Owlet night-jar visits for 4 days

July 19th 2022

In in the years we have been rescuing and rehabilitating  native birds we  never had an Owlet -nightjar come into care .One of the most common and widespread of Australia’s nocturnal birds, the smallest found here. It occurs throughout Australia and its islands, as well as southern New Guinea.

We had a call from a guy we know in town. He and a crew had been wood chopping and a bird had fallen from a tree hollow. It was stunned so they put it in a box and kept it warm and called us when they got back to town saying they had a baby kookaburra that need care. I went into town to collect it. It was tiny , much smaller than a feathered baby kooka would have been.

It weighed a meagre 36grams. The right shoulder had a graze and bruising but no apparent breaks and was quite feisty!

 

The preferred habitat of the Australian Owlet-nightjar is a tree-studded area where there are suitable hollows. During the day it roosts in hollow branches and tree trunks. The birds form permanent bonds, and pairs occupy the same territory throughout the year. The bird came from about 100k away from us in the thick of bushland and that’s where it needed to be returned to.

Owlet-nightjars feed at night on a variety of insects. Birds will  take flying prey, or will pounce on prey either on the ground or in trees. Hunting takes place within a territory and normally in pairs. The Owlet-nightjars watch for food while in flight, or by sitting and searching from a suitable perch.

A pair raise one brood per season, both build the nest. A bed of green leaves, placed in a suitable tree hollow or rock crevice. Both birds also incubate the eggs and care for the chicks.
 
As we were worried about the partner left behind it was a blessing the wing healed quickly . Also we were worried that we would not be able to feed in care but he/she thought small chunks of hearts rolled in insectivore was a tasty morsel and open throat wide to take in and consume! From 36-39grams while in care . 
 

That tucker is O.K.!

 
With very good instructions on the pick up point we went just before dusk and set up a good hollow log in the fork of a tree where the little birds was placed. The next day the log was empty so we hope the mate was found and they both prosper. 
 
 
 

Thank You Wormie and Duke

Seeing animals that you have raised from babies return briefly to show you how well they doing makes it all worthwhile. Duke (already named when passed to me) & The Worm (named because she was a wriggler) were here as babies and raised together. They came in at the end 2017 and were free living  in early 2019.

Duke and Worm free living but still hanging around the homestead.

Nov 2019 Wormie came for a brief visit with a baby in the pouch and Duke also. Duke was to young to have fathered a baby but he had clearly found Worm.

Wormie visits with baby in pouch and Duke in tow !

So wonderful to see that despite losing her own mother she had become one and was successful. She returned again in 2020 and 2021.

Worm with baby at heel

A beautiful healthy baby

Then sometime later night visit , look at that big baby now and big mama!

We still see Duke who is a big buck now and also Billy who is enormous . Billy is about 12 years old now and appears occasionally and sometimes Duke is with him ” the bachelors ” .

Baby Billy

Billy now – just thought id pop in and eat some of this grain , as I remember it was quite good stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

Miss My Sammy Boy

After the swampies came Sam was alone and I had him back in the smaller pen in the house paddock. I felt very sorry that he was alone . Jo, one of my very capable  colleagues who lives in Singleton and cares for many macropods offered to give me two greys that were around the 4500gram weight. Smaller than Sam who about 6500 grams at this stage ,but they would have been O.K. I was to nervous to bring any more greys here at that time so I declined , now I think I should have ……… I tried introducing Sammy to the swampies.Sammy seemed to like them but they were so small by comparison and they were nervous when he was around .They clearly speak a different language .If I took Sam into the pen they would become unsettled so I decided it wasn’t a good idea. Sam wasn’t locked up during the day if I was home  and he knew when I would go into the swampies to feed them. I often tried to sneak in but he always sniffed me out and he would hop around the outside. It was sometimes distressing for me and clearly for Sam but I thought once I came out and took him off for a nice long bush walk which he loved he would be fine.

