Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Category Archives: manor

Manor repurposed

As previously posted, the Manor is no more.  However, parts of the Manor have been salvaged, so it still lives on, in a somewhat limited & modified form.

The loft area

The former loft area, the dome-shaped part of the manor, that was typically the bedtime area, has been retained.  It was given a thorough clean & the lock on the top removed due to ingrained rust that could not be removed.  To join the two pieces together, I used cable ties & string.  To keep the shape, I trimmed some plastic perches (I knew I was keeping them for something!) & wedged them across the bottom at both ends.  These two changes produced a very sturdy structure, which can now be placed on top of a Villa & used as a playgym & general hang-out area.

 

The bottom grid

The Manor is made of substantially heavier material than the Villa.  This meant that the newly fashioned dome lay quite heavy on the thinner bars of the Villa.  Enter the bottom grid of the Manor.  The Villa is slightly shorter in length & wider in depth than the Manor so the bottom grid fits very neatly & securely across the top of a Villa, with a tiny overhang on one side (assuming the other side is flush to the edge)  Because the grid is resting on the two side edges of the Villa, essentially the frame of the cage, it is supported well.  The addition of pegs along the back of the Villa (which are holding up the back cover anyway) ensure it does not slip & for the ‘belt & braces’ effect, ties on each corner further secure it.

The Tunnel

The repurposed loft area is now known as the Tunnel, mainly because you can go all the way through it & out the other end.  The Tunnel is fairly heavy so it does not lend itself to much movement when placed on the bottom grid of the Manor, on top of the Villa (keep up!)   However, for extra security, I placed a couple of ‘thingamajigs’ (the pink plastic connectors of a ladder, seen in this post here) at the back of the bottom grid to be used as stoppers to prevent the Tunnel from slipping backwards.  A peg at the front stops it from slipping forward.  The Tunnel is removed each evening, by simply lifting it up, & placing it on my coffee table; this makes it easier for me to put their bedtime cover over the Villa, with the added bonus that I can easily clean the Tunnel & any perches & toys that are attached.

The Tunnel in position

 

Landing Platform

The Manor landing platform, a location of much activity in the past, has also been repurposed.  I decided to position it on the side of the Villa.  Once again, because it is quite heavy, I needed a strong way to secure it.  The D-rings used for the large Manor seed pots were screwed on to provide a base to rest the landing platform on.  A perch from the far edge of the platform running underneath to the Villa secures the right level & further ties ensure no slippage.

 

End Result

I am pleased to report that all the above changes have been accepted by all Villa occupants, most probably because of the familiarity of the parts used.

Welcome back to the bits of the Manor!

 

 

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…Hello New Villa!

After much thought, I decided to replace the Manor with another Villa (Liberta Oregon flight cage).

Though I wanted something with the same space as the Manor, I also wanted something that was not so tall & heavy.  ‘Heavy’ in a cage is a good thing as it indicates strength & durability, but over time I was finding it awkward & on the occasions when I dropped the bottom grid on my foot, painful!

The existing Silver Villa ticks quite a few boxes (not all – I doubt there is a cage in existence that has no bad points!)  Apart from needing to be a reasonable size, the other main thing it had to have was an adequately big central door, to enable easier catching of an occupant.  So, another Villa was chosen.  There are added bonuses: in the short term it would have a low scariness level in regards to introduction; in the long term having two homes that were essentially the same may help with any territorial issues.

The change warranted a clear plan of action.

  • Step 1: Assemble the New Villa.
  • Step 2: Remove Manor from the room.  Move Perry & Lennie, still living in their quarantine cage, from the left side of the Silver Villa to the right side, essentially where the Manor was, although alongside rather than facing the Villa.  The playgym reinstated in its proper place, left of Silver Villa.
  • Step 3: Dress the New Villa, using some Manor furniture/accessories to aid with acceptance.
  • Step 4: Move Perry & Lennie, in their quarantine cage to the other side of the room.  Bring in the New Villa & position in area they vacated, next to the Silver Villa.
  • Step 5: Let them all out & hope that Perry & Lennie will move into the New Villa.

 

The 11th March was the day scheduled for Step 2.   After capturing what turned out to be Bezukhov’s last meal in the Manor, it was removed from the room & the layout changed.  All went to plan.

 

Bezukhov is no fan of changes but he did welcome back his old friend the playgym.  Surprisingly, the playgym was new to Dalai but it did not take him long to join Bezukhov there.  By the following day, Perry & Lennie also visited the playgym.

