Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hand Feeding How-To's

On Saturday, three of us gathered at Christy's house for an auspicious occasion. Cary from CJ'S Pets was there to give a demo on the proper techniques for hand-feeding baby cockatiels. Christy has babies right now from Anna and Cricket (her pearled pair) who are the proper age for "pulling". Gracie and Cheeko also have a clutch of three younglings who aren't ready to be pulled yet. One hatched just the other night, and sadly, both mother and grandmother were ignoring the baby. (Originally, Ele who is Gracie's mother, was foster parenting the other two from Gracie's clutch but now that all three have hatched, Gracie is ready to take over her rightful responsibility. Amazingly, it seems she learned what she needed to do by watching Ele tend to her young!) Christy gave the "ignored" baby some pedialyte to see it through and had hopes that Cary would give her some advice on feeding a 2 day old baby as well.

When Cary examined the chicks, he decided the youngest of the clutch should be allowed to stay with Mom and Dad for just a bit longer. It appears his piggy older sibling was getting the lion's share of the food, so the younger one wasn't big enough to pull yet. (At least not the "ideal" size). Piggy on the other hand, is more than ready! He or she will be three weeks old tomorrow and this baby is already a parent fed chunk!

So, with formula loaded in the syringe (after the demo on how to properly prepare the formula), brooder set up (to house the pulled chick in since Mom and Dad would likely shun a tiel once its been pulled and handfed), Cary set about showing us the how-to's. It seems as if there is alot to learn, but yet, it appeared deceptively easy as well. I know from my own experience with Taxi that things don't always look as easy as they seem, BUT, fortunately for Christy, this lil chunk of a baby cockatiel is an apt pupil. He opened up his greedy little beak and gobbled that handfeeding formula as if it were ambrosia! He wouldn't stop begging even though Cary proclaimed his crop plenty full enough. HAHAH!

See pictures below of the hungry-hungry-hippo:
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Next, it was time to take the lil piggy to his new home. Nathan (Christy's 5 year old son) begrudgingly donated a stuffed monkey for this little one to snuggle with so he won't be lonely without his clutchmate. Here's the little critter all full and tucked into bed.

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Notice the open beak? Fatty was still begging at me as I took the picture. Sorry dear, you'll have to let your crop drain down a bit first. Somehow, I think this little one is going to be alot like Taxi. (who still begs like a baby and eats non-stop!) LOL!

Christy took her handfeeding lessons a step further and began feeding the ignored two day old chick last night when she determined no amount of hoping and putting the baby back under Mom was going to convince her to feed it. So far, so good! As of this evening, the little one has gotten 24 hours worth of feeds into it and already appears to have grown! Christy says he or she is already MUCH stronger! Let's say a prayer that this little one pulls through.

Soon joining the little "piggy in the pen" will be his clutch mate, Gracie's other two that she IS feeding, as well as the one Christy took off of Gracie's claws, and possibly a few more from Jelly and Gunnar. Jelly and Gunnar are sitting on (I believe) four fertile eggs, due to hatch very soon. They ignored their last clutch, so its unknown if they will do so again. If they do, Christy will have ALOT of newborn cockatiels to handfeed, but at least this little guy is giving her some experience with it!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Looser's Club



Welcome to Ebo and Pho's Looser's Club. Of course this is an exclusive club so not just any bird can join. You must possess certain distinguishable qualities that set you apart from the rest of the flock. You must roost upon your perch in distinction, crest held high, wings held in the shape of the heart, and act like an idiot. In short, you must be a looser. Not the brightest bulb in the box, the sharpest tool in the shed, the brightest crayon in the box. You may be a few bites shy of a whole sandwhich, may not row with both oars in the water, the lights are on but you're not home, and if you were any slower, you'd need watering twice a week.

This would fit Neo, Silver and Taxi is well on the way. Neo and Silver have both displayed their "Looserly" qualities over the last year. Neo with his "non-sexuality". Rather his "any port in a storm" sexuality. He's been known to flirt with budgies, the wall, me, Silver, Apache, thin air, whatever suits his fancy. He'll have cuddle fests with a toy and then have a screaming match with it two seconds later, and then back to cuddling it. He'll tell me over and over that he is indeed a "birdy". And a pretty one at that. And of course, there are the macho preening sessions he and Silver get into. Who shall give in and preen who first. Let's butt heads and find out, shall we?

