nitaguru

Bird breeder's thoughts on whatever…

12-15-16: Baby, it’s cold outside — December 15, 2016

12-15-16: Baby, it’s cold outside

We’ve been pretty lucky so far this winter.  I know, technically winter hasn’t actually started yet according to the calendar but, let’s face it, it’s winter in NH.  We had about 7″ of snow a few days ago, so we are certainly looking like winter.  But we have been lucky thus far.  Temps had been in the high 20’s up here and to me, that’s nothing to complain about.  We are, however, in for a change.  It’s already started and only going to get worse tomorrow.  14 degrees right now and the wind is just howling!  The scanner is warning of white-out conditions and we are having our own out here every few minutes.

I went out to check on the chickens and the wind suddenly kicked up so I couldn’t even see the coop 20 feet ahead of me!  I also watched as the relentless wind blew over a pole that was stuck in the ground with a solar light on top.  When I finally made my way over to the chicken coop I found all of them inside except for the one “puffhead” that has been picked on lately.  She was out in their yard, in the area under the coop where we have plexiglass or wood over the fencing for a winter wind buffer.  I suspect it will not be too difficult to coax them all inside tonight.  Tomorrow is expected to be about 20 below zero with the wind-chill.  We don’t mind the snow and “normal” cold, but this bitter cold stuff is the pits.

I’m happy to say that my hubby is finally getting better!  He had the flu really bad in November and it knocked him out for about two weeks.  When we finally thought he was getting better it nailed him again about a week later.  A month of being incapacitated is too much, and scary as well, so although we don’t “do” doctors, he went this past Monday.  He was told that the flu will sometimes mutate to a different variant which will then hit you when the original bout is pretty much over.  Or the flu can lead to pneumonia or another bacterial infection.  He was given antibiotics and is now feeling much better, he just has to take it really easy to regain his strength.  Fingers are crossed, but I hope this is the end of it and he can enjoy life again.

The baby Timneh African Greys are doing really well.  I was so afraid I was going to lose that youngest one, in particular.  To think he was only 10 grams and cold and a bit stiff… and now he’s 27 days old and 138 grams!   I feel very fortunate.  Aren’t they adorable?121516compilation

I love having the Christmas tree up!   This one does a very subtle, gradual change, from a soft white to pastel colors and finally to bright colors.  I remember the old days of flashing lights and, while I loved those at the time, this gradual morphing is really nice.  My tree has mostly homemade decorations, but there are a few oldies from when I was a kid as well as a bunch of glitzy, glittery BIRDS.  Glitz and glitter are good at Christmas, and it makes for a nice mix on the tree.  The tree is usually up for about a month, and I remember when that seemed like a long time.  Now it seems as if that month flies by and I could easily leave it up for another month and not be sick of it.  However, I do love getting the space back as well.  I’ve always thought it would be really cool to win Megabucks and be so rich you could have a huge house with big rooms and have many trees at Christmas, all with different themes.  Maybe have a really stunning tree that had it’s own room where it could just stay up all year round and lift your spirits whenever you felt a bit down.  🙂

I’d like to wish a Merry Christmas to all who may be reading this.  Happy holidays, happy Quanza, Happy Hanukkah… whatever you may celebrate!  And you can wish me a happy “whatever” as well, because it’s the sentiment that counts, not the particular name.  Let’s all hope and pray for a wonderful new year as well.  If we could all try to be just a little bit nicer, think how much better the world could be.

Nita

www.nitasnest.com

Advertisements
11-29-16: Once in a Blue Moon — November 29, 2016

11-29-16: Once in a Blue Moon

Apparently that is how often I write a blog now.  Once in a blue moon.  What can I say?  I have good intentions but life seems to be way too busy most of the time.  The people that say “if I stayed home all day I’d be bored to death” are totally insane in my book.  I find myself wishing each day was twice as long.  However, I am here and determined to write.  I have given this no forethought, so we’ll just see where it takes us, shall we?

Last month we did the BOAF (Birds of a Feather) bird show in Manchester.  I had spent several weeks preparing our products  in terms of making new tags with a lot more info.  I also made more bird toys.  I have an etsy shop where all this stuff is offered, so making the tags and more toys was not strictly for the show.

The set-up for the show begins at 7:00 and the doors open at 9:00, so we plan to get there at 7:30.  I have everything else ready the night before, but some things have to be done in the morning.  It’s a good hour and a half drive, so I get up at 4:00 AM so I have time to feed and water the birds plus pull the birds we’ll be bringing to sell and put them in the small cages we include with each of them.  Scott gets to sleep an extra hour.  We have to be out of here by 6:00 AM.  It’s a long day.  Alex (our son) comes up to spend the day dog-sitting.

We did ok at the show.  I sold all the gouldians I brought, but not the 3 canaries, so those had to come back home and be quarantined.  I was also given an English budgie at the show, so that also had to be quarantined.  Quarantine is a necessary evil, but I really hate it.  It means odd cages in the house, wherever I can stick them, which means extra cleaning and more work as part of the daily bird maintenance.  I’ll be glad when it’s over!

The rest of October was uneventful.  November started out that way as well.  The weather has been nice – certainly nicer than years past when I recall Alex trick-or-treating in a winter coat and leaving footprints in the snow!  Whether it’s truly global warming or just the cyclical weather pattern, we’ve definitely had warmer – and longer – springs and falls than we used to, and I’m loving that.

So all was going along fine until November 11th, when Scott came home from work not feeling well.  He went to bed really early, and it soon became apparent that he had the flu. For years and years we had gotten flu shots and never gotten the flu, but in the past several years the paranoia from hearing all the tin hat conspiracy theories about the flu shots had convinced us not to get them anymore.  So of course, Scott gets the flu.  And boy did it hit him hard!  He spent almost the next two weeks in bed, miserable.  (Thanks to a friend that had told us his doctor said it was safe to take four when needed, since it was the only thing that finally gave Scott some relief from the pounding head that was keeping him from truly resting.) I went through almost two full cans of Lysol spray, constantly spraying down every surface where he’d been!  I have birds to take care of and just can’t afford to be sick like that.  For what it’s worth, the Lysol must have worked because I did NOT get sick!

