A Very Sad Dec 2021 at Wombat Creek

I have put off writing this post as I still feel so very sad when i think of my lovely little group. Late Nov it started raining and just kept raining for days and days into Dec. The paddock we had built the large pen in took the brunt and all the rain cascading down the hills came to rest there .The ground was soaked and the waters ran in under the bottom of the shed soaking the ground in there also. This was totally unexpected as was the magnitude of the rainfall.Trying to clean up all the faeces in the shed was very difficult as being wet would dissolve into the ground and cleaning up the faeces in the enormous paddock , impossible.

I had never experienced any greys with coccidiosos before but had heard of how awful it was and heart breaking . I never thought that it would occur here but that is what happened. Nikki suddenly very quickly went downhill. If I had seen it before I may have recognised the symptoms before she started bleeding.She wouldn’t drink and then I noticed she had blood in her bag. I did have Nikki on coccivet as a preventative as soon as she came into my care but unfortunately Nikki  had a compromised immune system due to a rough start and I should have had her on a larger daily doze .Another thing I have learnt , in hindsight. The greys that came from Jasmine had been started on coccivet (amprolium) a couple of weeks before they came here on the minimum doze as that’s what I thought would be O.K. What I should have done was given all 5 a higher daily doze  immediately they all went into care all together in the pen. Something I never knew before is that coccivet can be given at 10 times the daily amount if need be. It may have saved them once rain began.

Baycox is a treatment that is used for pigs to keep coccidiosis at bay and it is the treatment that for years wildlife carers have used for macropods.A lot of people in the wildlife area still believe that is the way . I had heard and now believe that Baycox is a harsh agent and can weaken the animals defences.After much reading and talking with other carers my opinion now is that baycox has not provided much success as a treatment or preventative of coccidiosis in grey knagaroos.I believe it can in fact kill a sick joey. I believe now that overly repetitive use can make a healthy joey sick to the point that it will die.

Despite my efforts and use of baycox as advised Nikki died mid December.She had been Sam’s closest companion for months.

I treated the other 4 with baycox as advised.

The next day later in the afternoon I found Handsome dead in his bag. That morning he was fine , eating , hoping and drinking all his milk. I took his body straight to Ted’s who did a post mortem. Handsome showed no signs of having coccidiosis but had a fractured skull. Handsome had filled out in his time here and he had accepted me as his “mum” .He was walking around with me outside the pen  and loving it. We determined he must have been hopping very fast around inside the paddock and something must have scared him causing him to run headlong into one of the posts or a tree . He had got back to his bag and died.It was so very sad.He was a gorgeous boy and very affectionate.

A couple of days later Precious showed signs of having coccidiosis and even though I moved quicker with her I couldn’t save her.

I moved Sammy and Miss Margaret out of the large pen and decided to spell it for at least 6mths. I moved Sammy and Miss M into my smaller pen. They both seemed fine and they bonded well.

Sam & Miss Margaret

A couple of days went by and then Miss M showed signs of coccidiosis.I treated her as advised  and Sam also even though he seemed fine. sam showed no signs of illness at any time. He had been on coccivet since very young as I always drop a bit of dirt and grass into the bag and start my greys on coccivet at that point. As Sam had grown up here from a little pinky he also hadn’t had the stress of moving to a new place and a new ‘mum”.

I took Miss M out of the pen and bought her inside .She seemed to rally and I thought all was well but she went downhill again a couple of days later and died on Dec 29th.

Poor Sammy was alone. I was offered a couple of other greys a bit younger than him but I was to nervous and upset to bring anymore here at that point in time.I decided that I would just spend more time with Sammy.I used to have breakfast with him then we would go off for a bush walk.He seemed  quite happy to go into his pen and have a good sleep as it was hot during the day.

Sam sleeping Feb 2022

I would give him his evening milk about 6pm take him for a walk about then he would stay around in the house paddock with the red-necks till about 8pm when I would put him into his pen for the night. He had a  stuffed pillow hanging from a tree in the pen that he practised jumping and kicking with. I was advised to treat him every 3 weeks with baycox. I didn’t feel comfortable with this but the advise was from someone far more knowledgeable than me so I followed it.Sammy continued to grow and thrive and we were constant companions.

Sam Feb 2022 – 8 kilo standing at my
breakfast /lunch table

I got a call from the macropod co asking me if I would be willing to take 3 Swamp wallabies .Swamp wallabies are not susceptible to coccidiosis and could go into my large pen.I eventually decided that I would as the big pen was a good space for them.

Handsome, Precious & Miss Margaret Join Sammy & Nikki

Sunday 14th Nov was a big day . Jasmine came to Wombat Creek and bought her 3 little greys to move in with Sammy and Nikki. Handsome , a boy ,Precious and Miss Margaret  two girls. She had them for 31/2 months , hard to part with them but they needed more space.

5 babies in bed

Handsome was a tall lanky fellow weighing 4895 grams. He settled in well , loved his milk and within a few days was taking advantage of the large space covering lots of area with long bounds when we would all go out walking in the pen.

