one of the top UK food and lifestyle blogs (Goddess on a Budget), life without chickens would just be unthinkable. The mother of three, who lives in a village in Northamptonshire, considers her eight chickens an integral part of the family.

“Not only are they fabulous in terms of teaching the kids where food comes from," said Vanessa, "but they are also much loved pets, each with their own personality and traits. We first got the chickens for their fresh eggs, but now they are about far more than that. The children play with them, they are gentle and fun, and get along with our dog and three cats.

“As well as providing us all with hours of entertainment, they are hilarious with their antics, we also eat our own free range fresh eggs with pride - we just love them!"

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Does a legacy guarantee that your pet lives after you die?

Leaving a legacy to your favourite animal charity is a kind and generous act. But the Pet Education Trust (PET) has recently been made aware of a number of pitfalls and so would urge anyone considering leaving a legacy to be very careful when writing their will, particularly with their wishes regarding a pet who outlives you.

If your will states that your pet is to be fostered or re-homed, unless carefully worded, this needn’t guarantee that this will actually be the outcome. PET issue this warning, since being made aware of a very sad incident whereupon an elderly lady had been found dead at her home, with her dog, Henry, laying faithfully by her side.

The lady was widowed and had lived on her own with no family for over 20 years. Henry (8) was the latest in a line of Golden Retrievers, who had kept this lady company over the years. He was a familiar sight to the neighbours as his owner took him out twice a day, happily padding alongside his owners mobility scooter. His owner’s greatest concern was what would happen to her beloved Henry in the event of her passing, so she had made arrangements in her will for him to be taken in by an Animal Shelter to be re-homed or fostered in return for them receiving her entire estate.

Henry was put to sleep 24 hours after being taken into the care of the Animal Shelter. Following a basic veterinary assessment on the day Henry arrived and without any further tests (blood, scans, x-rays) being undertaken, Henry’s medical condition was deemed to be such that it would be unfair to continue his life and therefore be rehomed. There had been no consultation with his regular vet other than the passing over of records and no communication regarding the circumstances under which Henry had been found.

Close neighbours and friends of the lady have been left reeling at this decision, describing an eight year old, happy dog who enjoyed his twice daily walks, who loved to play ball in the garden and who only weeks earlier had relished rolling in the snow ‘like a puppy’. The owner had recently spoken to her next door neighbour of 48 years at her joy of hearing that Henry’s anti-inflammatory medication - which had been prescribed for mild arthritis and hip dysplasia – could be reduced following a Medication Review appointment at his vets in mid January. An appointment which he’d walked the 4 mile round trip to and from.

Unfortunately, when Henry’s owner signed up to the Animal Shelter's Pet Promise Scheme, she had not supplied any other contact details which would have enabled them to contact someone to speak about the dog. It’s not clear whether Henry’s death would have been prevented by this but it would have given the charity the chance to know more about the Henry everyone else knew as opposed to the Henry described in their veterinary report – and some background information on his last few days which were clearly responsible for his ‘distressed’ state when he arrived at the charity’s site.

Anyone thinking of arranging legacies for their pets needs to be aware that there is no guarantee that their pet will not be put to sleep and that doing so does not invalidate a will.

PET are in no way suggesting that sick animals or those in a great deal of distress or pain should be kept alive in order to satisfy someone’s wishes in a will, but all animal charities should make a point of taking the time to access to as much information on the animal’s background as is possible before such a dramatic decision is made.

Finally, and because the law cannot guarantee your pet’s fate, it is worth considering very carefully who your legacy is left to. For further information on legacies please call the Pet Education Trust on 0845 257 2565.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Pamper Your Pet, And Your Home, With Sliderobes

The company has a team of expert designers who can create bespoke solutions for every room in your home and every household member - including your pet!

What's more, the finish of the sliding doors can reflect your love of animals. Choose from a stylish animal print effect design to add a wow factor to your room with options including irresistible faux fur, snappy moc-croc, Dalmatian dog design or a unique cow skin effect.

No matter where in your home you choose to have your new storage solution, no task is too tricky. Sliderobes can fit its luxurious designs around awkward features such as sloping ceilings, chimney breasts and low beams.

If it is not convenient for you to visit a store, a Sliderobes designer will visit your home, at a time to suit you, for a free, no-obligation design appointment to discuss requirements. For more information about Sliderobes, please call 0800 454 465 in the UK and 1800 352 352 in ROI or visit www.sliderobes.com. For interior design and home suggestions follow Sliderobes on Twitter and Facebook.

This is where Sliderobes, the storage solutions expert, can help you maximise space within your home. The company has a team of expert designers who can create bespoke solutions for every room in your home and every household member - including your pet! What's more, the finish of the sliding doors can reflect your love of animals. Choose from a stylish animal print effect design to add a wow factor to your room with options including irresistible faux fur, snappy moc-croc, Dalmatian dog design or a unique cow skin effect.