I should mention here that while he was sick as a dog, my Timneh African Grey pair hatched out chicks on the 13th, 14th, and the 18th.  It’s unusual for them to hatch three, so this was great.  They appeared to be taking great care of the kids as well.  I planned to pull the kids around the end of the month, since I was hoping to get the youngest to about ten days old first.

By the beginning of the week of Thanksgiving, Scott finally started to come around.  He was able to spend some time upright, which was a nice change.  He’d lost twenty pounds over the course of this flu!   It was also during this recovery time that he had been sitting at the table, with a piece of toast in front of him and his four ibuprofen when disaster hit.  No need to gross you out, but let’s just say the ibuprofen didn’t go down well.  Or at all.  We’ll jump ahead to Scott in the shower, cleaning up, and a pile of clothes on the bathroom floor.  I gingerly picked those up to throw in the laundry, but first deposited them on the floor by the washer to check the pockets.  (I have washed many a paper towel in my life and frankly there are any number of things I’d rather do than pick off millions of pieces of paper towel from all the clean clothes.)   At this point, there was one shirt left on the floor.  Spotticus comes trotting in, grabs something from the shirt and CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH immediately eats it and leaves the room.  Oh no!  Spot no doubt has found the missing ibuprofen.

I run to boot up my PC to see if ibuprofen will hurt a dog, and of course find it is highly toxic.  This reminds me that I believe this happened on Sunday, because I knew the vet would not be open.  OK, so I now need to make Spot throw up to get this out of him before it destroys his kidneys.  More searching.  Hydrogen peroxide will make a dog throw up.  One teaspoon per ten pounds of dog weight.  Spot is 11 pounds.  I grab the hydrogen peroxide and grab Spot.  Easier said than done.  I’m panicking totally at this point and he senses something is up and is NOT cooperating at all.  But finally I grab him and dribble the stuff onto his lips and he is forced to ingest it.  Nothing happens, except for him giving me a look which killed me.  Like, Mama, why are you forcing something horrible into me?

Back to the PC.  The hydrogen peroxide may take 20 minutes to work. If it doesn’t you can dose them up to 3 times.  So 20 minutes go by and I grab him again.  This time the look he gave me was just horrible and made me feel so bad.  He’s my baby.  😦     But I do what has to be done and five minutes later I see the familiar signs of a dog ready to heave and let him outside where he promptly empties his stomach.

I spent the rest of the day and the next several days watching him like a hawk to make sure nothing was amiss.  Thankfully, I got him in time and he was OK.  I hate to think what could have happened if I hadn’t seen – or heard – him eating that pill.

By Tuesday Scott was able to eat a bit more.  He wanted cereal.  Rice Krispies.  Go figure.  But up till then he’d been eating mainly yogurt.  Again, go figure.  With me, anything with milk would be the last thing I’d want!  So I went to the store and got a variety of soups, more ginger ale, and cereal.  I had looked in at the timneh chicks and taken the daily picture and all was well.  Things were looking up!  Wednesday that changed.

When I check the babies, Ziggy (the mom) is generally covering them  and I can’t see anything.  If I talk softly to her and back up a bit, she will usually back up off of the kids and let me take a look (and a quick picture) and then go cover them again.  She moved off and I see the three kids have empty crops and are sitting on the bare wood floor of the box.  The shavings had been moved away in that area, probably by her or perhaps Paco, the dad.  Either way, the chicks now were in danger.  The little one, in particular, looked bad.   So I exited the birdroom but watched from outside the door.  Within minutes Ziggy exited the box.  I rushed in and grabbed the kids and left.

I hadn’t planned to pull them this soon, so the brooder was not warmed up.  I put the kids into a Cool Whip container with shavings and put them into the brooder and cranked up the temp.  The temperature was up to 86 degrees within a couple of hours, and once the kids were nice and toasty I took them out to weigh them and try to feed them.

A few numbers here…  oldest chick was 10 days old and weighed 46 grams; middle chick was 9 days old and 32 grams; and the little guy was only 5 days old and weighed a mere 10 grams.  I was really concerned about him.  His down was not fluffy at this point and he was kind of an ashen gray.  Also there was not a lot of movement from him.  The other two didn’t look that great either, but they had some size on their side.  I started out feeding every hour, and just trying to get a few drops into the bigger kids and even a single drop into the little guy.  Let’s just say it was really touch and go for several days and it would not have surprised me at any time to find the little one dead.

As I said, this was on Wednesday, so interspersed with these feedings every hour I was also making pie, homemade rolls, and parfaits for the holiday.  Scott was doing a lot better, though still sleeping most of the day.  At some point in the afternoon I had all the goodies made and had just fed the kids when I figured I had time to set up the Christmas tree.  I bought a really nice tree last year from QVC.  An Ellen DeGeneres tree that has LED lights that you can set to morph from  white to pastel to bright colors.  Love it!  Plus it’s in 3 sections that have a contact system inside the pole part so there is no plugging them together or any of that.  Once the next section is inserted it automatically lights.  It worked great last year.  It is also so full that we had said then that it would be gorgeous even without decorations.

So I get the bottom section in place and it’s beautiful.  Lights right up.  Can you see where this is going?  I put the middle section in and …. nothing.  OK, pry it back out, try it again.  Nope.  No lights.  Put the top section on and THAT lights.  Middles section, no lights on. I am not a happy camper.  Why can’t things just WORK like they are supposed to????

Of course I have the original paperwork, plus I go on my PC and find the original order info and print that out.  I find the number of the company that makes the tree and call them.  I am on hold for many, many minutes, listening to too-loud Christmas music while they periodically tell me how important I am.  Finally I get a human and explain the issue.  He had me try plugging the middle section into the plug at the base of the wall outlet plug, which showed us that the section DID work that way.  I must say, he was a nice guy.  He said he’d had one other customer with this same issue, but apparently it’s not that common.  He asked if I had the warranty card there.  I did.  I’m efficient that way.  🙂  I found it interesting that he had me read one of the lines from the card in order to verify I had the card and was entitled to the warranty.  Rather odd because I was able to register the tree online and not send in the card.  Good thing I’d kept it.  Anyway, a new middle section is on the way and in fact should be arriving today.  Better still, he was able to tell me that if I unscrewed the cap from the end of the light string at the top of the tree and could plug the middle section into that, it would all work till the new section came.  I had to unravel the lights on one branch in order to get the plug to reach, but as he pointed out, that section will be trashed anyway so who cares?   So it worked.  And we were right last year – the tree IS pretty enough even without any ornaments!  I didn’t want to decorate it because I want to be sure it works correctly with the new middle section when it arrives.  Then I can decorate it.

