How To Take Care of Goldfish

Goldfish are considered one of the easiest pets to take care of, and are usually a “test” for most people if they are able to take care of pets. They’re also beautiful additions to our home. Here are the things you should know when taking care of goldfish.

What You Need

Aquarium. Aquarium size depends on how many goldfish you plan on keeping. The rule of thumb for aquariums are two gallons for every inch of a full-grown goldfish.

Aquarium gravel
Aquarium filter
Tap water
Airstones

Procedure

Get the proper aquarium size for your goldfish. While fishbowls may look quite charming, they’re usually not right for goldfish. Keep in mind that your goldfish can grow amazingly big with the proper care, so consider giving your aquarium a size allowance for growth. Make sure that your aquarium has a hood to prevent your goldfish from jumping out (it does happen).

Tap water is typically good enough for goldfish aquariums. A pH of 7.2-7.6 is the best for your goldfish. If you are unsure with your water’s pH balance, consult a professional or your nearest pet store.

Let your tap water sit for a day before putting it into the aquarium. This will remove the chlorine and attain the same room temperature as the water already inside the aquarium. You should partially change your aquarium water once every two weeks, for an aquarium with a water filter and once for aquariums with none. Remove a quarter of the water and replace with the appropriate water.

Having a gravel floor in your aquarium encourages good bacteria to grow that will help break down the bad bacteria in the water.

A filtration system for your aquarium is essential in keeping your goldfish alive. Goldfish, dead plants and uneaten food can decay and produce ammonia in the aquarium. Ammonia is poisonous to goldfish. Having a filtration system makes sure this doesn’t happen. Replacement of filtering elements should be done one at a time, and not all at the same time. Make sure you replace your filters once a month. Remember, the bigger your aquarium, the more powerful your filter.

The best food for your goldfish is still the pre-packaged food that is commonly sold in pet stores. Feed your goldfish small amounts of food several times a day. Observe your goldfish’s eating habits. If they are not able to finish the amount you’ve fed them, you’ve fed them too much. Goldfish treats are also recommended, but you must only feed them treats occasionally. Their main diet must still consist of goldfish food.

Airstones are beautiful additions to your goldfish tank, but they are also quite useful. Airstones also encourage oxygenation of the water and getting rid of undesirable elements in your aquarium.

How to Take Care of a Hamster

Hamsters are cute little animals that make for great pets. What’s great about them is that they are relatively easy to care for and look after. Learn the do’s and dont’s of hamster care using this simple and straightforward guide. Here’s how.

Buy a hamster between four to seven weeks old. Younger hamsters are easier to train and have a tendency to be less vicious than their older counterparts.

When it comes to which hamster breed to get, golden hamsters are generally tamer and more gentle. Dwarf hamsters have a tendency to become harder to train.

Choose a cage for your hamster. They’re great escape artists so make sure that the cage is sturdy, with no openings for escape. There should be at least 20 square inches of free space in the cage per hamster. Look for a cage that will be airy but not too drafty, sturdy but not too closed off.

Put the cage in a location that you have easy access to, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Put two inches thick bedding on the floor of the cage. Pine shavings are the best for this purpose.

Buy a hamster water bottle that can be attached to its cage. Make sure that you adjust the height so that your hamster can reach it. Don’t let the spout of the water bottle reach the bedding.

Hamsters love toys, but they don’t have to be expensive. Chew toys can come in the form of a toilet roll cardboard center. Wood chews attached to the sides of the cage are also good for the hamsters.

Make a small “bedroom” for your hamster. Take ordinary cardboard box and cut out a 2×2 inch doorway in one side. Surprisingly, the hamster will not urinate in the box, so you can replace the box after several months.

Feed your hamster hamster food pellets. If you insist on feeding your hamster other food such as fresh fruits or vegetables, introduce them only little by little in their diet so they’d get used to them.

To give your hamster some exercise, install an exercise wheel in its cage. A plastic hamster ball is also a great way to let your hamster walk around its cage in your home.

