So let’s talk about poop:-) What got me thinking about the topic is a recent e-mail from a customer considering buying an HQ bird cage. She bought a Molucaan Cockatoo from a pet shop 16 years ago. She’s been shopping there for 16 years and last year bought a dome top birdcage from them.
After one year the bottom tray of the cage had started rusting out. She talked about having bought all of her supplies from this particular pet shop including walnut shells which are used as bedding in the bottom of the cage. She wasn’t sure of the make of the cage.
How to improve your bird’s health with Scenic Bird Food and good fruit & vegetable selections! • Place Scenic Bird Food in a separate cup from your bird’s normal food and leave it there all day and night. • Replace with fresh food daily. • Keep the cup full. • Only after your bird is eating Scenic Bird Food should you place it in the normal food cup.
About a month after Popcorn had passed Catherine and I made big plans to get a new bird after we launched the new Windy City Parrot. I casually mentioned that I was thinking of an African bird like a Senegal.
Sometimes when we get deliveries of bird food a bag is broken or torn and cannot be sold as new. We get credit for that bag and we store them in a refrigerator in the back of the store. We give these bags to our local customers as it is too expense to ship them.
A couple weeks ago Catherine casually mentioned that we were ready to begin a serious search for a new bird.
Carmel, a very good customer of ours was in the Birdie Boutique one day. We give her a lot of the food because we know she passes it on to a local rescue run by a woman we found was named Pat.
Turns out we knew Pat from the bird fairs years back when we were vending at the bird clubs and events.
Peaches, a Senegal parrot, clearly did not like all the other birds in Pat’s rescue. Senegals tend to be quiet.
At the same time we had made a decision to get Bacon, our newly rescued budgie a cage mate because he was clearly unhappy alone and we knew it would take a long time to socialize him. What the heck – we asked Pat if she also had a budgie she could spare.
Cosmos speaking to us -> the day after Peaches came into our lives, I had to do some banking in our new bank. We set up some new accounts and I really hadn’t paid attention to how money was coming and going.
Funny story – one of the accounts that I expected to have $10 had $954. Some dumb credit card processing center had somehow sent this money to the wrong account which I had been chasing for two weeks and was getting nowhere.
Thank you Peaches <- THERE’S YOUR SIGN
The video explains it all.
the digital journey
Dear Pat, It was good to talk to you again. Time flies by so fast. Yes, Mitch and I are looking for a new forever bird. We had Sunshine, our Indian Ringneck, for many years until he passed. I bought him at a GCCBC bird fair about 30 years ago.
Then we went a couple of years bird-less until Popcorn flew into our lives; she was a great little girl. Sadly we lost her to her hormones and most likely cancer. I wish we knew then what we know now.
We were able to stop her hormonal behavior with the 72 hour light cycle we put her through, but by then it was too late. We have had others try it on their own birds and it works.
We currently have a tiny male parakeet foundling who is not tame and does not want to be from what we can see so we are going to get it a buddy in a week or so as we are waiting 30 days to see if the owner shows up.
We would love to see the Senegal you were talking about. Please send me any information, regarding a rescue. We have never adopted before, but we want to have an older bird, not a baby at this point in our lives.
Dear Pat, Thank you for the pictures of Mishu. She looks cute. Does not look mean, LOL, but has a look like “what are you doing?” Is she flighted? We do believe in allowing a bird to fly but also know a bird in a new environment can fly right into danger.
We would clip once, so she would not be able to harm herself. Then when the feathers grow back, she would have full flight available forever. When we brought Popcorn home she had to be clipped as she was just so confused and within a month had molted and grown new feathers; that was great.
Mitch works at home most of the time so he is able to allow the bird to be out. Every room has a stand as we feel if a bird lands on something and destroys it, it is not their fault if we have not provided a stand for it.
We never allow them to fly around other rooms unless we are with them. We have a lot of doors that can be closed keeping the bird in the same room we are. I don’t know if you have seen our BLOG or are signed up for it, but seeing it would show you what sticklers we are at bird care.
Hi Catherine. I am a caregiver for my elderly mother so weeknights will not work for me. I can bring her to you maybe Thursday or Friday this week. We will start off with a foster contract to see how it goes for a month.
I typically do a home inspection but not necessary for you. Her name is Mishu which was given to her by a former owner. He purchased her from a Rolling Meadows bird show breeder. I was there the day he got her so I know she is six years old.
This was the son of a good friend of mine who was living with a girlfriend. When he got home she was furious about bringing the bird home. Told him “it is me or the bird”.
So I have had her her whole life. I’m sad that I am offering her a new home but know you will give her the best home possible. I have been her only human interaction so I am not sure if she will warm up to Mitch. All I can suggest is give her time.
Let me know if and when I can drop her off to you. I assume you will use Popcorn ‘s cage for her.
Dear Pat, Wow, that is quite a story, but it is nice to know her history too. We would be honored to try to see how it works out. Yes, we would love to do this. Mitch works from home currently so he would be with her all the time. He intends to work from an office being set up by the shop at some point (going slowly) and then he would take her with him to a cage in the office. It would be a rare day that she would be left alone all day.
Yes, you can do the home inspection, you would be coming by so all would be shown anyway. We are cautious bird owners, toilet seats stay closed, garbage cans stay closed, no open glasses of water or other beverages.
We currently have the parakeet in Popcorn’s cage and we intend to get a buddy for the single parakeet and then put them in a new cage. So we have to do some set up at home before we can bring home Mishu.
Next week would be better for us so we can get another cage for the keet ready. The keets will live at home and not travel with us, they won’t be in the same area and will always be caged for their safety.
Hi Catherine, Next week is better for me also. I like the proposed schedule you will have for Mishu. Feel free to change her name. I’m not sure she recognizes it. She loves attention and will come to the front of the cage to come out or for head and neck scratches.
Where are you planning to get another parakeet? I got Carmel a beautiful parakeet as a partner for her single bird. She takes all my rescued parakeets. Let me know if you want a male or female. This time Wednesday or Thursday next week is OK for me to bring Mishu to you. Probably around 1 pm after I make lunch for my mom. Whatever works for you. Talk to you later.
Dear Pat, It all sounds wonderful. Nothing should be rushed when it comes to a new family member. I will discuss it all with Mitch later tonight. I know he is excited about the prospect.
We have been together for 15 years, I had Sunshine when I met him and they were fine together but of course Sunshine was my bird. When Popcorn came into our lives they bonded so well. He could handle her so well, but she did not care for me unless he was not around for awhile. It was all on her terms if she rode on me around the house, let me pet her, etc.
Mitch was not new to birds prior to our meeting, his ex had a ringneck, a toe biting cherry headed conure and a sweet white capped pionus so he was no stranger to parrots when we met. LOL.
Dear Pat, Mitch is all in on the plan. We will be bringing in a new cage for the parakeets as quickly as possible, something from Prevue we can pick up by Friday.
Yes, we would be fine with you picking out a buddy for Bacon. A boy, we don’t want to breed them, just let them enjoy being budgies together. We think by the feathering, and the eyes that Bacon is about 9 months old. Color-wise something to go with a Blue and White budgie, LOL.
Hi Pat, Wednesday is good, Mitch will be here. And yes, Bacon is a boy, it was up in the air for a bit as it was very light blue and when we took a couple of pictures it faded to white so we thought it was a girl, but the blue is deepening a bit. So we want another boy to avoid eggs. I will try to snag a couple pics to send anyway.
We are getting a cage in for the keets tomorrow. I want a fancy one for them but it is not in the budget right now so I am getting a decent sized cage and stand for them, 26 x 14 x 36 high. We will furnish it for the keets, can’t wait. I so want Bacon to be happy. He really looks so sad all alone. He has no interest in us.
Great on the clipped wings, has she always been clipped? If her nails need it, please it would be nice so we don’t have to subject her to that. We do our birds nails ourselves but it is never a bonding experience. LOL. We are getting excited.
