Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eating From My Hand

A special millet treat for the budgie-boys, and look at Penske! My shy boy continues to come out of his shell to get his fair share! Love these boys... !
After finding Strider in a tree near my office, it took 6 months for him to come to my hand for millet. The first several months, you might have suspected he "didn't like" millet! He certainly did - he just didn't want to take it from me! But time and patience allowed trust to flourish and his personality to come to the forefront.

Penske and Bucky came around much quicker, but Penske has always been my shy boy. No doubt, every bird just like people, has their own unique personality. Some will be quicker to warm up to human interaction, others might seem shy or moody, while others might be more interested in playing, napping and meditating.

While I have often read of splitting up birds for "training", I choose to focus on interacting with the birds together, allowing them to decide if they want to receive a reward and get in on the action. They are each empowered to choose. This allows me to take advantage of the 'monkey-see, monkey-do' principal.

I know that when Bucky (normal green budgie) and Strider (yellow face type 2 sky blue budgie) quickly fly to my hand for the millet, it certainly makes Penske (olive green cinnamon greywing) interested in getting in on the action! He has a limited window of opportunity to receive the treat, and over time I have found he is much quicker to gain his share of the reward. I believe this also helps the boys learn to share, not only treats but, my attention.

While there doesn't seem to be much room on my hand, all 3 manage to find a spot!


Friday, August 27, 2010

I Gave In

Whoops - I gave in.... I am so weak and pathetic! I was holding out for that country ham, but I ate my dinner last night. I know.... I am an embarrassment to the staffet hounds of the world.... but my mom diced up some liver bits, and I just couldn't help myself!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm on a Hunger Strike

I know I haven't had much to say lately, so I suppose I should fill you in on what's going on in my life! See, I'm reserving all of my energy as I am presently on a hunger strike.

It all started about a week or so ago, my mom was making a sandwich and dropped a piece of ham on the floor. Naturally, I was there to snarf it up (erm - I mean, I was there to make sure that the floor didn't get dirty?) - - yes, that was what it was!

3 second rule, right?

I'll tell ya what... I'm not positive the piece of ham actually touched the floor, but if it did, it was certainly for less than 3 seconds!

Since that time, I've had some serious emotional issues.

I must admit - my mind has been quite troubled. I now realize that this ham stuff, along with roast beef, turkey AND swiss cheese is kept in a bin in the refrigerator.

Yet - none of this has ever been added to my dinner. So - I am refusing to eat until my dinner bowl is 'beefed up' a bit.

Tonight, my dad tried to trick me into eating by putting some bacon drippings on my food.

No can do, dude.... unless you want to dredge some meat through those bacon drippings. I'm not settling for dry kibble with some canned food mixed in any more - I've put my paws down! (Well, actually, I've put them on the bed...)

Oh - memo to the supposed chef: since when do I eat canned peas and carrots? If they are leftovers, and you don't want to eat them, please don't put them in my bowl until they are mixed in a country stew with real beef gravy!

I'm not sure how long I'll hold out, because they've stopped giving me any treats. However - joke is on them - they also stopped giving me my breath biscuits and I think they may regret that in the middle of the night.... !

Meanwhile, I continue to conserve my energy so that I can beg for some more of that high quality country ham....


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Birds Who Live in Wood Houses

As is the saying about people who live in glass houses....

Birds who live in wood houses shouldn't chew perches!

But if one is to chew their perches, it might be best if it is done while one is not actually standing on the perch!

It can result in an impromptu and unexpected trip to the ground!

Oooh, it must have been so humiliating to get dumped onto the floor.... !

Whoops... left an exposed screw, and we cannot have that! Time for an immediate fix! This perch was also an important transition perch between the pole and main house. 

Although, she could certainly use flight to navigate, The Diva expects her fort area to be perfectly maintained...

The Master Fort Maker has since replaced this perch with an oak dowel. It will be a bit harder to chew through... Or will it???

For Coco, it just presents a new challenge!

What the...... did I approve this new hardwood oak dowel? I do not remember receiving a Memo!