Miss Margaret also settled in well and I felt that she and Nikki recognised each other as Michelle had them together as very young ones before passing Nikki to me and then Miss M  to Jasmine a bit later.Miss M was a bit younger than Nikki. She was 4255 grams when she came here.She was a slower milk drinker than the others and even with coaxing often never drunk all her formula. She loved cuddles and always wanted to be close to me.These 2 would always stay around with me while I had my lunch in the pen.

My lunch spot

Precious was also tall and lanky and was the heavier of the 3, 4995 grams. She was more aloof and was a bit of a loner but they all got along well and settled in, They all started to fill out and look better than on intake , enjoying the space of the large pen. Although they were all together I spent quite a bit of time with them in the mornings and evenings. They liked it after I had given them all their milk to go out into the pen with me for as long as I could stay.

Precious

Sam was whirlwind and he didn’t care who was in the shed and who was out in the paddock.He spent hours out there grazing and didn’t care if he was out there till all hours of the night well after the others had come back to shed and hopped into their bags!

I thought because I hadn’t had these 3 as younger babies they wouldn’t bond to me the same way so I wouldn’t be able to take them outside of the pen. They proved me wrong and after about 3 weeks I was able to take them out. I couldn’t take them all together of course as notable to keep an eye on all of them if something scared them and they all scattered.I would take 1 or 2 depending on who let me know they wanted to come! It was great and they all loved their walks outside.

Grazing in the pen

In the pen

Nikki Joins Sammy at Wombat Creek

28th June 2021 Larry and I went to Singleton to Michelle and Ron’s place. They are both hardworking dedicated carers. It was lovely to meet them and see the little ones Michelle had in care. Michelle had very kindly agreed that Nikki could come to me to be a buddy for Sammy.

Nikki came in to Michelle 9/5/2021 weighing 560g on intake. The next day she was taken to RSPCA vet Singleton for a check. She had damaged back legs  and a wheezy chest. Given x- ray for legs , no permanent damage , soft tissue swelling but with normal bone opacity, growth plates evident no abnormalities detected. She was  given injectable antibiotics for pneumonia  and cream given to Michelle to apply to bruising on her legs . Panadol was used for leg pain and also later used meloxicam for pain but switched back to Panadol .Poor little Nikki, a lot to go through at that early stage of development. Bad enough to lose mum’s natural immunoglobulins which in marsupials carry on for an extended period of time during lactation. Antibiotics really mess up gut flora in marsupials  but unfortunately sometimes necessary.

No water was given by Michelle with milk formula as she was told it was not needed. Wombaroo milk replacement is a very concentrated form of food  ,it’s not fluid. Universal milk formulas are very diluted and already have a large quantity of water in the made up milk. Mum’s milk would depend on weather conditions .Example – her milk would change to a more watery consistency in very warm weather. The correct amount of water should be added to milk feed at the time of feeding. Michelle used vytrate for hydration and scouring. Michelle was instructed to give Nikki  yoghurt with each feed  consistently from 5/6/2021 until transfer to me on 28/6/2021.This was to help restore gut flora. I do believe in the use of yoghurt, but only in moderation .Macropods are lactose intolerant and lactose can lead to blindness. I always use impact when I have a young joey in care and I believe it could have been very beneficial for Nikki if Michelle had been advised to use it.

Sam now flat fur coming through – getting his daily doze of sun

Nikki weighed 1525 grams when transferred to me. Michelle had been having continual problems with her gut but felt she was on the mend when passed to me. The switch to another carer must have had a negative effect on her. Her faces was sloppy and she didn’t pellet.

my daily wash !

Grey kangaroos are very easily stressed. I began giving Nikki some water and also used impact , she continued gaining weight but continued to produce sloppy faeces. Her faeces then became green but controlled ,this determined it was not thrush.  She also started losing weight. I called Lynda who thought that the problem was that her system had been compromised and she had depleted gut flora. Lynda got me to use colloidal silver,10ml between each meal and after 2 days  her faeces started forming, after 4 days she started pelleting , eating well again and gaining weight. Although she looked well and settled into a happy little joey she would probably always have a compromised immune system. The colloidal silver worked well for Nikki .I have used it with other joeys but not with the same success.

Sammy and Nikki became firm buddies and  thrived on being together.

Sam and Nikki happy together

 

Sam and Nikki now starting to eat grass . roots and dirt

 

 

 

Once the little guys start eating grass I put them on a daily doze of coccivet. Greys are susceptible to coccidiosis which is an intestinal tract infection caused by a single-celled organism (a protozoa) called coccidia. Coccivet (amprolium) is used as a preventative for this awful disease. Greys are the  most easily stressed and the most complex of all kangaroo species. Wet weather conditions make it very hard to keep the ground clear of faeces when the animals are confined in care if rain becomes very heavy. Coccidiosis is contracted by ingesting contaminated faeces.

