Bird breeder's thoughts on whatever…

09-24-15: Where has the ED gone???? — September 24, 2015

09-24-15: Where has the ED gone????

“I am bias.”

“She is finish.”

I could go on and on giving examples of this weird language phenomenon that seems to be affecting so many people.  What happened to the “ed” as in “I am biased” and “She is finished”?   I see this almost daily now, and from people that should know better.

I’ve always been a bit of a spelling nazi, and the misuse of “loose” and “lose” is something I find amazing.  Nowadays, when people generally have computers at their disposal, there is no good excuse for spelling or basic grammar mistakes.

But then again, I’m a bit cranky at the moment so take this with a grain of salt.


9-20-15: Parrotlet Kids — September 20, 2015

9-20-15: Parrotlet Kids

I took individual pix of the remaining parrotlet kids today and posted them on their “diary” site.  I’m glad we have them split up into two cages with three in each, because handling six at once was quite a circus!  One person handling three at once is hard enough – at least it is when all three decide to fly off in different directions!  Sometimes they are very well-behaved and will mainly just sit on my hand.  Other times it’s like they’re on a sugar rush, and they want to go go go!   Tonight when we play with them again, we’ll be swapping them to the other cage, so they stay flexible and open to change.  They seem to get a kick out of suddenly having “different” toys available, too.

I happened to catch the pied parrotlet pair out of their nestbox today, so I grabbed my trusty little flashlight and took a look.  The three kids look good.  I think I will give it another day before I try to band the oldest again.  The parents are definitely doing better this time (second attempt) but I don’t think they have yet reached their potential as great parents.

I also got a good look at the timneh eggs in the past few days and it looks as if only one is fertile.  I think I may consider selling that one chick to a pet shop with a good reputation, and letting Ziggy and Paco go again.  I prefer handfeeding two kids at once.

Today finally feels like fall!  It’s 58 degrees out and very breezy.  Really nice!  I hope it stays this way for a while.  Think FALL!


09-18-15: Catching Up — September 18, 2015

09-18-15: Catching Up

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  We did the bird show last Saturday and it’s been a “catch up” week since.  Maybe the folks that bring their birds in large cages don’t have much prep time or much to do after the show, but I like to bring birds in small carry cages that go with them.  That way there is no catching birds at the show and no danger of escapees.  There must have been close to ten birds that got loose briefly at this show, and we saw at least two of them smash into walls with a lot of force.  I also have no idea how long it’s going to be before the person that buys one of my kids manages to get them home and into a cage with food and water.  I hate to think of one of my kids being boxed for God knows how long.  Having them in a small cage with a perch and food and water ensures a bit of comfort on their part, even if it’s hours before they get home.   But if a bird doesn’t sell at the show and I have to bring it home, it also means I now have to quarantine the bird away from the bird room.  There are a lot of birds at the shows and I have no idea if they are all healthy or not, and since many diseases are air-borne, I can’t take a chance with my guys.  I can’t quarantine them in the small carry cages, so now I have to move them to bigger cages.  What it boils down to is that I end up cleaning lots of cages and having additional daily chores to do after a show.  I sold about half the birds we brought, so this extra work applied.

I also have some new baby parrotlets (PIEDS!!!) in the nest, and have been trying to check on them several times a day.  The first was born on the 10th, then another on the 13th, and at least one more a few days after that.  This pair had a clutch as part of the Parrotlet Trio of Clutches that hatched in July, but they only ended up with one baby that survived.  That was my little cutie #7, who did sell at the show.  So when they started dropping eggs last month, even though I had removed their box, I decided to let them go for it so I could get a better idea of what their kids would be like.  The fact that this time they have done so much better is wonderful!  I’m excited to see how these kids turn out.  Unfortunately it also means keeping a close eye on them so I can pull the kids at the first sign of things going awry.  I’m going to have to try to nab the oldest kid today to band him, too.  Not a fun thing with my parrotlets, as so far none of them have been keen to exit the box when I am looking.  It’s one of those things I feel I must do, though.

There are also at least three eggs in the timnehs’ nestbox!  Ziggy has not let me get a look for several days now.  I knew she had two for sure and caught a glimpse of a third one as well.  That was last week.  She may have a fourth or it may be just the three.  I’m hoping to get a look soon so I can check for fertility.  Ziggy and Paco usually do a good job and give me at least two kids.  The congos have three eggs as well, but as usual they are not fertile.  As soon as Ruby tires of them I will toss them and maybe they will try again.