Catherine, The cage for the parakeets is more than adequate size for them. I personally don’t like the fancy ones (with the indented roof lines at the top). It is wasted space and the birds wouldn’t go there. They like to perch high up. Have you thought about introducing them slowly to each other by putting them side by side in separate cages for a short time? It gives them a chance to get to know one another before putting them in the same cage.
As with all my birds no matter the breed, I include a separate food and water cup for each bird on separate sides of the cage. Unfortunately, birds can starve a mate by being aggressive and not sharing their dishes. I know a few of my clients that it has happened so it is good to observe their behavior.
You may not encounter this since one of the birds is quite young and should adapt easier to an older bird. Just like people, the older birds get set in their ways which can be problematic . . . LOL. If you do want to keep them separate for a short time, I have an inventory of cages you can use.
I truly hope the adoption of Mishu will be successful. Not all of them go smoothly. I have had several for one reason or another that failed. I wanted to prepare you in the event it happens. I truly believe a bird chooses the family to love. Giving Mishu time to settle in will be the test.
I am excited for her to join your family. It will be a sad day and I may shed some tears. She loves me so much but it is the right thing to do for her. As I mentioned, I will ask you to sign a very simple temporary contract that states she will be in your care until we both decide to make it a permanent adoption or return her to me. It may take more than a month to come to that decision. I am open to a time frame.
Looking forward to seeing you and Mitch on Wednesday with Mishu and the new parakeet. Let me know if you have any questions.
Dear Pat, We have been thinking about you and everything a lot. We are excited. The keet sounds adorable. Mitch is working on the cages today. I wish I could be there for the arrival. But Mitch plans to record it all.
Hi Catherine, I am prepared for my visit tomorrow to bring Mishu and the little parakeet. It will take me almost two hours in travel time. I will be coming via Milwaukee Avenue past Dr. Sakas office.
We can talk about making some fresh veggies for the parakeets. A friend of mine uses a food processor or chopper to make the veggie mix as small as possible. The ingredients are the same for all birds.
This little parakeet is so adorable. I believe it is a male. He is only 11 weeks old and fully weaned. I’ve watched him eat seed, drink and eat some millet. He is very tame.
Pat, The keets diet – Maybe you can help me with the keets on getting them to eat well too. I am familiar with them being given nothing but seed and water and then they die young.
That is not what I want to do of course. Right now I started with a good Budgie seed mix by Hagen Living World that has seeds, dried fruits and veggies and tiny pellets. I also added some Leafy Greens and another mix by Higgins Small Fruits & Veggies, but want to encourage fresh food. Not so easy when the bird is so tiny.
I figure I can start with a hunk of romaine clipped to the cage, but beyond that, I am stumped. I admit parakeets are not in my list of birds I have had before. I did have a good number of beautiful Australian Grass keets years ago but they were big enough to eat my usual veggies and fruit mixes I gave to all the birds.
Catherine, Mishu is a very good eater. All (even the doves) get a vegetable mix that includes plain pasta at 7:00 am every morning (all other food has been removed). It is left in the cage for no more than 3 hours. They are then given a mix of seed and pellets (more pellets than seed). I mostly use Higgins brand for the seed and Zupreem for the pellets. I also sometimes use Roudybush and Higgins In-Tune pellets. I like to change it up so they don’t become bored. Then at dinner time they get fruit. She loves apples very much.
I placed her on the jungle gym this morning while I was having a discussion with my mom’s hospice nurse. Mishu began crying and swaying back and forth. The nurse said it sounded like a kitten. She could be mimicking cats I had before they died of old age. She wanted me to pick her up. I also heard her trying to talk. I think she has unlimited potential. I feel bad that I have not been able to give her as much attention she deserves. She has out of cage time everyday. She is not a vocal bird so she will not make a lot of noise.
Pat, I am not concerned with her talking, although if she does, that is fine too. At her age it is doubtful she will start. My male ringneck started to talk at 6 1/2 months old and was a sponge for new words until he was about 3 then had no interest in learning more.
We just set up the new cage for the keets, it is HUGE. I think they will be fine. I will be ordering another cage light for the keets cage as it is a dim corner.