Sam and Nikki were happy and well adjusted.They continued to thrive and eventually moved to the outside pen which they loved. They would come walking with me everyday and we were having a great time.

I got a call asking me if I would take another 3 greys about the same size and make a group. 5 grey kangaroos would have been to many in my small pen. Larry and I decided we would build a large pen and take the other 3.It is hard for people to find suitable soft release areas and kangaroos must be moved on from backyards once they reach a certain age. My initial reluctance was that I hadn’t raised the others from a young age and  I wouldn’t be able to bush walk them as they would not think of me as “mum” .  Sam and Nikki loved their walks , however I thought that maybe they would enjoy being part of a group more ….I had never had more than 2 together and have always been told that a group of greys is better so the decision was made. The building began and with the help of our friend and neighbour Ken he & Larry completed the pen in the next month.We moved Sam and Nikki into it to get them used to being in there. They were aprox. 4500grams .

Sam & Nikki

Niki finding her “hop”showing off – Sam watching

“Sammy Boy” I Love You So

Sat 24th April 2021 – Larry decided to go to Merriwa Races with some friends. As they approached the entry a car a couple in front hit a grey kangaroo on the road.She was a young mother with a joey in pouch . Larry immediately went to the scene but the poor mother had died with the impact but little pinkie in pouch alive. He removed the baby and wrapped him to keep him warm , hopefully maintaining mum’s body temp, then drove back home 30ks with joey which he gave to me and told me he had already named him Sam.

Sam was aprox. 500 grams which made him about 4 mths old. A newborn joey is about the size of a peanut .

Little Alien

He was so fragile , ears almost flat and eyes still closed , a tiny little creature. So started my love a fair with Sammy!! I was terrified of either having his body temp to hot or to cold . I used a hot water bottle and monitored temp with a digital thermometer. The temp never stays even for long so it’s a continuous process of  moving heat and padding around. I had been reading about getting a pet incubator as heard they are very good. I decided that as they needed to be on continuously wouldn’t be good here as we are off grid and use only solar. In hindsight I have asked myself many times why I didn’t just have him attached to me all the time in a small bag close to my body for body heat and so he could hear my heartbeat. I did that  with the first grey joey I raised ‘Bozzo”. I have realised  that I listen a lot to other people and I quite often doubt myself imagining that others are always going to know better . People say that you shouldn’t handle a joey all the time and I do agree but having joey in a bag attached to one’s self so they are getting your natural body heat is quite different. I wish I had done that with Sam as it was 100% effective with Bozzo. Naturally you have to have a warm place on the ready where you put baby when necessary.

applying pawpaw over Sam’s pink skin fuless skin – you can see how small he is !

 After a few days Sam began to feed quite well .By the 10th May he was sucking his teat independently for his milk and I was able to stop syringe feeding.He had put on weight and was now aprox. 670grams .I transitioned him to a slightly stronger milk formula. This happens naturally in mum’s pouch. The inside of the pouch is warm, nearly fur-less, and has four nipples that supply milk with different nutrient levels. The pouch is lined with sweat glands that release antimicrobial fluid to protect the joey from germs, viruses and parasites. How amazing they are! Because joeys are naturally kept at a high humidity in the pouch I used pawpaw ointment to rub over Sammy’s pink furless skin to keep it from drying out. I noticed Sam’s heels had small patches where the leathery skin wasn’t covering.

Sam’s poor raw heels

This worried me a bit so I called Lynda who said to stop using flannel inner bags, as they draw the moisture, and change to single knit jersey.She said she didn’t think it would be a lingering problem and to spread  the pawpaw onto his heels  frequently. She said Sam was probably a restless little fellow and turned himself a lot in his bag , rubbing his delicate little heels. Lynda was correct and eventually he grew the leathery covering he needed. Sam continued to grow and by the time he was 1500 grams I thought I would see if I could get another little joey so he didn’t have to grow up alone.

Sam having a big stretch

Sam May 11th. He will soon have a friend.

Sam likes his dummy!

 

 

I  made a call to the macropod Wildlife Aid macropod co to ask if someone might have a little joey in care about Sam’s weight they would let me have as a buddy for Sammy. Michelle very kindly allowed me to have Nikki.Michelle had 3 little ones in care as  at that time .

After the Drought and Fire

Larry and I both felt exhausted after things got back to some normality .Driving miles to find some grass, constantly feeding support food and cleaning up became a thing of the past. After Wally , Che and Raul had all left to live their wild existence we really felt like we needed a break.

Rainbow bee-eaters

We only took on a  Magpie Oct 2020 who was in a bad way .he stayed with us for 6 weeks and made a full recovery and flew off which was good.

By April 2021 we decided it was time to start taking in some wildlife that needed care once again. We were no longer members of WIRES as being in the wrong demographic we couldn’t access any support from them and the cost of the animals we had been caring for over the years and then during the drought had taken a financial toll on us.

