Of conures and koi

The conures have laid a second egg! We just might have babies – fingers are crossed!

There are still some beautiful koi left at very good prices. Most of them are going at $7.49 and $12.49, with a couple of larger ones at $49.99.

The larger koi are the ever-popular kohaku (orange and white), a couple of dark-coloured butterfly koi, and a couple of black and yellows. At least, they’re black and yellow right now, but the yellow on them is going to darken with maturity to red. That means these beautiful, though not showy, fish are going to turn into gorgeous hi utsuri (hee ut-SOO-ri), stunning red fish with black markings.

We buy our koi from a supplier in Southern Ontario. Gord is a knowledgeable and enthusiastic koi keeper. Every time I go to buy koi from him, I learn so much about these lovely fish. When we started to go to him, we saw right away that his koi were better quality than the ones we’ve had from other fish suppliers. Our customers notice it, too; the year we couldn’t afford to make the trip and wound up buying koi from somewhere else, everyone remarked on how much nicer the fish had been the year before.

There’s one good reason for this – he’s a specialist. He has time to know what the qualities of a good koi – or a great koi – should be, and we get the benefit of that knowledge when we buy from him. So do our customers.

Koi can easily live as long as seventy years if they’re well cared for and not overfed. They’re smart and friendly enough to learn to eat from your hand.

There are still several months of pond weather left, and koi kept outdoors get brighter and more beautiful. In part it’s the exposure to sunlight that deepens their colour, but they also benefit from eating algae off the sides of your pond.

Just another good reason to love koi!

The tortoises are hare – um, here

Today we received five tortoises: a pair of redfoots, a pair of three-toeds, and one yellowfoot.

The redfoots and yellowfoot will get to be between eighteen and twenty inches long; the three-toeds will be six to eight inches long at full size. They are vegetarian in the main, although they’ve eaten mealworms from time to time. They seem to be fond of melon, mushrooms, the mache salad greens (picky little beggars!), blueberries, strawberries, grapes and bananas.

It’s only recently that tortoise keepers have known the proper conditions for these animals, so we really don’t know their maximum lifespan in captivity. Thirty to forty years is a good guess on the time commitment you make when you take home a tortoise.

The three-toeds are proven breeders, and the redfoots have been courting, so we think there may be eggs in their future. In the meantime, they’re set up at the front of the store in their own large pen.