Bird breeder's thoughts on whatever…

10-29-15: Rose colored glasses — October 29, 2015

10-29-15: Rose colored glasses

We should all view the world through rose colored glasses.  I have rose colored glasses – my sunglasses – and believe me, it makes every outing more pleasant.

I had to make a quick run to Bristol this morning, which is about a 40 minute ride.  Since I am handfeeding the baby timneh grey, I only have 3 hours between feedings right now. Depending on the agenda once I arrive at my destination, it can be a hurried trip.  Today I had some business to tend to as well as hitting the grocery store for the sale items and a few oddball things only that grocery carries.  In other words, it was not a trip for killing time, but more of a “get ‘er done!” excursion.  However, with my rose colored glasses it turned into a GOOD trip.

The trees in this neck of the woods are past peak.  There are many bare branches and also lots of brownish leaves still on the trees.  Very blah to the naked eye.  But with these glasses, it’s still lovely.  The browns become a pretty orange, and there are even a few bits of red mixed in.  Really, really nice.  I go by Newfound Lake on the way, and the water surrounded by beautiful hills and the mountains in the distance is pretty no matter what time of year.  Add some glorious oranges to that and you have a sight for the eyes.

I recently made a usb drive of my favorite music, when means half is The Doors and the other half is  Luke Bryan.  This morning I forwarded to Luke and that was the icing on the cake!  A super ride to town.  🙂

Get yourself some rose colored glasses and some good tunes that make you smile, and hit the road.  Not the highway, the road.  A back road where you can gawk at the sights is the best way to travel, and luckily that’s almost every road around me.

Put those glasses on and listen to Luke.  I dare you not to smile.


10-26-15: Timneh Baby — October 26, 2015

10-26-15: Timneh Baby

Ziggy and Paco hatched a lone chick on the 10th of October.  I like to pull kids to handfeed anywhere from ten days to two weeks old.  I know a lot of people wait till they are three weeks, but it has always seemed to me that they eat much better from me and my spoon when they are younger, and that sometimes it’s a bit of a struggle to get a baby to take to the handfeeding when it is nearer three weeks.  I’ve been hanging out in the vicinity of the birdroom a LOT the last few days, waiting for my opportunity to nab the little one.  Ziggy has been having none of it, and in fact I have rarely seen her so protective of a baby.  I think when she has two or three chicks she is a bit relieved when they go, LOL, but with one she doesn’t want to give him up.

This morning the baby was sixteen days old, and I said this is it.  One way or the other we are getting that kid!  The biggest issue is that with this baby, any time I’ve seriously thought of grabbing him it seems Ziggy knows the jig is up and gets very agitated.  Which would be okay, except when she is agitated, she kind of charges at the baby and gently grasps him by the beak OR BY THE HEAD!   I said “gently” and she has not left so much as a mark on him, but I’ve been afraid that if she really senses I’m ready to grab him she may grab a bit harder and do some damage.  Scott said, “maybe she thinks ‘if I can’t have him, neither can you.'”   I seriously doubt that much thought is going into it.  I think it’s just instinct, but it could still result in a hurt baby.

So the issue this morning was how to get this baby without any damage.  Scott suggested reaching in with something on one hand to get Ziggy to back off and then quickly grabbing the little one with the other hand.  We have these heavy silicone oven mitts that proved useless as oven mitts due to their thickness being SO thick you have no feeling of the pan you are trying to grab.  That would also mean that even a direct bite from Ziggy was likely to do no damage to the hand inside.  So Scott said he’d give it a try.  Better Ziggy hate him than me.

It went off without a hitch.  Hand in, grab baby with other, hand him off to me, and remove hand and close box.  I got my baby!  And what a GIANT baby it is!  The fact that I’ve been handfeeding tiny little parrotlets that weigh about 30 grams when weaned may have something to do with that, coupled with the fact that this baby weighed in at 100 grams before feeding and with an empty crop!

102615BabyTimneh16DaysOld_01 He takes up most of the Cool Whip container!

First feeding was scheduled for 11 AM, to be sure the crop was empty and he was good and hungry.  It went well.  He’s a doll!

102615BabyTimneh16DaysOld_04Look at how huge he is!  And he has enormous feet, too, LOL.

