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.
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.
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.
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!
During the vet visit on the 16th June for Perry’s ‘turns’ (click here to read), I also asked the vet to check Lennie’s wing feathers.
The last time the vet checked his wing feathers was a year ago when he was already having problems flying. At the time, it was thought a severe moult had caused the problems. Since then, Lennie has grown wing feathers back again but also lost some, never getting to a point that he could fly properly. The feathers he dropped also looked of poor quality. In addition, we had the ‘crime scene‘ with a suspected broken blood feather. It seemed appropriate to ask the vet to take another look.
Prior to her physical examination of him, I showed her many of the feathers he had lost. She identified stress bars & also evidence of chewing. Stress bars were not too surprising as Lennie is a bit of a worrywart. The chewing was more concerning & raised lots of questions, primarily, was he chewing because there was something wrong with the feather or was he chewing on a healthy feather & if so, why?
On examining Lennie, apart from his strange feathers & whopping weight (a staggering 73g!) he appeared healthy. She took some sample feathers for him to be tested for Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) which fortunately came back negative.
When the vet returned the following day to check on Perry, as a precaution, she gave them both treatment for (feather) mites, which I followed up on the 13th July.
Without further tests, it is difficult to establish the root cause of Lennie’s feather problem. It is possible he has a psychological issue given he suffers from stress & anxiety. Even if his feather problem is resolved, his weight gain will not help with his flying ability. So, this continues to be a problem to monitor…
Dalai has been hit hard by it. Often he has a mini-moult before the main moult, lulling me into a false sense of security, thinking he has been let off lightly. He lost a few feathers earlier then stopped losing them, so I thought his moult was over, then overnight he lost 3 flight feathers & his main moult began. Flight feather loss has been severe enough to stop him from flying. To say he is grumpy about this would be an understatement! You can see from the photos below that he has one wing significantly shorter than the other.
Lennie has had flight problems since his last moult & though those flight feathers grew back, he has since lost some more, so is still struggling to fly. As with Dalai, he has one wing significantly shorter than the other. If only they could work as a pair – they would probably get combined decent flight!
Dalai’s lopsided wings
Lennie’s lopsided wings
Dalai & Lennie’s wings
Perry has lost flight feathers too though his loss is less severe. However, the combination of some feather loss & his growing lump, also results in poor flying ability.
For some days, both Dalai & Perry have stayed in their respective homes, with just Lennie dashing between them, either sitting with Perry, or sitting with Dalai (at a safe distance from his moody beak jabbing).
So, there you have it…. three budgies, all with flight problems. Hopefully both Dalai & Lennie’s wings will grow back quickly. I am still hopeful that Perry’s lump will just stop growing!
At long last, Perry & Lennie were out of their quarantine cage (see previous post)! I say ‘at long last’ but of course from when their little door was opened, it only took them a few days to venture out, unlike Dalai & Thomas who took weeks to pluck up the courage to go through the open door.
Perry & Lennie had no trouble with flying. It is always gratifying to see a budgie, who has been confined, able to stretch their wings & have a good fly & zoom around the room. The blue newbies typically found the highest points to land, such as the curtain rail & the string lights across the window. They also landed on the manor – the first encounter between all four of them without bars between them. It was a bit tense to say the least.
A worn out Lennie on top of the manor
Perry on the wooden swing in the manor & Lennie looking on
Dalai was clearly uncomfortable & lunged at Perry when he got too close. Bezukhov ran away from Perry. To settle my nerves, I locked Bezukhov & Dalai in the manor as soon as I could. This way, Perry & Lennie could concentrate on getting to know their wider surroundings without causing upset.
As previously reported, Dalai finally left the confines of his cage on the 11th May, after several weeks of quarantine & sitting tight. The deciding factor to getting him out was wild, seeded grass. In other words, an irresistible foodie treat!
His moment of freedom was captured on film:
After a bit of goading from Phineas, & then Bezukhov coming to investigate, Dalai found his wings & was off!
He flew several high laps of the room & did not appear to know how to fly lower but gradually his circles got lower until he executed a perfect landing on the Silver Villa! He then flew off again & found the Manor. He also, very cleverly, found his own cage & the doorway & popped back home!
Recently, I have noticed some strange behaviour from Phineas.
I have become accustomed to his fly-bys. Without looking up from my laptop, I can tell his flight path by the heavy flapping of his wings & the displaced air. However, some of his flyovers seemed to fall short. When I turned to investigate what was happening, it appeared that Phineas was attempting to land on the spider plant to my left.
To date, he has not managed a landing which is just as well as I am pretty sure he would knock the plant over! It has reminded me of the past when Cagney developed a fascination with my spider plants. Bezukhov soon joined him & I recall that Raspy also wanted in on the act. After I changed my furniture, although the plants were returned in similar positions, the interest had gone.
I wonder why Phineas has suddenly noticed this particular plant now? Sometimes it is very difficult to get inside a budgie mind!
Following on from my previous post on Thomas & his health problems, we located the medication, L-Carnitine. It is a liquid version for humans, of 500mg strength. Mr Exotic Vet had already been researching the product & confirmed that the lemon flavour of this particular product will actually be beneficial rather than detrimental. He suggested a dosage of 2 drops per 50ml of water (similar to the Milk Thistle). Thomas is to have the L-Carnitine on one day & the next day Milk Thistle, & so on.
This new regime began on Tuesday 17th December.
About one week later, Thomas was definitely livelier. He was flying more, was more alert & more vocal. His poops seemed a little drier, not quite so sloppy. He was also responding to Cagney & began flirting again. This, once again, caused a little friction with the others, but as yet, no major fights have happened, just near misses.
Over the Christmas holiday, Thomas was mostly better but had the odd down day where he seemed a bit lethargic.
However, in the last week, Thomas seems to have taken a step back. He has still been coming out but he has not been flying as much & not flirting with Cagney. His poops have also got wetter again. Yesterday, I had a telephone consultation with Mr EV. He suggested a short course of antibiotics in case Thomas has picked up another infection. This began today, alongside the Milk Thistle/L-Carnitine regime.