3 Weeks’ Worth of Pet Zoo Stories

What can happen in 3 weeks? Well… Quite a lot, as it turns out! I’ve been on holiday in my birth country, Holland. During that time, my pet zoo partner S. took care of the animals, assisted by our summer support team. She sent me daily updates, because obviously, I can’t go a whole day without even hearing about them! I had to know what was happening. And a lot was happening, as always! Some animals went, others arrived, some got sick, others healed… Here are the stories!


Walter is a loner now.

Peachicks – we’re down to one. Walter is by himself now. His friend, Jesse (of undetermined sex), has disappeared. Just before I left, we decided to let the peachicks out of their cage. They were desperate to explore and we thought they understood by now that the pet zoo was home, so they wouldn’t leave. It turns out we were wrong… Or more likely – Jesse hopped out over the fence and was grabbed by a dog or a fox. Walter walks around like a lost soul, following us around wherever we go. He even tried to follow S. home the other day.

It’s very sad. Apart from us being attached to these little peas, they were inseparable. They were each other’s support system. Now Walter has lost that support. He wanders around and sleeps by himself. I don’t know how to fix it. I just hope that at some point, he will become part of the group of older peas. Either that, or I’d have to get him a peafriend. A peagirl, preferably. If Walter really is a boy. I think so, because of his stripey feathers and blue sheen on the neck, but I have been known to be wrong. Occasionally!


Young muscovy ducks! Although we really don’t want any more muscovies, we keep on acquiring them. First, we got 2 mystery baby ducklings from the daycare people. These two proceeded to shoot upwards like sunflowers, becoming long and lanky! Muscovies without a doubt. We called them Nemo and Dory. Because we don’t have any fish, and ducks are the closest thing to them. 🙂

Then, while I was in Holland, Boaz joined the club. I have to tell you this bizarre story! S. was approached by a woman who apparently found a wounded, tame duck in Superland, an amusement park not far away from us. She couldn’t leave him there by himself and tried to find him a suitable home. She called him Boaz the Superduck, as a modest referral to his Superland origins. So, this lady called the pet zoo of a kibbutz close to us, Brenner, but they refused Boaz (which doesn’t surprise me, by the way.) They told her to try the next kibbutz. So Boaz’s saviour went calling around and ended up speaking to my mother-in-law. Who gave her S.’s number, in the end.

S., who is just as much of a sucker for animals in need as I am, welcomed Boaz to the flock. While talking to the duck-saving lady, S. discovered that this woman is actually one of my husband’s second cousins! This is so very Israeli. Everyone is always related or knows each other from way back. Anyway, I am doubly glad now that we took the duck. And pleased to be related to this animal-loving lady!

Boaz turned out to be not exactly wounded, but to have a birth defect. His foot curls backwards instead of lying flat. It doesn’t drag, but he limps while walking on his knuckles. He actually gets around surprisingly well and it doesn’t seem to hurt him. This is a common defect in ducklings and it should have been corrected when he was newly hatched, when the bones were still soft. I am not sure if it can still be corrected now, but I am going to try. S. tried to make a splint but Boaz managed to shake it off quite easily. We’re still doing research and devising ways of making a splint that holds. In the mean time, Boaz made friends with the other two ducklings, and they seem a content little group!

Keet sitting on his adoptive mum

And how are the guinea fowl keets doing..? Well, the news is mixed. The babies seemed to be doing fine running with the flock when I left, but at some point, some of them disappeared. S. suspected crows and closed the entire flock in the big cage for safety. They are still in there now, the top half of the door is open but the ladies prefer to stay inside with the keets. Sadly, the little white one was amongst the crow-induced casualties. It was not a very good year for guinea keets! Hoping for more succes next year…

Rabbits. Oh my good god, the rabbits!! The kits from the baby boom have practically grown up now, and while I was away, S. started to give them up for adoption. Every time I got a message that some of them were taken, I felt a stab of sadness even while being glad. They were all so cute and fluffy and colourful! But S. is a ferocious screener of prospective adopters, and I can rest assured they are in pretty good hands.

Although you never really know, of course. People can do some pretty stupid things. That’s how we got to have this little black beauty. Just before I left, a religious lady with a crowd of kids came to the pet zoo, bearing a carton box with an adorable black fluffy rabbit. She declared that they could no longer keep him and that if I didn’t take him, she was going to release him in the fields. After a long day, I just didn’t have the energy to fight. I took the poor bunny. He is only six months old. Why on earth did they get a baby bunny if they couldn’t keep a fully grown rabbit..? I didn’t even give them a hard time. I just wanted them gone. I regret that now, I should have really given her an earful. Another family of kids grows up thinking animals are disposable.


There was also a funny story about a chicken that went swimming – I suppose she was hot! S. fished her out of the pond and she seemed perfectly fine. She runs around and lays eggs. The young roosters have really filled out! I was surprised to see them all grown up and crowing! And yesterday, I found a small first-timer egg of one of the young hens. There are a few rabbits and chickens in the sick bay, but the cats, guinea pigs and quail seem in perfect health, as always! They are strong little creatures. The pond needs a good clean, so that will be my next project. Don’t have much time now, but the kids are going back to school soon, so I will start working for real again then, in the pet zoo and at my computer, writing and translating.

Hope you all had a great summer! I will be back soon with pictures of pet zoos in Holland! 🙂




About tarnegolita

Dutch expatriate, mother of 3 boys, freelance translator and pet zoo keeper in a kibbutz in Israel.
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2 Responses to 3 Weeks’ Worth of Pet Zoo Stories

  1. aheikkinen says:

    Sorry to hear Jesse disappeared. Walter has grown a lot ! He/she looks great. I hope he will find a friend soon and not have to wonder around alone. I think Boaz now is in the best care and place to find. Wow, the rabbits definitely are no babies anymore 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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