So there is handfeeding in the very near future!

The birds are keeping me busy, and that includes the chickens.  We put the three adult hens back in with the fourteen kids (now 9 weeks old) in the big coop, and have been very happy to see that they are getting along pretty well.  There is the occasional skirmish and chase, but nothing to get excited over.  Scott has heard one of the roosters trying to crow, but I’ve yet to have that experience.  I do, however, crow to them every day when I go out.  🙂   I figure that since Roo is gone I might as well give them something to emulate!   I’m still anxious to find out if the feather sexing I did when the chicks were one to two days old was accurate.

The garden has done pretty well this year, but I confess to letting the squash get away from me a few times, resulting in BIG summer squash that fortunately do not go to waste.  We cut them in half and put them in the chicken yard where they are eaten down to the shell usually by day’s end.  I had read that squash seeds are a natural wormer for chickens, so there may be a health benefit in addition to the nutrition they provide to their diets.

It looks like we are going to have four decent pumpkins this year, too.  One is the Caspar variety – all white.  Pretty neat.  I had planted seeds from a variety packet that had four different types.  In addition to the white one it looks like we have one very normal pumpkin which I think was called Jack O Lantern, and said to resemble Cinderella’s coach.  It does indeed.  I can’t recall the name of the other type that grew, but they are tall and fairly narrow.  Should make good Ernie-type heads, as in Bert and Ernie.  Any pumpkin is a good pumpkin in my book, much like any Christmas decoration is a good decoration.

I have several acorn squash in the garden, too, and I’m waiting for a sign that they are ready to pick.  Wouldn’t it be great if a sign would indeed pop up over them, with an arrow and maybe flashing lights, saying PICK ME NOW!

I also had cukes – a few only, so somewhat disappointing, spaghetti squash, and more tomatoes than we normally ever get.  The green beans were not what I’d call abundant this year, but we did get a few meals from them.  The only total bust was the eggplant.  They look great right now, but unless the frost waits for another month we will not see anything from them.  Not bloody likely.  LOL.

I see some trees beginning to turn color and, despite the unseasonably hot days, the drastic shortening of the daylight has been a constant reminder that fall and then winter are fast approaching.  The cooler days will be a wonderful thing.  I’m not a fan of the heat, and there is nothing as comfy as a pair of jeans topped with a soft sweatshirt.  That is what I call cozy!  It’s also great to have a fire in the pit outside, with the crisp air making you move your chair just a bit closer for the heat.  Cooking in the winter is another thing I look forward to.  Nothing like coming in on a cold day to the smell of homemade bread and a pot of soup simmering on the stove.  The other day I found myself really looking forward to Thanksgiving!

For now I’m looking forward to the cold, and even snow.  I know, I won’t be singing this tune come the end of January, but for now, bring it on!


9-9-15: Cages Everywhere — September 9, 2015

9-9-15: Cages Everywhere

The bird show is coming up this weekend.  I have eight canaries that were born this spring and have yet to have their sex determined.  There are five society finches, and I’ve only positively identified two males in the bunch.  So here I sit in the living room, with cages hanging from the ceiling, cages crammed onto tables, and cages sitting on top of chairs.  A you tube video of canary song is playing in the background.  My head swivels this way and that, trying to see who is twittering and if that twitter is enough to call an attempt to sing or not.  And four of the canaries haven’t even been moved out here yet.

Scott jokingly told me I should just perform the needle method!  Great idea!  So quick and easy, and hey, I’d have a 50-50 chance at being right.  Every time we go to a bird show, we see someone – and often someone that is supposed to be a great breeder with a good reputation – hauling out a needle on thread and holding it over a bird to determine the sex.  If the needle swings straight, you have a male; if it swings in a circle, a hen.  Of course one of these great breeders is the same guy that sold me a hen that was supposed to be a year old that proved to be several years older than that.  I kick myself for that one, because the bird was banded and I did not ask to see the band.  I never thought someone that had actually banded a bird would then lie about it when it could so easily be proven as false.  Scruples are not in everyone’s bag of tricks, I guess.

I’ve been ripped off a few times over the years, and I’m sure I will be again.  One time a woman was trading me a couple of lutino cockatiels for some babies.  She assured me the lutinos were a proven pair, and even gave me a list of the babies they had had.  Not many days went by before BOTH birds were laying eggs!

Tomorrow is really the last day I have for trying to sex these kids.  That needle is starting to look appealing!


9-6-15: Big Changes for the Chicks! — September 6, 2015

9-6-15: Big Changes for the Chicks!

