Friday, January 29, 2010

Preparation for the Next Storm

winter.gif image by akapody

The storm we've been hearing about for the last couple of days has now begun entering our area! It arrived around 2:30 pm this afternoon, and at present (4:00 pm) we are working on 2 inches of snow. It is expected to snow for 24 hours. It is a very wet snow, and it is anticipated that ice, sleet and or freezing rain (I'm not entirely sure why they distinguish between the three) will be around as well.

Good news - The generator has been hooked up, tested, and operates as expected! Yeah!!!

It is an All Power brand generator (considered a mid-sized unit), pulling 3,500 watts at start up and 3,000 watts continuous. It puts out 25 amps, has a 6.5 horsepower engine., and according to specs, runs 10 hours on 4 gallons of gas.

While power outages are predicted for this storm, now that we are set up to go with a generator, in excess of 40 gallons of water, 4 months of food and a Coleman camping stove with extra propane cannisters (not to mention my snuggie that my sister gave to my husband for Christmas), I can pretty much guarantee there will be no interruption in power!

The nearly 4 day power outage we experienced in December is not something I would like to repeat, but I learned a great deal. The birds came through with flying colors, and we are even more prepared this time around. There is great peace in being self-sustaining. It leaves me able to fully enjoy the beauty of the snow covered mountain top, perhaps a long weekend if the roads are impassable Monday morning (fingers crossed...), some extra time with the birds and plenty of knitting!Did I mention that I finished the kimono jacket I wrote about in the post: Another Old Coco Sign? I'm very pleased with it. It is very warm and cozy!

But - back to the more important topic, the birds! I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that Coco's appetite has significantly increased. It has only begun leveling off the last 2 days. Over Sammy's 28 years with me, he also experienced routine appetite fluctuations. It was his pattern to gain in the winter and lose in the summer (sound familiar?).

This is one reason it is beneficial to know the average weight of our birds as well as their customary patterns. When I weigh the birds, I like to do it first thing in the morning before a meal. However, the time of day is not as important as it is that when comparing weights, we are comparing those taken at the same time of day. I would not want to compare an evening weight to a morning weight for example. There can be quite a discrepancy. So we want to compare apples to apples when taking weights.

Often we can tell when a bird steps up if they have just had a good meal. But since many illnesses begin with weight loss, depending upon 'feel' is not always the best way to go. Birds can fluff up and appear larger and heavier than they are, and by the time we might notice it, much time could have passed.

In my blog post Instinct to Hide Illness, I wrote about the dichotomy between a symptom or behavior meaning something or perhaps meaning nothing. It can leave a companion quite confused. A bird with its eyes closed may be ill or napping. A bird with a decreased appetite may be ill or in a normal cycle of increased/decreased food intake. In the instance where we can obtain hard facts, such as a weight, we are in a better position to make decisions. Check with your avian veterinarian to find out what she considers an acceptable weight fluctuation in your particular bird, and at what point she would advise that you bring a bird in for a check if it has lost a certrain percentage of weight.

The importance of knowing our bird and its patterns are key. I was aware that Sammy's appetite increased and decreased seasonally, and this allowed me to relax when it occurred. The same is true for Coco. I notice when she is pigging out, and I notice when she seems to eat sparingly. Neither concerns me greatly... I just make a mental note similar to noting a molt has begun or ended. It is all within a range and spectrum that has been established for her during the nearly 14 years of her life. If she were to refuse to eat for even 1/2 of a day, let alone an entire day, this would be cause for great alarm to me. That is not her pattern, and would immediately get my attention.
She is not one to miss a meal!
The budgie-boys, on the other hand, have not yet shown noticeable fluctuations in food intake. They get a great deal of exercise in Fort Str'ammy, and they eat accordingly!

All my birds have access to food 24-7, and none are overweight. I do not measure their food. However, I have discovered over the years that an abundance of available food seems to breed (in most of my birds) a "caution to the wind" mentality where food is less valuable and more likely to be wasted. I will put out food more often during the day but in smaller quantities so as not to encourage waste.

The budgie-boys are like hummingbirds, always flitting to and fro and expending a great deal of energy. The quantity of food they consume is commensurate with their activity level. The beans and grains they receive every few days adds important carbohydrates and protein to provide additional high quality energy and nutrition.
Since the storm is on the way - I'm making a fresh pot of beans and grains! Maybe this time there will be some left for hubby! (maybe....)

The snow from the last storm had melted, but the world is white once again!



Arlene said...

I hope everything is okay during the storm. That jacket you made looks really warm and toasty. Don't leave it laying around or "some dog" might find it and it will be the best blanket he ever had.

I'm going to keep an eye on my budgies eating. I'm getting a little concerned about that.

Great post as usual.
Keep warm. :)

vi said...

i am so glad you got that generator, it will make a huge difference in your peace of mind
it's cold here, so cold even the woodstove isn't able to keep the house much more then 70
and we are ripping through wood

Coco said...

Great post, as usual :) I hope everything goes okay in the storm. Good for you for being prepared for the worst though!!

I never tire of seeing your gorgeous budgies and their incredible fort!

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