Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: cage

The Denisov Bell

Some time ago, I invested in a stainless steel bell*.  It is a tubular bell with a nice tinkly ring to it.  Over the years, it has been largely ignored, despite being put in various positions & having beads & chewy paper tied to it.  It took Lennie to rock up, for the bell to be noticed.  Because of the attention he has given it, the bell is now known as The Denisov Bell, after the curious & brave Lennie Denisov.

Lennie first came across the bell when it was in the Silver Villa.  I imagine he was attracted to how shiny it was.  Gradually, he would inch nearer to it until he could touch it & then he wanted to see what was inside it.  Unfortunately, Dalai was often near & although he did not play with the bell himself, clearly did not want anyone else to!  (See video below).

Seeing how much Lennie wanted to play with the bell, I swapped it with a chewy toy from his cage.  He was delighted to find it in the New Villa & he could play with it to his heart’s content!  (See videos below).  Fast forward several months & the novelty has worn off!  I am thinking of temporarily returning the bell to the Silver Villa to see if that will reawaken his interest.

Lennie discovers the bell in the Silver Villa:

 

Lennie playing with the bell in his own home:

 

Lennie & his bell

 

*  Non-stainless steel bells can rust, causing serious health risks to your bird.  This is why I got rid of bells on toys & replaced with safer alternative items (click here for related post)  & also invested in the stainless steel bell.

 

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Preparation for emergency evacuation of your birds

Being a paranoid parront, I would like to post advice on how to quickly & safely evacuate your birds/pets in an emergency.

There is already plenty of good advice already written on the internet, so I will post some links. From what I have read, the key is PREPARATION because if there was a real emergency you would likely be stressed yourself & less likely to think straight, so anything that helps you (& your birds) through the ordeal can only be of benefit.

The following link is well written & has some good ideas. Their main ‘trick’ is use of a pillowcase to catch up birds & also keep them safe: www.birdtricks.com/blog/how-to-evacuate-parrots-when-you-only-have-seconds/

This link also has some good points: www.beautyofbirds.com/evacuation.html

Personally, my plan would be to get my flock into the small travel/hospital cage (I also have an even smaller carrier if I have time to consider separating them). I have prepared a canvas bag that has in it: food (seed & millet); seed pots & water bottles; reminder note & headlamp.  The reminder note is so I can grab any medication that may be in the fridge.  Every time I receive a new order of seed or millet, I refresh what is in the emergency bag & date it.  At the same time I check the headlamp still works in case the batteries need changing.  A point to note is that I have chosen a canvas bag with long handles so if need be I can hang it around my neck if I need my hands!  The emergency bag is kept on the shelf underneath the Silver Villa.

 

The travel/hospital cage is kept underneath the playgym so that is also in close proximity.  I actually decided to keep it close in case Bezukhov has a major seizure, however even if this were not the case, it would still be handy to keep there for other emergency reasons.

For some reason I cannot remember (!) I have two pillowcases draped over the back of my futon that is directly in front of the new Villa, so they are handy if needed.  Alternatively, they could be folded up & kept with the spare/emergency cage.

My mother lives nearby so if need be, I can walk to hers & deposit the flock there for safety.

If anyone else has any other advice/tips/tricks/ideas then feel free to share here!

Perry, Lennie (hidden at back), Dalai & Bezukhov

 

Memories of the Manor

Atilla & Raspy on the Manor door

Last May, I posted about letting the manor go.  Although it was just an inanimate object, it was bound up in a multitude of memories, which I would like to indulge in here.

Atilla & Raspy were the first occupants of the Manor & moved into it in June 2009 from the Ferplast Rekord 6.  The Manor was bigger, with the dome/loft area being the significant bonus space, which also opened up.  The other main differences were the large central door & the useful & handy landing platform.

The video below shows them during their first moments inside the Manor:

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Here they are on the landing platform, chewing on a large vine ball.  If you watch to the end, you will see a typical bit of Raspy in action:

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The next phase of the Manor was when the Toyboys moved in.  Their first face-to-face meeting, i.e., not through bars, happened in the grounds of the Manor, more specifically, on the landing platform.  The following video captures this momentous occasion.  You can see that Cagney already had enormous self-belief that he was charming & therefore anyone would be happy to be in his company.  Bezukhov was off-camera, keeping a thoughtful & respectful distance.  Raspy & Atilla both asserted themselves by attempting to bite/grab Cagney’s tail.

