This past weekend was incredibly busy but also very productive. With Winnie’s quarantine ending, it was important to get the birdroom ready for her and Griff’s impending introduction. To that end, I needed to get Griff moved from his regular cage to a smaller cage, which would then be put next to Winnie on a table . Griff’s nails would be clipped first as well, which meant toweling him, and is something he enjoys about as much as I enjoy doing it. Luckily I had the help of my son for all this. At the same time, Scott was going to be working on the dining room flight cage. Two boards needed to be replaced, which is not too bad considering that flight has been there for over 25 years without having to be repaired. I was waiting for the youngest gouldian finch kids to be ready to separate from their parents, and the time had finally come. Scott had already cut the boards and I had stained them several weeks ago, but one of those pieces is where several doors are located, so it was a lot more involved than it may seem.
On Saturday morning, after breakfast, I caught all the finches from the flight and placed them into a holding cage. As the baby gouldians were caught, I applied open bands for identification purposes. Once all the birds were removed, Scott was left to work on the flight while Alex and I tackled the birdroom.
Griff was toweled, his nails clipped, and he was placed in a small cage which I had gotten ready the day before. We had set up a table off the dining room, in a space known to us as the “upper deck”, and Winnie was placed there in her cage with Griff set up about 5″ away. There were no signs of hostility at all. No aggression. In fact, they both gravitated to the side closest to the other cage. So far, so good.
Back in the birdroom, Griff’s empty cage was now cleaned completely, and then outfitted with new toys and made ready for the future pair. That cage had to be moved to an opposite wall, too. This meant a bookcase had to be moved to the place where that cage used to be, and a table had to be removed completely. A birdroom has dust in places you really don’t see, until you start moving things that don’t normally get moved. I’m sure I should have been wearing a dust mask, but wasn’t. The table we removed used to hold a small TV as well as a small aquarium (another thing I had taken down before the weekend so as to not waste time) and containers holding various parrot foods. All this needed to find a new home. I could go on and on (and I usually do!) describing all the changes, but let’s just say it’s one of those deals where if you move “A” you can’t just move it to “B” because the stuff already at “B” has to go somewhere, too. Possibly people that have bare walls and shelves with only one or two items on them don’t have these issues. It has ALWAYS been an issue for me, because I like STUFF. LOL.
Once that cage was done, Scott took a break from the flight cage repairs and attached the nestbox he had recently made. As he has done in the past, instead of a hole the birds can fit through, he drilled 3 holes in the middle of where the opening would be and we will leave it to them to work on this and enlarge it enough for them to fit through. This is a great way for them to bond and will also keep her from entering the box too soon. This is the cage all set to go:
Next on the agenda was cleaning the two big parrot cages. Cages get cleaned three times a week, but just the basics. I clean the trays and replace the papers and scrape off the grates. Dishes for food and water also get cleaned daily. So this cleaning was the major cleaning, where you have to remove the birds and practically crawl INTO the cage to reach all the back and side surfaces and clean them. We’re talking about using various putty knives and lots of antibacterial wipes. The cages may not look totally new, but they are as close as I can get! So to accomplish this, I started with the congos and we caught each one and clipped the nails and then put them temporarily into the cage destined for Griff and Winnie. Nobody was impressed, believe you me! There is nothing quite like a distressed parrot under a towel, saying “it’s okay” in a very soft voice. Once Ruby and Cosmo were clipped and in the other cage, I tackled their cage. After that it was Ziggy and Paco’s turn.
Paco was wild-caught and is a beast. He would just as soon bite me as look at me, too, which doesn’t help. With the other big guys, they will come out and go to the floor, albeit with a bit of “encouragement”, where we then drop a heavy towel over them and move them to the kitchen counter for clipping. Paco flops to the floor and immediately begins thrashing around like a loon. Plus he tries to get under anything he can. It is a bit of a nightmare just catching and toweling him, and he is now missing about 12 feathers from the whole ordeal. Did I mention how much I hate doing this? Alex, my son, was an enormous help with all this. Once you get the bird toweled, you still have to fight to clip the nails. The greys are really strong, and some of them, like Paco, do nothing to make it easier. They ball up their feet and it takes a real force to unfurl a toe and get to the toenail. Of course Paco had to be the one that bled. If it were that easy to get blood from a nail when I am taking blood for DNA sexing, it would be great!
At some point I also had to clean the finch flight that Scott was now done repairing. That means all the nests come out and get cleaned, the walls get cleaned, etc. I had planned on putting all my parrot finches in this time to see how they’d do in a colony situation. I am pleased to say all six are getting along great and look fantastic in there.
I had hoped all this stuff would be done Saturday, but it was not to be. As it got later and later, it was obvious that this was going to be a two-day job. Supper that night was all from the freezer, too! I was beat. Covered in dust. I had seeds – and I’m sure much worse – in my hair. A shower felt great.
Remember the show that used to be on with cousins Balki and Larry? Perfect Strangers. Did you ever see the episode where they go to the gym and overdo it by working out for hours – I think to impress a girl or something? Later they can barely move. Everything hurts. They move tiny bits with an “ow” at each movement. That episode is one that stuck with Scott and I for all these years, so that whenever we are really, really sore we say we have “Balki feet” or whatever, LOL. Well that is how I felt after this day of cleaning! I sat down to eat supper and when I went to get up after EVERYTHING hurt! I’ll be 60 in a few weeks and at times like this, I sure feel it! Getting up Sunday – and it had to be at 7 AM to feed the baby parrotlets – I was immediately reminded of just how sore I was.
I had cleaned all the cages in the inner birdroom during the week, and moved guys around as needed. The parrotlets got their bigger cages back and two pair now have nestboxes as well. I’m glad I had done all that during the week. Sunday the biggest chore was to catch all the finches in the one big cage in the inner birdroom and then clean that cage. Again, I was inside a cage up to my waist and in the most awkward positions. It finally got done and birds got moved back.
To thank Alex and Scott for all the help, I made fried chicken breast strips for supper that night. It was nice to finally be able to sit and relax, but again, you really don’t know how sore you are till you take a break! I had Balki-EVERYTHING! When it hurts to roll over in bed, you’re in tough shape. I can finally say today, Wednesday, that I am beginning to feel decent again. Yay!!!
I may actually try putting Winnie and Griff into their cage in the birdroom this weekend, too, since they seem to be fine with each other. It would be great if they actually get along!
The parrotlet kids are doing really well, too. Getting some nice color coming in. The older one is a hen and I think the younger one is a male. I should be able to tell for sure in the next few days. He looks like he may show quite a bit of pied, too, where she shows basically none.
Cuties, aren’t they?
The chicken eggs only have 8 more days to go, too. Probably more like 6 or 7, since the bantys always seem to hatch a day or two early. Of the 17 eggs in the incubator, I think at least 9 are viable. Should be exciting again if they hatch!
After cold and rather dreary weather for the past week, it’s finally beginning to improve. We hit 47 degrees today and it’s been sunny all day, too. They are teasing us with the promise of 70 degrees this Sunday. Up here in God’s country we can expect about 10 degrees less, but if we hit 60 it will be time to celebrate! There are some hot dogs in the freezer just itching to sacrifice themselves on the BBQ!