Diet 1: Dogs

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm doing a series of posts dedicated to the diets of my pets.  I'm starting today with the dogs. This will be a long post.

The foods: Grandma Mae's Country Naturals and Taste of the Wild

The little dogs, Ricky (Chihuahua), Maggie (Miniature Schnauzer), and Ellie (Cockapoo), eat a dog food called Grandma Mae's Country Naturals. When we got Ricky, this is what he was already eating. At the time, we were trying to find a food that Ellie could eat without getting sick. Ellie has several food allergies or intolerances, and it has been a challenge to find a food she could eat. So, when we got Ricky, we decided to try this food for Ellie too. It worked. Ellie doesn't get sick with this food.

There are several things I like about this food. I like that it comes from a small company. I like that they don't use cheap ingredients like corn, animal by-products, or artificial colours or flavours. The food also has no preservatives. I like that the first two ingredients are meat ingredients.

There are a couple of things about it that I don't like. I don't like that the food has garlic in it, even though it is the 20th item on the ingredient list and there is very little in the food. I also don't like the meat to grains ratio. It has mostly healthy grains in it, and Ellie doesn't do well on a completely grain free diet, so I overlook the fact it has more grains than I'd like. I'm also not sure about the sodium selenite that's in it. I'm still researching that.

Overall, I like Country Naturals. It's not the best dog food in the world, but the dogs do well on it, so for now, this is the food they're getting. 

The big dogs, Bella and Jax (both German Shepherds), get Taste of the Wild. They get all of the different dry dog food variations. They have both done great on this food. We tried Ellie on this before we got Ricky, and she did okay for a couple of weeks and then started getting sick. The little dogs occasionally get Taste of the Wild if we feel like giving them something different. Ellie is fine with getting this food only sometimes. Like Country Naturals, Taste of the Wild has things that I like and things that I don't like.

I like that the first (on average) three ingredients are meats. I like that they use meats other than the typical dog food meats. Depending on the formula, the meats include bison, lamb, chicken, duck, quail, turkey, venison, salmon, and "ocean fish" (I wonder what fish that is...). Every formula, with the exception of Pacific Stream food, has more than one type of meat. This might not work for some dogs, but it works well for ours. Another fantastic thing about it is that they do not use ethoxyquin. Most dog foods with fish use this preservative.

I don't like that Taste of the Wild doesn't manufacture their own foods. The food is actually manufactured by Diamond. I'm not too crazy about Diamond Foods or their business practices. I also don't like that Taste of the Wild uses so many preservatives. They also use tomato pomace in their foods. Tomato pomace is controversial. It is what's left after processing tomatoes for ketchup, soup, and juice. Some people say it is perfectly fine and is high-fiber and nutritious, and others say it is just filler.

Despite these things, I find Taste of the Wild to be a great food. I saw improvements when I started feeding it to Bella. Within a couple weeks, she had more energy and her coat was shinier than ever.

Could it be improved? Because the dogs are on a dry dog food diet, there is definitely room for improvement. If I were to feed my ideal diet, I'd feed a raw diet. However, this is not possible right now. I feel that, for now, the dogs are on a good diet. Everybody is a healthy weight and the dogs are healthy.

Things I refuse to feed: I refuse to feed all dog foods you can buy at Wal-mart or any place like that, unless it is an absolute emergency (running out of dog food is not an emergency for me). I won't feed brands like Iams, Eukanuba, Hills Science Diet, and nearly every food you can buy at Petsmart or Petco. There are also the common sense things like chocolate. There is a whole list of foods you shouldn't feed your dog (though I disagree with a couple things on that list).

Helpful things: I read a book called Food Pets Die For by Ann N. Martin. I highly recommend it for any pet owner. If you read the reviews for this book, you will see a few bad reviews where people call her crazy (one of which comes from a vet student...of course they will call her crazy...but I'm not writing about the vet industry right now). I feel the book was well written. There might be incorrect information in it, but I don't think there is. In addition to this book, there are lots of websites. I like Dog Food Advisor and Dog Food Analysis.