Here is the animated version of Bezukhov’s reunion with the playgym & Dalai’s initial encounter:

 

After over a week of dressing the New Villa, the 20th March ushered in Step 4 of the plan.  Trying to make the changes as discreetly as I could, I carefully moved the New Villa right next to the Silver Villa, all the while gauging Bezukhov’s reaction, hoping he would not be scared.  Fortunately, he did not seem too put out with the new construction next door.  I moved the lamp from Perry & Lennie’s quarantine cage to the New Villa.

The New Villa

You will see that the New Villa is a darker colour than the Silver Villa.  It was described as ‘grey’ so I expected it to be the same as the Silver Villa.  It is actually closer in colour to the black bars of the quarantine cage.  Putting aside my general irritation that it is not the same colour (!) I worried that it may hamper acceptance.

 

For Step 5, when they were all let out, they naturally pretended the New Villa did not exist.  To encourage Perry & Lennie to spend the night in the New Villa, I bribed them with red millet.  It worked.  Here they are tucking in:

 

I hope they will all be happy with the New Villa.

 

 

Goodbye Manor….

For various reasons, I decided it was time to replace the Manor (Montana San Remo).  I had considered replacing it like-for-like but in the end, with great regret, thought it best to let it go completely.

Atilla & Raspy on the Manor door

The Manor is tied up with so many memories.  First & foremost, it makes me think of Atilla & Raspy because they were its first occupants.  The sisters were happy there.  They certainly claimed it for their own & micro-supervised any changes to the layout.  Cleaning of their domain was also scrupulously observed, to the point where they would, dare I say, hinder progress!

After having the Manor all to themselves for over a year, Atilla & Raspy graciously allowed two toyboys to share. In a sense, these were the golden years – two happy couples (Atilla/Cagney & Raspy/Bezukhov); two loyal sisters (Atilla & Raspy); two great buddies (Cagney & Bezukhov).

Of course nothing stays the same.  The Manor was witness to our first tragic event – the loss of Raspy.  Not too long after, the Manor was rearranged to accommodate an increasingly ailing Atilla.  Being the leader, the Manor was very much her territory & I feel she would have defended it, & its occupants, to the end.  When it sadly came, the end was peaceful, but the Manor lost another legend.

Cagney & Bezukhov continued on in the Manor, leaderless.  In fact, the Manor never saw another leader.  We were, of course, joined by the adorably, irascible Phineas.  Famously, Phineas never slept overnight in the Manor because the toyboys did not want to share their bedtime with him, so Phinny had his own sleeping quarters.  When Thomas joined us, he moved in with Phineas, rather than with the toyboys in the Manor.

Loft area

So, despite the changes to the flock, Cagney & Bezukhov retained sole residency of the Manor.  Time marches on though & changes continued.  The next significant change, in terms of the Manor, was the loss of Cagney.  Despite living in the Manor for 5 years, Bezukhov, without his best buddy, was uncomfortable sleeping there alone.  There was a trial run of Phineas joining Bezukhov in the Manor at bedtime but it just did not work.  Bezukhov was left with no alternative – he moved into the Ferplast with Phineas.

Bezukhov & Phineas did temporarily return to the Manor when the Ferplast was replaced with the scary new Silver Villa, but once the Silver Villa was accepted, the Manor was abandoned once again & reverted to being a daytime play area only.

The Golden Age of the Manor was over.

It is with regret I let the Manor go, but I thank it unreservedly for all the pleasure & comfort it has given.  Though it is no longer here, memories of the Manor will never fade.

Goodbye Manor.

 

 

Tumbleweeds in the Villa

When we lost Phineas, Bezukhov made it clear he considered the Silver Villa Phinny’s domain.  Though Bezukhov & Phineas originally moved into the Villa at the same time, its location was/is the same as the Ferplast, which was definitely Phinny’s home.  If you recall, when Phineas arrived, Cagney & Bezukhov did not want him to sleep overnight with them so Phineas had a cage all to himself, at least at bedtime.  So it seems that by location, Bezukhov regarded the Villa as Phinny’s.

Bezukhov found it difficult to go in the Villa without Phinny’s presence.  He quickly decided that bedtime would switch back to the Manor.  Dalai followed him there.

During the day, he avoided the inside of the Villa.  On top & around the outside of it was fine, but he was not comfortable going inside.  It took a couple of weeks for him to venture inside to drink the water or chew the iodine block but he generally just took what he needed & then got out – he did not linger.  Gradually, as Dalai spent time in the Villa, Bezukhov’s visits got longer & over the following weeks Bezukhov began to sit in the Villa & even eat in there.  He now appears quite relaxed in there, but bedtime is still in the Manor.