When your hamster is using a plastic hamster ball, keep an eye out on it. You don’t want dogs or other animals attacking your pet hamster.

Wash your hamster’s cage once a week using mild detergent. Dry it out and replace with new bedding before putting the hamster back.

Remove uneaten food after two days.

Never bathe your hamster.

Don’t leave your hamster unattended. Have someone look after your hamster if you have to go away for extended periods of time.

How to Stop a Dog from Barking

Picture this: it’s 3 AM, you are slumbering peacefully, when all of a sudden, your dog starts barking, causing a racket. You know it’s in your dog’s nature to bark, but sometimes you wish there was a way to make him stop. Don’t worry, here are some tips that might help you.

What You’ll Need:

Chew toys
Doggie treats for reward
Leash and collar
Identify The “Culprit”

Most dogs bark because they feel annoyed, angry or insecure. While they can bark at innocent people, like passerbys or the mailman, they can also bark at unwanted and sometimes dangerous people, like thieves, for example.

Pay attention to your dog when he starts barking, and identify what makes him do so. Are there people lurking around in your backyard? Are kids teasing him? Maybe your dog is just trying to protect you, or himself and it’s these causes you’ve got to eliminate, and not the barking.

Socialize Your Pooch

Dogs, when they’ve been outcast from other people and animals, will most definitely bark at the sight or strangers. If you don’t take your dog out to be with other people and dogs, he or she will certainly grow up not getting used to their presence. You have to “socialize” your dog, so he will be relaxed, even with other people and animals around him. Take him for a walk or to the park to meet other people and dogs. The more he becomes used to them, the less nervous and anxious he will be.

Before Company Arrives, Exercise Your Dog

Dogs that have plenty of pent-up energy will most likely bark, compared to those that always get exercise and attention. Even if the people you bring over are guests and not stranger, chances are your dog will still bark at them. If you plan to have some friends over, take your darling pooch out for a walk. This will help get rid of all the pent-up energy in him, and he won’t do any excessive barking. Do this an hour before you expect people to arrive.

Train Him Not To Bark

Dogs are obedient and loyal pets, and if you properly train him, you’ll have his barking under control. As soon as you get one, you must teach him what is and is not allowed at home. You have to make him understand that barking is a bad habit. Use a no barking command, like “Hush”, or “Enough, every time he makes the noise, to get him to stop. Say it in a firm voice, but don’t shout. It’s best to do this while he’s still in his puppy years, so he’ll get used to it.

Here’s another way to teach him how to be quiet.

Get him to start barking. You can use your doorbell as the initiator. Ring the doorbell, then allow him to bark several times.

Get a doggie treat, and say your no barking command. You can use any command, but what’s important is you use only one. If you use several different commands, your pooch will become confused.

When he sniffs the treat and stops barking, praise him and give the treat to him. Repeat this, allowing him to stay quiet for longer periods, before you finally give him the doggie treat.

If this tactic still fails, use a squirt bottle with tap water. This might seem a bit harsh though, so use it sparingly.

Entertain Him

Dogs bark too, when they become lonely or bored. Not only that, if he is unhappy, he can also have some other undesirable traits. Make sure your dog is always entertained and happy. Play with him often, and spend some time with him. You should also get him chew toys, to stimulate his mind and distract him.

Reward Your Dog

Whenever your dog learns to follow your no barking command, it’s only proper to give him a small reward for his good behavior. Give him some dog biscuits. Sometimes, a pat on the head or a hug will suffice. After all, dogs loved to be cuddled.

Dogs bark, but it doesn’t have to be a nuisance. Remember this tips, and you’ll soon have a well-behaved pooch and a quieter household.

How to Start a Worm Farm

A worm farm is a great way to minimize the waste you and your family produce. Think of it as composting with worms thrown in. Compost produced by worms are not only chemical-free and great for your garden soil. You can even sell the compost that they produce for a small fee. Here’s how to get started with your own worm farm.

