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Freckled Duck Bird Species Information, Diet, Characteristics

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: — Nik @ 6:36 am

Freckled Duck Bird

The Freckled Duck is a broad-bodied, moderately large duck, which is also referred to as Speckled Duck, Oatmeal Duck, Canvasback or the Diamantina Duck. It has a dark grayish-brown back, with fine speckles in white, off-white, buff or pale brown. Its most identifiable feature is its large head, with a peaked crown, unlike most other ducks which have rounded heads. Its bill is narrow and slightly upturned.  The base of the male duck’s bill becomes crimson during the mating season. During flight, the Freckled Duck beats its wings rapidly and rather clumsily, while holding its head low, thus giving it a hunch-backed look. The Freckled Duck is commonly found in south-western and south-eastern Australia, especially along the Murray-Darling river system and around the Bulloo and Lake Eyre basins. The duck prefers swampy areas created by floods, and along rivers, creeks, reservoirs, lakes and even farm dams and sewage ponds, wherever there is dense growth of vegetation especially lignum, tea-tree or Cumbungi. This allows it good cover and a chance to feed on aquatic grasses and algae, which grow in the water.

During inland droughts, they are forced to travel far until they find a suitable water body. During such times, they travel as far as Victoria and New South Wales. The Freckled Duck generally feeds at dawn, dusk or night. It eats a wide variety of seeds, sedges, algae, aquatic grasses and small invertebrates. They usually feed by wading near the edge and dabbling in the shallow water. Freckled Ducks generally breed from October to December, but if conditions are favorable, they breed at other times too.

Their nests are situated in dense vegetation, near or at water level, and are made by weaving together fine twigs, cushioned with a layer of down. While males remain close to the females during the incubation, it is the female which does the incubation and he rearing of the babies. Freckled Ducks face a threat from humans in many ways:

  • Clearing and draining swamps and wetlands. Dams and irrigation channels change natural course of rivers and their flood patterns.  These changes deprive them of wetlands where they can breed and feed naturally.
  • Besides, much of their wetland habitats are now taken over by grazing cattle, further reducing their living areas. Another major threat is from illegal hooting. In some places such as New South Wales, they are listed as vulnerable and laws have been formulated in respect to shooting of these ducks.

Brown Quail Bird Species Information, Diet, Characteristics

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: — Nik @ 6:31 am

Brown Quail Bird

The Brown Quail also goes by different names such silver quail, swamp quail or partridge quail in the different regions where it is found. It is a plump ground-dwelling bird with short rounded wings. Quails rarely fly. They prefer to hide in the undergrowth, and when flushed out by an intruder, they fly in short, low bursts, with a rapid whirring sound, seeking cover and hiding in the grass. In New Zealand, the Brown Quail is only about seven to eight inches long, while in Tasmania it is larger and darker. The bird’s color varies from a dusky grey brown back to reddish chestnut brown below. The back is also heavily freckled with black and rust brown markings.  They have fine white streaks since each feather has a thin white line down the middle. The bill is thick, short and black. Quails have eyes ranging from yellow to red, while the feet and legs are also orange-yellow. The female bird is bigger. Its belly is paler but the back is more heavily marked. The young bird is like the adult female, but its eyes are dark brown and the markings on its back and chest are less distinct.

The Brown Quail is found on the low lands along the seashore of eastern and northern, Western and south-western Australia. It is also found in Tasmania, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and has been introduced to New Zealand and Fiji.

The Brown Quail is usually found wherever suitable breeding and feeding conditions are available, and where they can find places to hide. These would be dense wet grasslands near a brook or a bog, freshwater wetlands, shrub lands and even agricultural area. In fact, they have been often spotted and hunted in open pastures or in roadsides adjacent to farms. Brown Quail eat insects, green shoots, and seeds of grasses, fruits and vegetables. They usually feed in the early morning or evening, and may be seen crossing roads or feeding along roadsides. Quails which are kept in aviaries also eat commercial poultry pellets. Brown Quails breed round the year. They make a nest in the ground, not far from water, and hidden in thick grass, with some overhanging vegetation for further protection. Both adults take turns in incubating the eggs. The chicks leave the nest immediately after hatching.  Quails can be bred in aviaries along with finches, pigeons, doves and parrots. It is best to keep only one pair per aviary, as they are noisy birds.

