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Brightie – It’s not ‘just’ a bird

May 4, 2013

A little blog post dedicated to my lovely Brightie.
He is the sexy little man also in the banner of this blog. All wrapped up cosely in his towel after shower time.

Photobomb!

Photobomb!

I think many people don’t get it at times why I’m so close to my birds.
When things are going on, you often hear, ‘it’s just a bird’…Well, they aren’t ‘just’ birds.
You need to have kept birds to understand the love to birds. They’re not dogs, cats, or horses, no, they are different, but you also can get a special love from them.

Thirtheen years long I have been dedicating my life to birds and I wouldn’t change it for one bit.
My love has grown bigger and bigger for cockatiels as well, all due to my vet who gave me my first tiel, to keep. As he knew I was so dedicated to birds, he couldn’t find a better spot to home this poor thing. My next tiels then came from the shelter and thus my population of that species grew…They had 4 nests.

Brightie, is the most special one I have from all the nine young ones.
He was abandoned from the nest (so were Nullie and Dreft too though, but Brightie is still more dear to me).

Cockatiels are very smart birds, no wonder, they are from the cacatuidae family, thus, as you noticed, related to the cockatoo’s.
They sing, talk, can do tricks, and love to cuddle! And Brightie is one of those smart ones, that is why he has his name, he’s a ‘bright’ one.

When Brightie was abandoned, I still had to feed him, later on, I had to learn him to eat ‘normal’ food like big tiels. Seeds and all that.
I remember him not wanting to try, so I started off with millet, slowly but steady. He learned to munch on it. Then after a while I gave him seeds from between my fingers and he learned to nibble on them and crack them. It was so cute.
He was next to me in his cage day in and day out, we grew a very tight bond. He loved to come out to fly, cuddle, and play. He had, or has, a keyboard obsession too I figured. Those were the only times he thought my fingers were there to attack, cause, how dared I touching his keyboard!

Brightie has quite a vocabulary too, he can say his name, ask for headscratchies (koppiekrab!), say hello (helaba). He can wave when I ask him to wave. He can headbang (if he wants to).
And last but not least, he knows how to play on the nintendo DS by holding the touch-stick…Even though the stick is a little bit big for him!

Scratchies!

Scratchies!

Brightie and I have such a bond, it is hard to explain. Probably also because I raised him as my little baby.
In that period of time I had serious health issues too, so we often cuddled up in bed. Same for the time I raised Nullie and Dreftje, all them cuddle times.

He’s so smart, he even realises which towels are his, so he can be ticked off if I dare to use another one after his shower time!

Sadly enough though, Brightie is now ill…Year and a half ago I moved out, and I couldn’t wait for Brightie to return.
Though it was postponed due to the works in the house now, as I did not want him in dust…But he fell ill. I realised it too late that he was showing sick symptoms, by accessive drinking.
But what I thought when I went home, was that they were bathing in their drinking bowl, hence it being so empty…But it wasn’t so.

One day mum had to rush Brightie and Dreft (as they house together), to me, as he nearly had passed away. He was that ill. Being re-united with me made him a whole lot better but then I noticed things weren’t right. First I thought he was diabetic with that drinking, but in the end, it seemed to be the liver and kidney’s.

It took rather long to find a place for him to get the proper tests and treatments, but his liver is too affected…

Brightie feeling sickly :(

Brightie feeling sickly 🙁

Last friday I had to take a difficult choice. We were back at the vet clinic, his liver treatment of two weeks didn’t work. So it is probably a tumor.
We opted in for a biopsy, even though he couldn’t make it…But at least, we would find a treatment, hopefully.
Sadly enough, the biopsy failed, they didn’t have enough cells, due to the liver being too hard already and it popping away due to that. Now they couldn’t see what tumor cells it were for treatment.

I could decide for a surgery to get a proper biopsy, as they can’t start chemo treatment without knowing what they are up against, but I could not decide yet.
Brightie’s future at the moment, is not good. It breaks my heart. He’s only five years old, he should be becoming twenty, twenty-five…
The thought, I will maybe loose him soon, I don’t know how I can cope without him…He’s my Brightie, my special boy who loves his head scratchies, his cuddles.
It breaks my heart seeing him so ill though, sleeping so often, not hearing him sing or talk anymore. But he still likes his cuddles, that’s something. He does still eat and drink. He’s still alive beyond the expectations, cause his results were so bad, that it was amazing he’s still with me. But, at the moment, he might have just a few more weeks.

I can have him undergo the surgery for the biopsy…but I can loose him in the procedure. But if we don’t do it, we might not find that cure.
If the biopsy works, and we can do chemo, and we are lucky and the chemo works, he can have a healthy life still…

Monday they’ll call me, see what we’ll do further. Who knows there will be a miracle if the vet discussed it with the professors, that there is maybe another possibility. But I also talked to my family…Brightie is a fighter, and he could have died at the last biopsy but he fought through. He has the will to carry on and be with us.
I think, if we don’t give him a chance to get better, it’s injustice. I’d feel horrible too for just, letting him be here and eventually wait until he dies.
If he dies during surgery, I’d feel very terrible and guilty…But I suppose, what does these weeks matter? IF that happens. And maybe, how horrid as it sounds, but then he won’t suffer at his last moments. He won’t get better, that’s a fact, if we don’t treat the tumor.
I rather keep a positive thought though, and that he’ll pull through the surgery. It’s what we want. Brightie must survive and get better! We can only fight as long as he wants to fight.

