Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Latest Buzz

We have a newcomer to the flock! Actually, he's still in quarantine but he will be joining the flock in due time. Buzz (short for Buzzard - he came with his name) joined us yesterday. I have met this guy one other time back in February and fell completely in love with him. He's a whiteface male and belonged to a co-worker of my husband. When Scott and I went to pick up a car we purchased from him, I met Buzz. I cooed at him and made jokes that if they wanted to throw Buzz in with the deal, I'd be more than happy, and they actually seem to consider it for a moment! But the wife said they'd had him from an "egg" and weren't willing to part with him. I said I was only kidding but I love cockatiels and had (four) of my own. (At the time, Teika and Trinny were still in Michigan). The other day, Scott called me from work and said they'd offered to give up Buzz, cage and all, free of charge to me, because I'd loved him the minute I laid eyes on him, and they knew he needed a better home. Scott had to work, but Kirsten and I drove over last night, visited with them for a bit, thanked them profusely for allowing us to have Buzz, loaded him up and brought him home.

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Sitting high in his cage...

The Buzz man took well to the ride home. He seems to be pretty mellow for the most part. He sqeaked a bit, but Kirsten rode with hime in the back. We got him settled in her room for the quarantine period and he took his first looks around his new home. He didn't like her fish lamp so we unplugged it. He settled down quickly after that.

THe first order of business was to sort out the bag of supplies he came with. Kirsten was horrified to find a whole bag of Hartz cockatiel seed mix. That's like, the worst brand you can feed a bird. BLAH! Buzz is going to be four years old in December, and its amazing he's in the condition he is if he's been eating only that his entire life. He looks to be a little underweight but that can be easily fixed. The bag of seed mix went promptly into the trash, as did the nasty GRIT I found. I noticed it sprinkled about in the cage bottom as well. Oivay! At least he has a cuttlebone and mineral block, but he has obviously never had vegetables in his life. I affixed a sprig of parsley in his cage to see what he'd do, and he nearly jumped out of his feathers. Its my hope that if he doesn't acquaint himself with veggies in the time of quarantine, he will do so when he's with the flock as a matter of course, seeing THEM eat it.

Though he's unwilling to step up and doesn't want to be handled, he seems friendly and curious. He comes right up to the cage and interracts vocally.
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This morning, I came into the room and offered him his cup of (UPGRADED) seeds - I'll convert him to pellets later after he's settled in - while I held it. He began flirting with me by holding his wings out in the shape of a heart and kissing at me. He said his name "Buzz-bird" and whistled bars from the Andy Griffith Show at Kirsten's prompting. What a little dude! After his courtship display was done, he stepped onto the seed cup and took a seed whilst I held the cup. So, there's definitely hope that he can be handled.

I have high hopes. If I can gain Neo's trust, I can gain Buzz's! hehehe! Neo was a tough nut to crack, and this guy is actually very sweet. He just hasn't been handled in a very long time. Neo was terrified of everything. A big difference there.

Here's Buzz getting curious about the camera...
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So Buzz is a beautiful boy, and once he's plumped up and certifiably healthy and out of quarantine, he'll have his pick of the ladies. I wonder if he'll bond with any particular birdy or if he will be a people bird? Only time will tell. In the meantime, he now replaces Teika as the eldest bird in the flock. On December 3, he will be 4 years old. What is it with December hatch dates? I guestimate that Apache was a December hatch, Taxi definitely was, I believe Teika was, and now Buzz. Weird huh? But then again, tiels DO go through a fall nesting period. Taxi has eggs in her cage to prove it. HAHA!

So.. welcome BUZZ! More to come!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Reigning Zupreem