Materials

Plastic bins. There are plastic bins made specifically for worm farming sold in most gardening or home depot stores. These bins can be stacked, with a hole in the bottom of each, except for the second to the last bin, which should have a tap in the bottom. The bottom bin collects the water that trickles down from each bin, which you can then use to water the plants, made up with ten parts water with one part of liquid.


Procedure

Put your worm farm in a nice, dry and shady place. Worms like it dark and moist, but not wet. You should also put them where the temperature won’t change drastically throughout the day, like a shed in your garden.

After stacking the worm farm bins, put in organic materials in the last bin. Add in the worms as well.

Do not fill the bin with organic materials nor pack them in too tightly. Worms like air circulation.

Before you add the organic waste, make sure that you have shredded them first to make the process of composting faster.

Make sure that each bin is filled with the equal amount of dry and wet waste. Remember that worms prefer moist, and not wet, environments.

Worms don’t like overly acidic environments either, so try to hold back on adding garlic, onions, orange or lemon peels in the compost.

Regularly drain the compost by using the spigot on the bottom of each bin.

If you have too much compost for the worms to handle, shred them and store them in the freezer until you are ready to add them in the worm farm.

Once the worms have moved on to the upper bin, you may then take the vermicast left behind and use them as compost or mulch.

Move the lowest bin to the topmost part of the stack, and rearrange the rest accordingly.

Regularly feed them with fresh organic material and drain excess water.

Acceptable Compost Material

Dry

Shredded paper
Shredded egg cartons
Shredded toilet roll cores
Grass clippings, in moderate amounts
Dust bunnies
Hair clippings
Untreated sawdust and shavings
Eggshells
Leaves

Wet

Food scraps with the exception of fat, meat and dairy products
Kitchen waste like peels and leftover vegetables
Farm animal manure

How to Show a Horse

A horse show is what makes owning a horse a lot of fun. Though it may be a bit stressing at times, the applause, admiration and rewards you get from showing your horse is irreplaceable. Here are a few tips you can follow for a successful horse show.

Steps:

Gather all the equipment you need. Be sure to have all the necessary things with you before leaving your place.

Give your horse a good bath a couple of days before the show. This will give time for your horse’s skin to produce oils that give your horse a natural shine. You may also opt to apply hair shines or coats on your horse.

Tame your horse’s mane. Depending on the type of horse you have and the class you’re competing in, try to keep the the hair of your horse tidy. Apart from special skills, a good presentation of the horse will also earn you points.

Arrive at the competing area at least an hour early to give you enough time to make necessary adjustments. It’ll also give your horse the chance to get comfortable in the new environment before competing.

Read and understand the guidelines. Knowing the contest rules and guidelines should be done weeks before the show, but it’s still best to review them once you’re on location already.

Prepare yourself. Dress appropriately for the class that you’re competing on. Stay focused and be confident. Remember that your horse depends on you. If you start to panic, your horse will do the same thing.

Use the right tack for your class. There are some events that have strict rules. Be sure to follow them closely to avoid being disqualified.

Tips:

Joining a horse show doesn’t need to be expensive.

If you’re new at showing horses, try to join schooling shows first. This will allow you to practice at a much lower price than rated shows.

Join rated shows when you’re confident already. Showing horses needs a lot of time and effort. Be sure that you’re ready enough before joining rated shows.

For shows longer than a day, choose a day that has the most categories you want to compete in. This will cut your trailer and stall expenses.

If you’re getting a stall, look for somebody who might want to share a stall with your horse. It’ll also be a good idea to share materials to reduce your expenses on grooming products and other things you might need to buy while on the show.

There are numerous horse grooming products in the market. The cheaper ones work as well as the expensive ones.

Learn training techniques. You don’t have to hire a professional trainer. Study different techniques and be the one to train your horse. This may take some time, but it’ll surely help you save money on training fees. This will also make you develop a good relationship with your horse that’s very important in competitions.

Showing horses needs time and effort. Just like any pet, you need to bond with your horse to be able to put up a good show. Remember, even horses need tender loving care.

How to Show a Dog

Are you extremely fond of your beautiful, obedient and intelligent pooch? If you think he’s got what it takes to best other dogs, sign him up for the next dog show. Showing your dog is not as easy as it sounds, though, and you’ll need a few pointers.

