Why Use a Window Birdfeeder?

What is the purpose of a window birdfeeder?  Well, they are a perfect way to enjoy birds up close!  This is great for small children (of course, they need to learn not to bang on the window), the elderly who can’t get out to  watch the birds in the yard and of course, anyone in the household that  just wants to enjoy the beauty of the birds from inside the home.  Did you know that window feeders are a great way to keep birds from colliding into the windows. The birds will see the feeder and slow down to land on it.

 Window birdfeeders are  lightweight stick to windows with suction cups that are attached to the feeder. A favorite of  mine is the  Aspects Window Cafe. It is completely clear so you can see the seed level easily and has a  clear roof to that serves to  protect the birds and the seeds from the rain.  There is a clear removable seed reservoir tray for the birds to feast on the seeds.   All Aspects Window Feeders feature patented easily removable seed trays for easy filling and cleaning.  The 3/4 quart capacity means less time between filling the feeder.

The Aspects Window Cafe is made of quality construction. It is constructed entirely of virtually unbreakable UV stabilized polycarbonate. In addition, the manufacturer offers a limited lifetime warranty.

In addition to the Aspects Window Cafe, there are many other window bird feeders to chose.  A window bird feeder is the perfect feeder for anyone who wants to get close to the birds in their yard, while in the comfort of your home.


New Tank Syndrome – Aquarium Cycling

Cycling your aquarium tank is probably something that you have never heard of unless you are an avid aquarium keeper. The effects of the cycling process are sometimes referred to as “New Tank Syndrome.”

“Cycling the tank” means that you are establishing a bacteria bed in your biological filter to remove the toxins that the fish’s metabolism creates.

There are right ways and wrong ways to do this.

There are two steps to cycling.

First, your filter will grow a culture of bacteria that digest ammonia and turn it into Nitrite, then your filter produces bacteria that digest Nitrite and turn it into harmless Nitrate. However, Nitrate will contribute to stress and appetite loss in your fish, as well as contributing to algae growth, so it is important to do regular small water changes to keep your tank in best condition.

Adding Instant Ocean Bio-Spira to a new tank eliminates the cycling period and allows you to add fish immediately without risking their health, in most cases.

How Do I Cycle MY Tank?
If you do not use something like Bio-Spira, yyou should cycle your tank with a small number of  fish. They should be hearty fish, and something that you will want to have in your tank in the long run.

Cycling the tank takes between two and eight weeks depending on several factors including:

Amount of ammonia in water for bacteria to digest
Availability of bacteria in atmosphere to colonize filter
Frequency and relative amount of water changes
Reliability of source of waste (ammonia and nitrite)
Amount of excess decaying matter in tank (dead fish, extra food, plant leaves, etc.)
Presence of toxins/anti-bacterial agents/sanitation chemicals in tank water
Use of chemicals to remove ammonia from the water.

Stop the Spills with Skid Stop Pet Bowls and Mats

Skid Stop Bowls are designed to stop your pet from scooting, sliding, and chasing his bowl across the floor – thereby limiting spills.
The base of each skid-stop bowl is usually manufactured with a thermoplastic rubber rim to help keep it in its place.
There are a number of No-skid bowls on the market.
JW Pet offers a number of skidless pet bowls, the most recent is the “Slow-Eat Skid Stop Bowl” which serves a dual purpose and helps eliminate the possibility that your dog (or cat) will scarf down his or her meal before you even stop pouring!  It’s pictured to the right and you can see that the design makes it a tad bit more difficult for a pet to get the food out, thereby limiting the speed of eating.
Van Ness plastic molding has a skid-stop pet bowl that is extra heavy weight for those real tough pets. It has a contempory design that comes in multiple sizes for all size pets.
Finally, we like JWPet’s standard Skid-Stop Pet Bowl the best. Heavyweight with traditional styling, it is super easy to clean and is stain resistant, as well as coming in four sizes.
As one of our customer’s so eloquently said it:  “once you purchase a skid-stop for your pet, you will never buy a normal bowl again”.

American Goldfinches and Brown Finches

Did you know that Brown finches that turn yellow are American Goldfinches?