Birds normally can’t stand these procedures, but Brightie, he’s a lil trooper. He even likes the vet. He underwent Xrays, ultra-sounds, blood-test, without any sedation. And he pulled through the biopsy which was under anesthetics.
I know people think I’m insane maybe for opting in for the surgery for his biopsy, but I want to fight, he wants to fight. And yes, even for ‘just a bird’.
And we can only pray, he’ll survive.

So, everyone, cross your fingers for my Brightie, that he may survive, and that we hopefully, can get to the point for treatment!

Sexy man!

Sexy man!

And to end this blog…A picture of him and myself, happy together!

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Behaviour – Screaming

March 2, 2013

Screaming is a common issue when it comes to parrots.
Before you can treat it, you need to know where the screaming comes from.
Though let us first trace some steps.

Normal screaming behaviour

  • Some scream at sunrise and sunset. Especially when you wake them they might have a period of time where they’ll be very screamy.
  • Flock communication, when one strays, or to stay close, is also a reason.
  • Sometimes when they are happy, they can scream at each other for a bit
  • Alarming if something is up can cause screaming too.
  • Some noises, as you being overly cheery, or raised voices/your yelling, can cause screaming too.

Abnormal screaming that needs to be treated.

  • Excessive screaming when you leave the room. It is normal they might scream a bit to try and locate you, but if it is none stop, this needs to be handled.
  • Attention screaming, which practically obviously happens when you are doing something else near him/her.
  • Loneliness or boredom
  • Changes in rhythm, lack of sleep, or new environment, anything that might be different to it’s usual ‘daily’ life.
  • A loss, be it another bird, or change of owner
  • Illness
  • Frustration

Yazoo3

Treatment

When you have determined the type of screaming you can handle accordingly to it.
It will ask a lot of time and patience, but it are the methods I prefer.

One, if it screams out of normal behaviour, let it scream. You would never ever be able to stop a parrot from screaming, it is natural and their vocalisation.

So pay double the amount of attention to your bird for a while to see what exactly causes the extreme behaviour.

First thing you have to do with all types of screaming is this:

  • Do not scream back

Most of the people tend to scream back. But that just means you are communicating back in a natural way to the bird.
Also happy birds tend to scream so they like you, screaming.

Another thing is:

  • Do not give it any attention when it screams
  • Give attention at GOOD behaviour

Now with those two things down you can continue.

Depending on the scream behaviour there are multiple ways to further treat screaming.

  •  Loneliness, seperation fears, a loss

Best way to treat this is with a lot of patience and a soft voice. There is no use in using any type of ways that might make the bird feel guilty, or uncomfortable.
So whatever you do, do not give it an ‘evil’ eye, banging on the cage or making scary movements to make it go sush.

If your birds screams for example when you leave the room, try to communicate while you do so, or while in the other room.
Make it realise you are still there, even if it can’t see you. Come back after a few seconds, and rinse and repeat.
Then you can extend the periods of times that you leave the room.
You can connect this also, when leaving the room with a few words, like, ‘ be right back’, ‘back in a jiffy’.
The bird soon will realise that when you leave the room, you’ll also eventually come back.
Praise the bird when it did not scream when you left, and give it a treat or talk to it with a cheery voice.

Screaming for loneliness should also be done with a lot of patience and actually can be resolved quickly if you give it attention when it is quiet.
Play with it, talk with it, give it small treats. Give it toys against the boredom or loneliness, or maybe just another friend. Birds are not meant to be alone.

What you also can do if the bird just screams too much to pay attention to what you are doing, is to make it calm by covering up the cage. Uncover when it has calmed down, talk to it, and keep talking, and leave the room for example. Covering the cage also helps with the other screaming methods. Darkness means ‘fun is over’.

  • Attention screaming

Best way to take care of this is just make sure that the fun is over for this bird.
Cover up the cage so it turns dark, and walk away.
When the parrot has turned calm, you can come back, uncover it and praise it’s good behaviour. This is also pretty much a rinse and repeat method.
You can also give it ‘an evil eye’ whilst you do so that it knows you do not approve this screaming.
Birds connect a lot to your facial expressions, so the ‘evil eye’ works also with general bad behaviour as biting.

What also works, is just ignoring, but you’d just have to get some earplugs to endure the screaming. Look away while he/she does scream as well.
Make sure your bird notices that all it’s screaming does not affect you at all!

  • Frustration screaming, changes, or illness

Of course, there is no point in giving a bird the evil eye, or covering the cage, or what so ever.
You need to find out the source of this birds problem.
Is it ill? Of course you take it to the vet, or avian vet. Some symptoms of an ill bird are when it sits puffy, when it tail hangs low, lack of lifeliness in it’s eyes, drops that might look different.
So just keep an eye out on your bird.

