Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Baby Its Cold Outside!

     Living in Western Pennsylvania is very different from living in California. I don’t miss the threat of wildfires, earthquakes, or the hundred plus heat. What I do miss is the fairly mild winters. Don’t get me wrong I still love the snow as long as I don’t have to go any where in it. The sub zero temperatures have a tendency to make the power go out.

     During the spring and summer the power going out isn’t really an issue for my fur kids as it can be in the winter. A ferret’s normal body temperature runs between 101 and 103. In the winter, they shed their summer coat and put on a heavier one and some ferret’s put on a few extra pounds of fat. This is great insulation against the cold that might seep into their cages when we turn down the thermostat.

     I start to worry when the temperature is reading a brisk 30 or further down the thermometer and the lights start flickering. All the heat in the house is electrical. Once the power goes out it is a matter of hours before things start to freeze inside the house. I have to think about what to do before winter ever hits.

     I’ve tried to find things online to help my ferrets survive the invertible power outage but all the information is for evacuation. Because of that, I have come up with my own plans. This came in handy in 2008 when a particularly nasty windstorm tore through Western Pennsylvania knocking power out for days in many places.

     I keep a supply of wood next to the bbq to be able to heat water and cook if the need arises. Living on eighteen acres allows me easy access to kindling. I call the local power company and let them know the power is out and that I have a sick animal. Gweny is in the middle stages of Adrenal.

     In my fur kid’s cages, I change their normal bedding to something a little more heavy and warmer if they need it. In winter, Lance is the one that likes to put on a few pounds and I think because of that he stays almost too warm as he sleeps mostly on the bottom of his cage. James when he isn’t sleeping in the food bowl is sleeping on top of their enclosed hammock. When the temperature drops or the power goes out both boys climb inside the fleece lined hammock and curl around each other. You cannot tell where one starts and one ends.

     Gweny sleeps in her own cage and is very particular about where and how she sleeps. She has a hanging hammock that she sleeps in during the spring and summer. In the fall, she divides her sleep between the hanging hammock and the Santa hat that lies on the floor of her cage. Inside the hat she has taken different pieces of scrap fabric that she likes and stuffed the hat with them. She curls into a ball and somehow pulls the brim of the hat so that she is tucked inside.

     If the power is out and the temperatures are below 28 during the day, I boil enough water to fill three water bottles. Each are then covered with two heavy socks before being placed inside the cages. Doing this allows them to decide if they are cold and want some warmth. If the power is still out in the evening I put several used baby blankets in their cages to give them some extra warmth if they need it.

     These steps have lessened my worry about my ferrets in the event of a long power outage during a snowstorm. I hope to own a kerosene heater soon, which would allow me to keep the room they reside in warm.


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