Monday, March 30, 2009

Marriage counseling (for budgies)

Peter's mysterious illness was never 100% diagnosed. As I said in a previous post, I had left him with Ava during the first part of his illness, to encourage him to eat and get better. That did not work, and is something I will always feel a little guilty about (a little because I think he would have stopped eating completely and died if I had separated him from Ava right away.) As he finally improved with the addition of an iodine supplement, we are assuming that was the problem, and that it was nothing contagious. I still kept him separate from Ava, because this attack was the third time he had attacked her (the other two were not as serious, and had both occurred during the ever wonderful Spring).

Although he did finally later improve with the iodine and other immune supplements, he did not fully improve, and spent most of his time sitting, depressed. He still sang some, but spent most of his time calling to Ava, and she to him. As this went on for almost five months, I finally gave in. Ava was underweight from not eating as much as she had, as was Peter.

I had been keeping her separate from the tiels during their egg laying, as they were rather territorial. One evening, I came into the bird room to discover Ava was missing, having escaped from her cage, and though I searched all over the room, I could not find her. After about 40 minutes, I decided to bring Peter into the room, in hopes he would call to her and she would answer. That planned work, and I found Ava underneath a piece a furniture (of course I had checked it several times form all angles already, but she is very tiny) As soon as she came out from under the bed, she flew to Peter, and they both started eyepinning like crazy, preening and feeding each other. After watching them for half an hour, I decided I really couldn't separate them again. I know, I know. He has a history or attacking her when he is stressed, like his recent illness. Still, they had both been so unhappy for so many months, with no improvement.

It has been a few weeks, and they still seem to be doing fine together. After their long separation, Peter definitely acts different around her. Whatever she wants, she gets, and he is bossed around no end. I am keeping them in their own flight cage, at first in my bedroom away from other birds, and now in the bird room, where they like it best. Despite my misgivings, it has achieved the short term goals of helping Peter fully recover (his latest check-up confirmed he was in perfect health) and gain back all his weight, as well as help Ava gain back the little weight she had lost.

I still feel a little funny about it. I said I would not let them back together, that Peter was too violent. But they are so happy together. What do you think? Together, which makes them happy unless he attacks her? I will still be even more careful about separating them if there is any cause for unusual stress, and hopefully that will be enough.

But what I would really like, in an ideal world, is parrot marriage counseling. Now, where do I find that?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

It's been a while!

Sorry for the long break in posts, I have been rather under the weather for several weeks, and due to that have not been on the computer. Actually, there has been a lot of weather to be under here lately, nothing but a solid month of heavy rain, or at least heavy clouds. That is a beside the point, though. The parrots have been very well behaved lately, which is not unusual. They are always much nicer when I am sick, something that proves what sweet friends they really can be!

I hope to have new posts up soon, right now I am just trying to catch up on everyone's blogs and all my emails!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Why all the complaints about home visits?

It is always a little aggravating to hear people talk about how annoying avian rescues are. I understand some can seem a little over the top. Perhaps they don't allow you to have more than 2 birds, you can't have any children, you can't have other animals, you must already have a bird (which makes sense at first, but when you realize they would have to buy a bird to qualify, well, then it doesn't, does it?) etc. Yes, those rules can be a bit frustrating to most people. They are there to help get the parrots the best home possible, but they definitely limit the number of homes available, to put it one way. However, some people really seem unable to see that you do have to have some sort of process beyond a contract if you want to adopt out a bird safely every time.

Home visits are one of the things that are complained about by "potential adopters" most frequently. I do not quite get that. How else is the rescue to know you are sincere? I think home visits are a great way for the adopter to get advice on bird care, even if they already know "everything", and it is, of course, a wonderful way to meet other bird lovers! For the rescue, it is a vital way to tell if you described yourself correctly (ie, when you said, " I do not have any major parrot dangers in my house and have a large cage for the amazon I am adopting" they expect to see a home that does not have glade plug-ins, air fresheners, running ceiling fans where the cage will be, and a 18" by 18" cage) and that you were not outright lying about the bird mill you are running in your basement. They can also see how any birds you already have are kept, just to see that they have large enough cages, plenty of toys and stimulation, healthy diets, and look happy and healthy. Obviously, you may be the "lucky one" that has their home evaluated by a person that only likes things done their way. Still, that does not mean home visits should be done away with.