Is your bird furstrated? Then you will have to figure out what it is frustrated about. Maybe it lacks something specific in it’s food, maybe it has not enough attention, or gets annoyed with sounds like, tv, or cats or dogs that are about the house. Pay attention to your bird and see what it might be, and just eliminate the frustrations in the poor things life.

Same goes for if it has undergone changes in environment or lifestyle.
Is it up longer? Try to make it’s hours back to as it used to were. Also make sure your bird in general gets enough sleep. Lack of sleep also can cause screaming, and makes the bird furstrated.
Have you been watching more tv for example, when the bird is sleeping? Try to turn down the noise, and surely cover up the birds cage, if not with two covers so it will not suffer from the blinking lights.
Sooth it when it has moved to a new place in the house, or has a new cage, make sure your bird ends up there comfortably. It will rely a bit on you, at that period of time.

LilyNomming

So there you go, you should now be set to go and take care of your parrots screaming.
Or maybe it is not needed after all when it was just cause of natural behaviour.

So remember, in short

  • Never scream back or slam on the cage
  • Disapprove bad screaming (attention seeking) by covering up the cage, or giving it the evil eye.
  • Talk to your bird when you leave the room
  • Reward good behaviour
  • And patience!
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Health – Psittacosis

January 13, 2013

This time i want to write about psittacosis in birds, which is more familiar known as chlamydiosis or ‘the parrot fever’.

The bacteria its name is chlamydia psittaci. This disease is one that everyone should look out for, not only in your parrot species, but also for yourself. As it is one of those that can be passed on to humans.

Some species might be more prone to it than others.
Or some are more likely to be carriers than anything else, due to genetic resistance.
Often finches for example can be carries but won’t suffer from this illness. My parrot Kohana, a kakariki, probably had gotten the disease due to the flock of finches I had next to his cage.
Though being a carrier doesn’t mean they can’t get sick from it, known carriers are birds like cockatiels, cockatoos, budgeries, doves, etc.
Those that are more prone and less resitant to the bacteria are lorikeets, rosella’s, and so forth.

Of course young birds will be even more prone on getting it, and most likely die quick when having this disease.

The disease is passed on by the sneezes or stool, but the problem is, that the disease can live outside the body. Therefor it can stay alive in dust, and so it can get in touch with other living beings, and therefor be passed on to other targets.

Symptons of this disease are rather variated. The most typical signs are the birds being fluffed up, harder breathing, nasal discharge, or in the eyes, and probably won’t be eating and will be rather quiet. Usually the droppings are the best give away and will show yellowy or lime-green.

Another form of this psittacosis is that it affects the nervous system, which is of course less beautiful to witness. It gives tremors, head shaking, or head twisting symptoms. It is mostly seen in amazons, cockatoos and african greys, thus the larger breed of parrots.
In cockatiels it shows differently, and they might get paralyzed limbs, and usually they get dark tarry stools.

Though luckily, the treatment is rather easy and can be solved by a liquid antibiotic cure.
If needed it can also be given by injections.

In order to prevent this from spreading on, make sure you clean everything toroughly.
Even perches, toys, foodbowls, and so forth.
If you introduce new birds, be it finches or parrots, in to your home, make sure to quarantine them for at least a couple of weeks before putting them with your parroty friends.

If you have a parrot with psittacosis, do make sure to protect yourself!
As it can be transferred on to the human. Make sure to wear a mask if you tend to your bird, and when you clean out its cage.
It was a useful tip my vet gave me when Kohana suffered this. Everytime I went in to his cage, change food, water, clean the bottom, I wore a mask. Especially if you are someone with a weakened immune system this is the best to do!
Symptoms in a human first show as a regular fever, with coughs, diarhea, nausea, light sensitivity, and so forth. Untreated it can quickly go downhill after a few weeks. Do make sure to mention to your GP that you have birds if you witness any of these symptoms and when it does not improve.

A great way to prevent this from spreading also, is when you tend to your birds, to wash your hands before and after. Especially also if you have other pets in your home, like cats and dogs.
Also don’t use the same brushes to clean your birds water-dishes with, if you switch between cages of parrot types and finches.

Hopefully this rather short explanation of this disease was helpful. I tried to keep short but powerful, that it contained the most needed information around this dreadful thing!

 

Sleepy Kohana, he faced death in the eyes when he had Psittacosis but we've pulled through!

Sleepy Kohana, he faced death in the eyes when he had Psittacosis but we’ve pulled through!

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Through sickness and in health – Dreft

December 1, 2012

In my 13 years of having and caring for birds, I surely had a lot of ill birds.
Birds who needed tons of cares, and special love and attention.
So I want to feature some of their stories to show that birds -can- live, if something is amiss. Like if you see how happy Duffy is, for a flightless Pidgeon (story about that on here too!).

Dreft(je), is one of my 9 young cockatiels.
Everything seemed fine when they were born, her and her brother ‘007’, aka, Nullie. Nothing abnormal to be seen,  besides being overly cute, when they were growing up!
They were the last two of all the nests Kadaj and Yazoo had.

Banding day of 007 (Nullie) and Dreft!