Animal Foods

I've decided to do a series of posts about what my various pets get fed, including how often, how much, what brand foods, and other things like that. I'll also include reasons for why I feed what I feed and websites I have found helpful.

I'm doing this for a couple of reasons. One reason is that it will force me to look at my animals' diets once again. It will give me the opportunity to reevaluate everything I feed and share my knowledge. It will also make me write down their diets so that when somebody else has to take care of my animals when I am unable to (like vacation), I won't have to write everything down then and worry about forgetting things.

So, stay tuned. I'll be starting this series this week. I'll start with either the dogs or the cats because their diets are simpler than my other animals.


I have several things going through my head right now that I want to do. Here's a list:

1. Clean, organize, and rearrange my bedroom. I went away to school last semester and the semester before, and came home on the weekends. During this year, my bedroom has gotten messy and lacks the organization I like. I got use to my dorm room being clean and neat and organized; I want my bedroom to be the same.

2. Redo the guinea pig cage (again). I would like to make it bigger, and I'd like to start using fleece instead of Carefresh for the bedding. I'd like to do this before Pam's quarantine is over. I may let the two events coincide--new big cage for the pigs the day Prudence and Sadie meet Pam.

3. Build a playgym for the birds. I'd like one that isn't a tabletop gym. I'm getting quite adept with making stuff with PVC pipes, so I'll probably use that. Alternatively, I may just build a stand for the big playgym I have.

4. New tank for Maxwell. He has outgrown his current one.

Is Prudence Blind?

I think Prudence might be blind or at least has very bad eyesight. How this has escaped my notice for nearly three years I have no idea. Maybe she hasn't been like this the entire time I've had her, or maybe she just manages living with it very well.

Tonight I was holding her and petting her like normal. But tonight I noticed that when my hand gets close to her eyes, she doesn't blink. So I took my finger and moved it closer and closer to her eye. I got less than a centimeter away from her eyeball and she still didn't blink. I held her up to a light and her eyes remained fully dilated. My mom shone a very bright light in her face and her eyes did dilate some. So, she at least has light/dark vision.

I've never noticed her running into anything, but the layout in her cage is nearly always the same. When she's in an unfamiliar area, she moves slow, never runs. I tested this tonight too. I put her on the floor in a strange room and tried to get her to run, but she just walked very slowly, sniffing and wiggling her whiskers.

I'm trying to figure out if she really is blind or has bad eyesight. Pam also let me put my finger extremely close to her eye without blinking. So, maybe that's just a pig thing. If she is blind/nearly blind, it may be the reason why she refuses to go on the upstairs of the guinea pig cage, even when the only food is there. I will have to keep a close eye on her and see if she does anything that indicates that she has poor vision.

Bird Update

I realized today that it has been a while since I did a post devoted entirely to the birds, so here is an update. There isn't much to report, but here's what's going on with them.

Digby is doing great. She still won't step up on my bare skin, but I can pet her, as can my mom. She even let my dad pet her a couple of times. She is getting to be very friendly and is even a little more outgoing than she was. I just can not get over how much she has changed since I got her. I noticed last week that her feathers have become brilliant. I know it has to do with her improved diet.

Lenore, too, is doing good. He insists on me getting him out anytime he can see me. He still doesn't want to play independently when he is out of his cage--we're working on this. He "talks" to me constantly. He's very ornery, but at the same time, he can be quite sweet. He is so much fun to have around.

They are still in separate cages, and probably will be for a while. I'm still looking for that perfect cage for them to share.

Update on Pam

Pam has been with us for three days now and she has been busy. Busy with what? Winning people over. She has won everybody over, from my a couple of my nephews to my dad. When I went over to my sister's house last night, my youngest nephew (four years old) asked me, "Why didn't you bring the giggy pig?"

But most of all, Pam has won me over. Okay, sure, she did that before we even got home with her, but she has just flat out stolen my heart. She comes when you open her cage, she cuddles when you hold her, and she is so curious and playful. I mentioned before how sweet she is, but let me reiterate. She is the sweetest pig ever.

