April the 13th was the day selected to see if the new boys would like to come out of their quarantine cage. This would be their first time out of a cage for at least a year (possibly longer). It is always a bit nerve-wracking, wondering how they will react and behave!
Their cage door was raised at 10am, but though Frediano & Finkleberry knew something had changed, they did not appear to understand what! After a couple of hours of no movement on their part, I started down the temptation route by pegging up some spinach by the open door. The folding cage has a few doors that slide up, so I was experimenting with different combinations.
The spinach leaf certainly caught their attention & both approached & ate a bit, but still no venturing through the open door… until around 13:20, when both attempted to eat the spinach & Finkleberry found himself on the outside of the cage, then flew off! So one out, one to go!
After four weeks of quarantine, Frediano & Finkleberry were brought into the lounge to meet Moriarty (10th April).
For a few days prior, at intervals, I opened the room doors between them, so they could hear each other, in the hope the actual meet and greet would be less of a shock! Once again, Frediano & Finkleberry would be experiencing a change of surroundings. Moriarty would suddenly go from being a lone bird to having two feathery friends again.
On wheeling the new boys in, Moriarty went silent & was clearly surprised. Frediano and Finkleberry were also intrigued. After about half an hour, when the initial shock had worn off, I offered my hand to Moriarty to see if he wanted to go over to see his new friends. He tentatively accepted & I took him towards their cage. It did not take long for him to discard me (!) & focus on Frediano & Finkleberry. He mostly ran about on top of their cage, peering in, then flying off & returning with a flourish as he landed.
Moriarty, Frediano & Finkleberry
Moriarty, Frediano & Finkleberry
First meeting of Moriarty, Frediano & Finkleberry
Frediano & Finkleberry had mixed reactions. After all, it had been just the two of them for at least a year & now here was someone else. There was a little jostling between the two of them as they tried to get prime position. I moved their cover across the back section of the cage to provide a safe area underneath where Moriarty was not prowling above. Other than that, they all seemed okay. Certainly Moriarty was delighted to have feathery company again! If I had any doubts over my decision to increase the flock then seeing Moriarty’s reaction would have eased them.
Finkleberry & Frediano
Moriarty & Frediano
Moriarty, Frediano & Finkleberry
My plan was to have a few days of them getting to know each other through the bars before getting Frediano & Finkleberry out. Initially, I had to put the cover over Frediano & Finkleberry to get Moriarty back to his own cage so I could go out, but Moriarty soon realised they would still be there even if he retired to his own cage.
So, all was going well. The next phase would be the face-to-face meeting!
Here are some videos of that first meet & greet:
Morning after first night in the same room together – Moriarty is keen to go over & see his new friends:
It is always interesting during quarantine to see how birds cope with their new environment, what they make of new things & experiences. Frediano & Finkleberry were certainly in a bigger cage than before, with more toys, so any signs of curiosity or exploration were always good to see. Here are some of the milestones I witnessed during their quarantine weeks.
Finkleberry was the first to check out the dried grass.
It took awhile, but the curly paper was finally accepted as an absorbing activity.
Frediano was the first to try out the see-saw swing & liked to sit there & preen.
Frediano was the first to touch the cuttlefish & later actually tried some. I have yet to see Finkleberry have any. The salt lick was totally ignored.
The fresh green spinach leaf was immediately investigated by Frediano who was delighted with it! Finkleberry followed suit later on.
Frediano tries spinach
Finkleberry with spinach on beak
Finkleberry tucking into spinach
Finkleberry with foot on spinach
Frediano likes spinach
As for other vegetables, broccoli & fennel were touched but not eaten. Baby corn was happily shredded by Frediano – it is debatable if he actually ingested any!
Frediano & Finkleberry were in quarantine, in my bedroom, from the 14th of March until the 10th of April.
The change in surroundings & routine would be significant for them, but at least they had each other. I always think quarantine is easier when there is more than one bird, & that it is particularly difficult if the budgie was with others, but is then suddenly alone. So, I felt reasurred that Frediano & Finkleberry had each other, especially as I was initially spending time with an unwell Lennie & then later, a solo Moriarty. So, unlike other quarantine times, I did not spend as much time with them as I would have liked.