Kermit

The Wildlife group in this area is Wildlife Aid. We had made inquiries a couple of years earlier about the possibility of joining this group and we went to Muswellbrook to meet the couple that were running things. We didn’t find their practises   agreeable to things we believed so decided not to apply for membership. When the drought was on I had run a fun raiser on Facebook and I received a message from Meg who was one of the committee members of Wildlife Aid .It was encouraging us to join them. Being part of a group has many benefits for the animals  and us if part of a good network. We decided to take another look so put some application forms in. We found that there had been a restructure and the people that had put us off were no longer involved in the group .Our applications were accepted and we are now part of a lovely group of people all trying to do their best to help wildlife.

mama and baby
red-necked wallabies

Monty – resident python

 

Drought & Fire – Macropods and Wombats take over our front yard – all most welcome !!

2019 – 2020

We had been doing a rain dance for weeks  but obviously couldn’t get it right as rain didn’t come . Along with putting out support food for many macropods we always  watered  our house paddock  to supply as much grass as we possible. Fidel has always been privy to this and this splendid creature  passed on the word through the wombat community!

Some of you have read the Fidel story but if you haven’t and would like to just type  Fidel the Splendid Wombat into your browser and have a read .

Unfortunately due to drought we were unable to continue watering , no water  no grass. Larry and I would travel long distances a couple of times a week to collect grass for all the animals which they really appreciated and ate with great gusto.

The drought though out the Upper Hunter seemed to show no signs of breaking. The animals around here and further afield were coming every day and night looking for food which Larry & I supplied .We had been told some time in the past that wombats wouldn’t gather in the same area as they were so territorial but it was obvious to us that in this time of strife they knew what was going on .There was no fighting , an occasional Mexican standoff with a bit of noise !

Don’t leave any!

During this time people were donating to help farmers through the drought. We couldn’t get funding from anywhere to help with support food for the wildlife . It was getting expensive so I did run a fund raiser through Facebook and raised almost $2000 from some very kind generous people which really helped. Larry’s  nephew , his wife and children also donated food which thy bought here and bought bags of grass that they picked on their way from the Central Coast. The school the children attended ran a fund raiser to help the farmers and these children asked if they could donate to the wildlife feeding instead .

Donating food for wildlife – Amelia holding baby Che , Mikayla and Flynn

They were rewarded by seeing healthy wild wombats up close and personal and being able to  touch and interact with them. Not many people get to do that .

kids with mum Kelli – Flynn nursing baby Che

animals feeding and a wild wombat says thankyou

The drought went on for months , it was a horrible time but at least we were here to help these animals which would have died from starvation .  The wombats were amazing and due to having ample water and food they all seemed to remain healthy and we didn’t see any mange. Many of them let us touch them and were very relaxed with us. They clearly knew we were helping them and we were allies.

healthy wombats munching

night drink

My little wallaroo Pretty Britty who had been released a couple of years before returned home for support. She left again as soon as the drought broke .When she arrived she had a baby at the heel but the baby disappeared. We did a search but found no sign of it. Hopefully she has had another by now as  conditions are better. We had a very old wallaroo come and stay for months .We called him Grand Dad.

Pretty Britty comes home

Grand Dad

 

We got to know a lot of the animals well during this time.

 

 

The drought seemed endless and just when we thought things could only get better fire broke out all around the country. We were only 5ks form the “Meads Creek Fire” .It was very scary .The fire started in the Goulburn River National Park and burned out more than 14,200 hectares of land. Numerous rural properties in the area came under threat and we were constantly on watch and act advise. After 28 days the tireless marvellous efforts of  members of the NSW RFS alongside NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service firefighters, earth-moving machinery and water-bombing aircraft the fire was contained. It was a great relief for everyone.

Grand Dad looks dead but just very relaxed sleeping!

Duke , little grey in care with wombats resting after feeding

 

tired baby

beautiful mum and baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

drought – early morning feeding

Finally early in 2020 we got some rain. The ground was covered in weeds and not much grass was visible. Larry slashed continuously for months and eventually the grass came through and  started to compete with the weeds bringing some food relief for the animals . We were financially drained from supplying support food and tired from driving many ks to find and pick grass to pick and bring back. By mid 2020 we had water in the river again and more grass growing .It was a great relief. It was a great reward to know that we had helped all the wildlife around here to survive and to see them return to normal behaviour once again and babies appearing!

Wally who would have left home much earlier if conditions had been O.K. stayed on as he knew leaving during the drought was pointless.

Wally wont leave home

Once conditions improved he bounded off without a backward glance or a thankyou!

hungry little wombat

 

 

 

 

2am one morning

 

 

 

 

small group eating

Jan 2020 fires out , we had some rain .Looks green but 99% weeds. Took months but eventually after months of Larry slashing the grass came through again. Me with the kids, Wally, Duke Che and tiny Raul.

 

 

Che comes to Wombat Creek and is joined a few weeks later by Raul

Events starting  Sept 2018

Merriwa vet called , they had a little wombat needing care, picked up by a council worker.  He was alone, no adult in sight and being attacked by crows .The kind man took him to the local vet. He had a small tip of ear missing and superficial wounds around the eyes. He was a lucky little wombat indeed! His wounds were cleaned and antibiotic ointment applied for a few days , all was well. He weighed 1200 grams making his age between  5-6months.