These 4-5 inch long birds, with a wingspan of 7-9 inches, change from having dull winter feathers to brilliant breeding plumage in the spring. American Goldfinches are unique in that all four subspecies molt in both spring and fall.

Goldfinches love to eat Thistle from a birdfeeder like the Thistle Nyjer Haven pictured to the right.

In September, following the breeding season, American Goldfinches shed their feathers completely. Males lose their canary plumage, and their black wings and tails, marked with white bars, turn dull black, with buff-colored bars. They regrow dull, medium-brown or tan body feathers with an olive tinge and some yellow at the shoulders and face. They will lose their black caps completely.

In spring, American Goldfinch males transform into breeding birds with brilliant lemon yellow feathers.

Their bright white rumps, contrasting with their bright black and white wings and tails, are visible in flight. Males grow black caps as they adopt plumage designed to attract a female. Even their bills change from black to a brilliant orange for the breeding season of July to September.

Females are a dull yellow-brown shade all year, though their plumage does turn slightly more yellow after the spring shed.

Warm weather = Early Pond Season

Spread the word to all of your pondkeeper friends!

GregRobert has carried quality pond supplies for close to a decade and wants to earn your business if you are a pondkeeper!

Due to the mild temperatures this spring, the 2012 pond season has begun earlier than normal.

It’s time to purchase your pond starter products.

It is important that your run your pond pump for a week or two before you start feeding your fish.  If you are adding tap water to your pond this spring, be sure to use a Water Prep solution like Laguna’s.

For a new pond:

Use 50 ml per 265 gallons of pond water. Use the provided vial for an accurate measurement. Fill your pond with water and then add this product to the directly to the pond.
This method is not recommended when fish are already in the pond.

Water replacement:

Use 50 ml per 265 gallons of pond water every time water is added from the tap. To ensure maximum protection for fish already in a pond, dose the pond to be topped or filled before any new water is added.
Source: California Waterscapes.


Pet Weight Control

Pet weight control is a common issue pet owners face. Just as obesity creates many health issues in humans it likewise has similar effects on our pets. Health risks include diabetes, liver problems, joint issues (especially in older pets) as well as other problems.

Obesity is a simple matter of energy intake exceeding the energy requirements of the animal. Excess energy is stored as fat which leads to weight gain. The typical cause is a combination of overfeeding (don’t forget to include the treats when you think about this) combined with a lack of proper exercise.

Keep in mind that a pets internal energy consumption will fall as they age and become less active (sound familiar?).

If you and your veterinarian determine your pet is overweight then there needs to be adjustment in both the pet and the owners behavior/activities. Typically all areas must be addressed in order to be successful. Although important, simply lessening your pets food amount will not likely give the desired results.

Diet: This includes food and treats.  Giving a few high calorie treats throughout the day can add up. Fortunately, the problem is common enough with dogs that manufacturers have developed many low calorie dog treats .

Paragon makes a potato based low fat dog treat called Veggie Ear Dog Treats that is a healthy alternative. While it is unfortunate that the same selection is not available for cats you can consult with your veterinarian of appropriate treat changes, such as using popcorn, that may meet your pets needs. Keep in mind you (and everybody in the household) need to count the calories and treats given on a daily basis for this to work.

Determine the appropriate amount of food to give your pet with your veterinarian. If necessary, change to a low fat dog food. Calculate the amount that should be given and measure it out for every feeding. Consistency is very important in executing a plan to reduce your pets calories intake

Exercise: Regular exercise is important to your pets health in many ways. Not only does it burn calories while your pet is exercising but regular activity raises the resting metabolic rate allowing for increased calorie burn at rest. If this is not a current part of your schedule you may need to think about how this can be part of your daily regimen. It is usually not easy for us to change what we do day to day so some serious thought needs to be given to how to effectively include some pet exercise time in our families day.

This is also a great bonding experience with your pet and they will look forward to your attention.

Sweet Suet: Fattening Up the Wild Birds


Don’t stop the suet feeding just yet. Those little songful beauties have just traveled thousands of miles to land in your backyard and need some fattening up!