We had a nice Thanksgiving with Alex.  It was like the old days since Alex is single this year.   Had a great meal and then watched holiday movies, beginning with our classic favorite, Home for the Holidays.  If you haven’t seen this movie, find it and watch it.  We watch every single year and I swear I find some new little nuance every year.  That was followed by our other classic, Christmas Vacation.  It’s just not Thanksgiving without those two movies.  Of course every hour we had to pause while I fed the kids!

The kids finally began to improve to the point where I was cautiously optimistic, especially about the youngest one, on the 26th.  They began to gain weight and all three were fluffy and nice and pink.  Yesterday they were really doing well and I think we are out of the woods now.  The littlest one weighed 24 grams yesterday!  That was a total gain of 140% since I had pulled them five days earlier!   Today they are 16, 15, and 11 days old and weigh 72, 56, and 28 grams respectively.  They have a diary where you can watch their progress, too.

That pretty much brings us up to date here.  My my, I do love to talk, don’t I?  Amazing how carried away I can get.

Oh, one last thing.  Someone asked me last week if any of the angelfish I’d been trying to raise had actually made it or not.  We ended up with one survivor out of the first spawn, and when I say “first” I think it was actually the third spawn, but the first one where I kind of knew what I was supposed to be doing and where I finally was having some luck in raising the baby brine shrimp the fry needed to eat to survive.  From the next spawn we had eight survivors!  They got to be about nickel-sized before I moved them into the 29-gallon community tank and are doing great.  The angels spawned again (they are like rabbits!) at the beginning of November, and there are currently close to twenty fry still alive.  Bear in mind that I’m only using a five-gallon tank for the kids, when they would be doing so much better in a bigger tank.  I just don’t really have the space.  If there was a definite outlet for kids I might be inclined to try a bit harder, but I don’t really relish the idea of a half dozen aquariums crammed in here just for a return of maybe a dollar per fish!  However, the whole experience has been really cool and I’m so glad I kept at it till I got it right.

NOW I think we are caught up!  And a timer is telling me it’s again time to feed babies!

Nita

www.nitasnest.com

 

 

9-27-16: Long time, no blog — September 27, 2016

9-27-16: Long time, no blog

It’s been almost a month since my last blog, so today I’m just going to put my email on hold for a bit and get to it.

First on my mind is last night’s debate between Trump and Clinton, our two less-than-stellar choices for president.  I don’t normally comment on politics here because I don’t believe anyone ever really changes another person’s opinion and, since the country is divided pretty much in two politically, I am almost guaranteed to piss off half the people.  But, what the heck.

We watched the debate, or at least I watched it in its entirety while Scott I think watched the back of his eyelids for the last 10 minutes or so.  My take-away was pretty much that I still wish there was another viable alternative but since there is not then Trump gets my vote.  Sure, there are a couple other names out there, but no way are they going to win and I refuse to throw away my vote.  This election is too important.  The country is already so far removed from the America I grew up in that we just can’t afford four more years continuing down that path.

Was everything great when I grew up?  No, but there was always the truth that no matter who you were or how you grew up, if you worked hard and never gave up you COULD make something of yourself and get ahead.  That no longer seems to be the case.  Government is bigger than ever and promises to continue on that path unless something changes.  Individual long-held rights seem to be in jeopardy, even as rights are granted to the most far-fetched circumstances and situations.  It’s not ok for a kid to read a bible in school but it’s ok to teach Islam.  A kid mentions a “brownie” at snack time and is reprimanded for racist talk.  The world is crazy.  Common sense is in short supply.

At any rate, I doubt very much anyone had their opinion changed due to last night’s debate.  If you were for Hillary at the start, you likely ended that way.  Same for Trump.  I wish Trump had been less distracted by her attacks so that he might have gotten in more of his own points, but it was his first such debate and hopefully he will allow himself to be a bit more schooled for the next two.  It was plain that Hillary had done a LOT of practicing and she managed to get all her attack points out there.  This is not her first rodeo and it showed.

I was not surprised last night after the debate to hear most of the pundits give the victory to Hillary, though many conceded that Trump had not really done himself much damage, either.  I was surprised a short time ago to read online that many polls taken after the debate gave Trump the win.  Really?  Maybe that just goes along with my thoughts that the debates really don’t change any minds.  This morning, Good Morning America seemed to echo last night’s pundits in saying Hillary had won.  Then one of the women on GMA made a comment about Trump’s language, and how she had to look up “braggadocious” because she thought he’d made it up.  That caused me to shake my head a bit.  Really?  Of course that is a legit word!  But before I start thinking I’m clever, I thought his use of “bigly” – which he has said before – was an error.  Time for me to have a red face because I just checked and it IS a word!  Who knew?  It just doesn’t sound right to me but, he is no fool and despite what one may think of him, he is a smart man.

Speaking of all the politics of late, who is sick to death of the phone calls and polls?  I usually don’t mind most of them.  Especially when they are the recorded type where you can simply hit a button for your response.  The ones where you are stuck speaking to a live human who often cannot pronounce the candidates’ names (especially when it comes to the local elections – can you say Ayotte?) are getting annoying.  Sunday night we had a call after 8:00, asking for my son, who is currently staying with us.  He did not want to spend the time on a polling call so I passed that on and hung up.  He gets up early to go to work, so he’s in bed usually by 9:30.  Around 10:45 the same people called for him again.  I rushed to grab the phone since by then hubby was also in bed asleep.  They asked for Alex, and I said, “Don’t you think it’s a wee bit late to be calling?”   The man said, “I’m sorry, Ma’am, but we have to get a certain number of calls in before they let us leave.”   I said, “well it’s too late.  Goodnight.”  After I fed the kids at 11:00 I went to bed.  About 20 minutes later the phone woke me.  Same damn people.   I hissed into the phone, ” if you people call here again tonight I will SCREAM.  People are trying to sleep here!”    That’s crazy that they expect these folks to make calls into the late night hours.  Even crazier that they can imagine it will put anyone into the right frame of mind for answering their multitude of questions.