I just cleaned up Popcorn’s cage (also the temporary Bacon home). Take a look, it you think it is too busy you are welcome to tell Mitch what needs to be done.
Both cages are not perfect, they don’t have grilles that slide out so I put paper on top of the grilles to make clean up easier. But until we can order new ones, they will be fine.
It will be very exciting to come how to a house full of chirping again. Mitch said he would be waiting for you on the front steps, LOL.
Dear Pat, Which Higgins seed mix did you use for Mishu? I am guessing a Conure Mix?
Higgins Sunburst Conure bird food blend is a nice one, it has Higgins Intune Pellets in it and I can also feed additional Intune Pellets available in a separate bag. I will bring them home tonight.
Catherine, That Higgins blend is good also. I’ve been ordering Higgins Safflower Parrot and the Sunburst Conure mix as well so that is perfect. This month I’ve changed the pellets to Zupreem. You will find Mishu is not a picky eater and should do well for you. I was going to bring a supply of food for her but sounds like you have what she likes. I try not to order any blends with peanuts or sunflower.
P.S. Tell Mitch I will be bringing my female cockatoos along but will leave them in the car. They will be fine. My husband works from home and has a conference call during the time I will be away. They scream if I am not there to quiet them. They are quiet in the car so don’t worry about your neighbors.
Post The Arrival of Pat and Parrots:
Hi Mitch and Catherine. I am very pleased on how the transition of these two birds went today. I have high hopes that the parakeets will become best buds. It took them all of 5 minutes before they were sitting side by side.
If I could put a caption to it “you blink I am dominant one” . . .lol. Since Eggs is only 11 weeks old please observe him eating and drinking. I had his dishes on the bottom of the cage in case he couldn’t get to them higher up. I forgot to give you some millet to give him a little to supplement his diet.
I am also happy Mishu stepped up to Mitch. She was a little tentative but will get better in time (it might have been the facial hair). She went right inside her cage to settle in. She does like to be out on top of the cage so I’m not sure if she will with the light on top.
You’ll have to see how it goes. Other option would be a separate device like a small jungle gym so she can get away from her safe place (cage). It would be best to work with her away from the cage. Don’t be afraid to stroke her neck and head and make those mouth gestures she loves to do. Give me an update in a day or two on both of them.
Catherine, I gave Mitch 3 small bags of veggies. He froze 2 of them. Use the one we left out giving her 1/2 today and 1/2 tomorrow. After that it will become rancid. I left you a list of ingredients I use to make it. I forgot to put fruit on the list.
She loves apples and anything else you want to try. You can use the same menu for the keets just mash it up real good. As you said you can clip some dark leafy green lettuce inside the cage as a treat. Also gave Mitch some almonds for Mishu. She can have 2 or 3 almonds or walnuts a day. I’ve read recently that birds could have scrambled eggs in organic coconut oil only 2 times a month.
I probably sound like a nervous Nellie so I will close for now. Any questions let me know. We can work thru any issues that may come up. Thanks and good luck! I am up around 5 am daily which means I go to bed between 9 and 10 pm. Feel free to contact me anytime. I also have text capabilities.
written by catherine tobsing approved by mitch rezman approved by nora caterino
Most cage bird keepers assume a bird is a bird a perch is a perch a cage is a cage. The previous statement is highly inaccurate.
About a decade ago I coined the term “cagescaping” (but no one remebers) Our specialties at Windy City Parrot are avian nutrition and the implementation of proper caged bird and home habitats based on species.
This video is a perfect example of how you have to take into consideration the species of the bird when designing its forever environment.
Okay that’s a bit of a stretch but if you could see what budgies see – not so much.
A couple weeks ago we talked about not fully understanding the effects of ultraviolet lighting on our birds. Something that not a lot of us including myself fully understand.
Leave it to NASA to set the record straight on the correlation between parrots and the center of our galaxy. Admitted science geek that I am, lots of interesting content crosses my desktop daily.