Let me 'splain somethin' to ya "Master Fort Maker".... take a look at these other perches behind me. Do you think this oak dowel is any match for my Diva beak?? !!

Mmmmm... peanut!!!!! (What were we talking about?)


Friday, August 13, 2010

What Happens When My Bird Becomes Ill?

What happens if a bird becomes ill? Surely we do not even want to entertain the notion!

In Sammy Cockatiel's 28 years with me (rest in peace), he became ill only one time requiring medication. I am blessed that 14 year old Coco has never been ill, and so far the budgie-boys are the picture of health.

When it comes to illness, there is value in planning for the worst and hoping for the best. So, just a few tips:

Advance Planning:
1. Of course, stepping-up and stepping-down will come in quite handy. Keeping these behaviors strong will be helpful on many levels.

2. Learning to drink juice and water from a syringe will make all but the nastiest tasting medications easy to dispense.

3. Learning to willingly transfer from the living environment to a travel cage for a desirable treat will make trips to the vet much less stressful.

If Illness Strikes:
1. If you need to give medication orally and your bird cannot (or refuses) to drink from a syringe, ask your vet to demonstrate the proper way to dispense the medication. Then, have her watch you medicate (or give water just for practice).

2. When giving oral medication, d
o not lay the bird on its back. Instead, keep it upright. Give medication from the bird's left side of the beak. This will reduce the possibility of aspiration.

3. Clean the syringe with soap and hot water after each treatment, and allow it to air dry.

4. Medication that is designed to be given orally will be prescribed in a different amount than if it were to be mixed in water or sprinkled on food. Give medication exactly as directed.

5. Before leaving the vet office, be sure to ask specific questions and get answers to each of your concerns.

6. Ask for a general time line in which to see improvement in the bird's condition. Find out what symptoms or conditions will warrant a return trip, and whether the bird will need a recheck once treatment is complete.

7. If there are other birds in the household, ask the vet if they will require treatment or if they should receive a check up.

8. Certain illnesses may necessitate the bird being placed in a hospital cage or similar set up to restrict flight, reduce activity, help conserve energy or assist birds that are unable to perch. However, unless specifically directed by your avian vet, this does not mean to cover the bird on 3 or 4 sides and keep them in a dark, quiet room. Birds sleep in the light, but will not eat in the dark. We want the bird to eat and drink to keep up its strength and heal. This is especially important if medication has been added to food or water. Activity level can be sufficiently reduced through cage arrangement, location, and keeping the bird separated from other birdie friends. Soft music can be played to keep the bird company and comfortable.

In certain situations, I advise giving a bird light 24/7. One example is when I was fostering a very young cockatiel. He was extremely underweight for his age. For the first few days, I kept him in a room with full light day and night. By giving him constant light, he had many more opportunities to eat and drink. As time passed, I placed the light on a timer at night, giving him several hours of darkness, followed by several hours of light. Each morning I measured and recorded his weight. He steadily gained weight, and as he became stronger, I began gradually increasing the number of hours of darkness, until he reached 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

9. During treatment, some trust may be lost. Once treatment has concluded, the relationship will return to normal footing with time and patience.

10. Recognize that you may get the cold-wing for a time. Remain low-key during illness and offer treats as appropriate. This is a time for rest and recuperation, not an opportunity for training sessions and relationship demands.

On a happier note, I've recorded a new video of the budgie-boys coming to me to receive treats. I think you will be most pleased to see that Penske, the olive-green greywing cinnamon budgie (in other words, the one that looks 'all yellow') continues to come out of his shell! He's becoming quite the little-man, and while still hesitant, he is showing welcomed signs of asserting himself to get his share of the treats!


Monday, August 9, 2010

A Coco Shower Video

A new video of the diva enjoying a shower! Listen closely to hear her say:

Are you hungry? Mmmmmmm!
I'm a bird - pretty bird
The 'charge' whistle

I hope you enjoy watching it as much as she enjoys showering!


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Updated Photos of the Budgie Boys

Featuring: Photographic Assistant, Coco:


They were not interested in bathing (perhaps they were camera shy), but perhaps they will jump in the bathing container later this evening: