A Little Taste Of ‘The Good Life’

The increasing popularity of keeping chicken, ducks and geese as pets is a rewarding hobby, especially when they become friendly and provide you with fresh eggs! Here are some tips for the aspiring pet poultry-keeper.

Fresh chicken eggs in a basket

Safe Shelters and Pens

Our feathered pets need space to forage and wander, but they must be kept in a secure pen. This is to prevent them escaping, and also to keep foxes out.  Dig chicken wire into the ground and curve it outwards to prevent foxes digging beneath. Always shut poultry safely inside when they begin to roost at sundown, don’t wait until it gets dark. Ensure that the pen is kept clean and free from rotting food too, otherwise rodents will move in.

Keeping Chickens

A couple of hens scratching around your garden may lead to fat yellow eggs for breakfast, but you need to put in some work first. Their main diet should consist of a good quality laying pellet, with the right minerals and vitamins. You can buy these in pet stores or farmer’s merchants. Supplement pellets with fresh greens, and let them forage as far as possible. Chickens need insoluble grit too, such as calcium rich oyster-shell; otherwise you’ll get soft eggshells that fall apart in your hands.

Wood-shavings and loose straw should be placed on their shelter’s flooring, so they can occupy themselves if it’s wet outside.  Don’t forget to provide plenty of fresh water every day.

Keeping Ducks

Ducks also require a good quality pellet diet as a base, but they should also be able to forage around water. A paddling pool or pond deep enough for them to swim in will make two or three ducks very happy, so make sure you can provide the right environment for them.

Bear in mind that unless you have runner ducks, they may fly off unless their wings are clipped!

Keeping Geese

Some geese are a deal bigger than chicken and ducks, so their pens should reflect their size. Again, pellets are their staple diet, alongside green vegetables and fruit supplements. Given room to graze, geese will keep your lawn short for you. They also make noisy ‘guard-dogs’ as they can show aggression towards strangers.

Three Tops Tips!

  1. Our feathered friends are flock animals, so it’s best to keep two or three together.
  2. Chickens, ducks and geese will try most foods, but keep bread to a minimum, or they will become overweight or stop laying.
  3. Poultry can be smelly, so keep them away from your house, and clear up mess every day.


Enjoy your new pets, but don’t forget to consider your neighbours. A cockerel crow at sunrise is only romantic in the movies!

Considering a Puppy or Kitten?

Nothing has more ‘awww’ factor than a litter of pups or kittens. With their big eyes, playful games, and tiny tails few can resist picking one up for a cuddle.

Although they are endlessly cute, there are some points to consider before you pick up your new friend.


It’s important to think about how large a pup will get when he’s fully grown. Choose a breed that suits your lifestyle. Small dogs don’t necessarily need less exercise than larger dogs, so read up on the breed traits before you choose.

Puppy safe bedding is important. Pups love to chew, so their beds need to be made from safe material.

They will need a puppy collar that doesn’t slip off and a suitable lead when you venture outside.

Puppy Food
Talk to your breeder or pop into our shop for advice about good quality puppy food. Make sure you don’t over-feed them, especially when it comes to treats – overweight pets have a host of expensive medical issues!

Parasite Control
Puppy specific flea, tick and worm control is a must. Don’t use leftover dog treatments as the chemicals are too strong for pups.

It’s best not to take your pup outside until their vaccinations are complete.



Thoroughly naughty in every way, kittens are great fun to be around because they think they are fearless lions on the Serengeti plains. Here are some considerations for young Tiddles.
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Put cosy bedding in a place that’s accessible to your kitten, but away from children and other pets.

Kitten Food
It’s best to continue with your kitten’s current diet to avoid an upset tummy. Change it gradually if you want to feed them something different.
Kittens can’t tolerate cow’s milk, so try specific kitten milk instead, although once weaned from mum they don’t need it as part of their diet.

Parasite Control
Flea, tick, and worm control is very important. If a kitten is overrun with fleas she may become anaemic and need urgent vet treatment.

A female kitten can breed from the age of 4 months. Unless you want three litters of kittens every year get a neutering appointment booked! Some people are caught out by assuming brothers and sister kittens won’t mate – they will! 


Rescue Pups and Kittens

There are many puppies and kittens in rescue care. It’s worth considering a second hand pet as many are homeless through no fault of their own. Beware private advertisements online because they may be farms that unscrupulously breed for profit.