Sam bush walk march 2022

It did appear that he was O.K. as he continued to thrive and looked beautiful and healthy. By the end of March Sam was almost 10kilo.

Sam March 2022

Suddenly he  began to show signs of decline .It started by not drinking all his milk. As he was almost 10kilo and I thought he was weaning (I’ve never had a grey that weaned themselves before but had heard that it does happen) A week later and he wasn’t drinking at all .I thought maybe thrush but wasn’t really convinced. .I tried Nilstat for 4 days but no improvement and in that short time he was eating hardly any grass and no support food. I got a gram stain done and found he had intestinal thrush. Treated with fluconazole as per directions for macropods. Despite that treatment he became thinner and weaker ,lost 2.5 kilo in a matter of days and refused to eat at all. I tried various foods  with a syringe .

Beautiful Sam sleeping in the sun March 2022

Sam sick , lost condition , quickly. He was very thirsty but could hardly stand and hop by now.

Ted continued to do gram stains and no thrush was eventually present in his poo. Ted could hear his heart was not beating as it should. He could hardly stand and also developed mild inhalation pneumonia even though I had tried to be very careful. He received a 3 day acting antibiotic injection but showed no improvement and still refused to eat. The day he died he could not stand . Ted did a post mortem which showed vitamin E deficiency, pneumonia in his lungs and white muscle disease due to lack of exercise. Kidney and liver O.K. at that stage. He had extremely bad thrush at the very back of his tongue. In conclusion I believe that due to lack of experience I did not pick up he was sick when he stopped drinking all his milk. If I had and acted sooner I may have saved him. Also he must have been very stressed without me realizing. Stress is a bad enemy of greys.He had to be moved to a smaller pen when the others in his group got cocci and died but he still had a friend then who I thought was going to pull through but she didn’t. I used to take him walking and he was semi free range spending lots of time in the house yard and bush walking with me.Lots of red-kneck wallabies live in and around our house paddock so Sam did have other macropods around all the time. Red-necks and greys can be raised in an enclosure together .I could sometimes hear Sam running up and down the outside of the swampie enclosure when I was in there. It must have been more stressing for him than I realised. I feel absolutely wretched and in hindsight can see all the things I did wrong. It never crossed my mind that a 10 kilo grey looking so robust would get thrush . If I had taken the 2 smaller greys from Jo maybe things would have turned out better but the fear of them getting cocci also kept me from bringing them here.

last picture of Sammy

Sam could have picked up thrush from spores but I think given what he had been through , losing all his friends and Nikki who he had been with since about 2 kilo then having to share me with the swampies was to much stress. I probably should have just kept him and given him total attention.I did my best and nursed him around the clock for the last 3 weeks but it was not good enough.

Sammy died on Mon 4th April 2022. I still feel so very sad when I think of him, frequently. I miss him. I’m so sorry beautiful boy.

(apologies to Frederic Weatherly)

I used to sing this to Sammy when we were walking /hopping

Oh, Sammy boy, the Bucks , the Bucks are callingFrom glen to glen, and down the mountain side.The summer’s gone, and all the roses falling,It’s you, it’s you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow,Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snowI’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow,Oh, Sammy  boy, oh Sammy boy, I love you so!

My Beautiful Sammy

 

 

 

Kashik Kadifie and Kei come to live at Wombat Creek

19 Jan 2022 – 3 Swamp Wallabies  were coming to us from Judy –  Hunter Wildlife .

Only two ended up here on that day as Kei had a broken foot which had still not healed and had to stay in smaller confinement with Judy till her foot healed. Kashik, a male  weighed  2820grams and Kadifie ,a female 2890grams.

Kashik with mum Judy on intake.