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Despite Atilla & Raspy’s ‘gentle’ reminder that they were in charge, they very quickly & graciously allowed those beautiful Toyboys to enter the Manor & explore.

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It was not long before they could all rest harmoniously in the loft area together:

Clockwise: Raspy, Atilla, Cagney & Bezukhov resting in loft area of Manor

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Nothing ever stays the same though, & after Raspy & Atilla departed to Rainbow Bridge, Cagney & Bezukhov were the sole occupants.  They retained sole occupancy even with the addition of friends Phineas & Thomas.  It was not until the loss of Cagney that Bezukhov felt compelled to move out.  When he moved into the Ferplast with Phineas, it was the beginning of the end for the Manor.

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Although the Manor was still in use as a play, eating & general chill-out area, its importance was severely diminished.  With Bezukhov living in the Silver Villa with his friend Dalai, & their new friends Perry & Lennie requiring an equivalent home post-quarantine, the Manor was sadly retired.  Though it is gone, it is not forgotten, along with all the memories & precious hearts it housed, entertained & generously sheltered.

Thank you, Manor.

 

 

The tunnel and the landing platform

I posted before that I had repurposed pieces of the Manor.  The loft area was transformed into a Tunnel & the landing platform is still a platform.

Both changes/additions were received well & accepted quickly by all.  Dalai was the only one who had initial reservations about the Tunnel but that only lasted a couple of days.

 

As before, I can use the repurposed Manor platform for placing dishes of food & also wet leaves for a misting.  I did not plan for the supporting perch underneath to be used as a perch, but Perry & Lennie discovered it quickly & like it!

 

(Click on pictures to enlarge) 

 

Manor repurposed

As previously posted, the Manor is no more.  However, parts of the Manor have been salvaged, so it still lives on, in a somewhat limited & modified form.

The loft area

The former loft area, the dome-shaped part of the manor, that was typically the bedtime area, has been retained.  It was given a thorough clean & the lock on the top removed due to ingrained rust that could not be removed.  To join the two pieces together, I used cable ties & string.  To keep the shape, I trimmed some plastic perches (I knew I was keeping them for something!) & wedged them across the bottom at both ends.  These two changes produced a very sturdy structure, which can now be placed on top of a Villa & used as a playgym & general hang-out area.

 

The bottom grid

The Manor is made of substantially heavier material than the Villa.  This meant that the newly fashioned dome lay quite heavy on the thinner bars of the Villa.  Enter the bottom grid of the Manor.  The Villa is slightly shorter in length & wider in depth than the Manor so the bottom grid fits very neatly & securely across the top of a Villa, with a tiny overhang on one side (assuming the other side is flush to the edge)  Because the grid is resting on the two side edges of the Villa, essentially the frame of the cage, it is supported well.  The addition of pegs along the back of the Villa (which are holding up the back cover anyway) ensure it does not slip & for the ‘belt & braces’ effect, ties on each corner further secure it.

The Tunnel

The repurposed loft area is now known as the Tunnel, mainly because you can go all the way through it & out the other end.  The Tunnel is fairly heavy so it does not lend itself to much movement when placed on the bottom grid of the Manor, on top of the Villa (keep up!)   However, for extra security, I placed a couple of ‘thingamajigs’ (the pink plastic connectors of a ladder, seen in this post here) at the back of the bottom grid to be used as stoppers to prevent the Tunnel from slipping backwards.  A peg at the front stops it from slipping forward.  The Tunnel is removed each evening, by simply lifting it up, & placing it on my coffee table; this makes it easier for me to put their bedtime cover over the Villa, with the added bonus that I can easily clean the Tunnel & any perches & toys that are attached.

The Tunnel in position

 

Landing Platform

The Manor landing platform, a location of much activity in the past, has also been repurposed.  I decided to position it on the side of the Villa.  Once again, because it is quite heavy, I needed a strong way to secure it.  The D-rings used for the large Manor seed pots were screwed on to provide a base to rest the landing platform on.  A perch from the far edge of the platform running underneath to the Villa secures the right level & further ties ensure no slippage.

 

End Result

I am pleased to report that all the above changes have been accepted by all Villa occupants, most probably because of the familiarity of the parts used.

Welcome back to the bits of the Manor!

 

 

…Hello New Villa!

After much thought, I decided to replace the Manor with another Villa (Liberta Oregon flight cage).

Though I wanted something with the same space as the Manor, I also wanted something that was not so tall & heavy.  ‘Heavy’ in a cage is a good thing as it indicates strength & durability, but over time I was finding it awkward & on the occasions when I dropped the bottom grid on my foot, painful!

The existing Silver Villa ticks quite a few boxes (not all – I doubt there is a cage in existence that has no bad points!)  Apart from needing to be a reasonable size, the other main thing it had to have was an adequately big central door, to enable easier catching of an occupant.  So, another Villa was chosen.  There are added bonuses: in the short term it would have a low scariness level in regards to introduction; in the long term having two homes that were essentially the same may help with any territorial issues.

The change warranted a clear plan of action.

  • Step 1: Assemble the New Villa.
  • Step 2: Remove Manor from the room.  Move Perry & Lennie, still living in their quarantine cage, from the left side of the Silver Villa to the right side, essentially where the Manor was, although alongside rather than facing the Villa.  The playgym reinstated in its proper place, left of Silver Villa.
  • Step 3: Dress the New Villa, using some Manor furniture/accessories to aid with acceptance.
  • Step 4: Move Perry & Lennie, in their quarantine cage to the other side of the room.  Bring in the New Villa & position in area they vacated, next to the Silver Villa.
  • Step 5: Let them all out & hope that Perry & Lennie will move into the New Villa.

 

The 11th March was the day scheduled for Step 2.   After capturing what turned out to be Bezukhov’s last meal in the Manor, it was removed from the room & the layout changed.  All went to plan.

 

Bezukhov is no fan of changes but he did welcome back his old friend the playgym.  Surprisingly, the playgym was new to Dalai but it did not take him long to join Bezukhov there.  By the following day, Perry & Lennie also visited the playgym.

Here is the animated version of Bezukhov’s reunion with the playgym & Dalai’s initial encounter:

 

After over a week of dressing the New Villa, the 20th March ushered in Step 4 of the plan.  Trying to make the changes as discreetly as I could, I carefully moved the New Villa right next to the Silver Villa, all the while gauging Bezukhov’s reaction, hoping he would not be scared.  Fortunately, he did not seem too put out with the new construction next door.  I moved the lamp from Perry & Lennie’s quarantine cage to the New Villa.

The New Villa

You will see that the New Villa is a darker colour than the Silver Villa.  It was described as ‘grey’ so I expected it to be the same as the Silver Villa.  It is actually closer in colour to the black bars of the quarantine cage.  Putting aside my general irritation that it is not the same colour (!) I worried that it may hamper acceptance.

 

For Step 5, when they were all let out, they naturally pretended the New Villa did not exist.  To encourage Perry & Lennie to spend the night in the New Villa, I bribed them with red millet.  It worked.  Here they are tucking in:

 

I hope they will all be happy with the New Villa.

 

 

Goodbye Manor….

For various reasons, I decided it was time to replace the Manor (Montana San Remo).  I had considered replacing it like-for-like but in the end, with great regret, thought it best to let it go completely.

Atilla & Raspy on the Manor door

The Manor is tied up with so many memories.  First & foremost, it makes me think of Atilla & Raspy because they were its first occupants.  The sisters were happy there.  They certainly claimed it for their own & micro-supervised any changes to the layout.  Cleaning of their domain was also scrupulously observed, to the point where they would, dare I say, hinder progress!

After having the Manor all to themselves for over a year, Atilla & Raspy graciously allowed two toyboys to share. In a sense, these were the golden years – two happy couples (Atilla/Cagney & Raspy/Bezukhov); two loyal sisters (Atilla & Raspy); two great buddies (Cagney & Bezukhov).

Of course nothing stays the same.  The Manor was witness to our first tragic event – the loss of Raspy.  Not too long after, the Manor was rearranged to accommodate an increasingly ailing Atilla.  Being the leader, the Manor was very much her territory & I feel she would have defended it, & its occupants, to the end.  When it sadly came, the end was peaceful, but the Manor lost another legend.

Cagney & Bezukhov continued on in the Manor, leaderless.  In fact, the Manor never saw another leader.  We were, of course, joined by the adorably, irascible Phineas.  Famously, Phineas never slept overnight in the Manor because the toyboys did not want to share their bedtime with him, so Phinny had his own sleeping quarters.  When Thomas joined us, he moved in with Phineas, rather than with the toyboys in the Manor.

Loft area

So, despite the changes to the flock, Cagney & Bezukhov retained sole residency of the Manor.  Time marches on though & changes continued.  The next significant change, in terms of the Manor, was the loss of Cagney.  Despite living in the Manor for 5 years, Bezukhov, without his best buddy, was uncomfortable sleeping there alone.  There was a trial run of Phineas joining Bezukhov in the Manor at bedtime but it just did not work.  Bezukhov was left with no alternative – he moved into the Ferplast with Phineas.

Bezukhov & Phineas did temporarily return to the Manor when the Ferplast was replaced with the scary new Silver Villa, but once the Silver Villa was accepted, the Manor was abandoned once again & reverted to being a daytime play area only.

The Golden Age of the Manor was over.

It is with regret I let the Manor go, but I thank it unreservedly for all the pleasure & comfort it has given.  Though it is no longer here, memories of the Manor will never fade.

Goodbye Manor.

 

 

Repurposing a door

As previously posted, Perry & Lennie had found the way to come out.  Over the following days I noticed they had some difficulty in using the small doorway of the quarantine cage.  That particular cage has doors that slide upwards.  Being a hoarder (!) I remembered I kept the little doors from the old Ferplast.  I used one of these to fashion a small landing platform.  I prized open the hooks enough to slide through the bars & used a rope perch to balance it on, held firm with some paper rope.  It seemed to work well…..

 

 

Interestingly, if Perry came out without Lennie noticing (he may have been chewing on a toy or something), then Lennie seemed to not know how to then come out.  After this happened a few times, I noticed that when on the threshold of the doorway, Perry would wait until Lennie was paying attention, & then fly out, knowing that Lennie would follow him.  Smart or what?

 

 

Blue newbies – their first fly

About a week after I moved the blue newbies next to the Silver Villa (click here to read that post), I started opening their door for them to come out.  To entice them, I tied raffia around the door opening for them to chew on.  At times they would come tantalisingly close to the open door:

 

 

On the 23rd December 2016, Perry was the first to venture out:

 

Then he was off, followed closely by Lennie:

 

That is always the nerve-wracking part, especially when you know they have not previously had an opportunity for a proper fly.  They did quite a few laps of the room before landing on the manor, where Bezukhov & Dalai were.  That was the cue for more holding of breath.  What happened next is in the next post….

 

Tumbleweeds in the Villa

When we lost Phineas, Bezukhov made it clear he considered the Silver Villa Phinny’s domain.  Though Bezukhov & Phineas originally moved into the Villa at the same time, its location was/is the same as the Ferplast, which was definitely Phinny’s home.  If you recall, when Phineas arrived, Cagney & Bezukhov did not want him to sleep overnight with them so Phineas had a cage all to himself, at least at bedtime.  So it seems that by location, Bezukhov regarded the Villa as Phinny’s.

Bezukhov found it difficult to go in the Villa without Phinny’s presence.  He quickly decided that bedtime would switch back to the Manor.  Dalai followed him there.

During the day, he avoided the inside of the Villa.  On top & around the outside of it was fine, but he was not comfortable going inside.  It took a couple of weeks for him to venture inside to drink the water or chew the iodine block but he generally just took what he needed & then got out – he did not linger.  Gradually, as Dalai spent time in the Villa, Bezukhov’s visits got longer & over the following weeks Bezukhov began to sit in the Villa & even eat in there.  He now appears quite relaxed in there, but bedtime is still in the Manor.

 

Note: Check out the difference in feet colour between Bezukhov & Dalai.