Thinking about the future of the flock, we decided to give Roo away and will end up keeping one of the rooster chicks as the new resident rooster.  So Roo is gone as of today, and that made things ready for the next step – getting the chicks into the big coop.  To accomplish this with minimal problems, we decided to move the remaining three older cochin hens to the small coop where the chicks have been living.  We would leave the two puffheads (the white headed black polish banty girls) in the big coop since they are low in the pecking order anyway.  Then the chicks would get put into the big coop. All of this was done today.

The big hens seem happy enough in the little coop, save for the fact that they don’t have a roost that can really accommodate their size.  It’s only planned to be for a week, just to give the little chicks a chance to call the big coop their own and give them a better chance with the big girls, so they should be fine. No doubt they will end up sleeping in the nests! 090615SmallCoopWith3OlderHens

The little chicks are having a great time with all this new space!  We kept them inside for a few hours then opened the hatch to their yard.  Fourteen chicks spread out nicely and really look like they are having a good time, both inside and outside the coop.


The amazing thing is the poor puffheads are already being chased by the chicks!  The chicks are almost as big as the puffheads, who are considerably smaller than the normal cochin bantys are as adults.

Of course we once again had the same problem when dusk fell.  The foolish chicks did not all go inside and a small group of them – maybe six or so – insisted on bunking down in their yard, practically at the base of their ramp.  Despite the fact that there was a light on inside, and it all looked very cozy and welcoming – at least to ME – they refused to go in.  Since the coop and yard  has electric fencing all over it, we just left them out in their yard tonight.  We left the light on for them inside, and left the hatch open.  Hopefully at some point they will finally realize that spending their nights IN the coop, on a perch, is the way to go.

We should know for sure pretty soon if I was right about the wing sexing of the chicks.  Scott has heard someone trying to crow already, so it shouldn’t be too much longer. If I was correct, all the mille fleurs are hens and all but one blue are roosters.  Fingers are crossed!


09-4-15: Stuff — September 4, 2015

09-4-15: Stuff

I am still waiting for SEPTEMBER weather!  In Groton, it should not be almost 80 degrees after 5:00 on September 4th!  Normally we’d be worried about our first frost soon, but according to the weather reports we have heat in store for us for the near future.  Next weekend (the 12th) we will have a vendor table at the BOAF Bird Show in Manchester, and I hope we are looking at more seasonable weather by then.

Speaking of the Bird Show, if you are in NH or within driving distance, consider going to the show.  You can check the BOAF website for info and directions.  If you’ve never been, it’s a chance to see (and possibly buy) some birds you may not normally see.  We will be bringing canaries that I raised this spring, along with a few young society finches and any parrotlet kids not yet sold.  I bring my birds to sell in small cages that go with the bird, so you don’t have to worry about them being in a box or whatever.  Most vendors don’t do this, though, so a word to the wise: if you think you might buy a bird there, bring a few cages with you, JUST IN CASE!  We will also be bringing a variety of handcrafted wood products that hubby and I make.  These include clocks, key racks, necklaces, etc.  One of a kind things that would make nice Christmas presents for bird loving friends, or treat yourself.

If you go to the show and we’ve talked or emailed, please come by our table and introduce yourself.  It’s nice to put a face with a name!  But if I ask your name about a dozen times please don’t take offense!  My mind is like a sieve when it comes to names, and if I ask you to repeat it I will at least have a fighting chance of remembering it!

Going to the show is a big deal for a hermit like me.  I’m not normally happy in crowds.  I also hate to leave Spotticus (our chihuahua) home alone, but luckily my son and his family have agreed to come spend the day here, dog-sitting.  I purposely planned out the birds’ breeding so that I would not be handfeeding now, so at least that is not a problem.

This week I will be bringing a couple canaries into the living room each day to try to figure out which are males.  Always fun.

A few days ago, Ziggy (the hen in my Timneh pair) laid an egg.  They are a very dependable pair for me, so hopefully we will have a baby or two in about a month.  The congo pair is on three eggs, but since they’ve yet to have a fertile egg I told myself not to get excited.  Unfortunately, these don’t look fertile either.  Oh well.  Maybe someday.  It doesn’t really matter, though.  They get along so great and are both such characters that we love them regardless.  Hearing Cosmo do his old man sigh when we are getting ready for bed at night never fails to crack us up.  🙂

Scott told me this morning that one of our chicks is trying to crow!  “ERRRR” – that’s about it!   The kids are growing up!