The Four Crayfish

On 7-16-14, I took these four crayfish (also known as crawdads) from a family member’s ditch, which was stagnant and slowly drying up. Since then, they have grown quite a bit and have had to be separated because of aggression. 

Terminator – The biggest of the four, he spends most of his time hiding under a piece of driftwood and watching the fish swim by. 
After eating Flame the guppy and Flecks the molly, he was moved to the cichlid tank. 

Sylvester - Once the natural brown color of the other crayfish, she slowly changed to silver. 
She has had the same care as the others, so the reason for this change has remained a mystery. Although very close in size to Terminator, she is the most laid back crayfish that I have ever known. Because she is very calm, she is currently in the tank with baby guppies (also known as fry) and has never tried to harm them. 

Hydra – Named after the evil organization from the Captain America movies, this crayfish lives in my sisters’ guppy aquarium. 
She lost a claw when she was younger, but it has since then grown back. 
Asparagus – When I caught her, she was so small that she looked more like a bug then a crayfish. 
By now, she has grown, but is still the smallest by far. 
After she lost both of her claws and most of her legs from an attack by the other crayfish, I moved her to the breeder net with the baby guppies. 
Her grew his legs and claws back and I noticed they the fish were starting to disappear. Now she lives in my goldfish tank. 
Rarely seen, she is usually hiding in the shell with a steadily growing pile of gravel. 
Crayfish are intelligent and territorial little creatures. 
In captivity, they need at minimum a 10 gallon tank, the bigger the better. 
They also need clean water, good filtration and a varied diet that includes algae tablets and boiled lettuce. 
I keep the water temperature around 75 F. 
They grow fast and will eat any fish that they can catch, which is why they should only be kept with small, fast fish. 
Once they reach an inch long, keep one per tank. 
To feel safe, crayfish need hiding places. Large shells, broken clay pots and driftwood, which they will chew on, are good choices. 
They like to rearrange their home, moving rocks, plants and driftwood to different places. 
Sand or gravel on the bottom is necessary to keep them happy and to aid with shedding. 
They are most active at night. 
Never take crayfish from the wild, unless (like these four) it is done to save them. 
They are much happier and better off left to live out their lives free as God intended. 

For more information on how to care for crayfish click here.

UPDATE: Sylvester passed away on 11-21-14. She is greatly missed.
UPDATE: Hydra died on 1-1-15.
UPDATE: Terminator and Asparagus were released on 3-5-15 at a natural spring.

This Terminator before he was released.
 And this is Asparagus
 Their new home.

Little Hawk

This chick has had a rough start in life but she never complains. She was only about a week old when her left leg was broken. Although she tried, she was unable to keep up with her busy mother and siblings. Her keeper, Karen M., was afraid that she would be killed by a predator and brought her to me the next day. 
On 10-6-14 I was handed this precious little one. I was told that she had been stepped on by a horse and it is clearly a miracle that she survived at all. At first, she could put no weight on her leg, but gradually she started using it. Also, she was only breathing through her beak and it took me a while to find out why. 
On 10-16-14, I cut a flap of skin that was over one of her nostrils. That is when I found the canker. It has an odd smell, which I had smelled before and thought that it was soured food. Because of that, I had switched her food from corn to soy based. The canker caused her to gasp and scratch at her face often. 
The cure, copper sulfate, was hard to find and it was not until 10-21-14 that I was able to start treating him. Now that she can breathe through his nose, she sneezes quite often.

I am like a mother to her now. She follows me around, usually no more than a step or two behind, and sleeps in a hat beside my pillow at night. At least, she is supposed to. When I wake up, most of the time she is buried in the blankets or roosting on me. 
The moment I call her, (pat the ground and cluck) she runs to me as if her life depends on it. 
I have never seen a chick who is so obsessed with preening her feathers as Little Hawk. Maybe she is just trying to look her best. 
Also, most chicks try to eat every ant that they see, but she won’t touch them. Her mother must have taught her well. 
Her family was free-range and game-bird-like, which is probably where she gets his love of flying. She flies up on everything: beds, chairs, the table, desks, heads of people, etc. And several times I have had to grab her just before she landed in a bowl of very hot noodles. 
Even though she is getting better every day, she is not well yet.

Likes:  spaghetti noodles, lying in the sun, taking dirt baths, preening his feathers, flying up, trying to eat rubber bands

Dislikes:  being left alone, people stepping close to him, canker in his nose

Treatment: copper sulfate, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and lots of TLC

UPDATE: On 11-21-14 she was moved outside. She has grown since this post and I have added some new pictures below.

UPDATE: On 4-11-15, Little Hawk is now big enough to join the flock.