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03-21-16: Playing Catch Up — March 21, 2016

03-21-16: Playing Catch Up

As usual, far too much time has passed since my last blog entry.  I have good intentions, but then life gets in the way and the time just evaporates.  I have some time right this minute, so let’s get to it!

We have a new addition to the household.  Winnie, previously known as Darwin, is a 19-year-old female Timneh African Grey.  We picked her up a couple of weeks ago.  I had been searching for an unrelated female to pair up with the male I had kept from my breeding pair, Ziggy and Paco.  Griff is now four-years-old and I figured it would be an ideal time to find him a girlfriend.  I originally had wanted a hen up to ten years old, but was having no real success with that.  So when Winnie came into the picture I figured we’d go see her and decide then.

Have you ever seen one of those stories on the news where somebody has driven into the ocean because their GPS told them to?  Like me, you’ve probably also thought what fools they are.  Not that we actually drove off into someone’s yard, mind you, but had we been those people that believe the GPS without actually looking at where we’re going, that’s where we’d have ended up.  Back to civilization and a phone call later and we were back on target.

The first glimpse of Winnie was actually no glimpse at all.  She was in a corner cage and her owner puts newspaper ON TOP OF the grate (we won’t even get into that here, save to say it’s one of my biggest pet peeves) and Winnie had shoved the grate far enough from the back walls of the cage that she could weasel down into the nice, dark tray area below.  Apparently this is what she would do to make herself a nice nest area in which to lay eggs.

That pretty much clinched it for me.  Winnie needed to come home with us.

Briefly we wondered if she’d ever make it that far, as getting her into our crate consisted of her owner going INTO her cage with a towel to try to grab her.  Not how we’d have tackled things, but whatever.  Eventually she was transferred to our travel crate with all body parts still intact, money was exchanged, and Winnie left with us.

When we got her home, we put the crate on the floor and opened the door and stepped back to give her space.  She stepped out onto the door and climbed to the top of it, waiting with a foot out. Yes, she was literally extending a foot and kind of waving it around, wanting to step up. Scott reached down and asked her to “step up” and she did.  We needed to double-check her band info as well as clip a few super-long nails, so we wanted her on the counter.  She would not simply step off onto the counter, however, but instead really wanted to go up Scott’s arm to higher ground.  He would have her step up to the opposite hand and try again with the same result.  We then put a towel on the counter and she felt secure enough to step onto that.  She did immediately glide down to the floor, though, where I unceremoniously dropped another towel over her.  Scott grabbed her and put her up on the counter.  I checked the band and wrote down the info, then  clipped the nails that needed it.  Scott then put her directly into her quarantine cage.


This was Winnie on her second day home. Even from day one she was extremely calm, though.  Loved the swing right from the start, too, and would grab the cage bars on the wall in front of her and push off to gain speed!

We’d been told she was a very picky eater and would eat nothing good.  Her owner said she’d live on peanuts if you let her, and she limited her to four per day.  All I saw in her cage there was a seed dish and a water dish.  Her quarantine cage here was set up with a seed dish, water dish, dish of Petamine, and a dish of Zupreem pellets. She also had a millet and a treat stick hanging.


This is Winnie eating pellets two days after we got her.  She had already eaten from the Petamine dish as well.

We started out with her in the living room, but it was soon apparent that she enjoyed calling to the guys in the birdroom.  Or maybe she just enjoyed watching our ears bleed, LOL.  Either way, we soon moved her into the kitchen.  This has actually worked out great because we are now offering her tidbits of things more frequently than we did while she was in the living room.

We’ve found she loves bread.  Go figure.  I don’t believe any of my other greys like bread, but this girl loves it.  Not being particularly good for her, she gets a very limited amount of that!    I’ve found that first thing in the morning is the time to offer her things as she is most willing to try different things then.


Forgive the fuzzy picture, but this is Winnie actually eating a piece of an orange!  I was thrilled.  She was less impressed with apple, which surprised me as my other greys love it.  But I do know that Winnie is not so set in her ways as we had thought, and if she is already trying and eating these different things, I am sure that once we manage to get her and Griff together he will show her what she’s been missing.  He was raised here, and he will eat EVERYTHING!