Finally some hair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They were drinking milk  morning and evening. Swamp Wallabies eat native browse so a bucket in the centre of the shed was set up full of all the clippings they like to eat. Some favourites are Casuarina,  Kurrajong and   Melaleuca. Their top favourite is River Willow  considered a notorious pest by some but has another role now. As the climate has got warmer for temperature-sensitive animals, their dense, leafy canopy may make willows the lesser of two evils .

Is that all for us?

May as well tuck in then.

I had never had Swampies in care before so wasn’t sure what to expect. These two were going into the large pen that the Greys had been in when they got cocci. Swampies are not susceptible to cocci like Greys which is why I agreed to take them.

The pen had been set up for Greys so it was fortunate Judy came and explained Swamp Wallaby  behaviour.

Kashik & Kadifie

We immediately had to completely fill in any gaps , tiny as they were, under gates or at the sides off. These little creatures are fast and expert escape artists,  also experts at hiding. Consequently the pen should be set up so they have “hides” and ideally  should have long grasses. The grass in the pen was short, ideal for grazing greys. Larry constructed some hides and dragged enormous logs into the pen for them to jump on and over. Once the grass grew they loved it and began hiding under it and could not be found if that’s what they choose!!

The fences surrounding the pen are 6′  high and the gate which closes off the smaller area to the large pen is 4′. The pen is approx. 75metres square.When the 4′ gate is closed the area encompassing the shed is approx. 30x15metres. Their shed in this area  approx. 6×3 metres. Initially we kept them in the part of the pen which housed their shed and could be closed off by the 4′ gate. This was until they accepted me as mum and would come from the larger area once they heard me come in with their bottles. It took a couple of weeks and they settled in well then had the run of the entire pen coming to their shed for bottles or almonds! All macropods and wombats we have had in care love raw almonds. They also had a hide in the shed which was a table with a large towel draped around it! Kashik used the table top more to leap up and down rather than the hide , show off!

Do ya think I’m cute?

Eventually Kei’s foot healed with Judy’s patient TLC. Judy was worried about Kei coming as she had been confined for so long and had not been able to be transferred at the correct time. Would the other 2 accept her again as part of the group and how would she adjust to me being older than desirable for a carer change?The 1st of March Judy came with Kei and stayed a couple of nights to try and get her settled.The 3 of them were all around 3500 grams at the time .They were all still drinking morn & eve bottles. We closed off the gate thinking it would be best to keep Kei in the smaller area to begin with so we could see her .We thought Kashik & Kadifie wouldn’t like being confined   to the smaller area but they seemed fine. Kei wouldn’t come near  Judy after she was set free in there.Judy tried everything to get her to drink her bottle but she refused.There was lots of grass and native browse in there so we thought she would be O.K. Lots of people wean their macropods before I do. I prefer to keep them drinking their formula for as long as possible as I believe it’s good for them. After a couple of days  Judy had to leave and trusted I would do my best with Kei. Once Judy had gone  the heavy rain started, thunder booming and lightning striking for a couple of days and nights.Swampies don’t mind the wet   but they are startled by loud noises.When I went in the next day, no Kei!. She had obviously jumped the 4 ft gate . I did find her after  extensive searching and spent the next week crawling around on my belly to make sure I wasn’t a tall intimidating figure, with outstretched arm holding her milk bottle toward her. After persevering she accepted the bottle and loved drinking her milk again. I can’t say it was a very comfortable experience for me but it paid off and a week later she was coming to the shed with the other 2 for her milk and accepted me as her carer. Bribing her with almonds helped!! I have to say it made me happy and I felt pleased with my efforts.Occasionally they were allowed a bad treat!

Forbidden bread!

Just around this time my Sammy became very ill. A terrible time which I will write about in my next post.

By mid April the 3 Ks all aprox. 5650grams , all still on morn & eve milk but no longer liked being picked up and weighed.

By mid June they were only on a small amount of evening milk then a couple of weeks totally  weaned.All around the 7kilo mark and ready to go free.

Big juvenile, ready to go.

