Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cleaning, Cleaning!

It is not time for spring cleaning, but I have been in a bit of a cleaning mood lately. Perhaps it is the subconscious realization that I am about to be cooped up in the house for the entire winter... it suddenly needs to be neat, tidy and as dust-free as possible! (Please do your best to hold all invitations for me to come over and visit your houses - with my cleaning rag!)

For all of us, keeping our bird areas clean is a must. I have been reading many posts lately on the various bird boards I frequent of sick birds. This is not to say that it is a result of a lack of cleanliness. However, we do know that overcrowded, dirty conditions will breed bacteria and disease. Keeping our birds areas clean is simply a part
of the daily lives of those of us with birds. And inasmuch as we provide them with nutritious food, clean water and lots of love, it makes us feel good to know that the space they share with us is as clean as possible. Especially for those who sleep in the same room with their birds. Since the flu season is upon us, and from all accounts has started early and may potentially last longer than usual, I want to again mention that our birds do not get the common cold from us, nor regular flu, pig flu or moose flu! ;) (Yep - I made up that last one - clever, huh?) !

However, it is always a good practice to wash hands before handling birds and their items, whether or not someone is sick, but especially when sick. During times of illness, we can end up with secretions on our hands that contain bacteria and could create a potential risk. So that thing about cleanliness being next to Godliness...

Speaking of cleanliness - the Fort Designer has made one additional change to the Budgie Fort that has made a huge difference! Just this past week, he installed 4 inch high pieces of plexiglass at the bottom of each of the panels. It really cuts down on the amount of feathers and such that end up on the floor. So I am very pleased with this new feature.

Here is a little snippet just to give you an idea - it is very unobtrusive, but oh so effective!

Since I am in such a cleaning mode, I decided I should also write about it today! To clean the entire bird area - both budgies and Coco - takes 20 minutes (or 30 minutes, if I lolligag). For me, it has all been a matter of creating a routine, following the same steps each time, and this also benefits the birds as they know what to expect. Given the large area, I do not view 20 minutes a day for cleaning to be overly burdensome, and it does give me great satisfaction when I am finished - that is, until they start trashing the place again!

So I have created a little story in pictures for you!

I always begin with the Budgie Fort. So as to not feel rushed or concerned that they will fly past me, I place the handy-dandy divider that the Fort Designer recently made. When they see me coming with the screen, they will all move to the opposite side of where I am standing. I open one of the dutch doors and hook the screen into place. In doing so, I can move more efficiently when I am not concerned about where they are and what they are doing.

Oh what a mess 3 cute little boys can make in only one day! The ladder gets removed and washed in hot water and soap in the sink, giving it time to dry while I finish the rest of the cleaning.

The papers are removed and tossed with the feathers and such being vacuumed up.

I mix up a bowl of very hot water and Murphy's Oil Soap, first wiping down all perch and wooden areas. They rarely 'look' dirty, but all wood gets a thorough cleaning daily as does the one sand perch located in this area.

I then wash the base flooring.

While I am cleaning the first half, all bowls and toys have already been removed and are soaking in the bathroom sink - very hot water and soap. Sometimes I will add bleach if there are no metal parts - but just a touch.

A quick wipe dry with a paper towel....

And the newspapers may be replaced. Properly placed food dishes and toys keep those newspapers where I want them to be. ;)

At this point, it is time to get the bowls and toys out of the sink. They are thoroughly rinsed and air dried.

With one half done, it is time to have the budgies switch sides for me. They are very good about it; as soon as they see me move over and roll the screen up part way, they fly to the opposite side... such good little boys!

Again, a big part of this is routine. We do this 6 days a week - in the same order.

Now, my budgie work is half done; the other side is just as trashed, but it won't be for long!

...with a fresh bowl of very hot water and soap, again the perches and wood are washed first and the flooring last.

That was quick! More toys and bowls are placed perfectly so that they are not in the 'poop line', but they are able to hold down the newspapers. This is really important; 6 wings flying back and forth can rustle the newspapers quite a bit if they are not properly anchored. I have experimented with not using newspaper, but it really does make clean up quicker.

The budgies are happy to see the screen completely removed so they can once again enjoy their entire area.

It is rolled up and placed below so that it is ready to go for tomorrow!

A final (3rd) fresh bowl of very hot water and soap is mixed up for Coco's area, the newspapers tossed, everything vacuumed and wiped down, and the newspapers replaced. Her area is the easy part. I only need to watch that she doesn't step down and start walking around on my back while I am bent over! Coco does not have a food bowl since she forages for all of her food, but her water bowl is washed separately from the budgies bowl and toys. All of the birds have multiple bowls so that they can be replaced and washed later if needed.

A final vacuum of the entire room and we're done!

I think it takes me longer to write it down than it does to actually do it!

Now, it is time for me to relax... only one problem....

Can I have my
chair back please??



Mary H. said...

Hi! Just wanted to say that I recently found your blog and have been enjoying it.

Your dog is absolutely adorable. What kind is he? I'd guess pit bull crossed with a corgi, or something along those lines? Am I anywhere close? :)


Mary H.

Robin said...

Hi, Mary - thank you for the nice comments.:)

I too thought Barney might have some corgi in him, but the vet said that side of him is basset hound. It shows up well in certain pictures, and in other pictures the bull terrier side comes out. I had always assumed he was pit bull, but after looking at a lot of pictures over the past couple of weeks, and joining a bull terrier forum, he was identified as having staffordshire bull terrier (staffie) heritage as opposed to pit bull. They are somewhat similar in appearance, but when you put two of them side by side it is easy to see the difference. And staffies are a bit shorter than pit bulls on average. So we have now dubbed him a 'staffet hound'! I should do a blog post on that, now, shouldn't I!!!

Thank you again for your kind comments. :)

Marianne said...

It might be good to mention as well, that many of us feed the outdoor birds and it is wise to wash your hands very well afterward before we handle our parrots!

I'm on my third vacuum cleaner now!

Goldielover said...

Barney's face looks like he knows perfectly well you are about to demand possession of your chair!!

Arlene said...

Well Robin, I'd like to say that you've inspired me to do a little cleaning until I looked around.
Then I realized that I really can put off till tomorrow what I can do today. :-)

I would have never thought that Murphy's Oil soap would be okay to use. Thanks for the tip.

You have given me a great idea on cleaning a cage. I need to scrub the inside of the finches cage but don't want them freaking out with the rag in my hand. A divider is the perfect solution.

And by the way, make sure you tell Barney that yes, we saw him on your cleaning article.
Just has to get a little attention doesn't he. :)

daphnemoon_1 said...

What kind of mesh did you use to replace the screen? Is it plastic? It's hard to tell.
Thanks, Daphne

Robin Cherkas said...

Yes, the "screen" on all sides and the door of the budgie fort is a 1/4" x 1/4" very hard plastic mesh. The temporary screen that is seen in one of the pictures above that I use for the divider just during cleaning is a nylon mesh. I no longer need to use the divider, however, as they have learned to stay on the opposite end from where I am cleaning.

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