 

Things went on their usually merry way until one day my mother saw the parents having a serious go at the two young tiels. Pushing them out of their nest, and even attacking them, for some odd reason.
There was nu use in putting them back as obviously the parents were not interested in them anymore, and mostly because they were aggressive towards the babies. We were surely amazed by the severity of them being treated,
Brightie was abandoned too, but not like this. He was more likely bumped out of the nest and not taken back in. Not being attacked like these poor two.
We gotten them out, and the tiels, were at that moment, still unnamed! So I only knew them by their ring number.
So we took them out and I retreated in to the kitchen for a while with the two baby tiels in my hands, while my mother put up a cage in the meantime, so the two had a new home!

Though keeping two young tiels in your hands, who were on the edge of learning how to fly, was not easy!
And I figured that…’learn to fly’ thing quite quickly. Dreft suddenly managed to escape and flew in to the unfortunate fly catcher that was still hanging on to the lamp! She got stuck in it!

After some effort we gotten that thing off her, but the glue remained on her feathers. So we had to call the vet with what we could wash it off!
He said ‘Dreft’, and therefor, she was named Dreftje, after…And it did work by the way!
At the time they were young, I was still pretty much knock-out by my Addisons disease, spending most of the days in bed.
Therefor the two often were with me on the bed, cuddling with me. They seemed rather fine and normal, well, at least Dreft did, until she grew older.
After a year or so I started to notice she was still in her baby feathers, her not having had her complete moult…After two years I really gotten concerned as it still did not come.
She seemed to be going down in energy too, and less and less active than the other tiels. She napped more, and she also had no feather-oils what so ever.

I gave her tons of vitamin cures in the hopes she’d finally get rid of her baby-tiel cloak, and of course, also that typical baby-tiel smell, she carried with her for years.
After a while I also came to notice, that she plucked herself under one of her wings. It became a wound, thus I put some cream on it. But she didn’t keep off it so we ended up taping her up for a while.
But after weeks, the wound did not heal…sometimes it even seemed to get slightly infected, and no feathers grew back on the bare spot around the wound either.

Mystery struck, one after another on this bird…And then, she also had no energy to fly anymore. After one day, she ended up breathing so heavily it was abnormal.
She had no energy either to make much flight as well. But it seemed she could keel over anytime, so I then, forbid her to fly.
Loosing weight was another symptom popping up, and you could see her breastbone sticking out. She was very skinny for a tiel.

Lovely close up of her, when she finally had one of her moults, then the brighter yellow parts started to show.

 

I had to dig deep in to finding what was going on with poor little Dreft. Cause the vet and I stood before a little mystery.
With some research I found out she might be diabetic. Often that is connected with hormonel issues too, hence the ‘no moult’ thing.
What is typical for diabetic birds is that if they fly, their sugar goes wonky, thus that is probably why she was so exhausted after her flights. With diabetic birds it is also described that they better not fly indeed, in order to prevent them from having issues with their sugar.
Talking to the vet about it, it seemed to be so but not much could be done, besides good feeding and keeping her in her cage. Sadly enough no flights for her, but she gets loads of cuddles in her favourite yellow towel!

I was really concerned though, over her health, the wound under her wing was still not healing over a period of a year. Eventually we gave up putting her in all sorts of things so she could not nibble on it anymore, as she only got depressed by it even more. We rather interrupted her nibbling instead, when we picked it up.

One day, Dreft started to huff and puff, I think that was about a year and a half ago, when she was around three years old. Concerned I rushed to the vet and we spoke about her issues once more.
Though it seemed she had developed asthma cause of scarring tissues in her longue, with all the things she had, and once amongst those years she had a sick period too.
In the end he decided to try to give her something against the asthma, also cortisone, which is actually used for cats. It was a gamble, but, in the end, it worked.
Soon she gotten better and her breathing normalised. Especially with the added airosol her airways cleared. She was okay for about a month.

When the medication was worn out, we had to go back, each time for an injection…Though after, let us say, I think it was three months, she started to improve…And she had a proper moult!!!
Few months later, I also noticed she didn’t get soaking wet anymore, finally the drops rolled off her feathers more or less like in a normal bird…Not there yet, but improving bit by bit!

Later on, she improved some more, the injections weren’t monthly anymore,I think the longest she has been was for about 3 months! The only things that never really changed much, was at that point the weight-gain and the mysterious wound. Also the flying was a ‘no go’ still. But she was a bit more lively and her breathing was at least normal, so was her moulting now, and the oils on her feathers.
(birds need to clean their feathers, if theycan’t, the oil doesn’t get maintained either, so that showed she definitely had breathing issues, as she just did not have enough breath to properly clean herself).

Now, problem was, that I’m going to move soon, and I’d have to learn and give the injections to her myself! I was a little bit terrified by the thought.
But since the vet and I work so closely together when it is about birds, he rather trust me with her treatment, than another vet…(It was a nice compliment though!)

Hurray for me though, a month later, upon another injection, an alternative was found, and now we give her cortisone with some water, so I (and my mother mostly as she’s for now at home until she can move with me), have to just give her some in her mouth every other day!
And my oh my, she suddenly started to gain weight! No more skinny Dreft! Though now she is becoming rather plump though. So soon we’ll have to adjust her diet, as she had a special diet to at least keep her strenghts.
The very sweet thing is also that she has so much energy as well now, she tjirps around, and even sometimes has a go at Brightie, like a brother and sister kibble time!