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I'm REALLY happy! All of the birds have made the successful conversion to pellets. I have been slowly trying to convince them that pellets aren't the food of the devil for the last year. The boys have always been really good about eating what I put in front of them (typical men) but Apache is my seed junkie and fought me claw and beak everytime I tried to switch to pellets. She would literally go on hunger strikes and make herself ill, holding out for her precious seeds. I feared Teika and Trinny would be difficult to convert since they had never really been introduced to pellets either so visions of "Apache like battles" flitted through my mind. Trinny's increasing weight problems and Teika's stress bars and uneven beak convinced me that a better diet was desperately needed. Silver and Taxi aren't slim chickens themselves and could benefit from a lower fat diet. Patchie and Neo's suppressed immune systems would definitely benefit from the added vitamins of a pelleted diet so my mind was made up. These guys were going to eat pellets, come hell or high water! They've always "dorked around" with them, but cried if they didn't get their seeds too. UNTIL I found the Avian Entrees brand of Zupreem. Okay.. So the pellets are colored. Not touted as "The Best" by pellet geeks in the avian world, but I read the ingredients and they don't have the BIG NO NO preservatives that Kaytee and LaFabre brands do. The pellet geeks insist that "all natural" is the ONLY way to go. Fine.. So they should eat Harrisons. They've tried Harrison's Pellets. Should I say, they DIDN'T try them. They turned their beaks to them. I liken Harrisons to Grapenuts cereal. BLAH! Who wants to eat that all day long. ::: Yawns::: BUT.. this Avian Entree.. OMG! It has dehydrated veggies in the mix... Peas, peppers, and lots of goodies! I open the bag and it smells so good, I want to pour a bowl of it for myself! Its no wonder its such a hit with the birds! They dig in with gusto, usually reserved only for seeds. I've been able to completely phase out seeds and they don't even miss them! The only down side, is they've become complete goblins! They eat and eat and eat, constantly! Perhaps the pellets aren't as filling as the seeds? I come home from work and check the dishes and have to fill them up because the little pigs have completely wiped out their supply. So far, Trinny has lost 4 grams. She's lost it gradually rather than over night, so that's good. It wouldn't be healthy for her to drop the weight really fast. It also seems that Taxi has curbed her hormonal ways, I'm happy to report. Perhaps knocking out her seed supply has helped, along with reducing her daylight hours. She laid only two eggs. HOORAY!

SO, that's the latest!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Beggetha's Eggetha

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My little Pearlie Girlie! The one who still "static cries" like a baby when I give her head scritches became a "woman" today! ::: sobs:: This morning, when I uncovered the cages, there was an egg in my lil "Beggetha's" side of the cage. Taxi is all grown up!

I'm 100% sure its infertile. Neo, her male cage mate, is a total nimrod when it comes to the "birds and the bees" (pardon the pun). HAHA! He's so hung up on Apache, he stares at her when he gets "in the mood" and does his business. When Taxi is in the mood, she pleasures herself in a corner and squeaks away. Neo could care less. Usually, he preens himself or looks for food as if nothing is happening. DOH! It SEEMED as though the hormone situation had finally died down because Taxi had finally gotten herself under control (unless she was getting busy while I was at work) and the "couples cage" has been quiet for some time now. But apparently, my "tough love" approach to hormone therapy wasn't enough and my Taxi decided to gift me with an egg. Sadly, she sees ME as her mate. ARGH!

Sooo.. I moved Taxi into a smaller cage (The one Mindy brought with Teika and Trinny. Its PERFECT size for hospital use. THANKS Mindy!) and set her and "eggetha" up in there. I'm putting Taxi to bed much earlier than everyone else and she will be sleeping in Kirsten's room at night, completely covered. During the day, I'll bring her out so she can at least see the flock. I'll do with her what I did with Patchie during her confinement this summer while she was ill. Visual contact so she doesn't get lonely, but no physical contact. Not because she's ill, but because she's obviously very hormonal. I'll have to cut WAY back on her food and she's not to have anything in her cage she can shred or use for nesting material. Oddly, she hasn't been broody at all. She still wants to come out and play like always and she's been very affectionate. Not at all protective of her cage OR her egg. In fact, she and Neo regarded it as some kind of toy. They were playing soccer with it earlier before I moved her. :: rolls eyes::: Like I said, I'm convinced Neo was a perfect gentleman and didn't "service" Taxi in any way, shape or form, but if there was even the SLIGHTEST chance that the egg was fertile, its surely scrambled now after she and Neo scored field goals with it. HAHA! It rolled from one end of the cage to the other as she and Neo bowled with it. Oivay! Proof in my mind that Young Taxi is certainly not old enough to take any kind of motherhood duties seriously. This egg was merely a curiosity to her and Neo. A toy to be rolled about like a bowling ball rather than a potetnial chick to be lovingly incubated.

Hopefully keeping her in the dark (sniffle.. I feel so mean) early on in the evening will do the trick and reset her lil hormonal clock. I'm sure she'll pop out one more egg, but hopefully no more than that. I'll post again and update, but keep your fingers crossed that she doesn't become an egg laying machine.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fall Is Here

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Can't believe its been a month since my last post! :Sigh:: Well, at least the hormones have died down. YAY! There hasn't been a lot going on so perhaps that explains my lax posting habits as of late. Everyone is doing well, I'm happy to report. Teika has gained all the weight the doctor wanted and her stress bars are fading. Patchie is active and hasn't seemed to relapse. Trinny.. well.. our lil princess pictured above is quite FAT! She's going on a MAJOR diet. (As you can see, she's QUITE the porker!!!) Taxi is still a nerd, ( lovingly said), Neo is still a scritch fiend and Silver is still Mr. Bossy feathers. Ah.. gotta love the flock! :)