I’m also very tired of the polls that are so obviously slanted for one candidate.  You know the ones.  They ask if you’re voting for A or B.  I say B, the republican.  Then you get the qualifiers… “If I told you that candidate B was recently convicted of murdering baby seals and torturing puppies, would that make a slight difference, more of a difference, or no difference at all in your vote?”     OK, I took some liberties with the question, but that is the gist.  I guess that’s enough politics.  I know it’s about all I can stand.

We had our first good frost yesterday morning.  The furnace even kicked on!  We had brought all the houseplants onto the porch the night before and bug bombed.  That way anything that might have found a home on the plants during the summer doesn’t come into the house.  Yesterday I hung up the hanging plants.  I have a few bigger houseplants that will wait a few more days.  Have to do a bit of rearranging to fit them back in.

The garden was better than many years but not as great as it could have been.  I already have my plan for next year, which boils down to more tomatoes and pumpkins and less squash (except for Kuta).  I’m done trying for cukes.  They just don’t do well up here and they are so cheap locally it’s a waste of space and effort. The only pumpkins that grew for me this year were the small, cooking-types.  I got three of those. So they are out in the front entryway along with some mums.  A last bit of color before it turns much colder.

The trees are just beginning to turn up here as well.  The summer has been so much drier than normal I wonder how the foliage is going to be this year.  So far I’m seeing some maroons but no yellows or oranges.

I’m feeding the last clutch of parrotlets for the year.  Unless the greys do something this may be it for handfeeding for a bit.  I can’t say I’d mind a break.  I’ve been handfeeding continuously for quite a few months straight now.  There may be some news on the bird front soon, too.  A possible addition to the flock.  I’ll leave with that teaser hanging in the air.

Until next time, make sure you smell the roses.

Nita

Nita’s Nest

Nita’s Nest Creations (my Etsy shop featuring SAFE bird toys and bird-themed items)

08-29-16: Bird Update — August 29, 2016

08-29-16: Bird Update

I think it’s time for an update on what’s been going on with the birds.  A few things of note happened this weekend, concerning the budgies and the African greys.

Sprite is a pretty little green pied budgie that was given to me a while ago.  Although the color of his cere is not exactly crystal clear in terms of what sex he is, we are going under the assumption that he is a male.  Since I’m keeping one of my female kids for him, that will no doubt prove to be wrong!  But for now, we’re calling Sprite a male.  So he’s been in the dining room in a cage hanging in front of the window.  It’s taken him longer than I expected to become comfortable with us.  You can see it in his stance – he’s not been totally relaxed with us.  So  this past week I had my son help me clip his wings. We found that once clipped, he would step up pretty nicely and never once tried to bite.  However, you could still see in his posture that he would probably rather be doing something else!

Yesterday I brought Sprite into the living room where the baby budgies share a cage.  I have a ladder attached to the outside front of their cage, with a perching structure suspended from the end of the ladder.  The bottom of it is still about nine inches from the floor, allowing it to swing about and the birds seem to really enjoy this.  So I let Sprite step up onto the perching area.  I opened the cage door and the kids hopped to the door to take a peek at this new green guy.  Picture all the little heads angled down and their little eyes fixed on Sprite.  It was cute. They soon came out, and eventually someone got brave enough to share that perch area and check him out up close.  Sprite took it all very well.  Stood his ground and didn’t seem too concerned.  The kids were also pretty calm about it all.  082816BlueBudgieKidandSpriteThis is the perch unit suspended from the end of the ladder.  You can still see from his stance that Sprite is not totally at ease.  When the tail is down like that you can tell he’s not as comfortable as he could be.

So we let everyone hang out for a while and then later I took the cinnamon female kid and brought her out to Sprite’s cage, and let her check it out.  Shortly after I brought Sprite in and put him back in the cage with her.  They are not exactly thrilled, but there is no animosity that I can see either, so to me it was a win-win.082916CinnamonHenAndSprite.jpgThis is mostly how they have stayed so far.  Cinnamon girl is either on the high perch or on the swing, and Sprite sits on his favorite spot.  I think soon I will find them getting to know each other and becoming friends.

As for the greys, some of you know I had bought an older female in the hopes that my boy, Griff, would win her heart and they’d go to nest at some point.  Unfortunately nobody went over this plan with Winnie, and she was having none of it.  Griff has always been a gentleman, but her…!  Not a nice girl to my boy!  Not at all.  So they’ve been together and separated twice now.  Since the last time, she’s been in a cage right next to his cage, and I do mean RIGHT NEXT TO IT.  They have done some beaking (not in a mean way) through the bars, which was encouraging.  It’s been quite a while, and most of the time they hang out near each other, with the two cage walls between them.  I’ve been leery of biting the bullet and trying them together one more time because I kept thinking that if it still didn’t work I was really going to have to face the fact that they probably would never get along.  But it was time.

I had my son help me get the swing out of Griff’s cage because that has been a problem when they were together before.  It’s a big swing and a bird on the swing can be reached by a bird on the perch at the rear of the cage.  Not good.  So Alex had Griff step up on him, he handed him off to me, then while I held Griff, Alex worked on getting the swing out.  Once that was done, I handed Griff back and Alex put him inside.  Now it was time for the beast.  She will step up from the floor, but in the cage she is not cooperative.  So I got a perch and had her step up onto that – eventually, LOL.  Actually it went pretty well, and probably took less than five minutes.  Then I put the perch, with her on it, into the cage and let her step off onto a perch.  Shut the door, crossed my fingers, and went back into the living room where I called up the camera that is trained on their cage and watched to see what would happen.

It’s been a day now, and there has been no fighting yet.  A bit of posturing, on both parts, but nothing that has made me know I need to call a halt to the cohabitation.  I just hope it continues.  Life would be much better for both of them if they had a birdy friend.