What You’ll Need:

Dog breed papers
Application form for the dog show
Dog grooming supplies

How Does A Dog Show Work?

Dog shows are friendly competitions that allow dog owners to compare their pooch with other dogs. Usually sponsored by a business or dog kennel, and sanctioned by a kennel club, the event allows the dogs participating to be examined by a panel of judges, as they are separated into several categories. The dogs are given points, and the one with the highest points in a certain category wins the title.

Registering for the show

Registration is the first step you’ll have to take when showing your dog. Here are some pointers to remember.

Register your dog in a kennel club before signing up for a dog show. For example, if the dog show you want to join is sanctioned by the American Kennel Club, you have to register your dog with them first. Remember, the AKC only allows purebred dogs to be registered.

Have the important information ready before you register. Facts you have to know include the name of the breeder (if applicable), litter number, and the name of the dam and sire (mother and father).

Check upcoming dog show schedules. You can do this through the Internet.

Know which category or show suits your dog best. Will he do well in an agility contest? Is he a sheepdog? Will he stand a chance in best of breed?

Know the rules and regulations of the show, to avoid disqualification.

Pay the registration fee and get your identification number. You (the owner) will be wearing this number, so it won’t hide any of the dog’s features.

Training your dog

Your dog must be well-behaved before you enter him, otherwise, he might not win against the competition. Here are some pointers to follow.

Some dogs become restless when in the company of other canines or large crowds. Teach him to overcome his fear, and let him get used to these kinds of environments.

Leash-train your dog. He must get used to being tied on a leash all the time.

Teach your dog the basic commands, including sit, heel, down and come. Give him voice commands first, then try to do it without calling out to him. You’ll have to come up with a signal for these different commands. Also, make sure your dog learns how to “sit” whenever you stop walking.

Practice “stacking” or posing your dog. Teach him how to hold his legs and angle his head. Command him to stay in that position for long periods of time.

Go over him as if you’re a judge. Examine his teeth, eyes, testicles (male dogs) and pick up his feet.

Always reward your darling. He’s gone through a lot of hard work, and he deserves little goodies!

Grooming your dog

Appearance matters a lot in dog shows, so you must make sure your dog shines and looks good all throughout. Here are some tips.

Brush your dog’s coat thoroughly, to make it shine. Short-haired dogs might only need a glove-type brush, but long-haired breeds require a stiffer brush type.

Clean his outer ear with a cleaning solution and a cotton ball.

Bathe your dog with mild dog shampoo and warm water. Dry him thoroughly after.

Clean the outer ears gently with a cleaning solution and a cotton ball or soft cloth. Be mindful not to get any solution in the inner canal of the ear.

Check his eyes for unsightly gunk in the corner. Wipe it off with a damp cloth.

Trim your dog’s nails. If you don’t know how, let a vet or dog groomer do it for you.

Clean and brush his teeth, either with a toothbrush, or through a chew-the-stick game.

What’s in it for you? Fun and pride, of course! If you want to show off your doggie’s talent, then sign him up for the next show!

How to Remove Ticks from Pets

Ticks are a form of parasitic spiders who live in long grasses and woody, bushy areas. They also like living off your pet. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain fever and other diseases that can affect both animal and man. They can also transfer to other animals and pets, and they can multiply quickly if left unchecked. It’s important that we check our pets regularly for ticks and remove any ticks as soon as we can. Here’s how.

Materials

Surgical gloves
A jar with kerosene
Antiseptic cream
Hand soap
Newspapers

Procedure

Spread old newspapers on the spot where your pet will lie down while you remove the ticks.

Get your pet in a comfortable position. For larger animals like big dogs, you may want a friend to help you keep your pet in place.

Put on surgical gloves or latex gloves. Don’t use your bare hands to remove ticks from your pets as ticks have diseases that can be passed on to humans.

While some guides may say that you should use tweezers, don’t. It’s easier to remove ticks by hand and will cause less discomfort for your pet.

