Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: cage

Morning Moriarty

How I love to see Moriarty greet me in the morning.

When he hears me enter the room, if it is not too early, he will jump to the mid-height perch at the front of the cage and peer under the cover at me.  I open the blinds, lift the covers a bit, then put my face up to him to say ‘Good Morning, Sweet Pie’…. taking care not to get my nostrils in biting distance!

Morning Moriarty

Morning Moriarty

 

Soft Bottom

For some time now, because of various illnesses & special needs within the flock, I have padded the cage bottoms.

When Moriarty arrived, he came with the Ferplast Canto cage.  Though he has officially moved into Dalai’s cage, he still has an attachment to his previous cage & is in & out of it during the day.

The folding cage was around for some time as an emergency hospital cage for Perry.  As that cage can be folded & stored easily, I have converted Moriarty’s Canto into emergency hospital quarters instead.  Part of the refurbishment involved padding the bottom.  Quite by chance, I came across two unused cushions that I could roll up & squeeze through the small doors.  These, wrapped in pillow cases, provide a lovely, thick, soft bottom.  I topped this with a piece of oilcloth & initially with newspaper but now with kitchen towel.

Fortunately, Perry has only spent small amounts of time in there (aside from the odd moment he voluntarily goes in for a change of scenery).

 

A Helping Hand

Perry’s lack of flying (partly physical & partly, I suspect, laziness!) means he appreciates a helping hand to get around.  Since Moriarty’s arrival, Perry has been increasingly keen to be out & about.  To aid in this, I resurrected the Hand Navigation System (HNS), originally developed by Atilla.

There is a glaring difference in their ways of using the HNS.  Atilla was firm & decisive, whereas Perry is less so.  With Perry, there is a lot of changing of mind/direction & a lot of me asking, “Where do you want to go, Perry? Here? There? Nowhere?”  Despite the different styles, the system still works well.

The major route is out of Moriarty’s cage to Moriarty’s old cage (Ferplast Canto) & locations in the vicinity, like the curtains & the back of the chair.  Sometimes, Perry may even set foot on the window perch. He will also join Moriarty on top of the cages.

I have thought of setting up a perch system to get Perry from Moriarty’s cage to these areas but this would mean more perches to remove whenever I need to close up the cage quickly, particularly in an emergency, or need to move it for cleaning purposes.  For now, I will continue to give Perry a helping hand.

 

 

Preparation for emergency evacuation of your birds (Update)

I thought it was worth revisiting my original ‘Emergency Evacuation‘ post from 2018.

The flock is different from then, which I felt required an update in our personal procedures.  The first major adjustment is that instead of placing them all in the travel cage, I thought it would be best to put each bird in their own (small) carrier.  This cuts out any worry about possible tensions with them all being together in a confined space.  Plus, it means that once in, the door does not need to be opened again, removing the worry about getting one in without letting whoever is already in, out.  There is also the issue that some cage doors cannot be opened easily with one hand so with individual carriers, I can have the door already open, waiting for the occupant.

The three carriers are kept in a sturdy bag, stored on the shelf under their cage.

The carriers are obviously too small for them to be kept in for any length of time, so I would also take the folding cage with me (folds completely flat).

The contents of the emergency canvas bag have not changed, but the bag is now a small backpack & the location is now on a shelf by the front door (only exit).

I am hoping that having planned for the worst, the worst will not happen!


Original Post

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/ (updated).

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

 

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….