Silver took after his brother and began his career as a looser early on. He is "Johnny Bravo" in a cockatiel suit. He thinks he's hot stuff and shows off his mighty chest to any female in the vicinity. (Even the female cat), but most notably, myself and Apache. One time, I put him on the floor, and he followed me about, strutting after me and singing like he would a hen. I'd move away from him, emulating Apache, and he came after me, singing with all his might. It was hysterical! Then I lowered my ear to him, "giving in" as Patchie does and he just got himself all happy and clucked and sang to me. What a dude! LOL (Dude and a Looser!) He also has a yawning addiction. He LOVES to yawn and will go out of his way to get his yawn spot rubbed so he can .. you guessed it. YAAAAAWN. He looks really cute when he yawns too. LOOSER.

Taxi is a beggetha. Heaven help the person eating anything when Taxi is afoot. Kirsten's bowl of cereal fell prey to Taxi's conniving beak once, as did my plate of steak. My A-1 steak sauce had birdy prints in it after Taxi did a flop in it, going after a mushroom. He also had a cow trying to pick the seasme seeds off my Big Mac bun one night. He was so insistent I had to have someone else hold him so I could eat my dinner unincumbered. When Taxi sets his mind to eat, NOTHING will get in his way. I'd say that makes him a looser in the making.

Pho has created a HYSTERICAL website dedicated to all of the birds out there who are so called "loosers" much like Neo, Silver and Taxi. Its fashioned after Ebo, her looser of a cockatiel who does things like make goo-goo eyes to her toes, chicken strips, and pillowcases. Ebo is SUCH a character!!! He's quite famous on Tail Feathers and this site is such a scream I had to mention it in my blog. (Let's not forget Ebo's looserly sister, Pokey the TAG, who says "Boo" to her poop as she's letting it drop!). In order to belong to the "Looser Website", you must submit an application and describe in technicolor detail, why your bird is a looser. After your looser is accepted, his or her picture will be featured with a biogrophy of his or her looserly accomplishments. Any videos and/picture/media you have of looserly behavior will also be linked. Its wonderful fun and we all get a great laugh. Please do check out Pho and Ebo's funny site at
http://www.biseinen.com/shango/losersclub.html

Here you will meet many other loosers besides just Neo and Silver, and you'll meet the Club President, Ebo and the Vice President, Pokey as well.

Job well done Pho!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Taxi's Terms of Endearment

Most of you on Tail Feathers have become acquainted with Taxi, my newest pearl. But my family in California has been somewhat robbed of Taxi-tales. I guess Taxi's status of being the "fouth tiel in the flock" means me getting a new birdy is nothing new. HAHA! But, to be fair, its been a crazy couple of months! I've started a new job (working three now) and every single one of my pets have been into the vet's office for things as minor as yearly shots to as major as surgery. Some of the pets have been in more than once. (That would be Silver, Wizzer and Katamari). And that's just the pets! We won't count the people in the house who have visited the doctor recently. HEHE! And, let's not forget the whole sad ordeal with Silver and Apache and their babies. In the brief span of time since Taxi moved in (a few days after Valentine's Day), my immediate and extended family on both sides (my family back home and my husband's family here) have also climbed some mountainous hurdles. My mom purchased a house in a new town and she and my Aunt just recently completed their move in. This was after a deal on a pre-fab home that was being custom built fell through earlier in the year. My sister has had her fair share of medical problems to deal with, as has my father-in-law. Late in March, my Father-in-law was Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. Fortuntately, it doesn't appear to have spread but his surgery was this week. In the time prior to his surgery, Dave came by many times to spend some time with us. In that time, he became a big "Taxi" fan.

I've felt really bad for poor Taxi. Apache, Silver and Neo really got the best of me. I had so much more time to spend training them and working with them. If Taxi was as "skittish" as Silver and Neo had been when I first got them, its likely he still would be skittish because I've just been so bogged down. But I'm so lucky that Taxi is an adorable, sweet doll of a bird. Taxi bonded to me immediately. Although he pretty willingly goes to Kirsten or Cameron, he obviously flaps to come to me and cries when I'm near by because he wants his momma. It was instantanious. Its so odd that this sweet bird that I've had so little time to handle is so loving. I try to spend as much time giving him "extras" as I can. Like.. when I put the food in the cage in the morning, Taxi "jumps" out onto me. I let him.. and I give him a quick cuddle before returning him back to the cage. I'd let him come out longer but sadly its all I have time for in the morning. There's three other birds to feed PLUS the budgies that I'm budgie sitting and three hungry cats as well. Taxi is extremely clumsy right now too, as you can see with the lack of tailfeathers. (That's from Taxi falling from heights, landing on his butt and breaking off the tail feathers). He's prone to even falling right off my shoulder so "carrying him" around with me is out of the question with my hard tile and wood floors. Until his flight feathers grow in a little bit and he regains some grace and flight capabilities so that he won't fall like a lead brick, he's very restricted in where he's allowed to go.