Overall, enjoy your bundle of fluff! They grow and learn rapidly, so set training and rules in place from the first night home. You might even succeed with a puppy!



Exercising Pets

Run Rabbit Run!

We all know that exercise is good for us, but it’s important to remember that it’s good for our pets too. Obesity leads to illness, and illness leads to vet bills.

Unless they are ill, all pets need to move around, stretch their legs, and exercise every day. Some are enthusiastic about the prospect, whereas others need encouragement! Let’s take a look at methods of pet exercise now that autumn is on its way.



A walk is the obvious option. Come rain or shine, no matter the size of your pooch, they need some exercise. To help them get into the spirit, try a ball thrower. They are inexpensive and will save your arms. Ball throwers are safer than sticks, which can stab your dog if they run into them. Another option is an extending lead, as this opens up the space they have to run. Extenders are a good option if your dog is not good at returning.

Autumn can be chilly. If your dog is uncomfortable they won’t want to move around, so try a fleece or waterproof coat to keep them happy. Use small, healthy treats to get that doggy running. A splash in the lake is great exercise too, but make sure there are no running currents, and the banks are not steep.


Cats are notoriously lazy. Unless your puss is an avid hunter, they may spend all day just eating and sleeping. This inactivity can lead to obesity. Try playing with toys such as laser pens, fishing poles, towers, or anything with catnip as it stimulates playfulness. A cardboard box is a good option too. You can even buy swimming fish apps created especially for your cat to pounce on. Cut down on your cat’s food if they just won’t move.

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Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and Hamsters

All caged animals are susceptible to obesity, so make sure you are not over-feeding them. Bunnies and other outdoor animals should have enough room to run and stand on their hind legs. If you have a small run, consider bringing them indoors to run safely. Hamsters and other small pets should have spinning wheels. It’s a great idea to let them run around in your empty bath.


Birds can be let out to fly around if safe, but it goes without saying – shut all windows and doors first! Confine them to one room, and drape sheets on anything that won’t agree with bird poop – just in case!

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy pet’s lifestyle. You might also find that sharing this time with your pet is a great de-stressor for you too!


Flea & Tick Control – Jump To It!

Fleas and ticks are mini vampires that feed on our pets. Given the chance they will breed uncontrollably. Thankfully these days it’s simple to control these parasites.


Fleas live in your carpets and in your pet’s fur. Their lifecycle can be anywhere from a couple of weeks to many months, so a few fleas can rapidly over-run your house. You‘ll notice your pets scratching if they are infested. Simply running a comb through their coat may reveal specks of blood, or even live fleas. Fleas spread easily because they can jump up to 10cm.

Ticks on the other hand live in long grass. They transfer to you or your pet for a meal, and then drop off. They can spread Lyme disease so remove them safely with a cheap and simple tick twister. Never pull off ticks with your fingers, because the head may stay buried, and this can cause infections.

How To Control Them!

Dogs will scratch themselves raw if they are infested with fleas. Regularly use a spot-on treatment that kills fleas and ticks. Brush your dog and treat his bedding. Just washing it isn’t enough if fleas are present. You’ll need to spray it with a flea treatment.

Cats generally loathe any kind of spray or powder. If your moggie does, use a spot-on treatment. A flea comb or tick twister will help tease any out whilst you wait for it to work. Keep a glass of water beside you to put live fleas in. You’ll have to be quick though!

Rabbits / Guinea Pigs
Use a spot-on treatment to keep them flea free. Because rabbits and guinea pigs don’t usually mix with others, or catch fleas from wild animal by hunting them, they may not pick up parasites. Be watchful though, and if in doubt treat them. Remember that house rabbits can catch fleas from cats and dogs.

Caged Birds
It isn’t likely your bird will have fleas, but they can catch mites and lice. An anti-mite spray is usually enough if you spot any scratching.

Take Care

Dog flea products poison many cats each year as a result of accidental application, or close contact to a treated dog. Symptoms include drooling, tremors and seizures. It’s not safe to swap your flea and tick treatments between pets.

If you are thinking about flea and tick control it’s worth worming your pet too, as fleas carry tapeworm larvae.

Parasites will harm your pets and they may spread to your family too. With simple low cost treatment available there’s no time like the present to de-flea your pet

Confused? Questions? Pop into the shop and we’ll gladly assist you!

Chocolate And Other Household Nasties

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We like to spoil our pets, and a few treats now and then are fine, but chocolate is toxic as are some other common household products. Let’s take a look.