Unless something changes, this little guy – or girl – already has a future home lined up with a family that has three small children.  I used to really discourage this, but I’ve come to realize that it really depends on the attitude of the people.  If they are doing their homework and really determined to make things work, I think they are every bit as good a candidate as anybody else.  My goal is always to have my greys go to homes where the people are dedicated to making it a good fit, and determined to work out any issues as they may arise.  Greys are far too smart and sensitive to be shuffled from home to home, and they deserve better.

So the adventure has begun.  We will start with the usual six feedings per day, and I will be adding to his online diary daily, both with weights, pictures, and videos.  I’m just as excited as I was with the first one I ever raised.  🙂


10-21-15: Bird update — October 21, 2015

10-21-15: Bird update

I should have titled this RUSH RUSH RUSH, because that’s how I feel lately, but then the whole blog would have been me whining, so we’ll leave it at that!

Yesterday I had to make some changes because the timneh baby is due to be pulled this weekend.  He/she will be two weeks old then, which is when I like to pull them.  If Mom Ziggy refuses to cooperate and leave the box, I will just have to be vigilant until I can catch her out of it.  I don’t dare try to retrieve the baby with her in the box, because she tends to charge and could accidentally hurt the little one.


This was the baby, yesterday.  He’s looking good.  Always has food in his crop and Ziggy is normally covering him really well.


This is what I usually see when I open the box’s observation door on the end.  If she sees my camera, she will slowly back off the baby and go to the far end of the box.  I take a quick picture, thank her, and then get away.

Paco will come out of the box the minute he hears me in the birdroom.  He is one ferocious protector.  I really have to keep an eye on him and be wary when changing out the dishes.

Knowing the baby will be pulled very soon, I needed to free up the brooder which has held the three latest parrotlet kids up until yesterday.  They are all males and were born September 10, 13, and 16, and are banded as numbers 13, 14, and 15.  The oldest is very blue and practically weaned at this point.  He is a day shy of six weeks today.  The middle baby is pied and what seems to be a turquoise.  He is 38 days old today.  The youngest is another turquoise and 35 days old today.  The youngest two are going to be cut to three feedings tomorrow because of a time issue, but may go back to four feedings the day after.  Normally I cut a feeding when handfeeding and then stick with that for a week or more, but the parrotlets seem to want to stay on four feedings and then suddenly BAM they are weaned.  I don’t know if other breeders find this to be true or not but, for me, it’s been like that with each clutch so far.


These were the kids yesterday after being moved to a Vision cage.  As I was saying, they needed to be moved out of the brooder, but it’s never a simple matter of taking them from one cage and moving to another.  That would be too easy!  I wanted them in the Vision cage, but I already had a young pair of parrotlets in there.  I should say here that I still have two young pairs left from the twelve kids I had raised beginning in July.  At that time I had one pied baby from my pied pair, six blue kids from my blue pair, and five kids from another pair.  The pied was sold at the bird show, and the six  that remained after the show were able to be matched up as three pairs of  unrelated birds.  Very lucky there!  One pair sold, leaving me with two pairs aka Pair #2 and Pair #3.

Pair #2 was in the Vision cage that I wanted for the three young babies.  Pair #3 was in another cage in the dining room, in the spot where I wanted the three kids to end up!  So how to achieve the end results?

I had a cage in the birdroom that contained my three female canaries.  This is a cage that will take a divider in the middle.  So the hen canaries got moved to an empty flight cage, requiring that cage to be fitted with dishes, etc., appropriate to them.  Check.  Now the empty cage they were in was fitted with a divider, but again, nothing is ever simple.  Parrotlets can be rather obnoxious to each other, and it is recommended that pairs not see each other, let alone be able to TOUCH each other!  So I forced two wire dividers into the space and then cut poster paper to fit that I slid in between them.  Not ideal, as I knew they would find a way to chew this and eventually will be able to reach each other.  However, I have a thin piece of Plexiglas that I will have Scott cut to size as soon as he gets a chance, and will paint that with non-toxic paint and use that to replace the poster paper.  So the temporary divider was in place, both sides were outfitted for the pairs, and I then moved the two pairs into their new digs.