Many wild bird lovers will offer suet during the winter months and then move to seeds and nuts in the summer.  It’s a good idea to wait until the June timeframe to switch UNLESS you are in a very warm climate that would be likely to melt the suet.  Even then, there are many no-melt brands of suet that may be perfect for your situation.

Traveling great distances to reach their breeding grounds, wild birds use alot of calories.  Nest building, breeding, defending territories and raising young requires a lot of energy and suet provides the much needed energy-rich nutrition.

So hang on a couple more months and buy a couple extra suet cakes to help them along after their long, long journey!

Outdoor Dog Waterers – Condone the Drinkfest!

As we talked about in our last post, making sure your dog (or other pet) gets enough water in the summer months is essential and could be the difference between life and death on a hot summer day.

There are two outdoor waterers that have impressed us and our customers.

The first one is WATERDOG.  Although its name says the Waterer is for dogs, it’s really a great invention for both dogs and cats!

Hook the Waterdog up to an outdoor faucet and it senses when your pet is coming around and will release fresh water from the faucet.  Even if it’s mounted too high for your cat or dog to reach the spigot, they can catch the water at a lower level. Works well and wastes very little water.

The second one takes a little training, but most dogs will get the knack of it in 2 or 3 tries.  The Patent pending Doggie Fountain Faucet requires your dog to step on the durable pedal pad to get the water out – which definitely qualifies as ‘on demand.’

You hook it up to a garden hose and you can regulate the pressure at the faucet.  Here’s the tip of the day from our valued customer:  “Make sure that your hose is in shady area on very hot days.  We made this mistake and our dog was very taken aback by the hot water!”





Pet Water Needs

Your pet needs constant access to water just we we humans do. With the hotter of summer months approaching their system will require more water to stay healthy. While this is not new news to pet owners there some issues that can get overlooked. The average  40 lb dog needs a liter of water a day.  A ten pound cat will require about one forth of that. The point is not to monitor your pets water intact as much as it is to provide the necessary amount of fresh drinkable water throughout the day that will allow them to get their proper fill.

Water health concerns:

1) The first issue that comes to mind is if there is not enough water. Water makes up 80% of our bodies (you and your pet). It plays into nearly every system your body needs to function properly.  From circulation, digestion to waste removal and temperature control (among others) water is essential.  Continued dehydration can cause a number of issues some as serious as heart and kidney damage.

2) Bacteria in your pets water source can be an issue.  Certain bacteria can cause water to taste funny (who wants to drink bad tasting water?) while other bacteria can cause your pet to get sick. Your pets water dish needs to be cleaned daily to prevent a problem.

3) Even if water is readily available your pet may use that ever full water source known to most of us as a toilet. Obviously bacteria in the toilet does not belong in your pets drinking water. Also, automatically dispensed toilet cleaners can be poisonous.

What ways can we easily address these concerns?

The third concern is relatively straight forward. Keep the toilet lid closed and stay away from using automated toilet bowl cleaners. The first and second require just a little thought. Use a water bowl that can be easily cleaned. A lot of nooks and crannies can make the job more difficult. Being able to toss it in a dishwasher with your other dishes is a nice feature. We need to provide sufficient fresh water in all areas that your pet will spend significant time. For example, if your pet sends time indoors and outside than water sources need to be in both areas. The water needs to be appealing so therefore it needs to be fresh. That means throwing out stale/dirty water and refilling with fresh on a regular basis.  There are products designed to make this more convenient such as the new Drinkwell Lotus Ceramic Fountain for Pets. This item has a pump that circulates the water through a foam filter to remove debris/hair to help keep the water fresh. With a water capacity of 50 fl oz (about 1.5 liters) this will satisfy the daily needs for a pet up to about 60 lbs.  It a can be put in your dishwasher for easy cleaning (outside of the pump)

Don’t forget to take a portable source of water with you if your going for a walk or to the outdoors for any length of time.  Just like we need more water when exercising or in heat so do our pets. The Hydro-go Pet Canteen – 36 oz is a product that is a canteen to carry water and a water bowl all in one. In addition, it is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.

Our pets water needs are pretty simple but can be overlooked. A little forethought and following a few easy rules and this basic need is easily met.