The other greys were given access to their nest boxes at the end of last month.  Ruby, the congo, has 3 eggs so far, but I’m not excited.  I’d put money on them not being fertile.  Ziggy and Paco, the timnehs, have not started a clutch yet.  I’m really hoping they have a successful nesting this time with a couple of chicks.

I have 3 parrotlets that will be going home this week, starting tomorrow.  I took a final group shot of them a little while ago.082916Plets101.102.103_01WSzThese are lovely kids.  On the left is the oldest, a male turquoise; next is a blue hen – she is the one leaving tomorrow; and on the right is a male dilute turquoise.  Beautiful kids and a very nice clutch.  I’m still bummed that I lost the youngest one, a female dilute turquoise I was going to keep.  Looking back there is nothing I’d have done differently; sometimes bad things just happen.  😦

I’m now feeding 3 kids which are the second clutch (this year) from the blue parrotlets.  They were born the 1st, 2nd, and 4th of this month, so the oldest is just four weeks old today.  I already have deposits on the two oldest, and will be keeping the youngest – a hen – unless the parents of the 3 in the pic above have another female in the clutch they are currently hatching.  I think they hatched a third baby yesterday.  Mom is extremely protective so it’s hard to tell.  I’ll be pulling those babies in another week and a half or so, so once again will be handfeeding two clutches of different ages.  That is probably it for parrotlets this year, unless the other pair I have decide to go to nest.  They have not been interested, and since it’s been so long since I’ve had a break from handfeeding I’m not too upset with that, either.

The chickens were integrated into the big coop a couple weeks ago, just after dusk.  We took each of the four kids (about 16 weeks old at the time) and I banded them while Scott held them, then he put them onto a perch in the dark coop.  The theory is that in the dark they won’t fight and will just ignore each other and sleep, and then in the morning will not really notice the newcomers.  Amazingly, this works surprisingly well.  So the four have been added to the eight with very little squabbling at all.  The lone roo is crowing pretty well now, too.

I’m starting to see some trees changing color already, which happens every August, and I’m looking forward to fall and gorgeous foliage.  I’ve had enough of the heat.  Nothing makes me happier than breaking out the sweatshirts!

Nita

Nita’s Nest

My Etsy Shop

 

08-25-16: Talk to the TV — August 25, 2016

08-25-16: Talk to the TV

Am I the only one that talks to the TV?  I hope not.  I also hope it’s less because I’m sixty and more because I’m just plain intolerant.

This morning on GMA – that’s Good Morning America for those of you not fortunate enough to get their first real news as well as fluff news of the day so late in the morning – some woman said, “I had to LITERALLY pick my mouth up off the floor!”   To which I said – to the TV – “no, you didn’t, you @$$^*#%!”   and immediately wrote it down to share later with my son, who also finds the misuse of literally to be worth a shake of the head and a chuckle, though not to the point of warranting an emphatic correction of the TV.

Another one that causes me to talk to the TV is the pillow commercial where the woman says “I was more align.”    Again, me and the TV: “AlignED!!!   With an “ED”, you idiot.”  This is one of those things that drives me nuts.  I used to be a spelling Nazi, but spelling is no longer at the top of my list of pet peeves.  It’s this weird dropping of the “ED” which seems to be really prevalent.   I don’t get it.  It does not even sound right.   I see it in print and I hear it frequently.  “I am bias.”    Uh, no, you are not.  You may be “biased” but you are clearly not “bias” in any way, shape or form.

I keep telling myself I will start a list and write it down whenever someone drops the “ED” in such a way as to make me cringe.  I suspect I would need a lot of paper, especially if I also added the “literally” faux pas to that list.

So is it the age thing, or am I just really intolerant?  I would not ever correct anyone directly for this mistake, because though I may be intolerant and rude INSIDE, I am not that way outwardly – or at least I hope not.  I don’t see any way to correct someone for this transgression without appearing to be a self-righteous snob, so I will continue to make a mental note and move on.  Precisely the opposite of what most people seem to do online, I might add!  God forbid any mistake or error online should be left untouched and without comment!

So while I do wish I was more tolerant, at least I have the decency to limit my judgement to mental notes and barking at the TV.  Not literally, mind you.  Or perhaps I should rephrase that.  “I was literally barking at the TV!”    One for my list!

Nita

Nita’s Nest

Etsy Shop, for unique bird-themed items as well as SAFE bird toys

08-12-16: RANT — August 12, 2016

08-12-16: RANT

Yes, that is RANT with all caps.  Today started out fine, but it’s only mid-afternoon and I find myself irritated beyond measure.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Scott and I were out sky-watching last night from 10 till almost 2.  It was balmy out and the sky was pretty clear.  Lots of meteors, though not the biggie they said we might experience.  Not unless that happened after 2 AM.  I found myself falling asleep a lot, for short spurts.  So when it was nearly 2 AM that seemed a good point to call it a night.  Of course at 7 AM this morning, I still had to get up to feed the babies and then dole out eggfood in the birdroom to anyone with kids.  I did go back to bed after, and slept till 9 when Scott decided it was time to start his day.  A quick shower and I was ready to get going.  So far so good.

While I was tending the birds, my mind was wandering as it usually does.  Remember, my best blogs are written then – in my mind.  Unfortunately those brilliant blogs rarely make it to the screen.  Anyway, this morning was a cage-cleaning day, and at one point a seed found it’s way into my shoe, and this was what set off my mental blog which was all about the things that annoy us.  The seed in the shoe was the start of my wandering thoughts, because I cannot stand anything in my shoe.  A grain of sand or a tiny seed – either one will drive me insane until I remove it.  Scott says it’s the Princess and the Pea all over again, and I guess it’s true.  So that set my mind off on the tangent of things that annoy.

What else drives me nuts?  Someone bringing a dish or a cup to the sink and leaving it there.  If you’ve already brought it that far, take the extra minute and wash the damn thing and stick it in the strainer.  Perhaps if I had a dishwasher this one wouldn’t irritate.  The fact is, if you’ve already made the effort of bringing something to the sink, though, how tough is it to take that lousy minute to wash it?  Especially when you know it irritates someone else?