She even once tried to take some flight, but that wasn’t so successful yet, but at least, she was not completely out of breath like before.
So it seems that this treatment, with a bit of cortisone every other day, seems to be much more affective than an injection every month!

So I’m very pleased with this ‘healthy’ Dreft. Only the issue with the wound will probably remain, but at least the worst parts, are under control!
Now hopefully she’ll live a nice and long tiel life! And I can not wait, until she’s moved in with me, together with all my other lovely tiels.

And to end this with, here’s a lovely picture, of her in her favourite towel!

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Pellets, or not?

October 24, 2012

Pellets, a lovely thing to give your birds.
But is only pellets a good thing?

I would like to discuss my opinion about pellets!

Of course, a birds nutrition is the most important thing. It’ll lead them to a long long life.
They need their minerals, vitamins, and all the good things they can get.
Because a bird in captivity will never have the things it will desire, as it can get in the wild!

Therefor, are pellets on their own, the thing to give?
I say – NO.

What the most important thing is in a bird its diet, is variety!
Don’t give them only pellets, they’ll slowly suffer from an imbalanced and boring diet. And maybe not suffer that, they might get bored of eating!
Birds are picky eaters…I once had to say goodbye to a lovely finch of mine because she was SO picky in her diet. She was somehow obsessed with one sort of seeds, and whenever we slightly wanted to change it (to a more healthy, less samey diet), she refused to eat! So be careful if you do any changes in a diet! Know what your birds likes and prefers and keep it at all times available.

I came to notice too that my birds never liked pellets on its own.
My choice of pellets is usually nutri-bird, it has a nice smell to it and I mix it between the seeds.
Not too much, and not all the time. The more you change, the more likely they’ll eat it.

Pellets are THE extra your birds need and is an important key to the extra nutrients in their diet.

I heard once in a while, even from a vet, to give birds ‘only’ pellets.
But to me, seeds is as important as the pellets. Also, would you like to be on the same food day in day out? I suppose not right?

But what people in the end forget, is that not the seeds, nor the pellets, are the true important thing, in a birds diet!
The extra’s, like millets, and especially fruits and veggies is what’ll do your bird good (or the odd piece of meat if you have a bird that needs protein, like an Indian ringneck loves some cooked meat!).
For parrots extra’s like nuts and such, will definetely do good, like almonds and such, especially if you have a parrot species that easily lacks calcium (African grey).

Birds can eat quite a lot of fruits, but there are also fruits you have to stay clear off.
Like Advocado, spinach and celery (mostly as celery is just pointless for a bird to eat).

What you -can- give your bird.
Fruits: Apples (no seeds!), banana’s, mango, oranges, grapes, berries, pine-apple, etc.
Vegetables: Carrots, cooked sweet potatoes, tomatoes, brocolli, eggplants, etc.

There are things that a bird NEVER ever should eat.
And those are advocado’s, mushrooms, dairy products (so don’t let them sip along!), chocolate, salts, junk-food (of course!), onions, and things containing caffeine.

Therefor, I suggest, if you want to feed your bird pellets, please do!
But keep it mixed with all the other nice things for a very variated diet.
And with the extra of pellets, your bird should have all it needs.
And if you really feed them tons of fruits and veggies, the pellets, might not even be really necessary!

With this I’ll end my short post about pellets!
I said what I wanted to say, and if you have any other questions concerning a birds diet, and what not to give, or what you can give, do not hesitate to ask!

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Ernie the Budgie!

September 10, 2012

Hello everyone!

And yet another blog post.
Today I’m going to post a story Sarah has sent to me! (if you people have remarkable stories yourself, always feel free to contact me!).
I really loved the story and all I can say is that it is one blessed bird right there!

Enjoy reading!!! Cause she surely typed it out lovely!

 

One cold, windy November afternoon my mother-in-law walked into her kitchen and a little flash of blue caught her eye.  It was just getting dark but she opened the back door to see what it was. She found a very scared budgie trying to hide in the bush next to her pond.  My father-in-law carefully caught the budgie and brought it inside.  They phoned me (I had one cockatiel at the time) and I took round some millet, seed and toys.  Two days later I bought a new cage for the cockatiel (all the budgie cages I could find locally were far too small).
Billy the tiel moved house and the budgie was given his old cage.  The budgie was named ‘Ernie’ after the explorer Ernest Shackleton.
After Ernie had finished quarantine at the in-laws he moved in with us (we hadn’t been able to find his old home).
Billy refused to make friends with him so a few months later we found a companion, a no-longer-wanted budgie called Sandy.  Ernie and Sandy are best friends, they preen each other, and tell each other secrets.  Sometimes they argue and kick each other too, but not very often.
Ernie isn’t keen on people but he loves to sit on top of his cage and sing. I love the sound budgies make!
If my mother-in-law hadn’t wanted a cup of tea at that exact moment Ernie would not have been found.  It was a very cold and windy night, and the area is full of cats.  He is such a lucky boy. He has now had 18 months extra of life (we have no idea how old he is), and he has a best friend who adores him!

 
 

——-
A few more pictures which Sarah had sent a long. He’s so cute!

