Monday, 11 June 2012

THE GREEN ZONE PROJECT

As promised, I give you the full report on my spring project that was creating grassy cage area for my hamster Kropeczka. There is also the step by step instruction to follow for those who would like to give it a try and test the idea. 


My goal was to provide Kropka with the 24 hours a day access to the nature. After Lilly, I ended with two identical cages which I was going to connect with the tubes anyway, so I decided to turn one o them into a real living meadow. It worked quite well in Lilly's case, remember how she enjoyed my Meadow In The Pot...? This time I was hoping for a regular green habitat with a sand pit for bathing in the middle of the grassy area. Seems like I succeeded but if you skip straight to the Kropka's Green Zone Review you might get some doubts ;---) Now, let me tell you what I used but - of course - you can make your own modifications if needed. Ready to create the Green Zone for your fuzzy friend?

WHAT YOU'RE GONNA NEED ARE:
- 40 x 60 cm wide and 12 cm high spare cage dish (the bigger and deeper the better);
- 15 l of regular gardening soil (choose the one without any artificial chemical fertilizers);
- 5 kg of chinchilla sand;
- a small bag of grass/flower seeds (if you wanna cultivate grass along with some flowers you can do that but make sure you chose hamster friendly plants since there are many spiecies toxic and/or even deadly to rodents);
- watering can;
- water;
- sun;
- time;
and a hamster to review ;-)

Step 1/ 
FIND A PROPER PLACE that will be warm and sunny enough for growing plants and comfortable while taking care of them, for example watering. Put the cage dish in a place that grants you free access to the whole flowerbed. It is essential to disconnect this area from your hamster's habitat for the time of cultivation.


Step 2/
CLEAN THE CAGE DISH if needed. Thoroughly remove all the litter, dust or any else expendable remains. If you're using detergent make sure you washed and wiped it out completely.

Step 3/
FILL IN THE CAGE DISH WITH SOIL AND SAND. Now, that's where the real fun begins. The thing is you have to cleverly form this round, middle sand area separated from the soil. You can achieve it by using the soil first and than adding the sand. Soil, if it's good quality, should be a little bit watery, soft and sticky in touch so there should be no problem with forming it as you want. Don't be affraid of leveling it by beating down if needed. Remember not to fill the dish totally in hight; depending on the sort of the seeds you chose, you will need some space later to cover them with additional layer of soil.

01.03.2012

Step 4/
SOW THE SEEDS of love :-) I'm kidding. Of course you must put some heart into it to make it but it's grass and flowers we're gonna cultivate here, not human organs ;-) My choice was regular grass and night scent flowers. Regarding their requirements (always read the labels!) I simply mixed them and threw the seeds randomly onto the soil (avoid throwing them on the sand if you wanna keep it plant free!). Once you finished, cover the seeds with required layer of soil and water it gently (be carefull: too much water may cause the seeds will hit the surface and we wouldn't want that).


Step 5/
WAIT. Depending on the sort of plants you chose it way take more or less time but eventually you're gonna see first sprouts comming out. That's half of the success. 


5TH MARCH 2012


Step 6/
DAILY CARE. Young, growing plants need much sun and water. Every day you have to check whether they require watering or not. But you have to keep in mind that cultivating plants in any plastic pot is tricky: too much water causes the soil gets mouldy. You have to be carefull with dosing but if you are soon you're gonna be granted with a dish full of upgrowing grass.


12TH MARCH 2012


You have to be patient. If you let your hammie too soon, before the plants root themselves properly, this little monster may ruin the whole work in it's early stage. As you can see, young grass and flowers are very delicate so even stronger water stream may harm them.


14TH MARCH 2012


If you've been patient and done everything right, one day you'll realise that you've actually got a meadow in your cage dish. Well, it may take few weeks to even few months if you had bad luck to hit poor quality bag of seeds, but it's gonna happen sooner or later.


30TH MARCH 2012


For example, in my case, the grass was very weak and yet it completely dominated the night scent flowers which were growing for some time and than perished giving the way to the grass. Well, I bought them in a hipermarket after all, why should I expect anything better...? But the general results were satisfying.




Step 7/
ASK YOUR HAMSTER FOR THE REVIEW and watch them having fun. Lets take Kropeczka: for the whole month she was smelling the dish filled with the fresh, humid, extremely aromatic soil standing next to her cage. Can you imagine what she must have felt...? Every evening she was standing, sticked to the bars, watching the sprouts smelling so tasety. And she couldn't reach them...! Can you imagine her torments...? LOL ;-) No wonder that when I finally let her in it took her about 15 minutes to 'review' and the results were... Well, see yourself:



EPILOGUE:
Remember Lil' Lilly stepping gently on her meadow, smelling and eating flowers...? Well... Kropeczka - once she felt the soil beneath her feet - turned into raging mole obsessed with the idea of getting under the grass. She didn't give a damn about the juicy blades, sand bath area or her new clay house (sand is for snotnoses!): she started to dig, dig hard and at some point she actually succeded and crawled under the ground. Luckily, I taped this happening so in the next post you're about to see Kropeczka anihilating my Green Zone.  So, was it worth it...? Surely Kropka had the time of her life. Still, if you wanna try, do it. Maybe your hammie won't turn out to be a monster...
[SNURF]

8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. :-) Are you gonna give it a try yourself...?

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  2. Nice one! I love the idea!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks :-) As you can see, the idea was great but the results... Well... ;---)

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  3. Very nice idea. Poor hammy has to wait till the gras is grown. How does it look like 3 days after Kropkas first visit? :-) Maybe for Kropka it's a good idea to have a big stock of greens for changing the area daily ;-)
    On my first attemps I had trouble with mould. To avoid this I put in a gravel layer first. Even trough my area was very small (25cm x 5cm ?), my robos want to dig inside too.
    And nice hut. I see you was choosing a more skillfull technique for building than I do :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehehe :-) 3 days after Kropka's visit the Green Zone didn't existed anymore ;---) Primar instincts are very strong in Kropka, indeed. The urge to dig and hide under the ground is unstopable. This only shows and prooves what harm make to their hamsters those who refuse them to have at least deep layer of litter in the cage. It's just one of their basic needs: digging tunnels (that's why I also consider tubes to be necessary). You will be able to observe this in my next movie. As for the hut... Well... It's clay and I'm gonna make a tutorial how to craft it, step by step :-)

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  4. Great Idea!If my cage was deep enough,id start this straight away!i absoulutley love it!:)
    -teddy ♥

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :-) Well, you can always use a regular pot and make a miniature grassy area for your hammie's playground :-) I'm sure it would be appreciated ;-)

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