He was a very relaxed little guy who didn’t seem to be traumatised by his ordeal. He started drinking well almost immediately. By the end of Sept he was 1975grams .He was having 3 milk feeds a day and already eating lots of  grass with roots attached which I would put into his bag or his enclosure , a very large dog carry cage in our bedroom, or he would be sleeping in our bed. He would suddenly wake up and charge around under the blankets till he needed sleep.

Baby Che on the bed

Baby Che on the bed

Baby Che sleeping with Larry

Baby Che sleeping with Larry

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first wombat “Fidel” had been on his own and I spent hours with him but I still hated leaving him in his pen outside once he emerged as baby wombats are always with mum. I didn’t have any choice as I couldn’t get a mate for him.  At night  I would put Che into his large cage , hanging on the side in his bag.  He was a terror, he would wake up about 3am and hurl himself at the door relentlessly until I had to get him up and feed him. I could get another couple of hours sleep as he would snuggle up  and sleep with me after his belly was full.

Che contented, full belly

Che contented, full belly

Che the Pillow Hog2nov 2018 (1)

Che , taking over my pillow!

I decided it would be great to get Che a mate he could play with .Baby wombats love to play rough and tumble with another wombat. I had hoped that maybe I would get a phone call saying a baby needed care but that didn’t happen so I called Penny in Dubbo. She was collecting some young wombats the following week from a carer who was overloaded. I told her Che’s weight and she said there was one that would be a match. We arranged to meet at Mudgee, about 3 hrs drive away, to do the hand over. Ideally wombats should be no more than a kilo weight difference when being buddied as they are rough players. If one is much heavier the smaller one will be intimidated. Once a joey gets to about 3.3. kilo  it is at emerging stage and having a buddy is very beneficial. After a day or 2 of adjusting to each other they  will play,play,play and  cuddle up together preferring to be with each other than just human mum . Together and with human mum is good! By the time we went to meet Penny Che was very robust and he weighed about 2150grams. It turned out that Raul was only 1040grams not the weight I had been told. Penny had 3 other wombats that she had picked up from another WIRES branch and 1 was the same size as Che but I was only offered the very little one .  It still could have worked out O.K. if Raul and Che had continued to grow at the same rate. However  it became apparent  after 24hrs that Raul was a very sick little wombat.

Poor sick little Raul. See his extended little tummy , a sign of what was happening internally.

Poor sick little Raul. See his extended little tummy , a sign of what was happening internally.

Poor Raul was in a terrible state. There was no back round info about him. I think he had probably been in dead mum’s for a long time but I’m only guessing. He had  some flat hair through on his face and head but a virtually hairless body. His gut was very extended, a sign of illness. It is usual for joeys newly arrived from the wild to have undeveloped gut flora but as the artificial milk  proceeds through the animals system and they get a bit older the gut flora will establish. This did not happen to plan with Raul. he could keep nothing in , continual diarrhoea   and weight loss, he also had thrush. I conferred with Ted and Jenny and tried different things .Larry and I  even took him to wildlife vet consultant at Dubbo Zoo as Ted being retired doesn’t have access to the facilities he once had. They didn’t have any answers there other than to tell me he was very underweight and to keep him warm.  Once the vet there knew we were consulting with Ted who he described as “A legend ” in zoo circles said if Ted couldn’t get him through nothing would. By the 10th Nov he was so underweight and had gone from the 1044 grams on intake down to 990 grams. His temples had sunken in and he looked close to death. I was not doing very well myself , due to lack of sleep ,trying to keep the little guy hydrated and caring for Che as well. Trying to determine what the case might be was very difficult. Ongoing diarrhoea  is a condition that will end in death. Its a dynamic situation and different treatments can create a revolving circle. Giving one treatment can cause another one which needs treatment. I asked Jenny if she would take and care for Raul so Ted was on hand to administer anything needed. They agreed but Jenny was worried that he might die but he was dying with me so his changes had to be better there.  He went to them on 10th Nov. Initially Jenny kept him much warmer than the manuals recommend and she also tried a different milk formula which was not as strong and he seemed to be better able to get some nourishment from that. She and Ted  got him a bit more stable and back up to 1120grams , a bit heavier than when he came in. He came back home on the 20th Nov. Che in  the mean time had continued to grow at a rapid rate . He weighed almost 3kilo , over twice the weight of poor Raul. Raul was still battling but his diarrhoea was not as severe and his thrush had almost cleared up. He needed lots of  special care and very small feeds ranging over 24hrs .

I believe Raul was on his dead mothers teat for along time and his system had actually started to close down when he was “rescued”. He was in care with an over worked carer for a while before Penny collected him and then a long drive before I got him   and a long drive home to then assess him. I can’t believe the little guy made it. I wouldn’t have been able to get him through without the wonderful help I was given.