Rummaging through the archives of Science Magazine there’s an article from January 2002 entitled ”Fluorescent Signaling in Parrots” by Katherine Arnold At the University of Glasgow.
About a week later in the Journal of Nature you’ll find reports on the fluorescence that has been seen in the Galactic Center in an article by astronomer Q Daniel Wayne of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
The first article explains how ultraviolet light is absorbed by budgies (as well as other parrots) feathers on the crown and the cheeks and then the light gets re-emitted – as yellow light which is a longer wavelength.
Figure 1. Budgerigar’s head (A) under white light and (B) under UV illumination to induce yellow fluorescence. (C) Crown irradiated with UV light only (dashed line), resulting in human visible fluorescent emission (solid line). (D) Normalized visual difference between the emission spectrum of plumage, measured as radiant emission from feathers (solid line) and the spectral sensitivities of the four single cones classes of the budgerigar’s retina (dashed lines) (4). (Credit: K.Arnold et al., Science, 295, 92)
Basically what Ms. Arnold found was that both boy and girl budgies used the fluorescence of birds of the opposite sex and their glowing feathers that fluoresced in a light spectrum range that neither you nor I can see as an indicator for the quality of a possible mate.
Going back to the second story the geeky science astronomer guys and gals using pics that mere mortals have no access to because they have the Chandra X-ray Observatory to play with and made really cool images of the Milky Way Check it out!
This Chandra image exposes a wealth of exotic objects and high-energy features at the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. In this new and deep image from Chandra, red represents lower-energy X-rays, green shows the medium range, and blue indicates the higher-energy X-rays.
Hundreds of small dots show emission from material around black holes, neutron stars and white dwarfs. A supermassive black hole — some four million times more massive the Sun — resides within the bright, blue-white region on the right.
The diffuse X-ray light comes from gas heated to millions of degrees by outflows from the supermassive black hole, winds from giant stars, and stellar explosions.
This 400 by 900 light-year mosaic of several Chandra images of the central region of our Milky Way galaxy reveals hundreds of white dwarf stars, neutron stars, and black holes bathed in an incandescent fog of multimillion-degree gas.
The supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy is located inside the bright white patch in the center of the image. The colors indicate X-ray energy bands – red (low), green (medium), and blue (high).
Now that I’ve got you spun around scientifically, what the science guys and gals are saying is, forgetting fluorescence from parrot feathers for a moment, if you look at iron atoms that happen to take up a really big portion of the Milky Way galaxy (see image above), this fluorescence happens when – following x-rays that bump into electrons knocking said electrons out of the insides of the iron atoms which somehow excites the atoms so much so they produce more energy.
fluorescent suits are NOT chick magnets – you’ve been warned Rounding third base here: The atoms calm down emitting a fluorescent x-ray which is a longer wavelength and is basically the same process that causes budgies to glow fluorescently (I think I made that word up) in the eyes of other budgies.
Some people are able to reflect the light that lands on them, to take directions or assets or energy and focus it where it needs to be focused. This is a really valuable skill.
Even more valuable, though, is the person who glows in the dark. Not reflecting energy, but creating it. Not redirecting urgencies but generating them. The glow in the dark colleague is able to restart momentum, even when everyone else is ready to give up.
At the other end of the spectrum (ahem) is the black hole. All the energy and all the urgency merely disappears.
Your glow in the dark colleague knows that recharging is eventually necessary, but for now, it’s okay that there’s not a lot of light. The glow is enough. Seth Godin
written by mitch rezman approved by catherine tobsing
approved by nora caterino
your zygodactly footnote (no inventory of budgies in space videos so we’re going with our favorite animals in space video)
A very stubborn pair of budgies (Waylon and Willie) who were on a strict diet of grocery store spray millet were brought to us for a conversion trial.
We spent week one observing eating habits and introduced Coconut oilto their food. The pair was ravenous for spray millet but turned up their beaks to anything else offered.
At that point we baked up a batch of Harrison’s Bird Bread in small muffin shapes with spray millet mixed into the bread. The bread was broken up into pieces and placed on top of a clean paper towel at the bottom of the cage.
