Archives for July 2011



Coop Considerations for Raising Backyard Chickens As Pets

Raising backyard chickens is probably one of the closest things to having a farm in an urban area. It is usually a wonderful  way to teach your children about other animals aside from the usual pets (the dogs, cats, hamsters, etc.) that they are used to seeing. However, backyard chickens are not for everyone. It can take some work and it costs money to get started. However, it’s a great way to bring some pretty amazing eggs into your home and give your children still more appreciation for where food comes from.

Raising chickens can provide you with fresh eggs, pest control, and hours of entertainment. In the long term, it may even save you some money.  Before you begin purchasing hatching eggs, building coops, and stockpiling supplies, check your local city ordinances about the laws on keeping backyard chickens. From my cursory research, it’s usually allowed, with a few restrictions, but it can’t hurt to check. At the very least. give your neighbors some notice before you raise chickens so that they are not alarmed by clucking noises.

Like any other pet owner, you need to ensure that you do everything required to keep your pets healthy. Since the health of your chickens will impact the amount and quality of eggs they produce, it is sensible to be knowledgeable in the area of chicken health. One of the most important aspects of overall chicken health and wellbeing are the coops that they will reside.

Tips on  Building Chicken Coops

Building chicken runs and coops with the aid of DIY plans is a great option.  You get the help of an   expert  who  can assist in choosing the right coop for your needs, the correct  materials to use and also tell you where you can find them. Whether you’ll be building city chicken coops or urban chicken coops for your flock, you will need to make sure that those coops can give enough protection to your fowls. The plans you rely on should contain instructions for putting up fences and for securing any openings e.g. windows and doors with strong poultry wires in order to keep predators out and to prevent the chickens from hurting themselves accidentally.

Coops need to protect chickens from heat, sun, wind, extreme cold, and predators. I recommend to use a lot of high carbon litter such as timber shavings, straw and tree leaves as bedding. The coop should provide a place for the chickens to lay eggs and a place to roost. Chicken coops must have appropriate air flow, if possible near the top of the coop. Air circulation at the top of the coop enables ventilation without drafts. Also, windows are of help if they are able to shut to reduce drafts.

A chicken ramp is essential to raised chicken coops. A typical chicken injury for heavy or large breeds is leg damage from leaping in and out of the coop. Ensure a ramp offers them a method to walk as opposed to jumping.

Save Time By Buying a Ready Made Chicken Coop

If you do not want to build your own chicken coop, you can buy one from a local pet supply store or online.  Coops vary from plastic-type igloos to fancy English Tudor replicas with prices that vary from around $300 to $2,000 if not more dependent upon the dimensions and features, like attached runs and removable perch boxes.

Choosing the correct size of coop is important, especially if you are buying your own. For example, larger chicken coops can house up to 15 chickens and are excellent coops in case you foresee adding younger chicks to replace laying chickens when they get older.



Military Dogs and Warfare

It’s been a common saying that man’s best friend is his dog, but what many people don’t think of is that dogs are often more than just friends, they are protectors, attackers and rescuers in dire times. For hundreds of years dogs have been used in military operations, wars and search and rescue missions due to the fact that their power, speed and intelligence can prove a valuable asset in these circumstances.

History has many examples of dogs being used in cases of warfare. Henry VIII sent 400 fighting dogs to support Spain in a war. Napoleon made use of dogs for fighting alongside his reserve forces. The Belgian army used canines to pull their heavy artillery to the front of army. There are even ancient murals depicting fighting dogs used in Roman and Greek battles.

Recently dogs have been involved in more than just fighting duties for wars. They’ve been trusted with important messages to be delivered across dangerous territory. Certain dogs have been trained to sniff out and locate snipers as well as to find wounded and lost soldiers, sometimes behind enemy lines. As a side note, many dogs were used as a mascots for the bravery, loyalty and support.

To create an effective military dog aggression training or attack dog training is required. There were many different forms of training for military dogs depending on if they would be used for tracking and detection, as sentry dogs, or to take down enemy soldiers. Some people estimate that sentry dogs saved over 10,000 U.S. Lives in Vietnam. A canine nose is much better equipped to pick out certain smells and alert soldiers.

In the modern age, many law enforcement agencies make use of dogs for their sense of smell and train-ability. Police guard dogs are used to detect illegal narcotics, or too intimidate and sometimes track down criminals. Dogs can also be trained to detect and locate explosives which makes them ideal for preventing crime before it happens.