However, they are often hunted for their meat. E encroachment of dense grasslands where they can hide, has also caused a significant decline in their numbers.

Spangled Drongo Bird Species Information, Diet, Characteristics

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: — Nik @ 6:28 am

Spangled Drongo Bird

The Spangled Drongo is characterized by glossy black plumage which has a metallic sheen, coupled with iridescent blue, purple and green highlights. These spots or spangles give it the name ‘spangled’. The tail is remarkably long with a distinctive fork, and it has bright blood-red eyes. Occasionally white spots are found on the under-wings and breasts. Bordering its bill are long, sensitive wire-like bristles called rictal bristles, which help it to guide its food into its bill. Both sexes look alike, with the only a slight difference in size – the female being a little smaller. In young birds, the eyes are brown, the black is more sooty than glossy, and there are no spangles. It varies in size from 30 to 33 cm long. Although mostly silent, the Spangled Drongo has an astonishingly loud voice and can be quite noisy when it wishes to. It is an amazing mimic, and can weave entertaining and complex calls into its extensive vocabulary. While some sound raucous, others are like a soft ‘sneeze’.

Spangled Drongo Habitat

Spangled Drongos are commonly found throughout eastern and northern Australia. In fact, it probably gets its name from the Australian slang ‘drongo’ which means ‘idiot’, possibly because of the bird’s comical and uninhibited behavior as it calls and swoops down in search of food. They are migratory birds and the Spangled Drongo and some of its related species are also found in Tasmania, New Guinea, Indonesia, throughout south-east Asia, China, Philippines, India and even up to some south-west Pacific islands. They generally avoid the interiors of dense forests preferring more open woodlands and wet forests, and also mangroves and parks. They are usually seen singly or in pairs. While Spangled Drongos also eat fruits and nectar, they prefer to eat insects. They are usually seen perching on open branches or telegraph wires, awaiting a passing insect. The moment they spot their prey, they pursue it in a graceful, acrobatic display, and catch them easily while in flight. It returns to its perch to eat. Drongos also love to eat scraps of meat, and many people make them regular garden birds, by throwing them small bits of mince, just to watch their acrobatic displays. Spangled Drongos usually have one clutch per season. Both adults share in making a simple, shallow cup-shaped nest made of grasses, twigs and vine tendrils, held in place with spider web. This is usually built about 10 to 20 meters above the ground in the fork of a tree.

Both adults co-operate in incubating the eggs, and in aggressively defending their nest and in caring for the young

Sacred Kingfisher Bird Species Information, Diet

Filed under: Bird Species — Tags: — Nik @ 6:24 am

Sacred Kingfisher Bird

A medium-sized bird, the Sacred Kingfisher is about 22 to 23 cm long. The head, shoulders, rump and tail are a dusky turquoise, with brilliant turquoise wings. It has a broad white collar, while the areas like the throat and chin are buff-colored darkening to light ochre. A broad black stripe runs from its bill to the eyes and right up to the neck. There is a little black on the feathers of its wings too, while the feet range from black to dark grey-brown. Females are almost similar, but the colors, especially of the upper body, are slightly dull and light. The young birds too, are almost similar, but have a rusty-brown edging on the underside, wings and collar.

Sacred Kingfisher Habitat

The Sacred Kingfisher is commonly found throughout the coastal areas of Australia. They can be found inland too, almost all over Australia where there are rivers or lakes, except in the most arid parts of the continent. They are also found, in slightly lesser numbers, around New Zealand, Tasmania, and in the small islands right up to Indonesia. They usually migrate to northern parts of Australia in winter, returning south in the spring, which is their breeding season. The Sacred Kingfisher likes to inhabit mangroves, woodlands, wooded rivers, as well as open eucalyptus and paperbark forests.

Sacred Kingfisher Breeding and nesting

The Sacred Kingfisher is mainly a solitary bird, which pairs up only to breed. Breeding is during spring and summer. They usually lay two clutches in a season. The male and female co-operate in making a nest. This is usually in the hollow limbs of dead trees or fence posts, and are located a few meters above the ground for safety reasons. But sometimes, they also make their nest in a small burrow in the soft banks of a river or in a termite mound. The chamber of the nest is kept unlined. The female lays 3 to 6 eggs, with both parents taking turns to incubate them. The male and female also co-operate in rearing, feeding and defending their nest and chicks.