The two pairs, above.  I grabbed my camera and as I was moving each pair I took a picture.  They are still plenty friendly enough that they would make nice pets.  #12 can be a bit bitchy, mainly when in the cage.  The others will step up while in their cage, but she will not cooperate and will lunge and try to bite.  If you let her come out on her own, she’s ok, but still not as friendly as the other three.  Each pair has the advantage of growing up together, and when they are old enough to breed next year they stand a very good chance of being well-bonded and being successful.  In the meantime, until they sell, they are in the living room where we can now let out one pair at a time and keep them friendly.  They do love to come out and explore!

After that move I had the Vision cage empty as well as another cage.  They both got thorough cleanings, along with all perches and dishes.  That is one of the time-consuming parts of moving guys around.  But I kept at it and in the end was able to store one cage so it’s ready when needed, and finally put the three young parrotlets into the Vision cage.  Mission accomplished!

So now it’s just a matter of waiting for the weekend to pull the baby timneh.  I’m looking forward to it, because I really love handfeeding them!

While we’re talking birds, an update on the chicken situation is in order.  For the past week or two we’ve gotten serious about determining who the roosters are with the end goal of keeping just two.  If they refuse to get along we will end up keeping whichever seems the better Roo at that time.  In the meantime, we’ve been selecting a suspected Roo and putting him in the small coop by himself.  Once we hear him crowing, he’s gone.  Normally we have good luck giving away young roosters.  If they end up as a meal, that’s life, but at least WE didn’t eat them.  So far, we’ve identified SEVEN roos that are now gone.  We have also positively identified one mille fleur that is destined to be a keeper.  There is also a nice mottled blue which I’m sure is a roo, though we will also put him through the crow test before we take it as gospel, and he is the other one destined to be a keeper.  I think other than those two keepers, we only have two more to check.  I’m hopeful that by the end of this coming weekend we will have the chickens all sexed and be down to 8 hens and 2 roosters.  FOURTEEN kids and we only added THREE hens to the flock!!!    So much for the wing-sexing!

101215Chickens04mille fleur cochin banty ROO


For info on birds that are for sale:

10-12-15: The Chickens, revisited — October 12, 2015

10-12-15: The Chickens, revisited

Remember our lovely chickens we hatched several months ago?  At one to two days old, I had checked the wings and determined that we should be able to sex them due to the uneven length of the feathers on the wings which was supposed to make them hens.  Granted, I’d read that this didn’t work on every type of chicken, but since the chicks either had the same length feathers or this uneven feathering I was hoping that these could be sexed this way.  I marked down that all the mille fleur cochins appeared to be hens by the wing feathers, and that all but one of the blue cochins appeared to be roosters.  A few weeks later when the feathers were really growing, the chicks still had a difference in appearance of their wings, in that the ones I thought/hoped were hens now had much longer wings than the others.  When we first hatched cochin bantams last year, we had noticed that at this stage some had longer wing feathers, and we then assumed they must be roosters.  However I then read that it’s hens that have the longer feathers at that stage.  Turned out to be true with those chicks.

Now, on to our current situation.  Guys have been crowing and trying to crow for a few weeks now.  Yesterday we sat out and watched, to see who was doing what.  Turns out that all our guesses are totally wrong.  Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!  What we are doing is waiting until we see one of them either crow or mount another, and then we grab that one and put it into the small coop and wait to hear a crow.  I’m so thankful now that I did band these kids, too!  So far we have absolutely determined that three mille fleurs are indeed roosters.  Looking at their stance and the size of their combs, it really does seem that all the ones we thought were hens are roosters.  BUT… it also seems that some of the ones we thought were roosters are roosters!  What does this mean?  That out of fourteen kids I think we only have THREE hens!  Maybe four.  So much for thinking we could tell by the wings!

Even if there are only three hens from these young ones, we still have five hens from the originals, so we will have eight at the very least.  We will keep two roosters to start, but I’m afraid two may fight.  If so, it will be the one we like best that we keep.  Right now there is a lovely mille fleur boy (yes, we saw him crowing) at the head of the list, but there is also a really pretty blue one with a mixture of lighter, mottled feathers overall that I really like.  We haven’t heard this blue kid crow yet, though, and I really want PROOF before deciding for sure what any of these kids really are!