 

Note: Check out the difference in feet colour between Bezukhov & Dalai.

 

 

Sensitive and Complicated

It was one week ago, with a sense of jà vu, that I noticed Bezukhov’s poops did not look right.  They were sludgy & dark green.

Bezukhov on the window perch

Bezukhov on the window perch

Bezukhov on top of the manor

Bezukhov on top of the manor

Bezukhov eating pellets

Bezukhov eating pellets

Instinct told me this was Bezukhov’s reaction to losing Phineas because the poops reminded me of just over a year ago, when we lost Cagney, & Bezukhov stopped eating (click here for post).

I knew Bezukhov was upset by the change in routine, actually, the change in everything, as evidenced by not going into the Villa (Phinny’s domain).  He would go in briefly for water or to chew on the iodine block, but not sit in there.  Also, overnight sleeping has switched, at Bezukhov’s insistence, from the Villa to the Manor.

In the days leading up to the discovery, I had noticed Bezukhov was eating more pellets (in dishes on top of the Villa) but it was not until I saw the dodgy poops that I realised he was barely eating his normal seed mix.  Behaviour-wise, Bezukhov became very loud.  He was constantly shouting & often looking out of the window.  Normally he would shout at things outside but each time I looked I could not see anything; he was just shouting for shouting’s sake.  Sometimes he would go to one of the five seed pots but would only eat one seed before looking distracted & moving on.

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Dalai’s first day out

The three of them!

The three of them!

When Dalai finally came out of his quarantine cage, he was quietly confident.  Apart from the first few seconds of panic when I think he did not know how to fly lower than the ceiling, he coped very well.

On that first day, he proved himself to be a great flyer, despite being cooped up in a cage for weeks (possibly months – including his previous home).  Though his first landing was on the Silver Villa (a convenient flat top), his first port of exploration was the Manor (see video below – you can see Phineas bending Dalai’s ear whilst Bezukhov keeps a respectful distance).

To either show off how smart he was or to simply have a few minutes to recollect himself, Dalai expertly popped back into his own home at intervals.

It was not long before the Silver Villa was investigated.  Here he found seed so he was able to stop & refuel before continuing with his adventures.  He also found Phinny’s pink ttmss swing.  Whilst he was on there, Phineas felt the need to shadow him from above (see video below).  The swing turned out to be a nice place for Dalai to have a snooze too.

 

Dalai’s first visit to the Manor:

Dalai on the pink swing in the Silver Villa & Phineas prowling around on top:

 

 

Acceptance of the Silver Villa

Ferplast reinstated

Ferplast reinstated

Going back to last October, you will know that I removed the new cage, the Silver Villa, & reinstated the Ferplast as Bezukhov was unwell & it was thought familiarity would help his recovery.  The Silver Villa stayed in the room, but was shunted to the corner (the playgym, once again, in my bedroom).

This arrangement worked in that Bezukhov gradually got better.  The existing problem though, was giving him his medication.  As he was back to sleeping overnight in the Ferplast with Phineas, it meant that was the location for the morning medication chase.  Over the weeks, catching him got so difficult that I was led to a new idea; I opened the small side door of the Ferplast & moved the cage up to the big open door of the Manor, draping a sheet around the open areas around the edge. The plan was to chase him through the little side door, into the Manor & it worked!

Phineas on door of Silver Villa

Phineas on door of Silver Villa

Although flushed with the success of my idea, I knew that it was a one-off.  Knowing Bezukhov, once he worked out that ‘escape’ through the side door would just mean he still got caught in the Manor, he simply would not go through the door.  By this time, (mid-November) Bezukhov was back to normal, health-wise, so I decided, for my own sanity, to (once again) replace the Ferplast with the Silver Villa, there & then.

So, as from November the 18th, both Bezukhov & Phineas returned to sleeping overnight in the Manor!  This meant I had to open them up as early as possible in the morning because by then, Bezukhov needed some respite from Phineas.

They continued to ignore the Silver Villa & at most, sat on the top to eat from the pellet pots there.  Into December, Phineas started sitting on the top of the open door – it was a shorter flight to the window perch from there.  On the 16th of December, Phineas was sitting on my hand, contemplating a jiggy (it had been awhile) so I gradually moved him into the Silver Villa. He sat in there & preened for a bit although I think that was largely because he did not know how to get out, even though it has a large front door. I had to go in the other room & when I came back he had returned to the Manor.