Use your hands to check your pet’s fur or their skin. Ticks may feel like small bumps on your pet’s skin, like a lump, a pea or even a grape. Inspect the bump. If it’s dark and grayish with a smooth surface, it’s a tick.

Use your fingers to grip the tick very tightly, as close to the skin as possible–now is not the time to be grossed out! Hold it firmly and twist and turn the tick in a counterclockwise direction. Pull it out at the same time in a straight direction. Doing all of this in one swift motion is ideal so it will cause less pain for your pet, especially one with long hairs.

Some people recommend squishing the tick with a rock, but for a less disgusting way to get rid of it is to drop the tick in a jar half-full with kerosene. The kerosene will effectively kill the tick and keep it in one place. You can later pour the kerosene with the ticks on a newspaper and burn them to make sure they’re dead.

Apply the appropriate antiseptic cream on the area where you found a tick. Ticks usually leave small puncture wounds on the skin, which can lead to infection.

Remove your gloves and dispose of them properly.

Wash your hands thoroughly.

If ticks are a recurring problem for your pet, you may want to invest in tick powder, tick shampoo or a anti-tick cone which your pet can wear for a limited amount of time. Visit your neighborhood vet to know more about ticks and how to get rid of them. You may also want to investigate your surroundings and keep your pet away from places where it’s likely for your pet to get ticks.

How to Raise Goats

If you’re interested in raising livestock, goats are a good starting point. They are relatively easy to take care of, and are quite low-maintenance as well. Here’s how to take care and raise goats properly.

How Many?

Goats are social animals, so for their own health, it’s best to get at least four at once. One male goat and three female goats should do nicely. You can expect a kid or two after several months. Buying a goat on its lonesome is just not as good an investment as buying in bulk.

Prepare Their Home

raising goatsYou should have an adequate area of land to allow your goats to roam about. You don’t necessarily have to fence them in. You can just tie a goat to a long piece of rope and they can go around as much as they can. You can later relocate them to another area. That way they still get plenty of exercise without wandering off.

If you do decide on fencing them in, make sure it’s a sturdy fence that will be too tall for them to jump over.

The goat pen should be ready for the goats even before they arrive. Again, there should be adequate space for each goat to move around in, as well as protection from the elements. If you are lacking space, you can build small “bleachers” where goats can hop onto and rest. As long as you have adequate protection from heat and cold, your goats should be pretty happy.

What to Feed

Goats are pretty happy with a choice selection of grass, hay and leaves. You can further enrich their diet by adding fruits and vegetables, but you don’t have to feed them that all the time. The diet can also be more specialized depending on what you need them for: Their meat, their milk or for show.
Make sure that they have a steady supply of water all the time. You can provide them with a water trough where they can drink from at any time.

Grooming

Clip their hooves and brush their hair every other week. The horns of male goats can also be dulled to pose less of a threat to people. Unless you are trained to do it yourself, a vet is still the better person to do these activities.

Don’t be worried about goat droppings in your plants. Goat droppings are not “hot” like chicken droppings and will not cause harm to your plants.

How to Raise Chickens

Want to raise chickens of your own? Having an organic diet and a love for poultry can convince you to do so. Chickens are relatively easy to live with and raise, provided that you know how to take good care of them. Here’s how to raise your own chickens.

Before Starting

Check your city or town’s ordinances or local codes on their mandate on keeping poultry, specifically chickens, in your own home. Be sure to follow these ordinances. Start with a small and manageable number of chickens first, just to get a feel of caring for them first.

You also have two options:
Raising adult chickens and raising chicks. Both provide their own share of challenges. You’ll be able to save a little by skipping the chick-raising paraphernalia that you need, but eventually, when your chickens start having young, you might need them anyway! So starting from chicks may not be such a bad idea.

Raising Chicks

Materials

Brooder. This is the plastic container where the chicks are contained for a while. They must stay in a single place so they will not get too cold. There should be 2 square feet per chick.

Heat Lamp. Chicks need to be warm all the time. A 250-watt infrared heat lamp with a guard should keep your chicks safe and warm.