I had forgotten how much fun baby guinea pigs are. She gets so excited about the silliest things--Oh! Look! I have food in my dish! Yum! I think I'll popcorn. *popcorns* Oh! Look! There is that silly cat looking in my cage again! I think I'll popcorn for her! *popcorns* Yum! That water from my water bottle sure tastes good! I'll popcorn because it's so good! *popcorns* (The aforementioned "silly cat" is Delilah of course. And for those of you living in guinea pig-less households, this is popcorning: video #1: watch the littler one, video #2--this little piggy needs a bigger cage though, video #3--watch the little one again.) 

Pam reminds me of my very first guinea pig, Babe. I was no more than nine when I had Babe, maybe even younger. He, like Pam, was a very sweet little pig. He loved to be held and played with and he loved his veggies! He looked very much like this pig. He died of heatstroke one year when our air conditioner died. He was the guinea pig that started it all.

Vet Visit for Bella

We took Bella to the vet today. She has a spot on her back that hasn't healed. She also had something last fall in the same spot that took forever to heal. It came back a few weeks ago and hasn't gotten better. Her father, our first German Shepherd, had cancer. I was very worried that Bella had skin cancer, given the sore that wouldn't heal.

The vet, however, took a good look at it and assured us that it wasn't cancer. Bella has a cyst that has caused a sore. She pulled the scab off and examined the area. She shaved the hair and cleaned it up. She gave Bella a shot of an antibiotic and gave us some antibiotic pills to give to her. She told us we could put Neosporin on it if Bella leaves it alone.

We also talked to the vet about Bella's hips, asking if there was anything else we could do for her since some days she seems fine and some days they really bother her. She prescribed Deramaxx and told her to keep her on it for two weeks, and then we can give it to her every other day, give her a half a dose everyday, or give it to her as we see it being needed. Tango, Bella's father, was on a medicine towards the end of his life that really helped him; I'm pretty sure this is what it is. I really hope it helps Bella.

The vet is also doing a full blood panel so that we can put Bella on Deramaxx and for future reference. If we keep Bella on the Deramaxx, she'll have to get bloodwork done every 6 months.

Bella, like always, did great at the vet's office. When my brother decided to stay in the waiting room while we went back, Bella kept looking out the door of the room and was on very high alert, obviously bothered by the fact she couldn't see my brother. When we made him come back to the room, she relaxed. She let the vet do whatever she needed to do, as long as I held her head and reassured her. She hardly complained even when they were taking blood.

Introducing Pam

I've been wanting to get another guinea pig ever since Camo passed away last year. Prudence and Sadie seemed to miss having a third pig around. I was waiting for the right pig to come along. She finally appeared today.

This is Pam (after "Polythene Pam" by the Beatles). She is the sweetest little pig. Before we got her, my mom was holding her and she almost fell asleep while being held. While we were holding her, she was very friendly and curious. When my mom picked her up from the cage, she willingly came.

I held her in my lap on the way home rather than make her stay in her box (yeah, I know, bad me, having an animal on my lap in the car). This time, she DID fall asleep. She doesn't squirm when being held. She purrs and mutters when we pet her. Once we got home and I put her in her cage, I let her be for awhile. When I went back to check on her, she came to me rather than running from me. This little pig is definitely the sweetest guinea pig I've ever met, and I've met a ton of little guinea pigs.

She's under a month long quarantine before I introduce her to Sadie and Prudence.

Bird Mash

For the past week, I've been making and serving finely chopped up veggies (what some folks would call bird mash or chop) for the birds, guinea pigs, and the bearded dragon. At first, everybody was unsure about eating eat, including the guinea pigs who normally eat anything I put in their bowl.

Now, the guinea pigs and Maxwell will all eat it quite happily (the guinea pigs are also getting lettuce like always). The birds are still unsure about what to do with it. Lenore will eat a little bit of it, but not much. Digby will eat it if I feed it to her piece by piece. I added some seed to the birds' dishes yesterday hoping to entice them into eating the other stuff; it didn't work too well. I should also mention that Delilah and Ricky both love the stuff too. Ricky will do tricks to get some.

