Puddings & Toyboys

A blog about my beautiful budgies.

Tag Archives: flying

Operation Getting the Flock Together

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.

I have three very different, but amazing boys!

 

Lessons from the wild?

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.

Perry

 

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!

Lennie on the peg, talking to Perry

 

Lennie’s feather problem

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…

 


Sample of feathers:

 

Three near-flightless birds

It is moulting time again.

 

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!

 

Perry preening

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!

Three in one

Last Friday (12th) we had a visit from the vet, to check over all three, Dalai, Perry & Lennie.  I had/have concerns about all of them for various reasons, one of which may be my paranoia!

At the time the vet came, Lennie was locked in by himself so we decided he would be first up.  I had concerns that he was having trouble flying –  only that morning he had attempted a lap of the room & landed in the plant pot!  The vet checked over his wings & found some missing flight feathers on both wings.  She said his heart sounded fine, which suggested the flying problem was a result of moulted-out feathers, which should be resolved when they have all grown back in again.  The only problem with this is that I find that when a bird has a few crash landings, their confidence can be dented & they are put off flying again, which in turn makes the problem worse.  Hopefully Lennie gets over this & is flying well soon.

The big shock with Lennie is that the vet weighed him & said he was 64g!!!  She did not seem concerned as she said he was clearly not overweight but did have a full gizzard.  There is a slight chance there may be a mass behind the gizzard, so I am to keep my eye on him.

 

Perry was up next.  The last time the vet visited, she identified a lump, which has since been growing.  Sometimes, at certain angles & when he is fluffed up, the lump is not noticeable at all.  However, it is definitely there, defined & dense.  It currently appears to be isolated, i.e., not attached to anything major.  Certainly, it is not imposing on Perry’s health or behaviour yet, but at sometime in the future I may need to get a sample from it in order to work out possible treatment.  Perry weighed a very respectable 55g, lump & all.

Perry contemplating eating some vegetables

 

Dalai was last.  He has been very much under the weather & his poops had changed.  He did have a very dodgy poop that was ringed with red, but I only found one of those (believe me, I was checking ALL of them after that discovery!) & the vet said he may have strained when passing that particular one.  The day before the vet came out, Dalai dropped a mountain of feathers overnight, which then made it clear that a lot of my concerns were most probably because he was moulting (again!).  Additionally, he has developed a dark mark on his beak.  I was not aware of him having bumped/crashed into anything for it be a bruise.  The vet thought it was either a blood blister or just a pigmentation change.  Dalai’s weight was also respectable, coming in at 45g.

Dalai

 

So, for a change, the vet did not leave me with any medication.  It took Dalai, Perry & Lennie awhile to recover from all the prodding & poking & it took me awhile to recover from the news of Lennie’s weight… in fact, if truth be told, my jaw is still on the floor over it!

 

 

Slo mo videos

Last April, I was having a play with the video on my phone & found the slow motion feature.  Naturally, this had to be tried out on Bezukhov (he was still with us then), Dalai, Perry & Lennie.

The following are the better of the results!

 

Blue newbies – the first 3 weeks

So, how have Perry & Lennie integrated with the existing flock of Bezukhov & Dalai?

The first few weeks of them being out was fraught with tension!

The two camps

They were very much in two separate camps, two tribes.  The key problem was, I think, that they just did not seem to ‘talk’ to each other.  Every so often, Bezukhov would attempt to communicate with Perry & Lennie through the bars but they would just jump up to the bars & stare at him.  Being sensitive this would unnerve him so he would retreat to gather his confidence again. When out, if they approached Bezukhov they would just look at him (again, no chat) & he would not know how to deal with that, so off he would fly.  However, they would fly after him, which made him feel like he was being chased, which upset him!

Dalai wanted nothing to do with them.  He could be quite ‘jabby’ with his beak & it is fortunate the new boys are quick to get out of his way, otherwise there may have been injuries!

Lennie watching Dalai & Bezukhov

To try & lessen the tension I would try different combinations of who was out, but because of Dalai being quite snarly, he was usually locked in, often with a cover over the cage to protect any dangling toes!

Dalai confirmed that he is very capable of looking after himself.  I had seen him peck at Perry/Lennie in the face if they came too close & jump at them & knock them off the perch.   One time, on the landing platform, he pulled on Perry’s tail so that Perry was gradually sliding back towards Dalai, no doubt to get a thump, but fortunately I distracted Dalai before any actual harm was done.

In contrast, Bezukhov avoids confrontation.  He is certainly capable of standing up for himself (see this post) but it really is a last resort.

So, both tribes were/are very different.  To be fair to Dalai, he may have been a little under the weather due to moulting.  Both he & Bezukhov may have been intimidated by how fast & quick the blue newbies are.  On the other side, Perry & Lennie are two young boys, very enthusiastic & wanting to chew, touch & investigate everything!  They have not helped matters by flying directly at someone, including me – there have been several occasion when I got a face full of feathers & claws!  They seemed to have difficulty landing on a perch beside Bezukhov or Dalai & not on top of them.  These actions were not endearing them to their elders!

Newbies watching Dalai & Bezukhov in the Villa

Even after about 3 weeks of trying to get them together, there still did not appear to be any common ground.

If Bezukhov was in the Villa & Dalai in the manor when the newbies came out, Dalai would try to get to the villa to be with Bezukhov.  This would look like a game of Bulldogs, where Dalai would attempt to get past Perry & Lennie without them touching him.  The newbies would usually be on the landing platform facing Dalai in the manor. He would make a run for it & I would be ready to close the door behind him when he got inside the villa.  It could take up to 4 or 5 attempts before he was successful.

Dalai even went though a phase of having a tantrum each morning, that I am convinced was directed at the newbies.  I am sure he was saying, “Jeez, are you two STILL here?“.

 

 

Above was a video of Dalai having a morning tantrum.  Below is a video of Perry & Lennie spending time in the Villa whilst Bezukhov & Dalai were locked in the Manor:

 

 

Blue newbies – first day of adventures

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.

 

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.

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Blue newbies – their first fly

About a week after I moved the blue newbies next to the Silver Villa (click here to read that post), I started opening their door for them to come out.  To entice them, I tied raffia around the door opening for them to chew on.  At times they would come tantalisingly close to the open door:

 

 

On the 23rd December 2016, Perry was the first to venture out:

 

Then he was off, followed closely by Lennie:

 

That is always the nerve-wracking part, especially when you know they have not previously had an opportunity for a proper fly.  They did quite a few laps of the room before landing on the manor, where Bezukhov & Dalai were.  That was the cue for more holding of breath.  What happened next is in the next post….

 

Uneven wings

Last month, Dalai moulted out quite a few wing feathers.  The only problem was that they were from his left wing only.  His flying was compromised; he was landing in unplanned places.  However, he soon worked out where the problem lay & adjusted his flight.  He seemed to fly with more of a wobble, but had more control over where he was going.

Here he is on the 20th December:

Dalai

Dalai

 

Fortunately, just a few weeks later, his wing feathers have grown back & normal flying has been resumed.

Dalai

Dalai