I released them early in July .Kashik hung around for a day then disappeared. The girls never left the pen till night time and we never saw them after that for about 4 weeks.

 

 

 

 

One morning I looked out the window and there was 1 of them in the front yard. I went out with almonds and called .It was Kei and she came over to me and ate several almonds. I had a repeat that eve and the next morning but havent seen her since.

Kei visits – Would you like some almonds?

Yes please, yum ,yum , missed my almonds!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have spotted another one in the adjoining paddock and Larry saw two of them at dusk moving like streaked lightning past the front of the house and enter their old pen.All the gates are open so they can come and go as they please. They are obviously all thriving and enjoying their return to the wild.!

2 Wombats – Eddie & Ivy come to live at Wombat Creek

13th Dec 2021 we had 2 wombats bought to go into the wombat pen.

Larry to be the carer of these two.

Eddie & Ivy came from our colleague Meg . Meg had rescued Ivy and had her in care since she was about 2kilo. She put out phone calls to get Ivy a friend and eventually got Eddie passed to her. It took ages and by then these little bulldozers were about 5kilo. Eddie was about 1k heavier than Ivy and Meg thought he was a bit intimidating for Ivy with his very rough play. She put a divider into the area she had them in so they could see each other but didn’t like to leave them in the same area together without supervision.As they were coming here to go into our wombat pen together she did eventually put them together but by this time they had hit 10k Eddie and 9k Ivy.Wombats should really be buddied at about 3.5 – 4 kilo. When they came they were  still on milk and Meg had been bottle feeding them once a day , eve.  Eddie soon made friends with Larry but Ivy would not show herself at all. Eddie wrecked his teat immediately and was so rough he would yank the teat off the bottle . As Ivy wouldn’t come out Larry decided to put 200mls of milk into a bowl every night.We used a night ops camera to observe them and they were both drinking.

milk drinking

Strangely enough it was Eddie who got attacked on his rump by Ivy a few weeks in and ended up with a large patch of missing fur but no wounds .A couple of weeks later she clawed a hole in behind his ear , quite deep but Larry was able to treat every night with antibiotic cream. Cleary Ivy had decided she needed to show her strength to this roughster! Eddie healed up everywhere but had no fur on his rump for ages.

Ivy always has some some claw marks on her back and a couple of small patches were Eddie is rough but generally looking good .These 2 not the perfect pair!!

poor Eddie – rump patch inflicted by Ivy!

If we had a choice  we would have kept them separated but not having the facility that did not happen at the time .

We have now received a small grant from Wombat Protection Society to help with building  a larger pen. It will have  divisions giving us a choice of separating wombats when needed.

harmony sometimes

 

 

Ivy has scratches on rump inflicted by Eddie!

 

They soon munched up most of the  growing grass and Larry provides them with a big bag of fresh grass every night , a big plate of coolshine nuts and almonds for a treat ,which they love.

yum yum lookie here – lovely fresh grass

Larry cant start building with Eddie & Ivy in the pen.He will start once they are soft released which we hope will be in about 8 weeks. There is a flap in the back of the pen which will be unlocked so they can go in and out .They will be support feed initially until they decide they would rather not come back at all!!

 

 

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 dose 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 stated 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.  Baycox is the only treatment we have available that can kill oocysts if it is caught in time which is not usually the case because once the animal has presented with symptoms its more often to late .Baycox is not a preventative. I had heard that Baycox is a harsh agent and can weaken the animals defences if over used, I have no idea if this is really so.Coccivet is said to be a preventive but there is much debate around that also. One thing I do know is that it doesn’t harm the animal and i will continue to use it for any greys I have in care.  After much reading and talking with other carers my opinion  is that baycox has not provided much success as a treatment because its usually to late once we notice what is wrong but its all we have.

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 also but to late.

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  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 6 mths. I moved Sammy and Miss M into my smaller pen. They both seemed fine and they had 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. 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”. Stress is one of the worst enemies of grey kangaroos.

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