So, Taxi is a "mamma's birdy" who gets jipped so much of the time. ::Sniffle:: I wonder if that is why Taxi still makes baby cockatiel begging sounds when I scritch his head. Its like a desperate happiness/mamma pay attention to me thing. It breaks my heart.

When Dave met Taxi, it was love at first sight. Dave is about the only other person Taxi will sit still on (Taxi is extremely active when out of the cage and has a hard time sitting still for anything), but Dave seems to have a magic touch with him. Taxi doesn't even cry for me when he's with Dave. The first time Taxi sat on Dave's shoulder, he snuggled right up to his face for kisses. It was SOOO sweet.

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One day, My father-in-law brought my little 2 year old neice Devyn over for a visit. Devyn is fascinated by the birds but a little afraid of them. Taxi was the perfect birdy to introduce her too. Just a baby himself, they could meet on common ground. Again, as long as Taxi was perched on Dave's finger, he was fine with the whole ordeal and Devyn was too. As you can see, the introduction went well.
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I felt compelled to write about Dave tonight because as I type, he's lying in his hospital bed. In the middle of the night, he underwent another surgery for a minor complication after his prostate surgery. He'll be staying for another few days when he was anticipating being released from the hospital tomorrow. Though he must be depressed, he is trying hard not to show it. Still, when I went and saw him today, he's looking pretty good considering all that he's been through.

We still have China and Fergie, the budgies, here. My mother-in-law hasn't asked after them, but what can you expect after everything that they've been through. The budgie's will keep and they have a home here until they're ready for them.

In the meantime, its been molt city around here! Feathers are flying every which way. Poor Taxi seems to be getting the brunt of it, considering its his first molt. I keep finding all these little pearly pieces of fluff on the floor beside the cage and wonder how he can possibly have any feathers left on him! Hopefully, Taxi will sprout some tailfeathers soon, and maybe a primary or two to help maintain that new, sexy, long tail! Soon, Taxi will be making an appearance at a Boy Scout Troop Meeting to educate about 75 boys on the "how to's" of bird care. I've got tons of cute "Taxi at the vet" pictures to bring along with. I was asked to do a presentation some time ago, and the date is rapidly approaching. (May 23rd). I was hoping Taxi would outgrow his duckbutt by then, but it appears that he's still all pins and needles and no real feathers to show for his misery. Oh well. He'll still charm them all with his cuteness.

Tonight, I took lil Taxi out of the cage for some special one on one time. He sat on my shoulder to get kisses...
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Notice the duckbutt... ::: grins::: (And sorry I look so rough. My only day off in a very long time, so I wasn't paying too much attention to hair and makeup today)..

and notice how many feathers poor lil Taxi shook off in a short amount of time sitting on my shoulder.

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I have to wonder if those pretty pearls are going to molt away as they reportably do with male cockatiels, or if "he" is a "she" and "she'll" keep the pearls. Thing is.. I don't really KNOW what gender Taxi is. LOL Taxi is my sweet little mystery tiel!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Some Assembly Required!

It finally arrived! In just a week from the purchase date, the cage was delivered in two boxes that were just about bigger than MY trailer! These birds have it good, I tell ya!

Well.. ripping into the boxes and sorting out which bars went where was the easy part. Screwing them all together with the aid of the pathetic "so called" directions (little more than a pencil drawn diagram WITHOUT the benefit of "insert tab "A" into slot "B" instructions) I started at 7 pm and after some trial and error (and cussing as I unscrewed parts and refitted things that I'd put things together wrong), I finally finished! It was 2:30 am, but by God, I was finished!

The next day, I moved the birdies in. They LOVE it. Taxi and Neo are on the left hand side and Patchie and Silver have the right side. I'm trying them out with the divider first. Maybe if they all get along, I'll try it without the divider this weekend. They all play nice outside of the cage, but with Neo just getting off meds and everyone molting right now, I don't wanna push the stress level.

So..here's a picture of their new digs!
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::Warning::: Objects in picture are larger in real life than they appear on your screen::: This sucker is HUGE. It takes up an entire wall but its worth it. The birds have LOTS of room to play, which they really need since they spend the majority of their day in their cages with me working 10 hours a day, four days a week. Christy came and picked up the black "single wide" cage and now there are a bunch of happy budgies scampering about in it.