Sacred Kingfisher Diet

The Sacred Kingfisher has a varied diet and eats insects like grasshoppers, beetles, crickets and larvae. They also eat small reptiles, fish and crustaceans. The kingfisher sits motionless on a wire or branch, looking intently for prey. When it spots something worthwhile, it swoops down from its perch, grasps its prey in its bill and returns back to its perch to swallow it.

Domestic Long Hair Cat Breed | American, British Long Hair Cats

Filed under: Cat Breed — Tags: , , , — Ashley @ 2:32 am

Domestic Long Hair Cat

Longhair cats look beautiful and are a pleasure to keep as pets. There are many different domestic longhair cat breeds. The long hairs of a cat are caused due to a recessive gene. A combination of two genes is required for the cat to be long haired. Cats which have only one of the genes required will have short hair, however, this trait can be passed on to the offspring of the cat.

The earliest long hair cat breed known to man was the Angora cat. The angora cats were named after the Turkish city of Ankhara because they were first spotted there. These cats were first imported into Italy and France, where they were interbred with long haired Persian cats. The first longhair cats were commonly known as Angoras.

In the earliest art depictions of cats, the animals have always been shown as having short or no hair. Moreover, the old remains and fossils of cats don’t tell much about the length of their hair. The short haired cats are more popular as pets because they are easier to groom and maintain. Between the long haired and the short haired breeds, there are also many intermediate lengths of hair.

Both long hair and short haired cat breeds can experience loss of fur. Cat hair loss, also known as alopecia areata in cats, is a common disorder which can affect both short haired and long haired cats. Though some shedding of hair is normal, if the cat begins to shed hair in patches from all over its body, it can be a cause for concern. The cat may lose its hair due to skin infections, parasites, and other glandular diseases.

Fleabite allergy is the most common cause of alopecia areata in cats. Cats may be allergic to fleabites and this causes intense reactions, which are prolonged. If a cat has an attack from mites, the cat may keep scratching itself till it pulls out all of its hair. Such an infestation of mites can cause a condition called mange.

Ringworm, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and other glandular diseases may cause loss of hair in the body. In some cases, the loss of hair occurs in symmetrical patterns, but mostly, it happens in patches all over the body. The overproduction of steroids can also cause loss of hair. Cat hair loss, especially in a longhair cat breed, can seem very ugly. It is also often an indication of a disease or a health condition and therefore should be treated immediately.

Dehydrated Dog Treat - Dehydrated Dog Treat Reciepes, Dog Treat Reciepes

Filed under: Dog Diet — Tags: , , — Ashley @ 2:28 am

Dog treats are an invaluable resource for showing your affection and appreciation for your dog. However, if your dog treats are moist or are not packaged properly, their shelf life is very short and they often get spoilt. These dog treats can be used during the training of your dog or for restraining your dog. Most pet owners use dog treats as a reward for good behavior so that the behavior is reinforced. Taking in account the importance of dog treats, it becomes important to keep them handy.
Dehydrated dog treats are great for your dogs. They have a better shelf life and don’t spoil that easily. There are a number of ways that you can create your own dehydrated dog treats. While it is always more convenient to buy the commercially available dog treats, making them at home ensures that your dog is getting the best quality foods. With commercial foods, there is no guarantee on quality and pet owners should be wary of them.

When you dehydrate dog treats, these can be preserved for a longer time. Cooking has always been used to improve the shelf life of various foods. The process of cooking helps evaporate the moisture from foods, allowing them to stay fresh for a longer period of time. When you cook your dog’s treats, you dehydrate the treats, kill the bacteria that may be present, improve and enhance both color and texture, and impart better flavor to the treats.

While you are cooking the treats, you can also add tocopherol and vitamin E, both of which are natural preservatives. In the case of dog food treats, there is little else that you can do other than to cook your treats. Simply baking dog biscuits till they are done, as with other baked foods, would prove to be inadequate as there is still a lot of excessive moisture present in the treat.

You can also make some homemade food, using vegetables, rice and meat, and bake them together to form hard, cooked slabs. Cut these slabs into small pieces and then use them as dog treats.