I'm almost out of pellets, which means I will be ordering some more. I think I'll be trying Totally Organics Pellets. I also want to order some new toys.

Beautiful Weather

You will have to excuse the lack of posts this week. The weather is absolutely beautiful here in the Bluegrass State right now and I am loving it! The current temperature is 68 degrees, and tomorrow it is supposed to get up to 70 degrees.

The weather is so nice that I put the convertible top down on my way home from school today. This is what February in Kentucky is supposed to be like (okay, maybe it's 5 or 10 degrees warmer than it should be). This winter has been really cold and really snowy. It has been really awful.

So, since posts will most likely be in short supply until probably Sunday (when it's supposed to rain), go watch this owl webcam: I've been watching this cam for the past few weeks and love it. It is a Barn Owl box. The pair that reside in it have a clutch of six eggs, one of which is ready to hatch anytime now, with a big pip hole. There is at least one other egg that has started to pip as well; I think there really might be two, but can't be sure. So, since you are not outside enjoying the weather and still in front of your computer, go watch Mel and Sydney.

Thursday was Just Practice

On Thursday, I wrote about Digby breaking a flight feather that had blood on the broken end (see this post). What little bleeding there was stopped before I found it. I did not have to pull out the rest of the feather or take her to the vet. I was quite relieved that the broken feather was nothing serious.

But today's story is different. I got Digby out, planning on letting her be out for a while. I had her on her perch in the kitchen while I finished up a few chores. Something spooked her and she flew to the ground. When she landed, I saw she had a broken feather. The feather did not just break off. It broke but was still attached.

 I picked her up and put her back on her perch. I watched her for a few minutes and the feather seemed to be really bothering her. Then she lifted her wing trying to mess with it and I saw blood on the inside of her wing. I took her upstairs so my mom could help me. I put her on the bed and we observed her for a couple minutes. I tried toweling her to inspect her wing, but each time I did, she got very upset. After a couple minutes, I gave her some bird bread to calm her down. She happily ate while we decided what to do.

There aren't very many avian vets in Louisville, and none of them are open on Sunday evening. We do have an emergency vet, Jefferson Animal Hospital, but I am unsure of what they could do. I talked to them once that night Noey died; at the time, they told me all they would be able to do was stabilize her until their other branch that deals with exotics opened in the morning. I am fairly sure that they could have helped us tonight had we needed it. Even though we could have gone to the vet, we decided to pluck the feather ourselves.

We had never done it before, but both my mom and I have read about it in several different places. So Mom got out a small pair of needle nose pliers to do it with. I held Digby in a towel, while Mom held Digby's wing and pulled the feather out (no way was I about to be the one to pull the feather was nerve-racking enough watching somebody else do it). Mom very carefully got a hold of the feather's shaft and pulled. It came out and the bleeding stopped. Digby ran up my arm to my shoulder and sat for a while.

The feather. Notice the break and the blood.

I am very, very thankful my girl is okay. I was prepared to take her to the vet if I needed to, but I feel this is one of those things you need to be able to do if you have birds. The most difficult part of it was not the actual pulling the feather out, but restraining Digby long enough to do so.

Digby is now doing fine. She has already gone to bed for the evening after some cuddling and eating some more bird bread.

Bird Introductions, Part 3

I had Digby and Lenore out together again yesterday. They acted better than they did the other night. I let them play on the "big" playgym (see this post). It's not really all that big, but it's big in comparison to their body size and Lenore's little playgym.

I wisely gave them two dishes of food. At first, they each ate at their separate dishes. Then Lenore noticed Digby eating at the top of the gym. He decided to go see her. He climbed up the rungs until he got to the part that was completely vertical and not at an angle. He couldn't quite figure out how to get up there. He watched her for a minute before deciding to return to his food dish.

Then Digby saw Lenore eating. She climbed down from her spot to him and his dish and started eating with him. They took turns picking up food. There was no beak grabbing or foot biting like the other night. Then Digby decided that she wanted to go back to her original spot, so she headed in that direction. Lenore followed her. It was very cute.

Scare with Digby

Digby decided to scare me today.

