I said no dogs...yeah right so much for that big plan. Yet again I have been foiled. I said no cats either I was foiled on that plan as well wasn't I. Meet Sonny. All of 4 months old. A long haired Chihuahua that hasn't had too good a start in life. He was causing problems at the house where he lived. Barking all day and chasing kids down the street. We know his story. The family he lived with were okay but they weren't home enough for the little puppy. So my ex-husband David showed up this morning with this little guy asking us to give him a home. The cats were not pleased. Sonny will have to be cat proofed, chicken proofed and stock proofed and everything else proofed as this rate. Ugly mouse must die is his victim at the moment. I don't like Chihuahuas at all I'll be honest. They've never appealed to me at all but...well maybe I can like this little guy. Yeah I do and he's already coming when I call him and I've had him all of 2 hours? He growled at me at first. I ignored him totally and just carried on going about my business.
Yeah well looks like there'll be another added to the insanity at Mad Bush Farm..groan...


Innovative pet food research consortium launched

A research consortium that aims to make New Zealand globally recognised as the leader in innovative meat science for pet care, will be launched by AgResearch, Mars and Massey University in Wanganui, today (Friday 8 May).

Protein Innovation New Zealand (PINZ) will be dedicated to consolidating the important work carried out by Mars and AgResearch in 2008. A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by the three parties in the presence of David Carter, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Biosecurity.

The project began in 2007 when the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology identified AgResearch as the solution to Mars’s challenge of delivering a premium pet food product to boost New Zealand’s export markets. The Foundation has provided initial project funding of $188,000 through its TechNZ business programme.

AgResearch has extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of added-value meat products. This collaborative project has assisted Mars in enhancing the aesthetics and palatability of WhiskasÃ’ cat food, manufactured at their Wanganui facility. The result is a new premium pet food range – WhiskasÃ’ Tasty Textures - which has been enthusiastically received over the Tasman. The range now includes seven different products, which are exported to Australia and look set to generate annual benefits of over $2 million for the New Zealand economy.

The success of this phase has secured internal funding from AgResearch and Mars to continue the project over a two-year period in conjunction with Massey University, which has the only independent Feline Nutrition Unit in the Southern Hemisphere.

The consortium’s mission is to better understand the protein interactions and nutritional contributions of raw meat materials and how this knowledge can contribute to the development of highly nutritious pet foods that are clearly differentiated and compete successfully in global markets.

Erica Nicholls, the Foundation’s Group Manager (Investments), says the Foundation’s decision to support the project was based both on Mars being able to commercialise unique New Zealand science quickly through its extensive channels to market, and on the significant economic and social benefits, particularly to the Wanganui community.

“The consortium is an excellent example of businesses working successfully alongside researchers from universities and research organisations, and the partnership promises further significant benefits in animal and human nutrition as well as in health sectors,” she says.

It is hoped that further funding from AgResearch and Mars will ensure that the PINZ group can make inroads into a more fundamental understanding of raw meat materials.

“And it is expected that the new group’s research will lead to more specific projects in the future with the goal of further developing export opportunities for New Zealand,” says Jonathan Coz, Product & Innovation Manager, Mars Petcare.


Art Stuff - Tiger Study Sketch

I've never drawn a tiger before and this one isn't perfect. He has an extra stripe where he shouldn't have one. I could sit here at the keyboard and pick a heap of holes in this drawing but I won't. Sitting up half of last night looking at drawings of cat anatomy made me realise just how incredible this family of animals really are. At this rate I'll end up with a cat blog with maybe the odd chicken or something thrown in.I'm kidding here. Drawing cats I have found is very very challenging. More so when it's a member of the cat family with stripes or spots all over the place. Some have a multitude like the jaguar and others like the Snow Leopard have a few less to sketch out. I realised from some of my reading lately that once at the beginning of the 20th Century there used to 100,000 tigers in the wild. Now it's estimated that number is down to a mere handful at 3,500 remaining animals and dropping
Images like this of the gentleman hunter who so proudly shows off his tiger you don't see anymore. Thank goodness. Now it's the turn of the poachers to do that damage fueling a black market trade based on pure myth and superstitious beliefs thousands of years old. Let's hope that in a 100 years time we will still have our tigers living in the wild and not just in zoos or private collections.