Me with Che & Raul

Me with Che & Raul

Raul stared to thrive and by mid Dec I had him back on his correct formula and 3 milk feeds a day which he was loving. His weight was now 1905 grams, almost 2 kilo! . Che was now 4500 grams. There was no chance of leaving these two together without any supervision. Che was very rough .He wanted to play with Raul but he was far to strong.

Finally - beautiful velvet Raul exploring the bed Jan 2019

Finally – beautiful velvet Raul exploring the bed Jan 2019

 

These two made double the work I was hoping to cut in half but they were both wonderful and worth all of it. Wally was still here and he was interested in Raul.

Wally checking out Raul March 2019

Wally checking out Raul March 2019

 

 

 

 

 

The drought had started. The food was sparse  and quite a  lot of animals began coming to the house paddock for support food .

In Nov I moved Che outside to the nursing pen. He loved it there and had his own burrow .

I love my burrow

I love my burrow

Made it up the steep slope.

Made it up the steep slope.

 

 

 

 

 

After his early morning feed I would bring him to the house to see Raul who was still inside . I would sit outside with them on a blanket on the grass which they both seemed to like but had to watch Che as he would try and play and get to rough. It took a lot of energy to play his long games of run and chase. Che was moved into the larger pen about this time and Raul went out into the nursing pen once  he was ready for the outdoors.  Fortunately my niece Annaliese came for visit from New York in Dec  and she was wonderful with Che, playing the run and chase game in the large pen everyday till they were both ready for rest.

Che and Annaliese .Che displaying "his love heart" appropriately  named by Annaliese!

Che and Annaliese .Che displaying “his love heart” appropriately named by Annaliese!

I would take Raul from the nursing pen  into the Che’s pen after they had both had their morning milk and we would all spend a couple of hours together. I had a carry bag to carry baby wombats in which I would use to carry Raul in .It had previously been used by Che who was now to big for it but he would still get into it.

Hey- that's my bag!

Hey- that’s my bag!

I would let Che and Raul spend time together but they needed to be supervised as Raul was to small to hold his own against Che’s rough playing and would get frightened. Eventually Raul needed a bigger space so another move was made. Che went into the big wombats pen further away from the house and Raul moved to intermediate! Sometimes I would walk Che over here and sometimes take Raul over there. They didn’t mind seeing each other but did like their own space ultimately. They were very different , Che loved walking up in the hills as high as we could go. I would take him climbing  for a couple of hours, he was in his element. Wombats are usually released at about 18mths old .In the wild mum would drive them off about then. Wombats raised by carers should be about 20 kilo release weight. Che had reached about 15.5 kilo by June 2019 and he was a terror. he would attack my legs , biting and wanting out and was so naughty when we went walking not wanting to return. It was hard to control him and he would take advantage when we were up very high slopes .I think he knew he had an advantage over me!

Beautiful Che before rump attack May 2019

Beautiful Che before rump attack May 2019

When Che was only 15.2 kilo , to light for release, he would be unable to hold his ground against an adult wombat, he took off one day and I couldn’t find him. I left the pen open and 3 days later he returned in a sorry  state. He clearly had an encounter with a much larger wombat, maybe gone down someone’s burrow who was not impressed , had managed to get away but not before getting attacked on the rear. Massive area of fur gone and deep scratches, ouch. I put him on a course of antibiotics to make sure he got no infection. He  stayed close , but not for long!! Both Che and Raul loved almonds and they would get some every day.

Raul loved his walks down along the banks of the river following wombat tracks. Larry would take him exploring in some caves which he really enjoyed. He was a gentle soul not a ruffian like Che. We had a lot of wombats coming to the yard for support  food as the drought was in full force by then and Raul  showed that he was not intimidated and would stand his ground. It was very interesting to see this poor sick little wombat turn into a fabulous juvenile.

Che took quite a while to recover from his ordeal and get rump fur again but it didn’t change his mischievous behaviour, cheeky as ever.

Che with his beloved bear

Che with his beloved bear

rump attack

rump attack June 2019

killed bear with rough play

killed bear with rough play

By Nov 2019 Che had stacked on quite a bit more weight  so Larry put a dog flap door in the back of his pen so he could go and return .The drought was also in full force by then so coming back to the pen for support food and water was really needed.he continued to use his burrow in there.We kept a night camera in there so could monitor his comings and goings and kept an eye on him to make sure he was managing O.K.He was about 19 kilo but apparently the ideal release weight is about 22 kilo.I personally think given that each wombat is different and that Che hated being locked up I made the decision to let him go earlier with the dog flap in place so he had somewhere to return to for safety. I continued to monitor Che with the night camera until Oct 2020.His visits back to the pen were infrequent by then .He had done very well and looked great.

Nov 2019 - Che recovered ,looking good and using his dog flap to come and go.

Nov 2019 – Che recovered ,looking good and using his dog flap to come and go.