I had her in the kitchen with me as I often do, and she was sitting on her perch, watching me and trying to hop onto me if I got to close. This is what she always does. I let her on my shoulder for a few minutes, then put her back on her perch.

She was not content to sit on her perch. She decided she needed to fly across the kitchen. Her wings are clipped, but I'm letting them grow out a little bit (the people who clipped them butchered her right wing). She didn't get much height, but she got a fair amount of distance. When she landed, I walked to her to pick her up and one of the feathers on her right wing was sticking out at a 90 degree angle from her wing. I put her on her perch and before I could inspect it, she smoothed it back down.

After a few minutes, she took off from her perch again, landing in the same spot. This time, the feather broke off and landed on the floor. I picked up her and the feather. The feather had a drop of blood on it! I put her on her perch and went to grab her towel. With my mom's help, I inspected the wing as best I could. Neither I nor my mom saw any blood on her wing, and she wouldn't let us look very much. She hates being toweled (which is really funny because she used to actually like it!) and wouldn't hold still.

Because I didn't see blood anywhere on her and couldn't find the remains of the broken feather, I decided to just keep an eye on her. Fortunately, she never bled and this evening she is being as active as ever.

Upon closer inspection of the feather, it was the one flight feather on that wing that had grown very much. Her left wing flight feathers are actually getting a bit long, but her right wing flight feathers are very, very short. I don't plan on letting her be flighted because our house isn't a safe place for a flighted bird, but I do want her to have feathers on her wings that don't look chopped up.

When this happened, I managed not to panic. I very calmly had her step up from her perch, very calmly walked upstairs, very calmly toweled her. When she tried to bite me, I remained calm. I am very proud to say I didn't panic. Sometimes I panic when things like that happen, but I stayed calm. (Side note: I believe retraining an ex-racehorse has a lot to do with my being able to stay calm. If he freaks, then I panic, then he panics too, but if he freaks and I stay calm, I am able to ride through whatever he does and calm him down as well.)

Slap Chop

I was somewhat productive today. I cut up enough vegetables today for today's meals and tomorrow's meals. I hadn't planned to, it just happened.

I had cut up a huge bok choy leaf, was starting in on the broccoli, and was bemoaning the fact that we don't have a food processor. Then I realised, wait! We have a Slap Chop! (For those who don't know what a Slap Chop is, you can see it here The Slap Chop has received a bit of a bad rep, but we have never had any problems with it.) So I dug around in our cabinet filled with miscellaneous things and found it. I had never used it before, but my mom told me it worked well.

I grabbed a piece of the broccoli stem and put it under the Slap Chopped and started chopping away. It worked great! Before long, I had a large amount of bok choy, broccoli, and bell peppers that couldn't possibly get eaten in one day. I decided to also add some lettuce so the guinea pigs could enjoy it too. The Slap Chop does not work on greens, but the blender does! I added some water and turned the blender on for no more than 3 seconds and I had finely chopped lettuce.

I put all the vegetables in a bowl and mixed. It was a lot of food for my tiny flock of two birds. The guinea pigs got some (in addition to more lettuce) and the bearded dragon got some too. I still have enough for tomorrow as well.

I know a lot of people make this for their birds on a regular basis, and I think I'm going to start. But in order to justify it (and to use it before it goes bad without freezing it), I have to make it suitable for the guinea pigs and the bearded dragon as well. This was way quicker and much more efficient than my usual method (cutting everything up with a knife and never get it small enough). Next time I make this, I'll have to get a wider variety of veggies.

First Seeds

I planted my first seeds of the season yesterday. I started my collard seeds and my Swiss chard seeds. I won't bore you with pictures of dirt with nothing growing in it.

Next week, I'll start some peppers.

I found this really helpful website that tells you went to start seeds inside and when to transplant them. It also has a tool that lets you plug in your last and first frost dates and it tells you what you should be starting inside or outside, what you should be hardening off, and what you should be transplanting. According to it, I should start collards and Chinese cabbage (bok choy) inside this week, and I should have already started broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leeks, head lettuce, parsley, and onion seeds last week. None of those were things I was planning on growing, except maybe broccoli and some head lettuce. The website is here:

Bird Introductions, Part 2

After allowing them to see each other and talk to each other quiet a bit from the safety of their cages, I decided to let Digby and Lenore meet each other tonight outside of their cages. I put a couple pieces of bird bread (which they have both decided is their absolute favourite food) out and let them both eat it.

