Personality change for Perry?

In recent months, Perry’s behaviour has changed somewhat.

Just little things… but things he either did not do before or did not do often.

Here are some of the things I have noticed:

◈ The main thing is that Perry wants to fly more.  His flying is not too good – probably more due to lack of exercise/practice/motivation than any physical reason.  Whilst I appreciate the extra activity is a good thing, his flying can be erratic.  At times he does not plan in advance where he is going, but just suddenly sets off in a mad flurry.  I have caught him many times before he has landed on the floor (he loses height) or somewhere undesirable (his maneuvering skills are not great).

Budgies Perry and Moriarty playing on top of cage
Moriarty & Perry playing on top of the cage

◈ Linked to the above, is Perry’s increased desire to be out & about with Moriarty.  He wants to be on top of the cage & tries to keep up with Moriarty (no one can!)  Whenever he is out, I supervise the whole time, helping him to get where he wants to be & making sure he is safe.

◈ Perry has been climbing the bars of the cage.  I cannot recall the last time he ever did this voluntarily!  Normally, this kind of activity would be too much of an effort, but a few occasions I have seen him climb the bars on the side of Moriarty’s cage.  He seems eager to get a better view when Moriarty is in his old cage, though it seems odd because Moriarty is backwards & forwards between the cages so there is no need to obsess over getting closer to him.

◈ On the occasion that Perry falls to the floor, he would usually step up onto my hand without hesitation.  Quite a few times now, he appears to not want my help to get to a higher perch.  (Or has he forgotten that stepping up will get him back to where he wants to be?)

Budgie preening
Perry preening on perch he has never sat on before

◈ They can be creatures of habit, having favourite perching spots, favourite toys etc., but lately I have noticed Perry changing where he sits, or taking a slightly different path to get somewhere.  They are subtle changes, but noticeable.  Sometimes, on these differing paths, Perry looks like he is working something out for the first time.  For example, to go into his cage, the traditional route is to jump onto the seed pot from the door platform, turn around, then jump up onto the ‘triangle’ perch.  Several times now, he has sat on the door platform, head peering into the cage, seemingly trying to work out a route in.

◈ Some mornings, Perry is desperate to go in & visit Moriarty.  The usual routine is that I uncover them, then let Moriarty out first & whilst he is interacting with Perry & Lennie through the bars of their cage, I give his cage a quick clean.  Once done, I lift up the side door to let Perry come through to sit in Moriarty’s cage.  Usually Perry would be patient, waiting for the cue, before making his way over to the door, but recently he has been almost manic to get out, to the point that I let him go into Moriarty’s cage earlier than usual before he does himself an injury.

My first thought about these changes was that perhaps Perry had lost weight & found it easier to be more active (particularly the climbing & flying) but the last time the vet weighed him, his weight was stable.  My following thought was that perhaps these little changes are a result of the ongoing seizures he unfortunately suffers from – perhaps they rewire his brain in some way?

Whatever the reason, he is still the same Perry… but with some added twists & turns.

Budgie
Perry

 

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!

 

 

Pear-shaped Perry

On the 2nd August, we had another vet visit.

Perry last had his beak trimmed on the 2nd March & it had been gradually growing since then, though at a slower rate than before.  I could have waited a little longer before getting it trimmed but Perry had a bad night on the 28th July due to his ‘turns’, so I booked the vet visit earlier than planned.

She trimmed his beak & toenails.  His weight is stable at 56g.  His original, hard lump has grown a little, though fortunately it is still growing outwards.  He has more fat on his belly & the vet described him as being ‘more pear shaped’.

Without doing any tests, we can only speculate as to the cause of Perry’s seizures, but the vet does not think they are caused by the lumps.  Working on the idea that his liver may not be processing toxins efficiently, we continue to give them Milk Thistle in water.  Because the last episode of Perry’s seizures was more intense than previously, the vet also prescribed an additional supplement, Nutramarin+, a powder to be sprinkled on seed.

I have mixed the Nutramarin+ with some seed that I offer by hand.  So far, Perry has rejected that seed, picking one or two up, then dropping them.  I will persevere for a bit longer before consigning it to the ‘Medicine Refusal Box’!

Pear-shaped Perry

 

A Bad Night

Perry

Perry has continued to have seizures.  😦

Since my last update on these at the end of last year (click here to read that post) he had another turn on the morning of the 28th January.  There was then over a four month gap before I witnessed any more, giving me some false hope.  They resumed in June, on the 10th, 22nd, 23rd, then the 28th July (all, interestingly, around 10pm-midnight).

The seizures are distressing to see & can encompass one or a few of the following: twitching, jerking, rolling around, trembling, quivering/vibrating wings, making a metallic sound, disorientation.  Mostly, he will either have just one, then recover, or at worst, one or two within 2 hours.  However the last time, on the 28th July, they were more intense & frequent.  He had one at midnight, then again at 1am.  I stayed up until about 3am, then retired to bed thinking he will be alright, but when I checked on him at 5am, he was sitting on the bottom perch, & had clearly had another turn in that gap.  He had another half an hour later, where he was turning in tight, clockwise circles on the floor, then the last at around 7am when he held onto the perch but was tipped precariously backwards, until he fell.  It took him all day to recover – he was very still & only ate a little.

I thought it best to get him checked by the vet (in the next post).

 

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!

 

 

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.

 

Working through the Avian Medical Encyclopedia…

Last week, on Wednesday the 2nd of March, we had another visit from the vet.

Perry & Moriarty

It appears that Perry is working his way through an avian medical encyclopedia & I told the veterinary nurse that I had lost track of what letter he is up to.  She suggested that he might be at ‘L’ for leg.

So yes, he has a problem with his leg.

About a week prior to the visit, I had noticed Perry holding his left foot up & barely using it.  I could not see any visible signs of injury.  He could rest it on the perch but only lightly.  As the days progressed it got a little better in that he could lift it to scratch the side of his head, which suggested there was no problem with the actual foot.  My concern was that perhaps one of his lumps was beginning to press on the leg & causing the problem.

Perry

The good news is that the problem is not lump-related.  He must have caught his leg/foot & sprained it as his knee joint is swollen.  Otherwise, all appears fine with his foot.  The vet gave him an anti-inflammatory injection to expedite recovery, but basically we just have to wait for it to heal, which could take 2-4 months.

To help with any pain or inflammation, I have been putting cayenne pepper & turmeric in his water, that he seems to like.  I noticed the cayenne pepper does not dissolve fully, so I wait for it to settle & then skim off the top, without bits, to put into his water.  Before giving it to him, I taste the water to check for ‘pepperiness’.  I also put a spoonful or two in my own drink!

Whilst the vet was here, she gave Perry a little makeover by trimming his beak (it was longer than it was the last time she trimmed it) & his toenails.  She also weighed him & he was 55g, which is a bit less than his last weigh-in but nothing to be concerned about.

In this video you can see, about halfway through, how long his beak was:

 

With a little extra help, Perry is still ‘out & about’.  I just hope he will put aside the avian medical encyclopedia for a bit!