I had a friend years ago that once went on a rant about people not pushing the chairs in at her table.  Drove her insane!  You can bet that when I visited I made damn sure to push my chair back in after getting up from the table!  I always thought that was weird, but as I was thinking about that this morning I realized all my chairs were pushed in at the table.  If people started leaving them out maybe I’d be irked, too.

I had to make a quick trip out today, which in itself is an oxymoron.  There is no such thing as a quick trip from here, since it takes a bit to get anywhere.  But anyway, on my trip I again started thinking about things that irritate.  What brought that back up?  The traffic!  So many irritating things there, let’s just pick a couple.

How about the person that drives 40 mph in the 50 mph zone and will not pull over to let me by?  Impossible to pass this time of year, with all the flatlanders up, but you could certainly pull over.  You’re obviously not in a hurry, so PULL OVER.

And this same person often will continue going 40 mph even after the speed limit changes to 35 mph.  “Steady as she goes” must be their watchword in life.

Bicyclists!?!   Oh my word.  Do you WANT to die?  MOVE OVER.  If there is a breakdown lane, why are you in the travel lane?  If there is a breakdown lane, why are you ON THE LINE?  I have no interest in dying soon, so if I was on a bike I’d be over to the right as far as possible.  Even if you are a spandex monkey with a helmet, you will probably not win in a collision with a car.  Move. Over.

OK, so the traffic got me irritated.  No doubt.  The 90-plus degrees didn’t help.  Even with AC blasting and Jim Morrison blaring, it was still an irritating ride.  So it didn’t help when yesterday’s irritations, that I thought were behind me, resurfaced.

One, Amazon.com.   Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE Amazon.  Usually.  But when they do screw up, holy moly.  What a disaster it can be.  Those of us of a certain age know the saying “too many cooks spoil the stew” – or maybe it’s broth? – either way, too many customer service reps and none seem to know what the others are doing, even when you explain the situation over and over.  So they had combined two of my orders a month or so ago, and shipped them together.  Except what I got in the package bore no resemblance to either item ordered.  I emailed, explained the situation.  They said one item was from a third party so that one they cancelled and refunded.  I reordered.  The other was from amazon directly so they resent the item.  I asked if they would send me a paid return address label to return the wrong items.  No need.  Keep them, or dispose of them, we don’t want to inconvenience you further.  OK, cool.   The items came and all was well.

Fast forward to yesterday.  I get an email from customer service that I have not sent them back the items and will be charged.  I email back and give them the whole spiel including copy and pastes of all pertinent info.  Today they apologize all over themselves.  I will not be charged, sorry, blah blah blah.  Great.  Until I then receive another email saying they have sent the item I am missing!    ARRGHH.  I am not missing a thing!  I write back, explain yet again that all is good.. or WAS good.  Oh well, item is on the way.  They tell me to keep it, then a paragraph later tell me to just not accept it or mail it back!   Now I’m pissed.  I don’t need more crap to do that shouldn’t be necessary.  One scathing email later and I’m still steaming.

And the final aggravation comes from the homeowner’s insurance company.  We have done an inspection (oh really?  news to me, who rarely leaves home) and find you are underinsured and should be insured for $325,500!  Really????  Why don’t you write us a check for $300k and you can move right in.  And as further aggravation, they want info on my dog, and have the nerve to say that no matter what, THREE DOGS is unacceptable risk no matter what.  I used to have four poms that would do no more than lick you to death, and they would not have insured us???   So that prompted another email that made the last one seem like a holiday greeting.

I’m done.  Usually I’m pretty happy.  Some things just set me off.  Now it’s time to feed some babies.  Time to take a few deep breaths, because birds feed off our emotions.  They don’t need to deal with Crazy Mama.  So, deep breaths, happy thoughts…

Nita

Nita’s Nest

08-10-16: Ambition Gone — August 10, 2016

08-10-16: Ambition Gone

I had lots of ambition this morning as I was doing my birdroom duties.  My brain is often in overdrive while I’m doing the birdroom chores.  The motions are so automatic that they really don’t require thought, which leaves my brain free to wander.  And wander it does.  I often write the most interesting blogs… in my mind… while doing chores.  Most times by the time I am actually able to sit at my computer, I can’t even remember what the subject matter was, let alone details.  Today is such a day.

So what is on my mind now?  “My mind is a complete blank.”  No idea where that quote comes from, but Scott and I heard it together and it’s one of those lines that comes up between us and makes us smile.  He probably no longer remembers where it come from either, but it’s a shared thing.  Much like “I like beans once in a while.”  Now that one I fully recall.  That is a famous line my Dad came out with, completely out of the blue, and is now frequently referenced whenever someone seems to say something off the wall that has nothing to do with anything in the moment.  You have my blessing to use it.  You’ll be amazed at how appropriate it feels.

Alas, my mind truly is a complete blank, at least in so far as anything important goes.  And yet I’ve managed to write two paragraphs basically about nothing.  Pure talent, that.  🙂  OK, on to the basics.

It is a rainy day.  65 degrees and humidity at 96%.  To me, despite the AC, it feels too warm.  I am so looking forward to fall!  Tomorrow is supposed to feel like 100 degrees.  Great.  Glad I picked all the blueberries yesterday as tomorrow I suspect I’ll be hiding inside with the AC and a fan.  I also note that the weather report is now calling for cloudy nights for each of the next three nights, and of course tomorrow night is the peak of the Perseid meteors!  I even had Scott agreeing to go out at 2 or 3 AM to stargaze.  I so hope they are wrong and the clouds do not ruin the show.

I pulled the oldest of the three new parrotlet kids from the nest this morning to see if he was big enough to band.  I probably could have left the band on, but it didn’t offer enough resistance when I pulled, so I pulled it completely off and will try again tomorrow.  Mom was not too impressed with my hand in her nest, and especially with me removing her kid, but she’s an awfully good Mom and merely opened her beak to let me know she wasn’t happy.   Still only three kids there, so maybe the other ones are just not going to hatch.  OK by me; handfeeding only a few kids is much easier and gives me more time with the babies.