Now.. I've just gotta make the huge ole seed skirt to go around the entire cage. I picked up some SUPER cute fabric at Walmart. It'll match the cage and its a tropical print.. with parrots all over it. Oh yes... must have "birdy" fabric!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Country Cousins

Today, Christy made the long drive out from the sticks "aka Holyoke" to pick up the black cage, and drop off two of her baby budgies. One is Larri and Two's baby from last June's batch and one is a new fledgling from Blue and Keeter's spring clutch. They're going to their new home with my Mother-in-Law Trudy, and Sister-in-Law, Lynn this weekend, but first, they will spend the week with me while my Father-in-Law recovers from his surgery.

The white and blue one is the eldest and I've had my eye on her for a while. I had her picked out for my sister this winter but bad weather kept me from taking her at Christmas time. I affectionately called her China because she has the coloring of old English china patterns. The name has stuck. My mother-in-law saw her this weekend and fell in love with her. She loves the name as well, so China, she will remain. She's not very tame, but I've been working with her in hopes of making some headway before she goes to her new home.

The younger one looks JUST like his Daddy, Keeters, and his older brother (from another clutch) Kokomo, who was adopted by Jodi, a friend on the Tailfeathers message board. He's going to be a beauty. His cere is purple, and though he's young yet.. I'm thinking "he is a he". This lil guy is very docile and with a bit of coaxing, he willingly steps up and sits on my finger. I can "cup" him and hold him, but I prefer to work on the "step up" method so its his own free choice. He's got the makings to be a very tame little budgie. He doesn't have a name, but here in MN, the first thing you're likely to hear out of someone's mouth when you see something as adorable as this lil guy is "Oh Fer Cute!" So.. I ran the words "Fercute" together and came up with "Fergie" .. sort of a knock off. I'm sure my sister-in-law will change the name and who cares. I can't go around calling this lil guy "hey you".. so while he's here, he's "Fergie."

The tiels sure didn't know what to make of the budgie chatter at first! Their lil mohawks went up when they heard their "Country Cousins" chattering away. Neo in particular seems very intrigued. I actually caught him, plastered to the side of the cage facing the budgies with his "hearts on".. (Heart Shaped Wings) singing to them with gusto this evening! PuhLEASE Neo! Any port in a storm? Hopefully Neo won't be too heartbroken when they go to their new home. (Hopefully I won't either. They ARE awfully cute..... )

Here's China... Isn't she pretty?
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and here's Fergie, perched on my finger. Such a tame lil dude already!
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Thursday, May 05, 2005

Double Wide Mobile Home

I can't WAIT till the new cage arrives! I bought it on eBay a few days ago and it should be arriving any day now. Check out the picture! Its a double wide! WHOHOO!
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This is the cage of all cages and it'll house a flock in style! (Christy.. I hear you calling me names! Cut it out or you'll be over here helping me put this bad boy together! Hehehe!)

It measures 64 inches wide by 21 inches deep by 35 inches high. It has a center divider so that its actually 2 cages that measure 32 inches wide, BUT :::Drumroll please::: the divider is removable so that it can be one huge cage if all my birdies are playing nice, or if they're being little snots, I can put the divider back in and seperate my flock. SWEEEEEET!

Since Christy has two cages by the same manufacturer (the single wide version), I know the stand won't be high enough to keep the birds from being harrassed by Katamari (aka Demon Spawn Kitten), so I went shopping for a stand that would hold this monstrosity up higher. Can you believe I actually FOUND something? In this little antique shop, I found the PERFECT thing! Its a sewing machine cabinet. All OAK! (no, the birds won't be chewing on it). Its NIIIIIIIIIIICE. The cabinet itself wasn't wide enough, but the owner of the store unfolded the top leaves to the full extensions. They open flush and when fully extended, it measures 67 inches wide. It's PERFECT! There's about 4 or 5 drawers to store things in too. It set me back 80 clams, but .. did I mention.. its solid oak? So hubby loaded it up into the van where its waiting to have a cage plopped on top of it. The whole set up will look very attractive, I must say. It BETTER considering its going to take up an entire wall in my living room, but hey.. the tiels are worth it, no? ::inserts huge grin:::

Oh MAN.. I hope that cage comes tomorrow! Cross your fingers!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

aka Neenie Weanie

Our first blog will be about Neo, also known as Neenie Weanie. Neo is a gray pied Cockatiel and the smallest dude in my flock. I get 76 grams on my scale but the vet said she got 70. As he's not eating his best right now, I know he's lost some weight. Still, he's small in stature so weighing in light is not a huge concern. The vet puts him at a 4 of 5, which means he could stand to gain a few but he's not in bad shape. When he's feeling better, he most assuredly will.

