Saturday Night and Sunday Morning

At 11pm on Saturday the 3rd of September, I peeked under their covers, as was routine, to check all was okay before dropping the big cover down further.  Perry & Lennie’s cage liner on the bottom had been changed about 2 hours earlier, so I was surprised it did not look clean.  When I looked closer, I realised it was blood.

Everywhere.

I spotted Lennie’s tail feather laying across the seed pot.  He had lost his other one a couple of days earlier, which seemed odd to me as it had only just grown in.  He had lost both tail feathers just weeks ago (click here to read that post) so I was not expecting the new ones to drop so quickly.  I assumed this was a blood feather problem.  Had the bleeding stopped or was it ongoing?  I took the cage liner away to reveal the clean one underneath so it would be easier to check.

blood splattered bottom cage liner
Blood splattered cage liner
Lennie’s fallen tail feathers

Then I saw a big clot drop.  I knew I had to take immediate action.

Three pet carrier cages
Carrier cages

Under the flight cage, I have three small travel cages for emergency evacuation (one each in red, white & blue).  The one on top just happened to be the red one.  Cornflour was put into a wide container.  I caught Lennie & basically covered his lower section in the cornflour, not really knowing where the site of the bleed was, & then placed him in the travel cage with a cover over.

After a few minutes I checked to see if he was still bleeding.  It was difficult to judge how much blood had dropped because the base of the travel cage was red, but I could see blood mingled in with the white cornflour that had fallen off him.  I doused Lennie again in cornflour & put him back.  He was still bleeding so I carried on dunking him in the cornflour (literally, I dunked him in & ‘bathed’ him).  I discarded the red travel cage & alternated between the white & blue one.  That way, I could wipe around the one not in use, so each time he was placed into a clean one, making it easier to judge blood loss.

Continue reading “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning”

Lowering the Raised Bottom

Phase II of the raising of the cage floor was undertaken on the 20th July.  As previously posted (click here), I thought the raised floor could be improved by lowering it a section.

This time I mostly used mini bungee cords, with string to cover a few gaps.  This lattice work was covered with pieces of cardboard connected with foldback clips.  I reused the piece of cardboard providing a rim across the front.  As before, the padding, oil cloth & cage liners were then placed on top.  An extra rope perch was added to bridge the gap between the new bottom & the existing low perch.

 

The changes were accepted immediately.  This time, Lennie was the first to test out the new floor’s bounce-ability!  It works a lot better this way so I think I will stop fiddling with it now!

 

 

Raised Bottom (Part Two)

I previously detailed how I split Perry & Lennie’s flight cage to raise the floor (click here to read that post).

When it was time for the swap to take place.  Perry was in with Moriarty, so I caught Lennie & popped him in the ‘new’ cage.  After the initial upset over being caught, he seemed relieved to be back in familiar surroundings again, despite the floor being raised.

The quarantine cage was removed & the half & half cage placed back in its original position.  Moriarty was keen to visit Lennie (he had not been able to do this whilst he was in the quarantine cage) but did a double-take on clocking the raised floor & backed off.  He kept coming back though & finally braved going over the threshold to greet his friend.  When it came towards bedtime, Perry returned home as he usually would.  All seemed to be back to normal again after nearly a week of upset!

Lennie & Moriarty in the ‘raised bottom’ cage

 

Ironically, the first to fall & test the new floor was Moriarty!

Whilst doing the conversion I had some better ideas but because I needed to work quick to minimize Perry & Lennie’s stay in the quarantine cage I decided to leave them for phase II.  The next phase is to actually lower the floor down to the next section (I think this will be a better compromise) & to use bungee cords instead of string.

The lower half of the cage is not expected to be used so is currently kept bare.  This arrangement, so far, seems to suit us better.

Video of Lennie & Moriarty chilling in the new set up:

 

 

Raised Bottom (Part One)

I had been thinking about it for awhile but last week I finally raised Perry & Lennie’s “bottom”.

Their flight cage is a good size but it has a big drop if anyone falls.  The cage bottom has been padded to cushion any fall, & perches arranged to allow an easy ascent.

However, recently I noticed Perry fell off the perch as he reached around to clean his bottom (I seem to be talking about bottoms a lot in this post!)  His various lumps & bumps have made it difficult for him to balance at times.  He has also wobbled quite a bit when cleaning his bottom, but managed to right himself before falling.  Lennie has also fallen on occasion.  It made sense to me that it would be more comfortable for them if there was not so far to fall.

Perry & Lennie’s temporary home

It was quite a big operation.  They had to move into the quarantine/folding cage whilst I made the changes.  I set it up as near as possible to what they were used to & anticipated they would be in there for up to 2 weeks as I worked out how to raise the floor.

I did plan to swap out Moriarty’s cage with Perry & Lennie’s clean cage & convert Moriarty’s cage, but decided at the last minute to just clean Moriarty’s cage & furniture all at once as I thought there might be some objection as the cages are different colours (grey/silver & black) & we know how finicky they can be about such things!  This meant that Perry & Lennie were an extra day in the quarantine cage.