Meanwhile Raul had been doing really well. By the end of June 2019 he was over 12kilo.He had a very different personality to Che. With Larry and me he was very gentle but would stand his ground against other wombats that were coming to house yard for support food. The drought was full on and we support feeding many animals . Raul had learnt to hold his own, I believe because of the times he had spent with rough neck Che. t was so good to see this given what a poor sick little guy he had been , such a rough start to his life and now he was a beautiful juvenile  wombat.

Raul and Che March 2019

Raul and Che March 2019

Che and Raul Sep 2019

Che and Raul Sep 2019

 

 

 

May 2021 -Raul full of milk resting with his bear ,blanket and pillow!

May 2021 -Raul full of milk resting with his bear ,blanket and pillow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the end of Jan 2020 Raul was heavy enough to be released. Larry put a dog flap into the back of his pen and he would go in and out as he pleased. The drought was in force by then so he was getting support food every eve. We monitored Raul with the night ops camera util about Sep 2020 and he was doing well and looking great .

 

Raul using dog flap door to come and go

Raul using dog flap door to come and go

 

Raul on the trail walk

Raul on the trail walk

Getting a pat from Larry. Dusty head!

Getting a pat from Larry. Dusty head!

Tawny comes into care ,gets fat , diet!

Event of May 2017

I got a call from the local vet asking if we would take a Tawny which had been picked up not far from Merriwa. An injury was evident to the top of the right wing. It could have been the result of a collision. The wing had no broken bones .

Apparently some people can tell if the bird is male or female by the colour and weight. I personally can’t  so I don’t worry about it. The weight was 440grams on intake , an adult bird , good weight.

We put him into a small shade clothed cage to keep him quiet and still. Oral antibiotics were used for 5 days and the wound kept clean. Moved him into an outdoor after a week but didn’t think he was coping that well so bought him back inside .He didn’t try to fly but Tawnies are often happy to sit on a perch and open their great beaks to have food dropped in whenever offered. This guy had no problem eating from the word go. I refer to Tawny as “he”  because sitting and getting waited on came so naturally ………  sorry to any men who might take offense but he really reminded me of an ex husband or two!! After another week or so we moved him back outside .He seemed fine and the injury healing well but he didn’t seem to be making any attempt at flight. We thought we better weigh him to make sure he was maintaining his weight O.K.

WILL YOU FEED ME?

WILL YOU FEED ME?

What a shock we got 790grams .No wonder he wasn’t bothering to try and fly ! Larry and I thought maybe between the two of us going to the aviary to check on him , have a chat , give him a strip of heart we had been doubling up. We had to take action and cut his food down with 2 small feeds morn & eve.

It had taken quite a long time for his wing to heal . Tawny Frogmouths mate for life and stay in a territory for years .Even if the partner is killed  the mate will stay in that territory for a long time before taking up with another mate or moving. Hopefully the mate of this one was still around. We released him in August and he was flying well, off he went hopefully the story has a good ending.

 

Wally Wallaroo the Cheeky One and Poor Little Willy Wallaroo

Wally came into care with me March 2018

Wally was a character, he took over about a month after he arrived. He won me over and could do no wrong! Wally was found wandering alone on a property in Merriwa. He was kept there in care for 2 weeks by the lovely woman who found him. She thought she might be able to keep and raise him but hadn’t realised how much time, effort and specialised care was required to get the animal fit and able to be released so she decided she needed to hand him on. I got the phone call and was happy to take him on. He weighed 1400grams on intake so that made him approx. 6mths old.

Little Wally on his spindley legs!

Little Wally on his spindly legs!

Wally had thrush when I got him so he got his thrush treatment .It wasn’t a big problem and cleared up quickly. By mid March Wally was settled and growing, he now weighed approx. 1485 grams .By the end of April Wally was approx. 2365grams.

Poor Little Willy  

Early April I decided it would be great to try and get Wally a friend to grow up with. I once again called Penny in Dubbo to see if she had any young Wallaroos in care. She had one who had come into care that weighed 980grm but in accordance with his tail and foot measurement would be about 6mths, he was quite underweight .Larry ,Wally and I  went to Dubbo and collected him. He was a dear little boy, very quiet and seemed quite listless. I thought once I got him home and into a routine he would start to thrive,  but It wasn’t to be. Willy would drink but couldn’t keep anything in as he had continual diarrhoea. There are a number of procedures that I worked through hoping to find a solution but nothing I tried worked. I called Ted and explained what was happening. Ted had a couple of  ideas of what could be going on internally so he prescribed medication for treatment and I would have a glimmer of hope every now when I would think he was seeming a bit brighter. I would put him along side Wally but Wally didn’t seem to be interested in him at all. I persevered for a couple of weeks , trying everything Ted was able to suggest but poor  Willy was very ill. I noticed blood in his urine and  no weight gain . On the 27th April I had him in bed warm and he died during the night. Ted did an autopsy and found that he had such severe enteritis and at such a young age  he was unable to put up any resistance even with the medication. We also found that he had cataracts in both eyes so the poor little thing was blind .Wally instinctively knew all was not right with Willy which is why he had no interest. We don’t know what happened to Willy’s mother or poor little Willy.