I know one thing for sure.  They are eating like horses and need to have the flock thinned!



10-9-15: Ramblings — October 9, 2015

10-9-15: Ramblings

I was making cookies this morning and the dining room TV was providing background noise.  As I popped another tray in the oven, I heard Steve Harvey say, “Don’t let your past hold you to your future.”   It caught my attention and I began to mull this over while working.  What a great thought!

I don’t imagine anyone has lived a life with no regrets; certainly not me.  Things we wish we’d done differently… Things we wish we’d not done at all… Things we’re not proud of…  And yet, all of those things led us to where we are right now, this minute.  If you are happy with the person you are today, then why have regrets over things that shaped the person you now are?  And if you are not happy with yourself, don’t blame the past. We can’t do a thing to change it.  Just focus on changing yourself NOW.  Be a person you are happy to be NOW.

“First do no harm.”  We think of that as from the Hippocratic Oath, though apparently it’s not technically so.  It is more likely from the Hippocratic writing, Epidemics.  Po-ta-to – po-tah-to.  Regardless, the idea is plain, and makes sense not only for physicians but for all of us.  First do no harm.  Shouldn’t that be easy?  If we all went through life following that one rule to live by, think what a wonderful world this would be.  It certainly seems that for many their motto for life is exactly the opposite, and they just charge through life leaving hurt and destruction in their wake.  Why?  A John Prine song says, “Everybody’s got to have somebody to look down on.”   We probably all do look down on someone, or some group, but I guess what makes a difference is that some are vocal about it and choose to do harm, whereas others don’t feel the need to voice every less-than-pleasant belief that may exist within.  Isn’t it all about filtering?  Some have no internal filter.

That reminds me of the current situation with Donald Trump.  He seems to lack a filter, which is a shame because many people do feel the same way he does about a  lot of things, but because he lacks that filter it turns many people off.  Ben Carson is now voicing many opinions that are on a par with Trump, but he has a filter that allows him to think before speaking.  Phrasing is everything.  Not that it’s doing him a lot of good lately, since the media appears to be on the attack when it comes to him.  The bias in the media is really amazing.  Not that it exists but that they seem to get away with it.  They focus on one remark and hammer away at it and deliberately alter the intent.

While those cookies were being baked The View came on.  Oh my word!  It should be called The ONE View.  I listened to them denigrate Ben Carson for his “victim shaming” and found myself shouting at the TV.  (Yes, I do that on occasion.)  How can we have seen the same statements and come away with such a different take on what he said?   This was in reference to the college shooting and then to his remark about the Jews.  The former was a statement that if he were there he would try to get the group to rush the gunman, because a shooter can’t kill everyone at once.  This seemed to be a crazy statement to these ladies of The View, and yet, it makes perfect sense to me.  Are you going to stand there and get picked off one at a time, or at least try to change your fate by going on the offensive?  It’s like the people on the plane during the 9-11 attacks.  Remember the “Let’s roll” call to action?  If you have a good idea you’re going to be killed anyway, then take a stand!  Yes, in that case they still crashed and died, but they probably prevented a much worse disaster.   His remark about the Jews was in reference to them having had their guns taken away, and how they might have had a chance against Hitler if they had been armed at least.  They found this to be victim shaming!  This was common sense, not shaming.  He didn’t say they could have resisted and won; it was more to the point of how if you take away a people’s guns you are leaving them at your mercy.

At any rate, my arguing with the TV did not change their attitudes, and the only thing that made me less annoyed was shutting off the TV.   My mother used to tell the story about my Dad’s mother watching the westerns on TV and remarking that it was a shame they had to kill so many Indians to make the movie.  She used to talk to the TV, too.  Should I be worried?

You’ve heard the term “ear worm”?  When you get a song into your head and keep thinking of it and hearing it?  While I love the Doors, in the past year my taste has been running to Luke Bryan.  A LOT.  I mainly listen to music in the car, and since I’m a bit of a hermit I don’t really listen that often.  However, when I do it’s usually for a fair amount of time since we live off the beaten track.  If I wake up in the night, I find that I have a Luke Bryan song in my brain.  It plays over and over as I try to remember the words.  I thought this was odd but upon mentioning it to Scott he said the same thing happens to him!   I guess maybe Luke just gets in your brain and won’t leave, which is fine by me.  So why was it Frank Sinatra that got into my brain this morning?  Specifically, My Way.  I find I know maybe half the words, and kept going over and over it, trying to recall the forgotten ones.  Weird.  I wouldn’t say I was a big Sinatra fan, though I like most music enough to listen to just about anything for a time.  But My Way???