No matter where in your home you choose to have your new storage solution, no task is too tricky. Sliderobes can fit its luxurious designs around awkward features such as sloping ceilings, chimney breasts and low beams.

For interior design and home suggestions you can follow Sliderobes on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Badly injured duck put to sleep

RSPCA Cymru in north Wales recently attended an incident in which a duck was found by a member of the public bloodied and injured seemingly at the tail end of a battle (13.03.12).

The male mallard was found in a brook at the bottom of the caller's garden in Guilsfield near Welshpool in an agitated state and struggling to walk.

The caller was able to monitor and leave some bread for the duck until the RSPCA arrived.

Unfortunately due to serious open wounds on his breast area and the back of his neck, along with an injury to his leg, the duck was put to sleep to prevent him from suffering further.

RSPCA animal welfare officer Claire Davies said: "This is a sad incident and moreover it's impossible to tell exactly what had happened.

"In the world of nature, it could have been a wild predator such as a fox, it could have been another duck fighting his rival for a female's affections, but it might even have been a companion animal like a dog.

"Ultimately we are very grateful to the caller for phoning as it meant that the RSPCA could attend, assess the duck and make a decision in his best interest, which sadly this time, meant putting him to sleep to prevent further suffering.

"Similarly if you spot an animal in pain or distress, please call the RSPCA's 24-hour helpline on 0330 1234 999."

RSPCA Cymru News: Cats dumped in box with note

The RSPCA are appealing for information after two cats were found dumped in a box with a note by a telephone box at Moss Valley Fishing Lake and Park yesterday (13.03.12)

The domestic tabby and white cats were found by a member of public sellotaped into a box that had a written note inside saying "We are mother and daughter but our owner cannot keep us".

The caller was able to confine and monitor the cats until the RSPCA arrived. The cats were then checked by a vet and found to be in good bodily condition, but the mother cat suspected as carrying kittens.

No microchips were found and both will now be taken into RSPCA care.

RSPCA inspector Tim Jones said: "This is a cold-hearted thing for someone to do - despite them thinking it was possibly safer to sellotape the cats into a box they could have been subject to all kinds of dangers.

"Leaving a note as some form of anonymous confession and hoping that leaving them outside will mean someone else will rescue them really should never be a way of ridding the owner of his or her guilt.

"Essentially you have turned your back on your pets and thought should have been put into the responsibilities of caring for cats before actually getting them.

"People also still do not realise the importance of neutering their cats - if you have an unneutered female, this can quickly result in lots of little kitties and more mouths to feed and care for, which means more money from your pocket as an owner.

"There is never any excuse for abandoning an animal. If you really feel that you can no longer look after a pet, you can seek advice from an animal welfare organisation."

"If anyone in the area recognises the description of the incident or the cats, please call the RSPCA's help-line on 0300 1234 999."

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Feel guilty when you have ice cream & your dog doesn't? New ice cream for dogs is launched!

Yes, it's true! From now on, your dog can have his or her own ice cream treat!

Billy+Margot™, a delicious and unique new ice cream treat for dogs, has won a listing in Dobbies, the garden centre chain owned by supermarket giant Tesco.

Manufactured by artisan ice cream supplier Taywell, Billy+Margot™ is to be sold in 27 Dobbies outlets across the UK from late March. The brand will be unveiled to the public for the first time on 8 March at the world's most famous dog show, Crufts.

Billy+Margot™, which is being made by Taywell at its kitchens in Kent, is available in two flavour varieties: Strawberry+Apple and Apple+Banana+Carrot. It contains no milk, which can be harmful to dogs, and the sugars in the product come only from the fructose found naturally in the fruit and vegetable ingredients that flavour the ice cream.

Billy+Margot™ was developed by nutritionist and dog lover Marie Sawle, who was inspired to create the concept after spotting a gap in the market for a refreshing but nutritious iced canine treat for hot days.

"Many dog owners know that giving a cooling drink to a dog in very hot weather helps them a lot, so why not give them a reward after a walk or exercise with a nutritious iced treat?" she said.

Billy+Margot™ is being targeted at a wide range of retailers, including specialist pet stores and garden centres. Alastair Jessel, managing director of Taywell, said: "We're delighted to be working with Marie to make Billy+Margot™ iced treats for dogs. Although a typical first reaction to Billy+Margot™ might be to chuckle, in fact we see this as a very serious business opportunity for retailers of all kinds. The brand is already gaining listings fast and we have very high hopes for it."

Alastair added: "Giving your much-loved pet a well-deserved treat is one of life's pleasures, and in the case of Billy+Margot™ you'll be giving them something wholesome and nutritious as well as delicious."

For further information please visit: www.taywell.com or: www.billyandmargot.com.