They did pretty good together. There were a few times when one of them grabbed the other one's beak. They also took turns trying to getting the other bird's feet. There were a few squabbles, but for the most part they were good.

Digby kept stealing Lenore's food, once when it was hanging from his beak. At one point, Digby jumped off the table for some reason. Lenore followed her. Lenore very obviously likes Digby (I haven't seen anybody that Lenore doesn't like), but Digby seems to be a little unsure.

I think they will end up being fine with each other.

Digby likes...

Digby discovered something yesterday. She discovered that being petted is actually pretty awesome.

I had on the birds' favourite shirt yesterday. It has beads on the shoulders that they love to pull off. When I wear this shirt, I do not allow them on my shoulders because of this, but every now and then, they sneak to my shoulder or hop to it before I can stop them. This is exactly what Digby did yesterday. She was very distracted by the bead in her mouth, that I took the moment to pet her. She loved it.

I got her off my shoulder and put her back on her perch. I tried petting her again, thinking she wouldn't let me, but she did. She actually lowered her head so I could pet it and her neck.

(Very poor quality, but you get the picture.)

So far she'll only let me pet her. My mom (her second favourite person) can very briefly touch her beak, something that she has been letting me do for the past week. I think we'll eventually get to the point where my mom can pet her too. I'm just thrilled that she let me pet her. For now, that is good enough.

Currently, both birds are in my room. Lenore is in his cage and Digby is on her T-perch on the other side of the room. They're chirping back and forth. These two are so cute.

Have I Ever Mentioned...

...that I love my birds?

Well, I do.

That is all. :)
Yesterday I was reading ingredients on the various food my pets get. I do this every now and then to make sure the food hasn't changed and to make sure bad things haven't been added. All checked out good except the Roudybush (and the guinea pig food, but I already knew that there were things in it I don't like).

I have to admit that I hadn't really looked that closely at the ingredient list for the Roudybush pellets. I knew it was a decent food, but I also knew it wasn't the best food. I had heard it was better than Zupreem, and I still think it is. I don't like how Zupreem has added sugar. Lenore was already on Roudybush when I got him, and Digby also decided to eat the Roudybush. I was happy to get Digby eating pellets, so I didn't want to be too picky with her pellets.

But, after looking at the Roudybush ingredients, I want to put the birds on something else. Here is a list of ingredients:
Ground Corn, Ground Wheat, Soy Meal, Soy Oil, Calcium Carbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, DL-Methionine, L-Arginine, Niacin, Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract, Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid, Lecithin, Silicon Dioxide (carrier for liquid antioxidants), Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (source of Vitamin E), Ascorbic Acid, Manganese Sulfate, Yucca shidigera Extract, Hydrated Sodium Calcium Aluminosilicate, Dried Yeast, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Zinc Oxide, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Vitamin K), Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Cyanocobalamin (source of Vitamin B12), Sodium Selenite (on Calcium Carbonate), Propionic Acid, Ammonium Hydroxide, Acetic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Tartaric Acid, and Natural Apple Flavoring.
(Taken from the Petsmart website because for some reason it's not listed on the Roudybush website...that kind of bothers me)
I don't even know what half of those things are. Sure, I could write the chemical formula for a lot of those things, but that doesn't mean I know what it's for or why the heck it's in my birds' food. I also don't like the fact that two of the first four ingredients are soy. The soy meal bothers me more than the soy oil.

Soy is pretty controversial for people to eat, and it isn't completely known what it can do to parrots. In humans, it can cause early sexual maturity, can cause prepubescent boys to have problems because of its high estrogen content, can cause or contribute to thyroid problems, and other things. It can potentially have the same or similar effects on birds.