The four parrotlets I’ve been handfeeding are all spoken for now.  Three have deposits (one is in the mail, no, really!) and the fourth is one I’m keeping.  They are just about ready to graduate to a cage from the brooder.  I ordered another Vision cage today, because the baby budgies are already in a Vision cage and I’ll be moving them to the living room in a few days.  I don’t normally have this many clutches in a row, but it actually works out great for the babies.  I have more time to devote to each baby.  The drawback is that it seems I’m always handfeeding.  Even with four hours between feedings, you’d be surprised – or maybe not – how quickly that time goes by and then, bam, time to feed again.  Anyway, if I need to temporarily move birds to the living room, a Vision cage is a wonderful thing, as it keeps the seeds and mess inside the cage.  It’s a bit more of a pain to clean, since there is no tray to pull out and instead you undo a couple clips and the entire base comes off.  But that is exactly why it does keep the area clean.

I suspect the greys will be laying soon as well.  I’m just hoping the parrotlets have wound down before the greys hatch anybody out. They are sensitive souls and REALLY require a lot of time and care!

If you are a heat-lover, enjoy the rest of the week.  If not, you can take some comfort in knowing September is just around the corner.

Nita

Nita’s Nest

My Etsy Shop

 

07-25-16: Monday, Monday — July 25, 2016

07-25-16: Monday, Monday

With the Mamas and the Papas ringing in my ears, where shall I start?  I got the birds all cleaned, fed, and watered, the house vacuumed, checks made out, chickens have been checked on, hot tub parameters have been checked and doctored, and the first of two loads of laundry is in the washer.  And there are twenty-two minutes till the next handfeeding!  So it’s blog time.

I guess you really know you’re getting older when you can stand up and your ankle goes out.  This happened a couple of years ago to me and I ended up using a cane for a while, it was so bad.  Then it went away, nearly as quickly as it had come.  Yesterday the same thing happened again.  Minding my own business, I stood up and felt that sharp pain in my right ankle.  Not so bad that I couldn’t just limp around, being careful to favor it.

When I got up this morning, it was still there.  I almost put an ankle brace on, but figured some sturdy, supportive sneakers – that’s “athletic shoes” to you younguns out there – would do just as well.  I hobbled around doing my chores.  When I went out to check on the chickens the pain disappeared.  I mean it was there one second, and gone the next.  I’m not complaining, but how weird is that?  Hopefully it will stay gone.  If not, I happen to know where there is a cane with my name on it.  Literally.  Yeah, I’m the person that puts their name on a cane.

I guess it’s going to be another hot day, and looks to be that way most of the week.  The dog days of summer are truly meant for MY dog.  Spotticus loves the heat!  He will stay out in the sun and relax until he begins to melt, then finally seems to realize he’d better come in before he goes the way of the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz.  Me?  I’m happy in front of a fan, and really looking forward to fall.  The only thing wrong with fall is that it’s the precursor to winter.

The two parrotlet kids I’d been handfeeding went to their new homes on Saturday.  They are doing well and settling in nicely.  I moved the five budgies I’m handfeeding to the cage they were in, so they have more floor space now.  Immediately, all five – even the youngest – begin pigging out on millet and also on pellets!  Like a switch had been turned on!   They are now getting only three handfeedings a day and it’s still a bit of a circus.  Spot loves it, because somebody always ends up on the floor.  Spot’s tail is like a metronome and I can easily find the bird by looking in the direction of his nose.  I still give him a loud and stern NO when a bird flies down, but I really don’t think he’d ever grab one.  It wasn’t always that way, and when he was younger I always crated him when doing anything with the birds.  If you give Spot a furry toy he will hold it down with his paws while ripping every bit of fuzz out of it.  I have visions of him doing the same to a bird that I will make sure never come true!

The four little – and I do mean little! – parrotlet kids are doing well and seem to be doing well  on five feedings a day.  I will try to band the next-to-the-youngest one later today.  They’ve grown a lot in just a few days and are looking good.

I opened up the nestboxes for the greys this weekend, and it was less than five seconds before both hens dove into their respective boxes!  Wow!  Ziggy and Ruby both had been doing a lot of banging on the sheet metal that was covering the entrance holes.  It reminds us of the old movies where the prisoners in jail would bang their metal water cups on the bars.  Except the birds don’t want OUT, they want IN.   Despite that super-fast entry into the boxes, it will probably be at least a month before any eggs are laid.  My fingers are crossed for success.  I would love to see the congos have a fertile egg or two, but I’m sure not holding my breath.

I see my time is up.  Time to feed babies again.  One last bit before I go, though.  The Aquarid meteor shower peaks mid-week.  This is a great time of year for meteors.  From now through mid-August there should be some meteors every night if you are lucky enough to have a clear sky and not too much light.  The full moon is behind us now, so viewing conditions should be getting better and better.  OK, babies need feeding!

Till next time,

Nita

www.nitasnest.com

www.etsy.com/shop/NitasNestCreations

7-13-16: Babies Babies Babies — July 19, 2016

7-13-16: Babies Babies Babies

There are lots of babies in the house right now!  There are parrotlets in the nest, as well as eggs in another nest, canaries in the nest, budgies being handfed, and angelfish fry!

The two parrotlet kids I’ve been handfeeding are due to go home this weekend.  This is one of those matches made in heaven where I am thrilled with where they are going.  The lady is married to a vet and used to have a parrotlet so understands the care they need.  Plus they are taking both girls, which is super.  The two girls are going to do great with them.  I’ve been sending her pix almost every day and it’s so nice to have someone that is excited about their kids and has everything ready.  071716PletKids01The kids are just gorgeous and so sweet, too!

The parents of these two are on another clutch right now.  I know they have at least four eggs, but suspect there are more.  Looks like I’ll be handfeeding for a while to come.

The five budgies I’m feeding are still little lunatics.  They sure do get excited at feeding time!  They squawk and make a ton of noise and are so excited they usually grab onto me like little vultures.  They are down to four feedings a day, and I have seen a couple of the older ones picking at millet.  Looking forward to them being weaned.

I was given another budgie this past weekend.  A lovely green hen (I think – the jury is still out on that one) named Sprite, who appears to be a dominant pied, and is really very pretty.  I’d like to pair Sprite with one of the kids I’m handfeeding, but until I know for sure what the sex is that could be a bit risky.