Ernie above Billys bedroom

Play time!

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Cockatiels: My story!

September 4, 2012

This blog I want to dedicate to one of my favourite birds ever!

Cockatiels!!!!!

Before I shall dedicate an article about their care and health, I first wanted to make a post on how my love came to be, for these birds. How they came in my life, and now are the most dearest birds to me ever.

My love came from them very randomly. One day  I gotten a call from my vet (our neighbour too!), asking if I could come and get a parakeet, hoping I’d home it. He knew I had a lot of birds and we do often diagnose together when something is wrong with one of my birds. He also knows I’d never ever give up on a bird and would want to help it first before giving up on it. Thus apparently I was the perfect match for this little bird they had in the practice.

So I said sure and ran over to him, to have a look at this ‘parakeet’, though, I was VERY surprised when I saw the bird. It was not just a ‘parakeet’, it was a whole cockatiel! And there I was thinking off a small bird. Oh dear, I had no clue about parrot-species as I was always so occupied with finches! All my cages I had were actually for finches! However, luckily I did have a bigger cage that would be sufficient for the time being, and I ended up,taking the cockatiel home.

Fluke!

I called it ‘Fluke’, she was adorable. Poor thing was found, by some people in their garden, being attacked by magpies. So Fluke had quite a recovery to under-go, with wounds all over her. And really trusting of humans she wasn’t. If she ever was, we would of course not know. But she was a lovely bird. She was very motherly over the hybrids that shared the cage with her (they were born there), but, I did have to say goodbye to her, a few years ago. She was about 20 years old, not too bad, for a tiel that went through quite a lot. It was only when she passed away, we had the opportunity to eye the band she had.

Fluke and ‘her family’, The parents (well, not biological father), and the hybrids (Java x society finch cross).

 

 

Due to Fluke, I first had purchased another parrot species to keep her company, my little devil Kohana, a kakariki. They were happy together, but not the greatest friends I suppose.

During that period of time I had adopted a few more tiels, because at that  time I was also working at an animal shelter. One day they had 3 tiels brought in. Of course, I fell in love.
The shelter provided me with a nice new lovely cage, a big parrot cage, and thus the cockatiels went home with me, a couple and a young one. The other was adopted by a friend of mine, the couple I kept. They had been named Kadaj and Yazoo. Yazoo is still with me, he is one cheery, bird. He sings  A LOT.

Kadaj and I think that was either Trés or Quatro of the younglings!

Due to the two being a great couple, we had to make a little nest for them, because Kadaj became in dire need to nest and lay eggs. And rather had her nesting, than having to loose her cause of being egg-bound.Thus, One day, we found little eggs in the nest, (if we could peek in the nest that was!). They surely became very territorial when it came over that box. The clutch contained 5 eggs, and 2 of those had hatched.
Those were my very first baby cockatiels. Good I got them banded (was quite the experience as well!), and they were named, Luffy and Fluffy (or I call her Fluffer too). Fluffy is my favourite of the two, she is very adorable and loves to do ‘finger munchy’.

Fluffy and Luffy!

But not a few months later, why hello 3 new hatchlings.
Trés, Quatro and Brightie were born.
Three cheeky little monkey’s, mostly that little critter Brightie, I became to realize.
Sadly enough, due to exhaustion I think, Kadaj and Yazoo could not cope so much anymore with the care of the two eldest, and 3 youngest, and somehow, Brightie gotten abandoned from the nest.

I had to raise him myself.

Brightie, Trés and Quatro when they were young! Of course, Brightie is the most clever looking (aka, the most little one!)

 

During this stage, I really grew more fond of these birds, they were really clever.

Brightie being cheeky on his birthday!

Brightie was more ‘human’ than the other tiels, and we bonded really close.
I learned him how to munch on seeds, his first flights were in my bedroom. He sat cuddled up with me, trotted over my keyboard, abused my dragon statues, learned to play on the Nintendo DS, and so forth. Brightie is not a tiel that ‘sings’ much.
It seems due to me raising him, that he’s the most talkative one, all the other tiels learned the tune that their father always sings, but not Brightie.
He’s happy with saying his name, asking for head scratchies (‘koppiekrab’), and says ‘helaba’, which is a sort of hi in Dutch.

 

 

I could not remove the nestbox on time, when I saw the need of the tiels resting in there.
Because only three months later, more eggs were found. My concern over Kadaj grew but it was picking between her laying eggs and having small ones, or her not being well not being able to lay egss, and perhaps with death as results.
Thus, two more were born, Lily and Putter, which, even escaped the banding period because they grew so fast! Luckily  none of these were abandoned from the nest and grew up to be lovely tiels.

And again…2 months later, yes, MORE young ones. I felt like going insane!
9 little ones in total, 007, aka, Nullie, and Dreftje were born.

Dreft and 007 before banding time!

Though it was obvious that there was something wrong with this nest. The young ones quickly were abandoned and even attacked by their parents so in a great rescue mission, we took them out of the cage, and also these two, were raised by me.
Due to Dreftje escaping when we had them out that first time, preparing another cage for them, she flew in to this sticky-fly catcher, it is then, she gotten her name ‘Dreft’. Poor thing was so stuck in it, then under sticky glue, we had to find something to get it off with. Our vet said to wash her with the product Dreft.