To me, someone that puts up a fuss about having a home visit done is extremely suspicious. I realize many of them are simply picky about who comes through their home, perhaps they are type A, but how do I know that? Everyone is just a person off the internet until I know what they say is true. All agree there are spammers on Craigslist, but there are scammers at rescues, too, that has been, unfortunately, proven many, many times.

I had people contact me about Schroeder that sounded very nice, however, they did not want a home visit. I was told how they had x number of horses, lots of vets, and many other birds that were very well taken care of. Perhaps that and all else they told me was true, how am I to know? When talking to me on the phone, they repeatedly said they really did not want a home visit, saying how they just didn't want strange people coming to their home. I understand that completely, and was trying to make them feel better, telling them how the adoption process works. But when they asked if we could "just meet in a parking lot or something" to give them Schroeder, I knew there was no way this would work. There was no way I was handing Schroeder over in a parking lot to someone that seemed definitely to have something to hide.

Schroeder was later adopted by a wonderful family, that not only had a home visist, but went out of the way to get everything perfect for him. Needless to say, he is extremely happy there!

Many people that complain, however, go on and on about how they take wonderful care of all their animals, their birds are extremely happy, much happier than any at the rescue, and they "don't need anybody coming in, inspecting to see if we are good enough!" If you are as good as you say, what have you got to hide?

If these people had to see all the horrible things that can happen to a parrot placed in the wrong home, I would hope they wouldn't complain quite so much.

Just remember this, anyone worried about home visits - rescues are not looking to see how recently you mopped your floor, really! Everyone wants the best for the bird, that is all.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Miss Patty is none too easy to get pictures of!

I do sometimes manage to get some nice ones, though. While she is not specifically scared of the camera, she is definitely not too fond of it either. I suppose she is more of a private diva!

Show off those wings!

She is a very dedicated chewer. Once she finally settled in here,
she decided life was worth living, and she was going to
dedicate her life to the bird-worthy cause
of destroying everything she could (or couldn't)!

However, destroying things can get a bit tiring for the
wizened-by-years tiel, so it is always a good idea to
take a little relaxation time, even if you do
have a strange silver object being pointed at you.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How are you today, Yaz?

As a follow up to the narrative on how quickly Yaz destroys pinatas (I removed another one today, or at least its pitiful remains) I have finally managed to get a video of him in action on his playtop, in the final stages of destruction.

It is easy to see how obsessed he is with pinatas. If your volume is up loud enough, you can hear his cute little squeaks and grunts. Another clue is how red the bare patches around his eyes get!

I was actually trying to get a video of him dancing and snapping, something he does almost non-stop. Despite that, I have very few good videos of it, as he usually stops when he sees the camera. He is not particularly camera shy, like some of my birds, so I am not sure why he won't dance or snap for the camera readily. Every time I tried to take a video today, as usual, he started doing something else. Here is a video to show you just what I mean:

I did finally manage to get a short one, showing some of his beat skills. Not the best, as he can really get into it, but at least it was something! And after trying so hard to get it, I was not about to leave it out!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Replay call on egg laying and PDD

Having had trouble recently with so much egg laying this winter (over now, knock on wood!) I thought this would be an important talk for anyone going through, or trying to avoid, the same problem. It is a replay 0f Dr. Greg Rich, and will probably be up until Wednesday or Thursday. He really goes into fairly well how to avoid egg laying, or how to deal with it once they have started laying. He even brought up the diet issue, discussing how females being fed high energy (carbs, sugars, and fats) diets, are much more likely to think it is a great time to lay! He did not mention pellets, though. Pellets can really support hormones and egg laying, as they have very high (many say way too high) protein levels, and are full of simple carbs, as well as soy, which can mess with the hormone levels and really aggravate things. I have frequently read about, and have had pretty good success, switching hormonal birds to a high fiber, low protein and low fat diet. Any pellets fed the rest of the year should be natural ones, like TOPS. Very healthy (many, including myself, consider it to be the best, certainly one of the best, pellets!) and less likely to cause problems (not only hormones, but the multitude of other issues associated with pellets, like kidney and liver failure, vitamin toxicities, etc.)

He also talks extensively about PDD, something that is important for everyone with birds to know about. He really explains what it is, what the symptoms are, diagnostics, etc.