Using a convection oven and a good amount of baking soda or yeast ensures that you have a crunchy and healthy treat for your dog. You can knead your ingredients into a soft dough and then bake the dough in your convection oven. These treats can be stored for a long time and are both healthy and tasty—the perfect reward for your canine companion.

Gestation Period in Horse | Mare’s Pregnancy Period Care Tips

Filed under: Horse Diseases — Tags: , — Nik @ 6:38 am

Pregnancy in Horses

Gestation or the term of pregnancy in a mare is around 340 days. However, the mare’s breeding history and age can also play a major role in determining how long the gestation period will last before the mare is ready to foal. The weather also plays an important role in determining when the mare is going to foal. If the weather is warm then the gestation is shorter and if the weather is cold then the gestation is longer.
During the gestation period the mare should still be ridden and continue her normal routine as it will help her when it’s finally her time to foal. You should be careful in the 7th month and avoid any strenuous activity and hard jumps as it will create a lot of pressure.

The most exciting stage in mare’s pregnancy is when you are trying to determine whether the mare is pregnant or not as you won’t know for sure in the first two months. The veterinarian will perform the urine and blood test only between 60 to 100 days. At 100 days the foal is around 7 inches long and its main features begin to develop. During the midterm which is between 100 to 250 days the veterinarian will suggest another test as many mares have a miscarriage in the first stage. The foal weighs around 2 pounds at 150 days and by 180 days it weighs 10 pounds. During this stage the foal is the size of a tiny lamb and the mare shows noticeable abdominal weight gain. The third stage of gestation is after 250 days where the foal continues to gain weight rapidly and his lungs develop. The mare also shows noticeable changes at this time. The udder produces a sticky yellow discharge that turns into milk later.  Her abdomen grows very heavy during this time.  By this time you should be ready for foaling although it won’t happen for at least 55 days. Observing the mare on a daily basis is the only way you can keep a check on when the mare is going to foal.

The mare has the ability of postponing the birth if she it is not comfortable with the surroundings. Foaling usually begins at night and finished by the early morning. Never rush the mare - let it foal naturally and do not interfere. It begins nursing within 30 minute to 2 hours after the delivery. This milk contains essential antibodies and Colostrum that is essential for the new foal.

Equine Diarrhea Causes, Treatments | Symptoms of Equine Diarrhea

Filed under: Horse Diseases — Tags: , — Nik @ 6:28 am

Diarrhea in Horses

Diarrhea is loose unformed excess water in the stool. In horses diarrhea is not a disease but a symptom. It is caused when something disrupts the balance of microbes in the colon. In such a situation the water is not absorbed in the colon and is lost as it is passed out with feces. If this goes on for a long time it can get very serious. The horse will end up getting dehydrated and ultimately die if not treated in time. On the other hand if the horse suffers from mild diarrhea it will pass soft manure and that is not usually considered a problem.
Diarrhea could be caused due to a number of reasons. Some of them are; changes in feed or over feeding the horse. It is considered to be one of the most common reasons why a horse gets diarrhea. Always remember any change in the feed or grain should be slow and gradual. Foods such as hay and grass are processed in the large intestines. In order to process this food it requires the presence of some amount of microbial organisms. A sudden change in the feed results in diarrhea as the number of organisms required is not sufficient. When the quality of the diet is inadequate it could also lead to diarrhea. Always check the feed to make sure that the fat has not gone rancid or there is no mould or bacterial overgrowth on it.  When buying feeds make sure the ingredients don’t have generic terms like ‘grain products’ as different batches may have different ingredients. This will result in rapid feed change. Sand Colic is another cause of diarrhea. This occurs when a horse eats hay of the ground or grazes on short shrubs. Small amounts of sand can be ingested at this time and accumulate.

The veterinary diagnostics for horses with diarrhea includes a careful history and physical exam.  Laboratory tests on both the blood as well as manure are taken depending on the case.  A few precautions horse owner can take in order to prevent diarrhea are:

  • Avoid any sudden changes in the diet.
  • Insure that it has fresh water all the time. Do not rely on stagnant and contaminated ponds, streams and ditches.
  • Always have an appropriate parasite control program.
  • Use antibiotics only when necessary and after consulting your veterinarian.
  • Always communicate with your veterinarian if you notice diarrhea in an adult horse, before it becomes a severe problem.