007!! aka Nullie

In their growing up stage, it was obvious they were abandoned probably for two reasons.
The mother was just worn out, but both had issues. For Dreft we only realized it later on when she just did not get any moults! But Nullie, he sure was a 007…

Walking backwards! He could not fly properly, and his eyes just were a bit different, he has a silly face!

Dreft and her cuddly time after a shower!

Seems Dreft has some disorders, it is hard to tell what. Definitely something hormonal, diabetic she might be as well. Due to her being so poorly she probably developed scar-tissue in her lungues, so often she is treated for sort of asthma attacks when she has hard time breathing. Therefor poor thing is banned from flying. She also is a rather skinny bird. But she’s doing rather well all in all and loves her cuddles!
Nullie still behaves like a young tiel, now even asking for food and gets fed, by Lily. He still walks backwards, and probably has some sort of tumour in his brain (most likely been born with). But both are living as good as they can and get spoiled by me!

Due to the inmense care, of those special ones, and Brightie, and the others,  not to mention the care of the finches and my two other parrots, the kakariki (Kohana) and my Indian Ringneck (Kwatoko), I had to make a tough decision. It was best, to put up a few for adoption.

I went by the ones who needed the most attention, but were not able to get enough from me.
It broke my heart when I had to say goodbye to Tres, Quatro and Putter, but on the other hand, seeing pictures of them in their big big cage, and knowing how much the new owners love them, it did me well on the other hand.
Now they gotten the attention they deserved. Though in the end I heard they were singing Mozart Bond, as we watched the DVD Igudesman & Joo. And the ones I kept, did not of course!

The three musketeers, Tres, Quatro and Putter, picture sent to me from their new family!

 

Sadly enough, Kadaj had passed away about a year later, probably too worn out by all them younglings.
There are much memorable moments I have, and had with them tiels.
But I also have realized the amount of work, and time, these critters need.
I wouldn’t want to trade them in the world though!

They pulled me through rough times when I was mostly stuck in bed, them cuddled up with me.
They made me happy, they make me laugh, they get me concerned, they make me feel motherly! What is there not to love?

Soon I’ll be moving and I hope to take them all with me! Though it clashes between some tiels, mostly with the ‘top man’ Luffy.
But we’ll see what the future brings!

And there we go, how my love for tiels grow…And let us say, how my ‘collection’ of tiels grew with it!
Next blog will be about the general care for a tiel!

Until next time!

Sexy picture of Brightie to close this blog with!

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R.I.P Kwatoko

August 1, 2012

Hello everyone,

I missed an update last month, as I try to do it at least monthly, but…It has been so busy, and such weird turns have happened.

Last month, I had to say goodbye to my dear Indian Ringneck, Kwatoko.
As you remember, my previous blog was just about that species, and I had been able to deepen myself even more in them.

The reason of his dying was sadly enough a combination. He was suffering from great stress for a while already since I had moved.
Though I never realised it that much until I did all that research, so I was more determined to move fast and provide him a nice spot again at my house.

Yet I didn’t get there, and it saddens me deeply, and even makes me feel guilty.
Because his stress, made his body unable to cope to battle with a bacteria, and his organs slowly died away.
The day I was at my parents place, he was okay, until a few hours later, when I suddenly found him dead.

Kwatoko was a special  bird, to me at any rate. When I saw him it was love at first sight.
He was a perfect body for my tiels Kadaj and Yazoo. Especially to Yazoo when his female tiel (Kadaj), had passed away.
He was never really a ‘tame’ bird, but I had the connection with him. Also I could not pick him up either without being bitten, so I had to wear gloves.
But as mentioned in my article, they’re not the type of birds to really go hand-tame, but more to interract with you, as they are very very smart.

I have great memories of him.
Luckily I have kept two of his biggest tail feathers, and put it in my dreamcatcher, made with feathers of my first cockatiel, of Fluke. Now both are united in one pretty dreamcatcher, for me to remember them by.
And hereby I put up a nice picture of him, where he was bathing (he didn’t do it so often, he rather had it that I used the spray him wet!).

 

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The Indian Ringneck

May 23, 2012

In this article, I want to devote myself to (Indian) ringnecks.
A glorious ‘parakeet’.

I rather call them a true parrot though, but originally, they still fall under the parakeet species.

Indian ringnecks, also known as the rose-ringed parakeet (as it is a subspecies of it), or in their latin species name, Psittacula manillensis,  are most common in Africa and Asia. And these pretties originate from the Southern indian subcontinent.
Ringnecks are probably the most known because they are often seen in ‘the wild’, like in cities as London. There they are also called as the ‘Kingston parakeets’.
The populations spread in different countries because of the introduction of these birds…They escaped, et voila.

I shall not start talking about how they originated in the UK, as there are many ‘stories’ around it.
Thus, I shall of course, focus on their behaviour and things they like.

‘Character’ wise there are just too many myths.
Often you read how aggressive these birds are while mine is such a sweetiepie.
These birds just need a lot of quality time by it’s owner. Breeders don’t put enough time in the birds to get to know them (in my opinion).
The thing that made me fall in love with these birds though, were the eyes, they just appeal to me a lot! And not to mention that they have a gorgeous long tail (can go up to 8cm).