Here is Phineas on his 16th December visit to the Silver Villa:

 

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Salt Lick

Increasingly, I have noticed Himalayan Salt Licks being advertised for pets.  Originally, I did not take much notice as it seemed at odds with also being told that too much salt is bad for us.  Gradually, the message filtered through that the salt licks offer numerous health advantages & of course for humans, pure Himalayan pink salt is thought to be beneficial.

Whilst doing an online supermarket shop, I noticed they sold salt licks for pets.  I popped one in my basket.  When it came, I was still a bit dubious about putting it out for Bezukhov & Phineas, so I put it aside for the time being.  Not long afterwards, Phineas started licking the Manor bars.  It was very odd & a little worrying – had I cleaned the bars properly?!  They have the iodine mineral block which both regularly nibble & also cuttlefish that they tend to play with rather than chew.  Was Phineas looking for some other minerals?  Whilst I was pondering that, I remembered I had the salt lick.  Perhaps I should try it?

Initially, I put it on the floor of the manor, in a corner where Phinny would sometimes go to lick the bars.  He did a double-take when he first saw this lump of pink, crystallised rock.  To his credit, he plucked up courage to peck at it & let it know who was boss & in doing this, got a taste.  It did not take long for him to discover that he liked it!  In fact, he was so enthusiastic about it, I was worried he might overdose!  So, when he was not looking, I took it out & put it on the shelf under the cage.  He saw it there & still wanted it.  He tried to get down there but was not agile enough.  I changed tack & decided to put it on the window ledge.  This way it would be available but slightly out of the way.

 

It did not take long for Phineas to follow it to the window ledge where he snorted licked more.  After awhile, Bezukhov also investigated, but had to do some nifty side-stepping to get around Phineas.

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The Silver Villa

Previously, I alluded to Bezukhov & Phineas having a new home.   The new home (in waiting) is the Liberta Oregon cage.

The reason I decided to buy (yet) another cage is because since Cagney’s sad passing, Bezukhov has moved into the Ferplast with Phineas.  As much as I like many aspects of the Ferplast Piano 6 cage (& it has been popular with all who have lived in it) it is an awful cage for catching a bird – as detailed in my post ‘Medication & the Ferplast‘.

Ideally, they would have both lived in the Manor but it seems it is not suitable for bedtime.  I suspect this is because at bedtime, they need to sleep at the highest spot & in the Manor this means the loft area (domed part).  The loft area itself is quite small, compared to the rest of the cage & I believe this makes it difficult to share with Phineas.  In the old days, the loft area comfortably housed Atilla, Raspy, Cagney & Bezukhov at bedtime so it must be the combination of the size & Phineas.

So, assuming the Manor will no longer be used for bedtime by Bezukhov & Phineas, & Bezukhov’s medication regime is long-term, I felt that a new cage to replace the Ferplast was the way forward.

Liberta Oregon bird cage

Liberta Oregon bird cage

After much deliberation, I chose the Liberta Oregon cage.  A pet shop about 40 minutes drive away actually had it on display so, unusually, I was able to see it ‘in the flesh’ before buying.  On the shop floor I also simulated chasing Bezukhov around it!  It has a flat top, so no confined dome area to cause problems at bedtime & more importantly, has a large front door to facilitate a more evenly matched chase.  As with all cages there are some design issues but I will address these another time.  For now, it had what I was looking for.

So, cage bought, delivered & assembled.  It was introduced to Bezukhov & Phineas on the 16th October.  I decided to ‘go for it’ & when they were both out of the Ferplast, I did a straight swap; new one in, old one out.  I arranged the furniture in the new one as near enough to the Ferplast as possible.

Predictably, they gave the new cage a wide berth.  The manor was now the place to be.  However, I took the opportunity whilst Phinny was jiggling away on my hand, to gradually move my hand (& him) into the Silver Villa.  He was too wrapped up in his jiggying to notice, but when he finished the job, he found he was in his new home.  What to do?  Find a way out of course!  On his way out, he found some millet by the door so had to stop & eat that, as witnessed in this video:

 

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Sentry Duty

How lucky I am to have Bezukhov in the flock.  His level-headedness & responsible manner are a great boon, especially considering the other flock members are the flirty Cagney & the incorrigible Phineas.

What recent event has reminded me of Bezukhov’s value?  The roof latch of the Manor had been opened.

Again.

I have posted previously about this problem: A Bid For Freedom & Brainstorming Session.  This time though, Bezukhov saw the potential for mutiny & clearly wanted to keep the status quo.  He resolved this by standing guard over the opened latch.

 

It is possible he had been there awhile by the time I discovered this anomaly as he looked quite sleepy.  He certainly was behaving above & beyond the call of duty.

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