In between caring for wildlife at the shelter, I’ve been lucky enough to spend a few days with more conventional animals by pet sitting for new friends while they’re away. They all have domestic animals, but some are completely new to me so it was as if I was learning about wildlife all over again.
Bruce, who lives in Bingil Bay, asked me to watch his place for several days while he was away at the races. He’s a former racecar driver and makes an annual trek with a friend to watch the live racing. I agreed and brought my stuff over looking forward to a few days away from the shelter.
I’d already been to Bruce’s place once before and have to admit that it is a wonderland for animals of all kinds. His more common pets include three cats (Sox, BC and Smokey), a dog (Bronson) and several indoor birds. Outside he has an aviary full of birds and three peacocks and a separate aviary for chickens and guinea fowl.
I didn’t have any experience with birds, but Bruce walked me through his elaborate regimen to get all the animals fed and watered. I wasn’t staying long enough to muck out any of the aviaries, so at least I didn’t have to worry about that.
It turns out that feeding the birds and peacocks is easy. The chooks (chickens) and guinea fowl basically took care of themselves once you let them out of their pen. They spent the entire day scratching around the property in search for food. The guinea fowl took special care to honk and honk throughout the day. And once inside their pens, they happily munched away on the bits of lettuce, corn and other food scraps.
The only scary part was checking the hens for fresh eggs. I probably scared those gals more than they scared me, although they made me shriek a few times when they insisted on pecking my hand. It didn’t really hurt but wasn’t something I was anticipating. Although, I suppose I can understand where they’re coming from. Who wants a stranger lifting you up and feeling around under your bum? However, we all got over it by the time I left.