These birds bond specifically well to one person the most. Ringnecks easily shy away from strangers or people they do not know or like.

Besides that, these of course have the same thing as most parrots, they can talk. And that goes for both males and females. However mine doesn’t talk at all!

They seem to excel in tricks and the likes, hence why in Asia, they are used to perform on the streets and attract people to the little show. So do make sure your ringneck is provided with enough mental stimulation.

 

On taking care of them, as in feeding, it is pretty easy.
They eat the usual fruits and veggies parrots are allowed to eat, and I often give them amazon type of mix for big parrots. My Kwatoko just loves the fruit and nut mixes. Be variated in their diet, it makes a bird live twice as long!

Just don’t let them live on seeds.

You can add pellets to their diet as well, just make sure they aren’t artificially coloured.

One typical thing for Indian ringnecks though, is to feed them protein!
Let them knibble on some fresh cooked chicken or so, once a week, or something, and it’ll be just fine.
Just make sure the flesh doesn’t contain any oils, spices, and so forth.

Upon proper care of your medium sized parrot (about 40cm), you can expect them to live up to 20 years. Even 30 if you are lucky! So, if you purchase one, do remember you’ll have to spend a lot of years with your parrot!!! A friend for a lifetime!

 

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Zebra finches – Is it male or female? Sex determination!

April 12, 2012

Oh dear, it has been a month since I updated.
So sorry about that. Been a few weeks knock-out due to beeing ill and then accessive searching for houses, and such.

Anyway, I did however try to do a lot of research, and I want to write now about zebra-finches.
More likely about the rare mutations where de females do carry cheek colours!

Other reason why I want to write is because I just lost one of my zebra finches due to a massive tumor in his belly.
Also because I had this sutation where I was very unsure, if the finch was a lady or not! Thinking it was lady, it turned out to be a male!

So!

Let us start with the basic zebra finch knowledge, or at least, the basic knowledge to say it is a male or female.
Of course, every zebra finch male has the typical cheeks, the orange cheeks. Mutations of the cheeks also carry black and red, which are most common. Though there are some with fawn cheeks, or silver. The variaty is quite big as of late.

Due to the many mutations, there are some exceptions where the females carry a cheek colour.
With having done some research, I thus went to the stores, but yet I made a mistake.

Few of the mutations are still straight forward on wether it is a female or not.
Look at the cheeked and black cheeked mutations.

Of the black cheeked mutation, the male carries the typical breasted stripes.
As you can clearly see in the picture. This is a very good one, where you notice the typical markings on the chest and flank.

The flank should be black and not orange.
At the females the black stripes on the chest disappear and will just have a white-grey-ish tone showing. For the normal cheeked mutation it more or less comes down to the same.
The females do not carry any stripes on their chest, and the flank will be diluted.

So, you’d think. Let us just look at the stripes on the throat/chest, and let us look at the flank, to determine wether it is a female or male.

Well, DON’T!
Why? There is this lovely mutation called ‘Penguin’, for example!
There the black markings are turned white. In breeding those mutations they try to get rid of the traces remaining on the chin and throat

There is where I had made my mistakes in the stores, probably the same for the seller, which I had asked if it really was female or not. Well, woops, I had not done my research enough.

This little fella, was not female, but male. But as you see, the cheek colour is obviously present, but not the chest markings. Therefor I thought it was one of those few mutations where the females do carry cheek colours. Ah well, I still love him none the less!

For the penguin mutations the females carry a trace of white cheeks, which is quite nice though.

 

A very beautiful mutation where the females carry a really nice cheek is the ‘fawn cheeked mutation’. Or the ‘grey cheeked’. There it is another issue of beeing careful. The cheek colour is very dominant on the females as well. The fawn cheek male does not really have ‘stripes’ in some occasions but more of diluted stripes, as so to say. The females in the picture on the left, show the colours well.

Though, main point still is, check the chest, also what is possible to check on are the flank markings.

Mutation of Gray/Black cheek, female on the left, male on the right

Mutation of Gray/Black cheek, female on the left, male on the right

 

On dominant cream pairs. Females look much like the males, but mostly are more diluted as well.

Another thing is that at times females have less brighter beak colours but I would not trust on that. I have had a few females myself where they were nearly more bright than the males I had. Though often with the pied mutation they have to use the beaks only to determine. As often white feathers replace the normal coloured feathers.
Of course same goes for the white zebra finch.

Thus, if you fancy a typical mutation of a zebra finch, please do your research.
Or if you really want males or females, do the research as well.

Lately it can be tricky!

I tried to name as many possible variations where determining the sex is a bit different. I hope I have covered it all.
I used two sites as source, and also for pictures.
So credits to: efinch.com and zebrafinch.info
The picture of the penguin and the black cheek at the bottom belong to me.

I suggest you really look at those sites. Especially if you want even more info on mutations. Or their origins. I just kept it short so it is easy to view!

Good luck and enjoy your zebra finches!

And with this a last picture for you to enjoy! My black cheek male.

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