Stories of cute Roostery things, Wet chicken dinners and other things

There are just some blog posts that can have me tipping off my chair with raucous laughter. At the expense of the very talented Steve at Globspot I read his little story about a cute little roostery/chicken thing (Steve's own words there) that turned into the chicken demon from hell. He'll be wearing anti-rooster armour after his little encounter with the cute roostery/chicken thing. Yes I know all about roosters. One nearly took my youngest one's eye out and another terrorised Inaya. Rossters are only good for one thing...the pot. Speaking of chicken dinners...
Is this one wet little black bossy chicken or what? It poured with rain last Saturday and Maggie was so greedy for her chicken mash she spent the entire time out in the rain picking as much as her greedy little chicken eyes could spot. One soaked looking last weeks burnt and wet roast dinner - no thanks.
The chickens have learned now to stay well away from the electric fence I put around the vegetable garden. It's actually growing something other than weeds for a change...
We've got beans, beetroot, peas, onions, carrots and even the odd potato coming up. And the caterpillars are having a field day on the broccoli plants. I've killed heaps of the little green beggars. More today - but better than the fifty plus or so of two days back..
While I was in the garden destroying the caterpillars I spotted this rather fat Praying Mantis out on the hunt for little pesky critters that suck the life out of my plants. She's doing a great job sat there on the buttercup leaves. Sadly they die over the winter - but always there's the next generation of little predators to take up where their parents left off. Great way to control insect pests without having to resort to sprays all the time. I hate spraying and only do it it I have too otherwise forget it.
The grape vine is finally showing signs of giving up to the coming winter. I love the colours the leaves are turning. I might do a water colour painting sometime using some other photos I have as a reference. At the moment I'm working on a pencil drawing in between everything else I have to do (too much right now!). I'm hoping to finish it in the next day or two then I'll post it up.
These two weren't caring too much about the camera taking their mugshots. The Terrorist and River have become the best of friends. Jerseys sticking together. We've got two now along with the other three troublemakers enough is enough. Do I want to be writing another story about another baby dictator bovine this coming winter? No way not this time I won't. Rachel in Kentucky is doing very well on my behalf.LOL (Sorry Rae and those babies you're raising are very very cute).
How's this for complete trust? Yes Yowie has gone but this photo I took of her lying sound asleep in Inaya's arms says so much about the trust creatures can have in humans. I love this shot.


Children Hack Paws off Kittens in Wellington

Acts of cruelty like this should result in those responsible being prosecuted. Unfortunately the SPCA have no leads on the children who did this appalling act of cruelty or their parents. The kittens were left at a foster home of the Wellington Cats Protection League. The kittens are each missing a left hind foot after having them cut off with scissors by the children. Story below is by Catherine Woulfe from the Sunday Star Times.

Kittens face surgery after paws hacked off

By CATHERINE WOULFE - Sunday Star Times

Innocent victim: this eight-week-old kitten had his left-hind foot cut off.

Two tiny kittens are slowly recovering after having paws cut off - believed to be by children using a knife or scissors.

The kittens survived their "horrendous" injuries, but are now facing major surgery to have a hind leg and part of a hip amputated.

The children, both aged under 10, giggled when they left the kittens at a Wellington Cats Protection League foster home, saying that the kittens' "feet fell off". But a vet's verdict is that the feet were "traumatically removed".

The children and their parents left the animal foster home without giving their names.

The committee member who runs the home has informed the SPCA, but a spokesperson says they cannot investigate without more information.

The eight week-old kittens are recovering well, but need to grow bigger before they have a hope of surviving the required surgery.

Both kittens are missing their left-hind foot. A veterinarian's notes say the leg of the smaller, black male "ends abruptly at the extreme distal tibia" the kitten's ankle.

The slightly larger black-and-white male was cut across the top of his foot his leg "ends abruptly across the proximal metatarsals".

The kittens were very quiet when the vet first saw them and the stumps were "swollen and inflamed". It was thought they might die from the trauma.

The volunteer who runs the home said for a long time her children could not bear to look at the kittens. "[The kittens] don't know they don't have feet. The cruellest thing is when you see it lying on its back and it's got its little stump and it's trying to scratch its chin.

"They're as friendly as - they try and climb up you and everything. It's horrible because you can feel the stumps on you... you can feel the jagged bit at the end.

"The other day we just heard [one of the kittens] scream and it had stood on a piece of kitty litter and it had stuck into its little stump ... it got infected."

The stumps have to be carefully bathed every day. The woman, who declined to be named, said she had taken in more injured cats in the last three months than in the past nine years put together.

"I just can't believe there's so many. They're all so horrendous," she said. "It just never seems to stop."

Other recent cases include a kitten whose tail was chopped off by a child with scissors. That kitten survived, but was deeply traumatised. "He was black and white and he's now turning grey." Another kitten was brought to her after being attacked with a hammer the owner had killed the rest of the litter, but this one somehow survived.

"The noise it was making... I cut the fishing line off and within minutes it died. My only consolation was it had stopped howling."

The league is about to launch a campaign for owners to get their cats desexed last year 500 operations were performed and this year it is determined to raise enough money to double that to 1000.

Recent high-profile incidents of animal cruelty have included the attack last month on a sheep by three Auckland teenagers who allegedly blew off its jaw with fireworks, and the abduction of a 14-year-old dog in Wellington which was then seriously injured when used as bait for fighting pitbull terriers.

The Cats Protection League will pay for the kittens' operations.

Donations or inquiries can be made at www.cpl-wellington.org.nz or posted to PO Box 12157, Thorndon, Wellington.