So, I began looking at other pellets. Zupreem has soy, Harrison's has soy, Pretty Bird has soy (they got clever and labeled it as "soya oil", yeah, you're not tricking me), Hagen Tropican has soy, and Lafeber's pellets have soy. In all my searching, I found only one brand that doesn't have soy. That brand is Totally Organic Pellets.

I'm pretty sure that I'll be switching the birds to Totally Organic Pellets. Even if it weren't for the soy thing, I really like the ingredients used in the Totally Organic Pellets. The ingredients are:
Rice, hulled millet, barley, alfalfa leaf, sunflower seed hulled, sesame seeds unhulled, quinoa whole, buckwheat hulled, dandelion leaf powder, carrot powder, spinach leaf powder, purple dulse, kelp, rose hips powder, rose hips crushed, orange peel powder, lemon peel powder, rosemary whole leaf, cayenne ground, crushed red chili peppers, nettle leaf.
(Taken from the Totally Organics website)
I know what every single one of those ingredients is, except purple dulse (Google results: a flower that is used in a powdered form). It costs a bit more than Roudybush. Not a lot more, but it's about 60 cents more per pound (if buying the 10 pound bag). I will also have to buy it online. I think it will be worth the extra costs though.

The only trick will be getting Digby to eat it.

Bird Bread

Last week I made bird bread. The birds weren't too keen on the idea of eating it when I made it, but they have since decided it is good.

When I made the bird bread, it smelled really good. My mom couldn't believe I made something that smelled so good for the birds. We managed to pick around the seeds in the bird bread in order to get a little taste and it tasted good. So I modified the recipe and made some for us. It turned out pretty good.

Digby refused to eat the bird bread until she had some of the bread I made for us humans. The recipe was exactly the same, except I left out the seeds and pellets in the people version. Both of the birds now really love the bird bread.

Another Picture of Lenore

I realised after posting yesterday that I had already posted the picture of Lenore and the broccoli. Here is a new picture that I haven't posted yet.

This is Lenore's new favourite perch. He prefers them to be on my face though.

A Couple New Pics of Lenore

Here are a couple new pictures of Lenore.

Here he is trying broccoli for the first time. He took it before I even offered it to him and he loved it!

 And here he is scaring Delilah. She has been a bit afraid of him ever since he bit her.

Going Organic

I'd really like to get the guinea pigs, Maxwell, and the birds on a completely organic diet, especially where their fresh food is concerned. I'm not as concerned about the pellets for the birds and the pigs. It would be nice to feed them organic pellets, but I've been lucky to get Digby to eat any pellets, and organic guinea pig pellets would cost twice as much as the pellets I already get them (and what they get now isn't the cheap stuff either).

So, I'm aiming to get all their fresh food to be organic. Once spring is here, I'll be able to plant a lot of stuff. In the meantime, though, I'm stuck buying stuff. Walmart has started carrying some organic produce, but if I want a big selection, I have to go to Whole Foods (Whole Paycheck).

I have to stop here for a minute and confess something: I love Whole Foods. Not only is the food good quality, it tastes good and you can always find some interesting stuff there. But, I have a couple problems with it. The first, most obvious problem is that it's expensive. The second problem is that it takes me half an hour to get there, so it's even more expensive to shop there. I live in the suburbs and the only Whole Foods in Louisville is on the east end of town. So, if we need to go to Whole Foods, we have usually combine it with another stop over there (like the Apple Store, World Market, or one of the two malls over there). Anyway, back to the topic at hand...

I'm currently making a shopping list of things to get next time I'm at Whole Foods. I'll be getting several different greens, some other veggies, and some fruit. So far the list is: lettuce, Swiss chard (I saw this there a couple weeks glad they have it...the pigs love it and so do I), bell peppers, maybe some hot peppers for the birds, apples, and possibly some strawberries.

A Day's Worth of Fresh Food

This is what one day's worth of fresh food looks like here. On the menu today is a variety of lettuces, collard greens, bell peppers, and apples.

Here is all of it together:

The birds' food (Lenore's is on the top, Digby's is on the bottom):

Maxwell's portion:

The guinea pigs' portion.: