Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: cage

Reusable cage bottom liners

For a long time I have used newspaper to line the bottom of cages.  In recent years I have stopped buying newspapers & also not had easy access to free newspapers, so then started buying packs of ‘chip paper’ or packing paper.  This paper was particularly nice as the light, plain colour made it easy to check poop quality.

However, as I was using up the last pack I questioned if there was another cheaper way to line the bottom of their cages.

Lennie, Perry & Moriarty

I remembered I had an old shower curtain that was washable.  I cut up a trial piece & was pleasantly surprised with how it worked.  It is a light colour with faded swirls, so poop (& blood that it later had to cope with) is easily seen.  I thought it might be a bit slippery if Perry fell down on it but it seemed ok & no more slippery than anything else.  I cut up the rest of the curtain & got 6 ‘bottoms’ out of whole thing.  After some washing (either hand or machine) the edges started to fray so I hemmed them.

Having 6 means that I can have 4 in use, one drying & one to be (hand) washed.  When I take the last one away, I have 4 clean ones to put in (1 dirty one & 1 drying).

I bought another cheap, washable shower curtain & made another 6 for Dalai’s cage.

They lay nicely on top of the padding (fleece & towels) & are easy to roll up when you take them out.  Then I can scrape the poop off into a bag & put it in soak ready for a quick hand wash.  They dry very quickly.  And, as alluded to above, blood washes out well!

 

 

 

Tales from Quarantine – Thirty-Five Second Tour (8 of 8)

Moriarty puts his tour guide hat on & shows us around his quarantine cage:

 

Tour Itinerary

0:01: Begin on diagonal perch

0:05 Dried grass

0:08 Ladder

0:13 Platform perch

0:18 Perch where mirror is

0:24 Food bowl

0:25 Swing

0:27 Diagonal perch & platform perch (again)

0:28 Diagonal perch (again)

0:30 Middle of cage (flying area)

0:32 Conclude on perch where mirror is

 

Don’t give up the day job, Moriarty!

Moriarty

 

Tales from Quarantine (1 of 8)

Moriarty coped with quarantine (Oct/Nov 2020) well but it was clear he needed lots of attention.

When his previous owners brought him in, & the cover was raised, there he was, swinging away, seemingly not bothered about the move.  That first sight of him made me think he would take most things in his stride.  As for the elephant in the room…. yes, he has a similar colouring to our dearly departed Bezukhov but in real life perhaps a greener shade.

Moriarty’s foot

His cage originally had 3 cement perches & a cement platform perch, along with a wooden perch & a wooden platform perch.  I replaced the cement perches with a variety of wooden ones (there is nothing wrong with cement perches but ideally they should not be the main perches & not used as a roosting perch).  I did notice a small red/orange spot on the underside of one foot which might have been the start of an irritation – it disappeared quickly.  You will see from the photo posted here that the toenail on his short, forward toe angles inwards.  The odd angle has not caused any noticeable problems.

As far as toys, he had a lovely swing with colourful, wooden beads, a mirror, a chewy toy with a bell at the bottom.  I should note that the swing has two bells at the bottom – it was quickly apparent that he loves shiny things!  I added some more toys, such as the rings, the disco ball (ultra shiny!) & a paper rope toy, along with some dried grass for further stimulation.

 

He was not scared of hands so though not tame, was not worried about me entering his cage to make all these changes.  In fact, he had quite a bite on him but I think that may have lessened with the introduction of more toys to keep his beak busy!

The seed situation was curious as he had one of those gravity seed fountains mounted in one of the cage gaps for the incorporated seed bowls.  Though he would perch on it, I never once saw him eat a seed from it!  He had millet, so was not starving but at times when there was no millet, he still did not eat the seed.  (It had an area underneath that collected the husks so I could see if he ate any).  Given his love of shiny things, I put in a stainless steel bowl with seed & he immediately took to eating from that.  Knowing he was eating the seed mix, I could start rationing the millet!

 

I also put in a water bottle along side his water fountain in the hope he would use it.  During quarantine he never quite understood it was for drinking water, but was fascinated watching the bubbles go up the bottle as I pressed the water end.  He also got quite attached to the shiny spout, often having long chats with it!

 

 

Operation Getting the Flock Together

Since presenting Moriarty to Perry & Lennie on the 8th November, we have embarked on a gradual introduction programme.

The first priority is to ensure that Perry feels safe & protected.  His health issues have highlighted extra vulnerability in particular with limited mobility.  I decided at the outset to ensure his cage is a safe haven & therefore to not allow entry to Moriarty.

Of course preparation is key.  Before letting Moriarty out, I needed a way to encourage him to go back in!  I had noticed that Moriarty does not eat much during the day & although he likes millet, could leave a fresh piece untouched all day until evening time.  It seems millet would not be an adequate enticer.  Enter the green peg!  Yes, he seems attached to a green peg.  This would be my means of control!  With that decided, after giving Moriarty a week to acclimatise to his new surroundings, I let him out on the 15th of November.  Perry & Lennie were locked in.

Moriarty strolled out onto the door platform to greet the green peg.  He was immediately intrigued by the curtains just by his cage & stepped up on my finger where I could take him closer whereby he had a good chat.  He returned to the peg on the door platform.  He then plucked up courage to have a fly!  He did several laps of the room & then landed on Dalai’s cage.  He again returned to the green peg.  I ushered him inside so we could all recover!  Perry & Lennie were a bit shell-shocked at suddenly seeing this mad green thing zooming around the room!

First time out:

 

Unfortunately, because I was closely monitoring Moriarty’s adventures, there are few photos/videos.  Plus, the days have been so dark, photos look pretty bad!

We proceeded with short outings, building up to 30 mins to an hour (depending on when he would voluntarily go back inside his cage).  These would happen up to three times a day.

I will detail some of the outings in further posts.

We have got to a point where Moriarty regularly visits Perry & Lennie.  Perry finds it stressful when Moriarty is prowling around on top of their cage so I put a line of curly paper along a perch that Perry usually sits on.  Moriarty is indifferent to curly paper, though he likes crinkle paper.  For a time, he avoided the curly paper meaning Perry was comfortable beneath.  It was not long before he started chewing it though, so I switched to a covered strip of lino which, so far, he has not paid attention to.

Once secure in knowing Moriarty was not crawling about above him, Perry could relax & have a grumble, a snooze or a preen.  Sadly, he has chosen not to interact with Moriarty & I think his general well-being has coloured that decision because under normal circumstances I am sure he would have been very welcoming.  Fortunately he is not jealous that Lennie is pursuing a friendship with Moriarty.

 

Lennie & Moriarty have lots of beak taps & flirty moments through the bars.  When Moriarty is locked in, Lennie now regularly visits him.  Admittedly, millet played a part in prizing him out initially, but gradually he has become more confident & routinely goes over to Moriarty’s cage & sits on the visitor’s perch.

On the 11th of December, we had another milestone where Lennie & Moriarty met ‘in person’, i.e., without cage bars between them!  That will be detailed in another post!

I am very proud of Moriarty.  He has an easy confidence that helps enormously when he is negotiating new surroundings.  I am also very proud of Lennie.  He has summoned courage to come back out of his cage & to jump & leap ‘into the unknown’ (as far as he is concerned).  Though Perry appears to have opted out of a new friendship, he has graciously allowed Lennie to forge ahead without displaying anything negative, such as jealousy, to hold him back.

I have three very different, but amazing boys!

 

Home adjustments

Perry’s mobility is gradually being compromised by his growing lump.  With this in mind, I made a few adjustments to their cage to help him get around easier.

Lennie back home, Perry still in Dalai’s cage

The first hurdle was for Perry & Lennie to vacate their home so I could go in & make the changes, so I was on alert waiting for an opportunity.  As ‘luck’ would have it, on the 24th October, I was scraping some poop off a perch with my fingernail (a not unusual occurrence) & Lennie decided this was a scary thing & shot out the cage.  He landed over by the window.  He made it back to the nearest safety, which was Dalai’s cage, in two stages, which, although it does not sound great, I was quite encouraged by, given his flying problems.  I then got Perry & put him in Dalai’s cage also.

It was a relief to have full control of their cage & the first thing I did was give it a thorough clean!  The main change I made was to have a perch run the full length of the cage at the top, hopefully giving Perry an easy walk from one end to the other & therefore easier access to the top level.  I also moved the water bottle from the salt lick perch up there.  The only slight issue is when he has to jump down to the seed pots but I have also lowered the triangle perch that he jumps down from.  There is also a rope perch at mid-level that I also adjusted.

Perry & Lennie

The bottom was already padded, but I added more padding.  Most of the time, if he falls, he usually lands on the sisal rope perch that is stretched from the bottom-level to mid-level, but occasionally the padded bottom comes in handy.

The added advantage of the extra long perch across the top-level is that it makes a cross-junction with the branch perch.  I did not realise at the time, but that is a particularly good thing as sometimes Perry struggles to turn 180 degrees on the perch, so the cross-junction allows him to turn 90 degrees at a time.

All the changes were well & good but would be useless if not accepted by Perry & Lennie.  Lennie was the first to venture back in & managed to avoid the long perch for a bit.  However, by the time Perry strolled in, Lennie had broken in the long perch.  I may make some further adjustments later on, but for now, all seems well.

Perry & Lennie

 

Head rub

Lennie found that rubbing his head on the frame of the open door helped give him some relief from some pin feathers….

 

 

Update on Perry’s health

In my last post on this subject (click here) I reported about Perry’s ‘turns’.  We have had further developments.

On the 4th July, Perry had, what I would describe as a ‘Twitchfest’.  He twitched, though not violently, off & on all day, but settled by bedtime.  I was on edge the whole time, anticipating that he would get worse.