The plan is that after April 3rd (we have a bird show we are doing that day for BOAF) we will be rearranging the birdroom so that Griff’s current cage will be able to accommodate a nestbox.  The birdroom is not huge, so this means moving several things around.  In the end I believe it will be a good thing.   We will also have to set up a similar cage to Winnie’s quarantine cage for Griff, so that we can keep them side-by-side for a while so they can get acquainted.  After a week or two, depending on how it seems to be going, the plan is to put them both into Griff’s current cage that will have been completely rearranged and outfitted with new toys.  It needs to be as if they are both going into a new environment together.  Then we hold our breaths and pray that no feathers fly!


This weekend I had a baby gouldian fledge in the big dining room flight cage.  There is only one pair of goulds in there and they have had two clutches for a total of seven kids now.  I haven’t pulled anyone in hopes that the kids would color out faster in that setting.  Next thing I knew I was hearing babies again from the gouldian nestbox.  I had not expected the babies to fledge for several more days, so it was a surprise to see a little one on the floor of the flight.  We no longer heard any kids begging in the nest, and in fact this little one didn’t seem to be begging – or getting fed – either.

So I grabbed him a couple times on Saturday and got him to take a bit of food.  Finally on Sunday afternoon I saw an owl finch feeding him, and then shortly after one of his older siblings from one of the earlier clutches was feeding him.  I had Scott take the nestbox out for me because I feared there might be a dead sibling or two in there, and that was why the parents no longer were going near the box and also why this little one fledged early.  Nothing in the box but a few old eggs and a very elaborate nest.  I cleaned the box and added some more nesting material and Scott put it back.  Apparently this was a lone chick, which explains the loss of interest by the parents.  One chick is often neglected because the laws of nature say it’s better for them to expend the energy on a full clutch.

This morning, Monday, I grabbed the little one again, because we didn’t like the way his feet looked.  We’d noticed it this weekend, but at that time it was really unclear whether or not this guy was going to have a fighting chance or not, so I didn’t want to mess with his feet, too.  Today I took the time to really check the feet out and found that he had slipped claw.  This is when the toe that is supposed to extend to the back is actually bent to the front with the other three.  So I taped that one toe back along the shank of his leg.  Usually if you can keep it that way for several days the problem will correct itself.  I did both legs and now just hope it stays put.


These are some of the kids in the flight, and also Mom (third from left on lower perch) and a yellow canary.


A few more kids with both Dad (top perch far left) and Mom (top perch far right) and also that yellow canary that loves to hop into every picture!  Between Mom and Dad you can see that one of their sons is coloring out nicely, though still has a ways to go.


There is one more addition today as well. My pied parrotlets have hatched a baby out.  I hope he makes it.  They do have two more eggs to go as well.


Our big predicted snowstorm (a foot was the initial prediction about five days ago) ended up being about an inch up here, and the sun has since come out and the bulk of it is now gone.  I must say, it doesn’t break my heart.  I am more than looking forward to spring weather and things popping out of the ground.  There is nothing like the joy of being able to go outside without a coat.  I don’t mean a quick jaunt to the mailbox or the chicken coop, because I do that coatless most of the winter anyway!   Oh!  And riding in the car without a coat!  Love that feeling, too.  It may only be 36 degrees here right now, but the sun is out, the snow is melting, and it looks like spring to me!


We went to see a great comedian this past Saturday night at the Flying Monkey in Plymouth.  Bob Marley is his name, and he is a riot!  He’s from Maine, and let’s face it, Maine humor and NH humor are pretty much the same.  We loved it.  We’ve seen him probably half a dozen times now, and have never been disappointed.  We don’t get out much, LOL, but this guy makes it worthwhile.


I guess that pretty much catches me up to date.  Bet you didn’t know you’d be getting a small book, did you?   Thanks for reading, and enjoy the weather!