My first impressions were that Frediano & Finkleberry were fairly quiet & only really moved to get something to eat or drink. Given they had been living with predators (cats), I felt that, for survival, they had learned to not draw attention to themselves.
Quarantine is usually a good time for taming but in this instance, I felt that their previous lack of interaction with people meant a lesser goal of them not panicking when I changed food/water & the bottom paper, was more appropriate. The first few times, when I changed their seed pots, they flew to the other end of the cage in fright. Later, they calmly moved to the other side of the cage, then gradually they were comfortable staying put.
As a precaution, I had booked a home vet visit for the 20th of March for Lennie, but as he was no longer with us, I decided to keep the appointment for the new boys, particularly as I had some concerns. One of my concerns was the extensive rust on the mirror toy I was given by the previous owner. I showed it to the vet so she could bear it in mind during her examination. I also noticed that Finkleberry often sat with his head bowed quite low & wondered if that could be a health issue or just behavioural.
My bedroom is not set up for flying birds, so in case either Frediano or Finkleberry escaped from the vet’s grasp, I did some rudimentary bird-proofing of the room, in particular covering gaps at the back of larger, harder to move furniture. (Not sure what the vet thought when she saw the bubble-wrapped room!)
Frediano was first to be examined. He weighed 55g – the vet thought he was on the chubby side but suspected that was due to lack of exercise/flying, so hopefully would remedy itself. He also had a temperature but the absence of any other clinical signs made her think it was temporary & stress related. His toenails needed to be trimmed (previous lack of perch variety), so whilst the nurse located the clippers, Frediano was put in the small carrier cage whilst Finkleberry was examined. Finkleberry weighed just 32g, which the vet thought was right for him as he is naturally a small bird. She could feel his heart, which suggested it was enlarged – this could be congenital or diet-related. Finkle got his toenails trimmed & tidied up, as did Frediano, who also had a beak trim too.
It is worth noting that when Frediano was put back in the cage with Finkleberry, Finkleberry immediately started preening Frediano’s head – it was the first time I had seen this. (Previously I had seen it happen the other way around on a couple of occasions).
Finkleberry has a closed, black ring on his right leg & the vet confirmed it reads “NB 19 OU PG 17”. We believe it means he was the 17th chick hatched in 2019. An internet search confirmed that black leg rings were issued for 2019, so he is older than expected. Assuming he hatched towards the end of 2019, he is over 3 years old – possibly very similar in age to Moriarty.
As a precaution, I collected their droppings for 7 days, to be tested for Chlamydia, which fortunately came back negative.
After the disturbance of the vet visit, I felt we could truly begin to make progress with Frediano & Finkleberry becoming relaxed & comfortable in their new home.
Please say hello to our two new boys, Frediano & Finkleberry!
Frediano & Finkleberry
As mentioned in my previous post (click here), on Tuesday the 14th of March I rescued two birds. At the time, they were to be friends for Lennie & Moriarty, after the loss of Perry. The advert for them caught my attention as it said that the birds were ‘not getting on with the cats‘. They were apparently a male & female, though the photos were not clear enough to confirm.
Photo in advert
Fredi & Finkle in travel cage
The handover was a little stressful as they were transferred into my travel cage whilst two cats prowled around the open plan room. Information about them was vague but I gathered they had had them for about a year. Due to the cats, they had not been let out to fly. Seed was their only food, of which I took some home to help with the transition. I was also given a mirror toy that I threw in my bag.
At home, the folding cage was already set up for quarantine in my bedroom. Their seed was low quality so I did not mix it with my own seed. Once in the quarantine cage, they quickly found the seed & were eating it without any problems, so I discarded the box I was given. They also found the millet spray. The boys seemed relatively okay, but quiet. Oh, & yes, it turned out they were both boys!
Frediano found the seed pots
Fredi preening Finkle
Finkle and the millet
Because of the radical change for them, I left them alone as much as I could, so they could ‘decompress’, only disturbing them to change seed & water & change the bottom paper in the pull out tray. As it turned out, Lennie became ill at this time, so my attention was focused on him.
I think you will agree that they are very handsome boys!