Larry with Wally and Willy

Larry with Wally and Willy

Willie and Wally

Willy and Wally

Wally and Willy

Wally and Willy

 

 

 

Love my Wally

Love my Wally

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wally was very independent and used to worry me when he was youngster. We would go off for walks and he would decide to take off and not show himself for up to an hour sometimes. Wallaroos are very agile at leaping around on rocks and he would leap around in the lounge which is split level, up onto the banisters then jump into the kitchen back up the stairs on to back of lounge chairs , oh what a game. Grey kangaroos do not behave this way indoors and would be bound to break a leg if they tried! Wallaroos also give the odd nip if they feel so inclined usually because they have a different idea of what they want to do rather than what you might want! I have been told that some carers won’t take a wallaroo but I love them , they are great characters with super personalities.   I had raised  “Pretty Britty” before Wally , a female Wallaroo, also very  independent but far more refined than Wally. Wally would leap up from the floor and land on me ,settle down for a sleep , see above….what an angel! We have a steep hill to the right of the house which has various wombat tracks on it which wind up and down over rough terrain and rocks. We used to walk along them and one of Wally’s favourite games was to tear along them and back to me whiz past me to the other end back and so on till he was ready to snooze. He had no compunction about banging into to me so I would lose my balance. I’m sure he was laughing. Once he took off and crossed the river which was a dry bed where he crossed at the time. An hour later he hadn’t returned , it started pouring , the river came up and I was sure Wally was going to be lost and hurt but he turned up wet and grinning at me. By Aug 2018 Wally was big and beautiful. Wallaroos mature much quicker than Greys . I stopped locking Wally up at night as he certainly knew what he was doing. He still liked a bit of milk early morning and eve .He would have some milk about 6pm then head off turning up about 6am for some morning milk and a handful of almonds which he loved. He soon tired of milk but still liked his almonds! He looked terrific.

We were  not getting any rain and were in  drought so he stayed around He would go off but come for support feed like a lot of the others were doing .He was still around in January  but had really wild up and didn’t want me mollycoddling him.

Wally making himself comfortable on my chair!

Wally making himself comfortable on my chair!

love my Wally

love my Wally

 

 

 

 

 

drought Nov 2019

drought Nov 2019

 

 

 

Drought and heat Feb 2020 - Wally with a wet towel draped over him keeping cool

Drought and heat Feb 2020 – Wally with a wet towel draped over him keeping cool

 

 

magnificent big Wally on the rocks watching me on the back veranda

magnificent big Wally on the rocks watching me on the back veranda

Tillie Finnie visits for 2 weeks.

Event of September 2017

While Worm and Duke were just youngsters still in their bags we had a little wombat come for a visit. Our friends , Ted & Jenny Finnie, had a young female wombat in care. They found the mother on their property close to their home .She had a baby in pouch and she died. Ted performed an autopsy on mum and found her lungs were in very bad condition causing death. The baby was named Tillie and move in with them of course! Due to illness in the family they had to go to Victoria .Ted and Jenny always take their animals with them but it’s illegal to take a wombat across the border so I was asked if I would look after Tillie. Ted being ex Taronga and Dubbo Western Plains Zoo wildlife vet  and Jenny a wildlife carer with many years of experience entrusting me with this baby was such a privilege and a compliment of their faith in me to care for her. I was very nervous I must say . Wombat babies experience a lot of stress when taken from their mother and they bond tightly with the carer .Tillie had bonded with Jenny who had  her for about 3 weeks at that stage so to move her again was traumatic making me doubly nervous! Tillie was about 3 kilo  and drinking 3 times over 24 hrs . She was clearly traumatized losing her mother for a second time. I kept her close to me and after about 3 days she started to settle. I don’t think Worm and Duke were very impressed having mum showering favour on this interloper!

cuddling Tillie - Worm and Duke in their bags watching.

cuddling Tillie – Worm and Duke in their bags watching.

Tillie checking out loung chair

Tillie checking out lounge chair

This chair seems O.K. I think I could get comfortable here.

This chair seems O.K. I think I could get comfortable here.

 

burrow inspection

burrow inspection

looks O.K. I'll go in.

looks O.K. I’ll go in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a week we let her stay in the nursing pen at night. I had been taking her in there ,feeding her and spending time in there while she had a munch of the grass and she felt safe in there and got to like it. She investigated the burrow.

snoozing with Tillie

snoozing with Tillie

Tillie drinking - this is good!!

Tillie drinking – this is good!!

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed having Tillie and being able to help Ted and Jenny was good as they will gladly help any animal any time. When Jenny came to collect Tillie it was obvious that Tillie recognized her immediately and was delighted to have her other mum back.Tillie was released at Ted and Jenny’s property as an adult where she was born.

Adult Tillie hanging around ,just after release.

Adult Tillie hanging around ,just after release.