We had some great spring weather last month.  Then April hit and it’s been pretty much downhill ever since.  All the snow was gone at one point, but now we’ve had at least two occasions where it snowed enough to turn our world white again.  Yesterday it snowed like crazy and even the roads were covered.  Today we’ve got a high of 46 degrees and rain.  What’s that saying about New Hampshire weather?  Wait a minute and it will change.

As usual my good intentions on blogging more often have gone by the wayside, which means I’ll try now to catch up.

Last Sunday we had the BOAF (Birds of a Feather) Spring Bird Mart in Manchester, NH, and we had a vendor’s table at the event.  Vendor setup starts at 7:30 AM, so I had to get up at 4:00 in order to get the birds done and then move the ones that were going to the show into their small cages which I have purchased  for that purpose. The cages are then part of the sale so that I don’t have to worry about catching the birds and putting them into a box or whatever.  I don’t care to have any escapees to worry about.  I had these cages all ready the day before so that all I had to do was catch the appropriate bird and place him into the right cage.  We needed to leave here at 6:00, and were pretty much right on schedule.  I am thankful that Alex (my son) is living here again and would be able to “dog-sit” and keep an eye on things.

This was our setup at the show:

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I didn’t have that many birds for sale this time, and I felt like I’d be more than happy to bring back home anybody that didn’t sell.  I had three pairs of parrotlets there and only one pair sold.  Of the two that didn’t sell, I just set up one pair today.  They are a proven pair that give me nice clutches of turquoise kids.  The other pair is a young pair consisting of two of my handfed kids from unrelated clutches.  I raised them at the same time and they grew up together and have been together their whole lives, so they are very bonded at this point.  I can’t wait to set them up in a few months and see how they do!  I have high hopes for them being a great pair.   I had a couple society finches, which always seem to sell, and did.  I also sold two male sibling gouldian finches that were lovely birds, but I really had to try to thin down the numbers a bit.  A single pair of gouldians that I brought did not sell, which did surprise me but doesn’t break my heart.  🙂

We had toys this time as well, which are just like the ones I make for my own guys.  Those are on the left side of the table on the display rack.  On the rack on the right side are the wooden keyracks, etc. that we make.  We also have necklaces and clocks.  All the wooden stuff is handcrafted by Scott and handpainted by me.  We both really enjoy making this stuff.

We did ok at the show and it was well worth the day spent there, however the weather was horrible!   We always ask for the spot near the side door, which is used for unloading vehicles and bringing stuff into the room.  Well Sunday was snowy and there was a biting wind that wouldn’t quit.  Not a good time to be next to a door that was constantly opened.  Luckily the birds had been transported inside a large box and we had a throw over the whole thing.  Once I had them on the table, we used the throw on the back and top of the cages to keep the wind off them.  The display rack on that side  also blocked a lot of the wind.  I suspect the weather did keep some people from attending, though.

I had planned to pull the two baby parrotlets when we got home, and would have done it several days sooner had it not been for the show.  The parents are my pied parrotlets, and they are better parents than they were the first time but still not as good as I’d like.  Pied birds, however, are very appealing to me since you never know exactly what they will look like.  They did have four fertile eggs this time, so that was good.  One didn’t make it out of the shell, though.  The membrane dried up and he died during the attempt.  The second chick did hatch but died the next day.  The next chick they took great care of and was already decent-sized when the final chick hatched.  This last kid did not get fed as well as his bigger and more insistent sibling, so he’s been on the small side.  I pulled the kids Sunday night and had to feed every two hours to try to get the smaller chick on the right track.  It’s been four days now and I can finally say at this point that he’s doing fantastic now!

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He and his older sibling look great!