Shark Catfish Species Health Information | Shark Catfish Characteristics

Filed under: Fish Species — Tags: — Nik @ 6:05 am

Shark Catfish Information

The shark catfish belong to the family of fish called Pangasiidae. These shark catfish are generally found in brackish and fresh waters. They are normally located all over southern Asia, starting from Pakistan all the way to Borneo. One of the biggest known freshwater fish is the plant eating Mekong giant catfish Pangasianodon gigas. This is one of the endangered species and ranges among the 30 odd members of the catfish family. They can also be referred to as Hexanematichthys seemani, Arius jordani or Tachisurus seemani.

Physically the shark catfish can be identified by its elongated body which is silver in color and it has a belly that is white. The fins of the shark catfish are black and have white tips. The head tends to be broad and it has a large mouth. The eyes of the catfish are quite large and appear to protrude from its head. The Shark Catfish has three sets of barbels; one located on its upper jaw and two are located on the lower jaw. The upper jaw barbels are referred to as the maxillary barbels and then it has the chin barbels. An adult Mekong giant catfish only has the maxillary barbels. The color contrasts tend to fade with its age. The dorsal fin of the shark catfish is located quite far forward, and is set closer to the head. It is often triangular and high, which is why it has the common name. The anal fin of the shark catfish is lengthy, with almost 26 to 45 rays. Pangasiids are noted for their compressed body and their tiny adipose fin. They normally range in size from 60 cm when living in nature but in captivity they are rarely bigger than 38 cm.

An interesting point regarding pet health information for the shark catfish is that they are known to survive very well with the sand shark when kept in captivity. Some of the key points to note with regards to pet health care of the shark catfish is that the catfish needs a mix of fresh water and salt water in its tank. Catfish shark are known to be inhabitants of those sections of the ocean where the sea meets the river. The mixture of fresh and salt water is known as ‘brackish’ water. Some pet health issues to watch out for when one has a pet catfish shark is that even though they do not grow larger than a foot in length, some of them can develop a singular habit of swallowing any other pet inmates in the tank they share that is of a size to fit in its mouth.

Cat Hairball Symptoms - Hairballs in Cats, Cat Hairball Remedies, Treatment

Filed under: Cat Health — Tags: , , , , , , — Ashley @ 2:00 am

A cat making hacking noises and throwing up a cylindrical mass of hairs and mucus can be quite alarming. This problem is cat hairball, a mass of hairs accumulated in the intestine and stomach when the cat grooms and licks its fur thereby swallowing loose hairs. These loose hairs cannot be digested and do not pass through stools completely, which makes the cat throw it all up. The problem becomes graver when the cat sheds heavily, grooms and licks other cats, or swallows big hairs. Cat hairball can clog the digestive system and can be removed only by surgery. Whether the cat has long hairs or short, over grooms or not, it will face this problem some time or the other.

The cat will vomit hairball just about anywhere and any time. Some cat hairball symptoms include the cat passing hard stools containing hairs in them, lethargy, vomiting after consuming food, dry cough, and a loss of appetite. Additionally, the cat’s fur also becomes matted, and the cat will seem depressed and fatigued all the time. A general pet health information is that when the cat tries to vomit a hairball out, she will crouch, back up and hack, symptoms that are similar to cat asthma too. So, if one finds the cat showing these symptoms several times without throwing up anything, the owner must take it to the vet immediately as it may be an asthma attack in deed.

Even though one cannot do anything when the cat is expelling hairball, controlling this problem is quite possible. Preventing hairballs can be a part of pet health care as this problem can lead to extreme abdominal pain, intestinal blockage and even death in some cats. The owner must brush the cat’s fur about twice a week and once everyday during the shedding season to remove loose hairs. Feeding the cat half a spoon of melted butter everyday for a few days or a little petroleum jelly will lubricate the intestine and make the hairball pass through feces instead of vomit. It’s important to improve the quality of the cat’s coat to prevent shedding and consequent hairballs. For this, the cat’s food must have more fiber and less grains like corn or wheat. Heavy snacking and inadequate exercise will make the cat’s bowel movement difficult and in turn make it throw up the hairball. There are many commercial hairball remedies that can help in treating pet health issues like hairballs and inability to defecate.

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