As most people already know, poor Neo has had his fair share of trouble since day one. He came to me as a nine week old cockatiel who had never been handled and never seperated from his parents. The poor little dude was also sick with an upper respitory infection. Since his first "handling experiences" consisted of me chasing him around inside of his cage with a towel and then gagging medicine down him, he was wary of people for a very long time. It took forever for him to warm up, or so it seemed, but underneath that skittish exterior was a heart of gold and personality plus. Neo is incredibly sweet and ADORES having his lil mohawk scritched. He just turns his head and leans in with his eyes closed and savors the scritch moment with everything he has in him. He's finally learned to reluctantly step up from inside his cage and he will crawl down from his play gym and climb onto my shoulder when I lean against the cage and cluck to him. When he's flighted, Neo has even flown to me on a few occasions. AWWWW! He is also learning to speak. He says "Birdy!" and a garbled sounding "Pretty Bird". I think he's also trying to say "Neo is a pretty bird".

Neo was doing fine after his bout with the upper respitory infection, but it appears that its back with a vengence. After a particularly horrid nightfright that left Neo with most of his primaries broken off at nearly skin level, and swollen and sore wing tips that required anti-inflamitory painkillers to help him cope (and so he wouldn't pick at them).. his infection reared its ugly head. It seems the stress of the injury brought on a lurking URI that may not have completely vanished with his first round of meds last year. So he's now on another two week dose of Doxycyline which will be followed up with a week of Baytril. My poor Neo. :( This year, he's taking his medicine much better. Though I still have to "chase" him around the cage (um.. yah.. a week into meds.. he now knows that when he sees the medicine dropper he should make a RUN for it:: ) But he's still a sweetie-pied. Omg.. though. his POOR wings! He's molting in new primaries now to replace the ones he broke. ALL of them at once!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I've never seen so many blood feathers just WAITING to break in my life. He must have at least FIVE on each wing! Everytime he stretches his wings.. I see those lil red shafts and shudder. Right now, he's in his very own quarentine cage and I will guard it with my life until those bugggers grow in. If one or more of those were to break right now.. he'd loose alot of blood. Good thing I work at a vet clinic and got my hands on some hemostats and quickstop.

Here's a very recent picture of Neo, wrapped up in a bandana awaiting his dose of medication. Kirsten, my daughter, has him in what we call the "birdy burrito" hold. He's so cute. She is too! :-D

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Welcome to my New Blog!

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I missed my "daily updates" when I was doing the "Shack" blog, and so did others by the sounds of it, so we're back by popular demand! ::Wink wink:: Instead of keeping a log about Patchie and Silver and their nest, this blog will be dedicated to all of my cockatiels. Right now, they include Patchie and Silver (the woeful parents we became acquainted with in the "Shack"), Neo (my smallest dude, and admittedly, my favorite) and Taxi, the cute lil begger I recently added to my flock. No crumb of food is safe when Taxi is nearby. LOL Soon, Tieka and Beaker will be joining the flock if things go as planned. Our set date is June 2nd. Yay! I'll finally get to meet the tiels I've heard so much about since October. Once they join the flock, I'll be including updates on them as well as they get into the groove with their new family.

Of course.. this blog is going to be obscene with pictures. :) Since I have two photobucket accounts, I'll have room, but I'll probably remove pictures from old archived blogs once this blog gets lengthy to keep more room available in my photobucket for new pictures.

I doubt I'll have a chance to update my blog daily. As it stands right now, I'm working three jobs so time is a precious commodity. Still.. I managed to get to blogger when I was updating the "Shack" so my bogging should be frequent. Besides.. the tiels' lives aren't so exciting that they require daily updates. LOL I'll probably pick a "star" to focus on for each blog and post about him or her with pictures, and add side notes about what the others are doing as well. It seems to be that way around here. One of the tiels is making headlines with this or that.. and then one of the others steals the spotlight. LOL

So, with the "forward" over with, its time for the acknowledgements. I'd like to thank Jenn, Peter, Nikki, Mindy, Jodi and Christy in particular for their support during my blogging during the "Shack". It really helped to know there were interested readers out there. I gave all I had to Apache and Silver while they went through their trying time as new parents, and I can't say how grateful I was to have that encouragement and support come back to me in the form of caring friends with big hearts and soft shoulders to cry on. You guys are the best and this Blog is dedicated to you. *Special thanks to FlyingDuster on the Tailfeathers board for supplying the banner of my four tiels. She's got GREAT talent with paint programs, no?