Perry

Perry’s next, more significant, episode was on Saturday, the 22nd August.  At around 11am, he began twitching, & a couple of those were major enough to propel him off the perch.  At one point, he was hanging from the perch by one foot.  He seemed okay after about 15 minutes.  However, about two & a half hours later, the twitches began again, but this time they were throwing him off the perch, on average every 30 seconds (sometimes the frequency between was longer, sometimes shorter).  Lennie was sensible & went into Dalai’s cage, so I locked him in there for the duration.

For about an hour the twitches continued, at varying levels of intensity.  Each time his movement was from his left to the right, so I could predict where he would go/land.  Sometimes he would have a few minutes where he was just twitching & able to stay on the perch.  He pooped throughout, but a watery substance.  Through it all, he did not make a sound.  He was completely aware & scared as he clearly did not know what was happening to him.  The times he landed on the bottom of the cage he immediately made his way back up.  By 3pm they were subsiding & he was able to preen & behave a bit more normally, by which time, Lennie joined him again.

Things had settled down by the Monday, but nevertheless, I spoke to the vet, & she suggested adding calcium to their water as they were both still moulting.

New cage set up L to R: hospitalisation cage, ‘home’, Dalai’s cage

The next episode was Saturday the 12th September (I am starting to dread Saturdays!). He seemed extra quiet that morning & when I offered him a spinach leaf, he had to turn his head at a strange angle to eat it.  This alerted me & I decided to dust off the quarantine cage & prepare it for possible hospitalisation purposes.  Later that day, he spasmed, fell to the cage floor & was rolling around.  I carefully picked him up & put him in the spare cage.  He came out of the spasm & I placed him on a perch, where he was very still.  His balance was very off & he fell off the perch a few times but at least did not have far to fall in the newly set up cage, & the bottom has extra padding.  Occasionally, he would turn his head from side to side & his eyes were flickering.

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Change of scenery

Perry & Lennie often pop into Dalai’s cage for a change of scenery.

Lennie is the more frequent visitor & will be in & out, but Perry also visits & spends some time ‘chilling’.  Initially, they were wary of moving around the cage, almost like they were uncomfortable that Dalai was not there, but over time they have become more relaxed.

That said, neither have dared to sit on Dalai’s perch at the back on the far right (a twig-like perch, diagonally across the corner).  Dalai did not allow them to sit on it.  Perry accepted this rule pretty quickly & did not bother to attempt to sit there.  Lennie wanted to sit next to Dalai on that perch, but the nearest he could get was to cling to the cage bars near the perch & if his luck was in, Dalai would go over & chat to him.  If Lennie was feeling particularly bold, he would tentatively climb onto the perch when Dalai was otherwise engaged at the seed trough, but he was on edge & never hung around there for longer than a minute.

(Incidentally, Bezukhov was allowed to sit on this perch, possibly because he lived in the cage before Dalai & it would have seemed churlish not to allow him!)

Even though Dalai is not here, Perry & Lennie still do not sit on Dalai’s perch.

Here is a rare moment when Perry sat on Dalai’s swing:

 

 

 

Lessons from the wild?

One day, towards the end of May, I noticed some unusual activity outside the window & when I took a closer look it seemed a baby blackbird was trying out short, circular flights from the tree, each time, making a wider circle.  (I later saw it on the grass, running up to mum & dad requesting food).  As I watched, I said aloud to Perry, that he should do that, to build flying confidence & when I turned to look at him, he came out the cage & had a little fly!  He made about 3 or 4 short flights between the cages, with one particular attempt circling out into the room, very much like the blackbird did from the tree.

Perry

 

Both Perry & Lennie have always noticed what goes on outside the window, so perhaps it is not too far fetched for me to think that Perry saw the young blackbird too & was inspired with its efforts.  (He definitely was not listening to me, as I have been telling him for ages to take short flights to build confidence!)

Perry’s little lump has caused some clumsiness &, I believe, lack of confidence in his flying.  He has always been a little on the lazy side regarding flying, but there is nothing wrong with his wings.  It was lovely to see him go further afield & it helped his confidence as later that day he flew from his cage to the landing platform on the far side of Dalai’s cage (almost to the playgym).

That same day, Lennie also ventured further than he has in a long time.  He was on the peg perch & decided to climb up, rather than down, & found himself on top of Dalai’s cage for the first time since Dalai’s passing.

Unfortunately, a big bird flew past the window which worried him, so he returned home quickly!

Lennie on the peg, talking to Perry

 

Greeting the grass

Since our deliveries of seeding grass, Lennie has become more demanding & dare I say it, greedy.

When he decides it is time for the grass or he has eaten what I have put out (including ‘helping’ Perry with his portion) & believes it is time for the next course, he shouts… & shouts…. & shouts!  He also keeps looking through the big, middle cage door, in anticipation of it coming.

Lennie waiting for a treat

 

When he sees me coming with the grass, he jumps about with excitement and sometimes comes out onto the door landing platform to greet the grass.

Occasionally, he may be quite satisfied with his lot but when he hears the tap running in the kitchen he links it to me rinsing off the grass.  It is an unfortunate link because, of course, I could be doing a number of other unrelated grass things in the kitchen!  So, I try not to run the tap for too long at a time, especially if the grass has run out!