Dogs have a long and storied history through civilization. It’s estimated they’ve been used for over 2,000 years for companionship as well as for specific duties. They’ve proved themselves loyal over and over again so many times that many shrines and murals have been dedicated to dogs. Some canines have even received military honours, medals and burials for their services. Dogs have long been some of the most courageous and fearless animals and it is always worth the time to appreciate them just a little bit more.



Enjoying California’s Big Bear with Your Dog

So, you and your furry friend have had it with the Los Angeles hustle and bustle and need to get away. The Santa Ana winds are making life miserably hot — even when you’re not the one sporting a 24/7 fur coat! You’ve read that Big Bear Lake is a mere two-hour drive away and decided a four-day getaway in the nearby San Bernadino Mountains is just what you need.

Taking a dog to Big Bear is a great thing to do. First, it’s located high in the mountains, not far from the Pacific Coast Trial, and it is surrounded by a National Forest. There are plenty of outdoorsy things to do that are sure to put a smile on your face or a wag in your tail, as the case may be.

You check into one of the many pet friendly Big Bear lodging alternatives and make Fido comfortable with some food and water. This might be at a standalone cabin or at a Big Bear hotel — there’s no shortage of pet friendly places in Big Bear! The Pine Knot Guest Ranch even advertises “two acres of off-leash exercise area for your dog.” It could be just what the vet ordered!

After getting a place to stay and something to eat, it’s time to venture out. There is a three-and-a-half mile, paved path that snakes along the southern shore of the lake — called the Alpine Pedal Path — and it’s open to dogs. Moreover, all public beaches facing Rt. 36 are accessible from the Alpine Pedal Path, and they all permit dogs. If your dog is like my dog and enjoys swimming, this could seriously be the high point of his/her holiday. You may want to save it for sometime toward the end of the trip.

Most of the other hiking trails up and down Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are also open to dogs, and walks in the spring or autumn are particularly beautiful and fun to share. Remember, though, that this area is remote and surrounded by wilderness. There are coyotes and the occasional wolf, not to mention rare sightings of bobcats, mountain lions and, yes, bears. If your dog sports an overly adventuresome spirit, it may be best to keep him/her leashed.

Hopefully, after the four days of hiking, swimming, resting, eating and breathing the clean, pure mountain air, both you and Fido will be able to return to city life totally reinvigorated by your visit to Big Bear.



Do You Need A Protein Skimmer?

If you have a salt water aquarium and are new to the hobby, you might be having some sticker shock as you see just how much this hobby can hurt your wallet! It does take a lot of effort to try to duplicate the natural environment of your livestock, and anything short of a near natural environment for them will result in livestock that are not as healthy as they can be. In the marine hobby that means a lack of those beautiful, bright colors we love to see, and unfortunately it can also mean death. No one wants to go into a hobby and end up with dead or dying livestock in their tank, so it pays to do your homework and examine what you need prior to getting involved.

The purpose of this article is to talk about one piece of equipment in particular that is considered a must have in the marine aquarium hobby. I am referring to the protein skimmer. This is a piece of equipment that uses a process called foam fractionation to remove waste from your tank. Marine fish and corals are constantly producing waste, and it is that waste that creates poor water conditions and there is no way to avoid the use of equipment like a protein skimmer to remove that waste. Which is the best protein skimmer is a conversation for another day the point is, you need to have a skimmer.

What is foam fractionation? Simply put, it is the process of creating foam, or millions of tiny bubbles, to remove waste from your tank. The skimmer is made up of an air pump and a cylinder. The pump infuses air into the water that goes into the cylinder, and that creates the air bubbles. Tiny pieces of waste attach to these bubbles and take a ride to the top of the skimmer where they are deposited into the collection cup.

One common question people have has to do with the huge price differences in skimmers. There is a huge difference in a cheap skimmer and a good one, and the main difference has to do with the skimmer’s ability to produce a huge volume of tiny bubbles and remove as much waste as possible. There are skimmers that are rated for the same size tank that are miles apart in effectiveness, and the purchase of a cheap skimmer usually ends up in a failing tank. If you are going to spend money, choose the protein skimmer as the place to pick a high quality product. Something from the Reef Octopus Skimmer family is a sure thing, but there are other quality brands too. just do your homework and look up as many protein skimmer reviews as you can before making your choice.