We have some repairs we need to do to the big flight cage in the dining room, and plan to finally get to that this weekend.  That cage is one that Scott built back when Alex was probably about 3 years old.  I still remember Scott bringing it inside and what a job it was to get that sucker up on the wall!  It’s about 9′ long and 3′ high, and maybe a foot and a half deep or so.  Three windows across the front.  Actually, a picture is worth a thousand words, as they say, so…

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This is probably about 26 or 27 years old, and we’ve never had to repair anything on it.  Till now.  The plywood below the windows has been splitting due to years of enthusiastic bathing.  And the board at the lowest point should be replaced due to it having been chewed (on the left side) by hookbills that were temporarily housed near enough that they could reach it and do what hookbills do best.

It may not seem like much of a job, but I think it’s going to be more work than expected.  It’s about time to pull all the finches and do a thorough cleaning before putting different guys in the flight anyway.  I do this every 3 to 6 months.  Right now there are 8 gouldian finch kids in there that need to be banded (open bands, for my own identification) and moved to another cage to finish coloring up.  The next group to come into this flight is going to be all my parrot finches, to see if a colony setting might result in any breeding.  So this is on the “to do” list for Saturday.

Another biggie on the list is moving things around in the birdroom in anticipation of adding Winnie, the female grey we picked up a month ago.   Her quarantine is over this weekend, and we will be moving her next to Griff (her intended mate) – somewhere where they can see each other and “talk” but not touch.  I’m still not exactly sure where this is going to transpire.  But the hope is that in a few weeks they will be put together into what is now Griff’s cage – at the same time – and will get along.  Where Griff’s cage is now, there is not enough room to add a nestbox to the side, so the room needs rearranging.  I won’t bore you with details, though I suspect I already have, but suffice to say it will be major stuff.  Alex has said he will help me, as will Scott.  Along with moving guys around, they need to have nails clipped as well, so now it becomes a big production involving toweling them and getting them all bent out of shape.  But it must be done.  I want to take the opportunity to do a bit more housekeeping inside their cages at the same time.  I’m not really looking forward to any of this, and yet I am.  I really don’t embrace change, but I believe the end result will have been worth all the effort.

It’s been a very busy week, because I’ve been taking the time to do some very thorough cage cleaning while moving guys to different cages in the inner bird room, where the small birds are.  The parrotlets needed to be moved back to the bigger cages they liked – ones that also accept the nestboxes they liked best – as I’m positive now that their breeding success is directly related to their cage and nestbox.  It may not be true of all parrotlets, but mine do not like plastic boxes.  Right now I have my blue pair set up in addition to the pair mentioned earlier.  What all this meant was lots and lots of cleaning.  The only cage left to do major cleaning on is the big finch cage in  the birdroom, and that goes along with the repair of the finch flight.  All the finches will have to be temporarily housed in other cages while I clean the cage.  This is the kind of thing where I draw it all out.  These go here; these go there; arrows to the left, and arrows to the right.  I think it looks like some convoluted football play or something, but I like to know exactly what the plan is ahead of time.

Scott is in the process of making the new nestbox for Winnie and Griff, too, and it’s coming out great.  We do a box about 24″ x 24″ x 12″ wide for the greys, and it has a divider in it horizontally, so that the bird enters then has to climb to the bottom.  When they are on the bottom, they generally will nest as far away from the gap in the divider as possible, which means they nest at the front, which is where the observation door will be.  When they are in that area it is nice and dark because of the divider over them.  Birdie heaven.  Or so we hope.

I also have chicken eggs in the incubator right now, and took the time to candle them today.  I had bought 12 eggs on ebay that are supposed to be Barred Rock bantams.  Then I added 5 eggs from our hens, hoping they might be fertile.  It looks like several of the Barred Rocks were fertile but died already.  However, it does look like there are at least 9 fertile eggs total, with at least one of those being from our own bantams.  We have another 15 days to go, so time will tell.  Buying hatching eggs that come by mail is a gamble.  They can be handled roughly by the post office and “scrambled” in the process.  But I don’t know of anyone with the type of eggs I want, so we take the gamble.  Fingers crossed!  I just hope some hatch, because it was really a wonderful experience to watch them in the incubator.  🙂