Feeders and Waterers

Chick Thermometer. You need to keep track if your chicks have the same range of temperatures as they grow and mature.

Pine Shavings.
Bedding of choice for young chicks.

Feed. Chicks require different nutrients as they grow. Check with your feed manufacturer on what feed is best for every developmental stage.

Supplements. Electrolyte powder in their water and diatomaceous earth in their food help keep chicks healthy and keep pests away.

Caring for Chicks

Set up the brooder before the chicks arrive. Spread the bedding, hang the lamp, have the thermometer ready to use. Make sure that you have fences or protection from other animals or children.

Put the waterers and feeders in a prime place not too near the lamp but close enough as to not get the chicks too cold. Put feed and water.

When the chicks arrive, gently take them out of their boxes and dip their beaks a little into the water. Turn the lamp on and leave them to get used to their new home.

Keep the chicks in a consistent temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit on their first week. Shave off five degrees per week as they grow older. In approximately six weeks, when the temperature inside the brooder matches the temperature outside, you can remove them from the brooder and away from the lamp.

The brooders should always be clean of feces and have dry bedding at all times.

Have a coop ready for your pullets when they’re big enough to have one.

Caring for Chickens

Keep the chickens in the coop for around two days or so to have them acclimatized to their new home.

When having a chicken coop made, make sure that you have at least you have 2 square feet for each chicken. The roomier, the better. Make sure that your chicken coop has nesting boxes for the hens and perches for night roosting, if you plan on keeping roosters.

Buy chicken feeders from your local feed manufacturer. These will keep your chicken feed and water clean.

For a small flock of chickens, you can buy pre-mixed all-purpose laying mash. Supplement this with scratch feed or whole corn. Chickens also love kitchen scraps like greens, peelings, pancakes, small pieces of cooked meat, bread, and even crushed oyster shells. You should also buy grit at the store, as this helps them digest their food better.

Keep the chicken coops clean and safe from predators. If your flock gets bigger, make sure that you expand your coop accordingly.

How to Raise a Tadpole

While many homeowners love to give attention to usual pets such as dogs and cats, some prefer raising amphibians at home. The experience can be memorable since raising a tadpole, for instance, allows you to witness the dramatic metamorphosis of a water creature to a land creature. Raising a tadpole can be both fascinating and fun. Here are some tips on how to get you started:

Create a suitable environment.

You can’t just raise tadpoles anywhere. Find a container such as a fishbowl, garden pond or aquarium. This container should have fresh water at all times. You can approach museums, wildlife agencies and frog groups to gather relevant information on the perfect breeding ground for your tadpole.

Fill the container only with clean and fresh water. If you will be using tap water, make sure to expose it to direct sunlight for five to seven days to remove chlorine. You can also buy de-chlorinating drops at your local pet stores. The container should have some sort of a shade so that the temperature is suitable for the tadpole.

Feed them properly.

Tadpoles are very easy to feed since they are vegetarians. They usually survive on algae, which grows naturally in self-sustaining pond ecosystems. You can also try feeding them a pinch of boiled lettuce every few days. To prepare the lettuce, rip the leaves into small bits and pieces and place them in a bowl. Cover them with boiling water and let cool.

As a supplement, you may want to feed them commercial fish food. Just make sure not to feed them excessively since they can grow way faster than you think. There should be no food after an hour since the pond can become foul so change the water frequently to maintain cleanliness.

Be patient.

Some tadpoles can develop into frogs in just six weeks while others remain in their tadpole stage for as long as eight months. Don’t worry and just be very patient since there are many factors involved such as food availability, tadpole density, breed, water temperature, among others. Studies also show that metamorphosis stops during the long cold months and will only start growing again in the warmer spring months.

If you think your frogs are developing legs, you can start building ledges to help them get out of the water. These ledges can be made of plastic or stones. When your newly-metamorphosed frogs have emerged from your container, allow them to find their way back by making sure that you have a frog-friendly garden with a landscape made of rocks, ground cover, mulch and logs.