As expected, for the first few days the pair sorted through the muffins for the millet. On day three though we observed that they were also now eating bits of the Bird Bread. The amount of millet mixed into the bread was reduced and eventually replaced with High Potency Fine. After a few more days the millet was completely removed and High potency Fine was scattered amongst the pieces of Bird Bread on top of the white paper towel.
Within a few days not only were they off spray millet completely and they were now eating only Bird Bread and HPF.
My sister has a green cheek conure and has been sending me your bird self help articles and I thought I would give it a try (if you have time).
We’ve had birds our whole lives, our cockatiel is somewhere around 20years (he was a rescue) and we’ve gone through two parakeets in about 24 years.
My problem, we recently bought the cutest parakeet and have had her for about a year and she wants absolutely nothing to do with any of us. She lets out distress chirps if we even open the cage and she hops to the back.
We can’t get her to eat that much (although we have changed both their diets, the cockatiel is a lot more alert since starting his veggie/fruit pellet diet with healthier poops) and she likes the cockatiel but he’s pretty much antisocial (except for about 30 mins. in the morning when he whistles in the morning).
When he’s out, we usually bring her out and place her on the play gym (she has her own) across from him and she just sits. She DOES NOT like fingers but I can get close to her and give her beak-nose kisses. I’ve brought her up a few times, to study with me, but she just doesn’t want anything to do with me. I have had her with me a few times and she’s preened and taken a nap (so I know she’s not always wary). We also have a window suction cup pearch, and she seems to like that as well.
Is there anything that you can think of that could help. I’d love to be hands on with her but respect her space at the same time. I’m at a loss of what to do and where to start. Sorry for the information packed note.
Thanks for listening.
Your parakeet may never come around. It is at least a year old and is not progressing as a pet well.
A baby parakeet is best for training as a pet, (they have the stripes that come down low on the face, which go away as they age)
You may do it best by getting it a fellow parakeet in its cage (or a larger one) If a female, I recommend you remove her, rearrange the cage, then put in the boy and then the girl. Otherwise the female will be territorial and could abuse the new male. Another female would be fine too.
Or if you don’t want any more birds. You may consider a plastic parakeet, lonely parakeets really enjoy them.You can find them here. http://goo.gl/iJ4uF
If you wish to continue to try, I suggest you trim its wings (even just once), and it will be forced to depend on you to pick it up, put it on its perch, or cage, or stand and look forward to seeing you. Right now it can fly away if it wants to. That makes for a very hard time at bonding.
If you have any more questions, please let us know.
Your article about the bird canopy was great and taught me a lot. Now I need to know exactly what kind of artificial greenery can be used which Maisie can’t eat and, possibly, poison herself and,
My best friend wants to buy a parakeet and hopes I will help. How do you select a healthy, happy parakeet?
Thank you for the kind words about last weeks newsletter. To be clear when we talk about the “canopy” we’re talking about using bird toys and accessories to fill in negative space the upper one third of the cage.
These items present both foraging opportunities and serve as privacy barriers. We have seen bird people over the years use artificial plants in aviaries but usually with many of the smallest of birds like finches, canaries and parakeets.
The artificial plants should be plastic making them easy to clean yet bushy. The bushiness allows birds to take refuge and to get a little privacy perhaps avoiding the pursuit of an overzealous mate to be.
Addressing the issue of selecting a happy healthy parakeet. I like to remind people that one of the best defenses nature gave birds is their ability to hide illness. It’s not uncommon to have a pet parakeet that just keels over dead one day for no apparent reason. The bird was sick but nobody could ever tell
In nature the display of illness is the display of weakness. Perhaps because of the overall fragility of birds nature gave them the ability to hide illness and not show weakness a wonderful survival trait.
Sorry I had to take you around the block for this but the point is that it’s very difficult to simply look at a bird and tell that’s healthy or not. Whether you go to a pet shop or breeding facility it’s most likely parakeets will be displayed in a small flock.
What you want to look for are those that are the most active and inquisitive and if you’re real lucky if one jumps on your hand or finger take it home immediately.