The mind is a strange thing.


10-7-15: Blogging — October 7, 2015

10-7-15: Blogging

It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve written a blog.  Does that mean nothing is going on in my life?  No.  Maybe just the opposite, in fact, and there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day nor does one particular subject seem to jump out and say “write about me!”   Further, a blog is a funny thing.  Is anyone reading my words other than me?  If they are, does that mean I owe them something new?  If they aren’t, does continuing with a blog mean I’m just stroking my own ego and implying my words have some big meaning or import?   I don’t know the answers to any of these questions.

Also there are things I feel like writing about that I really can’t, for fear of offending or opening up a can of worms.  To offend I need only talk about politics, and that will ensure I offend about half the population of this once-great country.  And to what end?  Has anyone EVER convinced someone to switch political affiliation?  I think not.  Opening up a can of worms is far too easy, and I really don’t care for confrontation anymore.  Time was, I’d argue for the sake of arguing.  But that was in my teens and twenties.  Those days are long gone, and I much prefer peace now.  I do believe stress should be avoided whenever we have the control over it, because there are far too many things in life that are stressful that we have absolutely no control over whatsoever. So we’ll leave the can of worms shut for now, thank you very much.  Maybe someday.

So what have I done today?  As always, much of the day was spent on or with the birds.  There is the morning care, which is there every day of the year, no matter what.  There was a decade or so when Christmas was a different schedule, and I’d simply toss every cage a millet spray to buy me some time so I could do the traditional Christmas morning with my family.  Once Alex was no longer here on Christmas morning that kind of went by the wayside.  So the first couple hours of the day are spent changing and cleaning food and water dishes, and just giving the birds a once-over to make sure all is well. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, it takes about an hour longer since I also clean the cage trays on those days.

I’m handfeeding three small parrotlets again now, so there is also a handfeeding schedule to adhere to.  That makes leaving the house a pain in the butt, as I am always aware of the time factor and can’t be gone long.  The youngest of the three is three weeks old today, so there is only another three weeks or so to go.  I’m still awaiting the hatching of the one fertile Timneh grey egg as well.  It should be any day now, unless it’s not going to hatch for some reason.

I spent some time crowing to the chickens this morning.  Yes, I was crowing.  I was waiting for an answering crow or two, but it seems this crew is flipping me the claw as none of them have crowed while I was near them.  They crow in front of Scott.  They crowed last weekend when we were outside but not within sight of them.  But they will not crow when I can see them.  Not yet.  So I crow to them.  They seem amused, as they come and look at me, probably wondering what is wrong with that featherless beast.  Except for the original black hen; she clucks back to me each time I crow.  She gives me a bit of a come-hither look, too.  I think I am glad there is a fence separating us.

I also spent an hour making a birthday card for my Dad.  Why not just buy one?  Good question.  If I know him, and I think I do, he will have to be prodded to even open the envelope and then will say something like “that’s good, dear” as he sets it aside.   He’ll be 93 and his life of eating candy and ice cream as the majority of his diet should give us all hope.

And now, quite suddenly, I have lost my ambition to write.  Instead I’m thinking ahead to what to make for supper, what do I have to get done tomorrow, where is that list I was writing, what kind of pumpkin carving am I going to do this year, and on and on.  I see cartoons sometimes about women having all these millions of thoughts all going through our minds at once and I think “yes!  It’s exactly like that sometimes!”   I don’t want to say men are simple, but it seems that women’s and men’s brains are wired totally differently in this respect.  Which reminds me, there is a meteor shower going on that peaks late Thursday night/Friday morning, around 2 AM.  What was it that reminded me, you may wonder?  The women and men thing, and that led to the Women are from Venus, Men are from Mars thing, which led to the cosmos which led to meteors.  And you had to ask???

Over and out, for now.