After I cleaned Moriarty’s cage (& added extra padding on the bottom) I had to work quicker than I planned on the conversion as Perry & Lennie were not coping well in the quarantine cage.  Perry had the advantage of spending most of the day in with Moriarty (after an age trying to get him out through the strange door!), so Lennie was the most unsettled.

Though I had run through the conversion idea in my head many times, I could not be sure how it would turn out until I actually tried it.  Firstly, I decided to split the cage at the halfway level.  The bars split into three sections at that level which suggested three sets of cardboard could be slotted through.  I did not have cardboard long enough so tied pieces together with string.  It had to be flexible to get in & out through the door.

The cardboard would lay on a crisscross of string.  This proved to be quite difficult as I had to research some different knots in order to keep some decent tension.  I ended up with making a loop mid-way in the piece of string in order to thread the string through it & tie tight enough.  I kept testing it by throwing a tailor’s ham on (weighs about 450g) to simulate a fall!  There was also a slight gap at the front & back so an extra piece of cardboard was added.  At the front, at the gap when the main door is open, I added a ridge for a little safety.  All exposed edges of cardboard were covered with parcel tape.

 

Finally, I added some padding (not as much as before given there is less of a fall), a piece of oilcloth, then the bottom liners.  All furniture was placed back in exactly the same place!  (To help with furniture/toy placement I made a note of location according to bars & also took photos.)  You will notice in the last photo below there is an extra perch in the lower section that was just the right shape to provide a little extra support.

 

So, how did they receive it?  That will be in the next post!

 

 

Lennie’s May Moult

Moulting Lennie

Lennie had quite a heavy moult this May.

Fortunately, I noticed quickly that he was not bothering to go down to his seed pots so held seed up to him.  He was still eating but was just too lethargic to go & get the seed himself.  Once he knew I would give him seed, he would indicate he wanted some by bending down & looking out the main door.  We did this for about two weeks.

When I was out I left millet in the cage & the wild grass helped enormously. He was looking very tatty during this time & towards the end lots of pin feathers came through on his head.

When he started going to get his own seed it was a good indication that things were returning to normal.  I think the early seed intervention helped him power through the moult.

 

Poop bundles

Poop bundles

Poop bundle

Lennie has been producing bundles of poop.

For about a week his poop would build up & at intervals a little bundle of 3 or 4 would drop.  One morning, I noticed that none of his poops had dropped overnight & he had an enormous bundle stuck to his bottom.  He was trying to remove it himself but pecking at it & kicking back at it with his foot was not budging it.  I decided that an intervention was needed.

I prepared what I thought would be needed, cotton wool, warm water, savlon/vaseline.

Poor darling – I had hoped I would be able to prise it off pretty quickly, but it was stuck fast. It needed quite a bit of soaked cotton wool to soften it enough to release it.  It came away in one big bundle.  There was one small piece left behind that needed a bit of extra work.  It was stuck to a feather & I considered getting the scissors to cut it off but fortunately a bit of extra water managed to set it free.

Lennie was a bit put out by the ordeal & needed some time to recover, but the good news is that since then his poop has been falling free.

Lennie eating dried grass

 

First wild seeded grass of 2022

A surprise parcel arrived last week containing a lovely bunch of fresh, seeded grass.

 

I wondered how Perry, Lennie & Moriarty would receive the grass – sometimes, after the long, winter gap, they are initially wary but I have been giving them dried grass so they tucked in without any hesitation.

Many thanks to follower rosebudgie who sent the very welcome parcel!

 

Bye, Bye, Dustbuster

The day had to come.  It could not be avoided.  My trusty & loyal handheld vacuum cleaner stopped working.

Dustbuster

 

For those in bird-keeping circles, you will know the importance of having a handy & quick way of hoovering up seed, husks, feathers, poop & dander!  Not to mention remains of chewing sessions on various materials.

So, bye-bye to my dustbuster that I purchased in 2011.  It had faithfully cleaned up after all birds on this blog: Atilla, Raspy, Cagney, Bezukhov, Phineas, Thomas, Dalai, Perry, Lennie & Moriarty.

 

It has already been replaced by a newer model that I hope will also give many years of service.

 

System for emergency seed supplies

Expanding on my previous post regarding emergency evacuation procedures (click here), I have given some thought to emergency food supplies.

I worked out roughly how much seed is consumed by (currently) 3 birds & bought about 9-12 months worth.  These are stored & used on a rota system to ensure no seed goes past a certain date.

Emergency seed supplies

 

Seed is stored in a cool, dark & dry place.

This system has been in place since last summer & is working well.  I tend to mix two seed mixes, so have two containers on the go.  The same containers are used for long-term storage also, so I can easily move them around.

Who’s been eating all the seed?