The parrotlet pair with babies (four that I know of) is the pair I had made up from two of my pairs’ kids last year.  I had tried to sell the pair at the last BOAF (Birds of a Feather) show but had no takers.  Too bad, they could have doubled their money on just one clutch.  I knew they would be a good pair because they had been handfed and raised together so were extremely bonded.  As soon as I gave them a box they went to nest, laid 7 eggs, and have hatched four babies.  So far I’ve only really gotten one quick look (and a picture) but all seems to be going well.071716ParrotletKidsHow cute are they!?

The angelfish pair laid eggs on July 13th.  They had originally surprised me by spawning when they were in the 29 gallon community tank.  I was totally unprepared and the fry didn’t make it.  So I moved the pair to my 20 gallon tank, got them a piece of slate to lay the eggs on, and waited.  Finally, eggs were laid and at this point there must be a hundred tiny little fry swimming around.  The only wrinkle is that the baby brine shrimp the fry should be eating are not hatching out as expected in the little hatchery.  My eggs are over ten years old, but have been kept in the freezer.  When I hatched some before, I had been pleased that they did hatch.  I figured I was all set for when the angels spawned again.  So why are the eggs now hatching so poorly?  Murphy’s Law?

Luckily I have some dry fry food that I am giving to the kids, but it is not ideal and I have ordered more brine shrimp eggs in the meantime.  I’m guessing the fry must be eating some of the dry fry food or surely they’d have all died already.  But really, this is such a learning experience.

I’ve been very fortunate to have some expert advice from a guy named Paul.  I watched one of his videos on You Tube and emailed him.  He’s been super about answering my many questions and giving me advice.  Nice to know I’m not the only one that answers questions when newbies ask – in my case about birds and in Paul’s case about fish fry.  I see so many people online be rude when people ask questions.  Yes, it takes time to answer.  And yes, sometimes it’s tedious to answer the same questions a million times.  But if people didn’t want to learn, they wouldn’t be asking.  Anyway, off my soapbox now, but I feel very fortunate to have found someone willing to share their knowledge.  071916AngelFry03.jpgAll those dark things to the right of the fish?  Babies!  LOL.  So cute!  I got nervous yesterday when I saw one of the parents seeming to be a bit over-zealous in gathering the wandering fry (in their mouth) and they didn’t seem to always be spitting them back out!  So I distracted the parents with some food and nabbed a net full of kids to transfer to a five gallon tank.  Hedging my bets.  There may be a hundred or more kids, but honestly I’ll be happy if half a dozen make it to the point where they resemble angelfish!

It’s already mid-July so the summer is going by quickly, as all time seems to do.  The garden got a very late start but is finally looking a bit more promising.  The flowers in the yard are all looking really nice, too.

Scott got me a piece of wood and I made a sign for the small chicken coop, designed to give them a bit of shade.  Along with moving our big metal rooster on the same side of their yard as the sign, they now have a bit of shade on those super hot days. I like it!071516BantyShanty.jpg

Nita

www.nitasnest.com

If you have birds and you haven’t checked out my Etsy shop, please do.  There is a coupon code that will save you a few bucks and maybe you can check out a few toys for your “fids”. There  are also some goodies there for bird-loving humans as well.

www.etsy.com/shop/NitasNestCreations

 

 

07-07-16: Walkabout — July 7, 2016

07-07-16: Walkabout

When handfeeding my birds, there comes a point where we begin to focus on having the babies well-adjusted and easy-going.  As part of that process, we take the kids on what we call Walkabouts.  This usually happens once the baby can perch on our hand.  So we have the bird perched and take a walk, talking to the baby the whole time and explaining what we are seeing, much as you would for a human baby or toddler.  Generally the first Walkabout consists of going from kitchen to dining room, with stops at the aquarium and at the finch flight on the wall.  A loop or two around the dining room table usually completes these first Walkabouts, and then we head back to the kitchen.  When all goes well, the baby will remain perched for the duration.  If they fly off, we go after them and have them step up again and proceed.

The two blue parrotlets I’ve been handfeeding are at this Walkabout stage.  One is now 5 weeks old and her sister is a day shy of this.  They are fully feathered and gorgeous, and although they are at 3 feedings per day I am basically having to force a tiny amount of formula on them – more for my benefit than theirs.  They are eating spray millet, pellets, and a seed mix on their own, and in sufficient quantities that I’d call them self-sustaining at this time.  They are all over their cage; hopping from perch to perch and up to the swing and showing interest in their toys as well.  They also “step up” pretty quickly when asked, though with parrotlets it really comes naturally to them once they gain control over their bodies’ movements.

Today they had their first Walkabout.  I had them both perched on my left hand, with my trusty camera in my right.  We walked to the dining room, with me giving a running commentary on what we were doing and seeing.  Much of it – most of it, really – is talk about nothing, designed mainly to get them used to a human holding them and talking to them where, not only does no harm come to them but, they also get to see new and interesting things.

We stop first at the finch flight.  There are 10 finches in the flight.  It is 9′ long and the finches enjoy flying from one end to the other.  It’s like Must-See-TV for the bird on the Walkabout!   I bring them up close to the glass front and tell them “these are the finches.  Aren’t they cute and tiny?   They aren’t much smaller than you are.”   And blah blah blah, LOL.  Yes, I am able to talk for minutes about nothing, while I have their captive attention.070716PletWalkabout01

Next we head to the 29 gallon aquarium, and again I give a commentary on the “fishies” and point out various individuals. 070716PletWalkabout03

At this point, if the birds are still on my hand I’m doing well, as are they.  It’s not uncommon to have the bird fly off  – whereupon I will go fetch them and resume where I left off.  Today the parrotlet kids stayed put for the duration.  After we admired the fish we took a loop around the table and headed back to their cage.  They stepped up onto their swing, marking the end of the first very successful Walkabout.

Nita

Nita’s Nest

My Etsy Shop, featuring safe bird toys made from a variety of interesting textures for your bird’s entertainment, as well as unique, handcrafted, hand-painted items such as Key Racks and Clocks.  Recently added: Cribbage Boards!