Chocolate is toxic, but the problem is dogs love it! Cats will also eat creamy-smelling foods and birds, rabbits or hamsters will pick at anything placed in their cage.

You must get your pet to an emergency vet right away if they’ve eaten a large amount of chocolate.


A small lap of tea, coffee or energy drink probably won’t harm your pet, but larger doses will. Hyperactivity, seizures and collapse may follow. Diet pills can also contain caffeine so lock those away.


Antifreeze can drip onto surfaces that our pets then walk over. It smells and tastes sweet, but it’s extremely poisonous.

Be careful where you spray antifreeze and certainly don’t use it to defrost birdbaths or ponds.

Fruits and Veggies

Grapes and raisins cause kidney failure, macadamia nuts and avocado can cause tremors, and onions, garlic and chives damage red blood cells. Don’t hand over your dinner remains no matter how intensively your pet begs.

Sprays and fumes

Teflon non-stick pans give off a toxic fume if they are burned which can kill birds. Birds are very sensitive to fumes including fly spray.


Many beautiful flowers are toxic to our pets.

Narcissus, hyacinth, rhododendrons and amaryllis are toxic to dogs and cats, so watch out for them chewing on bulbs or bark.

Cats don’t chew on many plants but lilies are particularly dangerous for them. If cats brush against lilies and lick off the pollen it can result in death.

Garden fertiliser

Fertiliser is often made from smelly stuff that dogs love, but it has added chemicals and insecticides that are harmful. Cats will walk and dig in fertilised ground before then licking their feet clean, so net any recently fertilised garden areas (but check daily for trapped hedgehogs or birds).



Surprisingly, zinc from coins is toxic to pets. £1 and £2 coins have zinc levels which cause an upset stomach, anaemia and liver damage. Coins are often eaten by dogs who ‘investigate’ their owner’s purse.

Here are the signs of poisoning:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Panting
  • Unsteadiness
  • Salivating
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hyperactivity or hunching over
  • Collapse

What To Do

Save an emergency vet number in your mobile now, so you have it to hand. You’ll need to act quickly if your pet shows signs of poisoning but there’s a good survival rate if you seek medical help in time.

It’s a jungle out there! Stay safe – lock that chocolate away and buy some suitable pet treats in store.

Old MacDonald Had A …Garden?

As well as traditional cats and dogs, some people are taking on farm animals as pets. The increasing popularity of livestock in our back gardens is a rewarding hobby, but proceed with caution! Farm animals do not have the same legal status as cats and dogs. Read up before you commit.

Pig Rookes Pets

Chickens, Geese and Ducks

Chickens, geese and ducks are great for fresh eggs. For the best eggs they’ll need insoluble grit such as calcium-rich oyster-shell to aid digestion, otherwise, you’ll get soft eggshells.

Chickens forage all day, so wood shavings and loose straw should be placed on their shelter’s flooring, especially if it’s wet outside. Ducks need to forage around water, whereas geese forage on dry land, so it’s important to have enough space and the right environment. Geese also make good ‘guard dogs’ as they are loud and aggressive towards strangers.
Our feathered friends require a good diet, fresh water, and a warm dry shelter that is secure against fox raids. They are flock animals, so it’s best to keep a pair together.


Cute and intelligent pigs, such as Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, make unusual pets. Look out for strict movement and disease regulations though.
Pigs need exercise to keep their feet healthy and to prevent obesity, but you’ll need a licence to walk them on a lead! They sunburn easily and don’t fare well in sudden temperature changes, so a suitable shelter must be provided.
Pigs enjoy a varied diet, but it’s illegal to feed them kitchen scraps. Enrich their environment with old tyres and hard plastic balls. Pigs are intelligent and need stimulation.

Goats and sheep

Contrary to popular belief, goats and sheep won’t eat anything, so you’ll need a good supply of grass, hay and supplements. Be aware that they will eat a lot of shop-bought fodder in the winter. Provide a mineral salt lick and lots of fresh water too.
They are herd animals and ought to be kept as a pair, but remember that they often breed twins and male goats are smelly at mating time! A big outdoor space and secure fencing are a must for these powerful animals.

We’ve kept transport and ploughing horses since the beginning of time, but they still make rewarding pets in the motoring age. Whatever their size, horses need dry open space to graze, and a diet supplemented with fodder such as hay, particularly when it’s cold. Be sure to monitor fruit intake, as it ferments and leads to fatal illness.

Keeping farm animals as pets is hugely rewarding and good fun, but research into their care and the law. Good luck, and remember to consider your neighbours. A cockerel crow at sunrise is only romantic in the movies!

All animals are welcome to enter the Face of Rooke’s Competition 2017 to be in with a chance of winning a 12-month EXCLUSIVE discount card for Rooke’s Pet Products and have your pet be the face of the store for the next year! You can enter here!

Face of Rookes 2017 is here!

The Face of Rookes competition is back!


Last year, Winston the hedgehog stole our hearts and won your the vote, becoming Face of Rookes 2016.

Now it’s your furry friend’s turn – grab a camera, snap some photos of your pet, and enter them into the competition!

Your pet will have a chance to become the face of all our promotional material for the entire year AND there’s an excellent bonus if you win… an EXCLUSIVE 12 Month Rookes Discount Card!

We’re looking for pets of all shapes and sizes (we don’t discriminate), so go ahead and enter your pet here: http://buff.ly/2sqOhAU

No time to lose – we’re accepting entries until August 7th at 4pm!

Good luck!

World Environment Day – June 5th.

It’s World Environment Day today!


Reconnecting you to nature

On 5 June, go outside and show us that you’re #WithNature. Breathe in the beauty and remember that by keeping our planet healthy, we keep ourselves healthy too.

How can you get involved?

Picture all the places that matter and join the global album!

Share a photo or video of your favorite place in nature using #WorldEnvironmentDay or #WithNature and share why it’s special to you!


Rabbit Awareness Week –

Rabbit Awareness Week is coming up!


Each year the RAW (Rabbit Awareness Week) campaign focuses on one of the 5 welfare needs for rabbits: diet, environment, behaviour, company and health. Burgess Pet Care launched the campaign 11 years ago, with the support of partners and charities encouraging vets and retailers to raise awareness about rabbit welfare by educating their clients/customers.

The hope is that with the information being provided about rabbit welfare, you will be able to have happier and healthier rabbits as a result! During RAW some veterinary practices may offer a FREE rabbit health check.

This gives you an opportunity to take your pets along and have a veterinary professional give them the once over – almost like a MOT! Even if you think your rabbits are perfectly fine, it’s worth doing as you will get all kinds of useful advice on rabbit care and welfare.

Vets are also encouraging owners to ensure that their pet rabbits are vaccinated against Myxomatosis and RHD, which are two particularly nasty diseases that cause a lot of suffering to rabbits, and which can often be fatal.


To find out which veterinary practices near you are offering the FREE rabbit health checks please visit www.rabbitawarenessweek.co.uk

Local Events:

Whittlesey Veterinary Center: Discounts on Rabbit Neutering and Vaccines

1st May 2017 to 31st May 2017

8:30am – 6:30am

Runs 7 days a week

27 Broad Street, Whittlesey, Peterborough, PE7 1HA – Telephone: 1733685514


Elswood, Briggs and Turner – Kirton: Health check event

5th June 2017 to 30th June 2017

9:00am – 7:00pm

Runs Weekdays only

Each Rabbit will get a FREE health check with a nurse, a ‘rabbit pack’ full of useful tips and info and we will have various offers on rabbit-related items in our dispensary.

Elwood, Briggs & Turner, 36 Boston Road, Kirton, Boston, Lincs, PE20 1DS – Telephone: 01205 722696


May is National Chip Your Pet month!

Over a year ago it became a required by law to Microchip your dog and campaigners are currently working for the same law to become applicable to cats too!

1 in 3 pets will get lost in their lifetime, and 90% of lost pets without microchips are never reunited with their owners.

It’s been long recommended by vets, shelters and pet shops to microchip your pet and we fully encourage all pet owners to do so.

However, we know that you may have some questions so here we’ve answered a few of the most common:


What is a microchip?

A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique code that when scanned can be matched to your details on a central database. Meaning, if your pet gets lost in the UK any vet should be able to trace you very quickly!

Will it be traumatic for my pet?

The microchip is the size of a grain of rice that sits just under the skin, between the shoulder blades – it’s a minor, very quick procedure that will be forgotten about immediately after.

Your pet may experience momentary discomfort, similar to a vaccination but they’ll forgive you as soon as you wave a treat under their nose!

How much does it cost?

Many organisations, such as The Dogs Trust, offer to microchip for free but at your local vets, it should be between £10 – £20. It may also cost to update your details at a later date if you move house, for example.