In about 24 months our household has gone from 0 to 9 birds.
Six budgies (2 males/4 females), a female Senegal (surgically sexed) and a male African ringneck (males have the ring).
I fondly call the budgies my little hooligans who have their own cage as does Peaches our 9 year old female Senegal and Keto the newest member to our family, the 17-year-old male African ringneck.
We talk a lot about looking at and dealing with all our birds “holistically”.
Catherine and I had discussed over a week or two, what we should do with the budgies wings?
I had this fantasy morphing in and out of a Walt Disney movie with the budgies floating around the apartment helping me keep things organized but then we knew all that was never going to be the reality.
To achieve that the budgies all would have needed a severe wing clipping, and then hours of training to help them decide where and when to land.
We don’t have to teach them first to fly, we teach them how to land in our homes.
With the other two bigger birds in the background, Catherine’s common sense won out and we decided to keep the budgies flighted and simply migrate them into their new larger F050 aviary.
The interior of this aviary is designed specifically to encourage and enable flight within the four wrought iron walls.
The Senegal and African ringneck are fully flighted and must be protected from themselves.
Keto, our newest feathered family member clearly has had an issue with his right wing but we haven’t bothered to traumatize him to examine it closely.
He’s a half decent flyer.
We’ve seen him go from one side of the room to the other, and buzz the top of Peaches birdcage with no effort.
Peaches has become a decent albeit slow flyer but she still needs to work on landings.
As bird companions we don’t need to teach our birds how to fly, we need to teach them where and how to land.
Peaches will fly south and north in the living room but will not fly north from the living room into the kitchen or the bathroom.
We decided not to encourage the northern flight into the kitchen because she does not need to examine food cooking in a hot pan.
I have total control over Peaches in terms of handling her.
She will step up to my hand.
She will shoulder ride.
She is happy to be with me.
Catherine is slowly building a relationship with Keto.
She was easily able to have him on her shoulder using his bell toy as a lure.
Today when I left him (Keto) out while Peaches was in her cage he flew about 25 feet into the living room and landed on the floor.
I slowly walked over and rolled some small jingly balls in his direction, but he would have nothing to do with it.
I held my palm out.
He stepped onto it but then took off and landing atop the budgies new aviary.
Three of the budgies had their heads rotated 90° with one eyeball looking up, you know how humans would look at a Marvel superhero landing on the roof of their home?
Keto was just surprised as the smaller birds were and he quickly took off to land upon the top of his own cage.
Keto likes his birdcage, he likes being inside it.
Last night, Catherine had him out on her lap but her legs were exposed to his nails.
We laid a blanket across her legs and Keto was very into burying his head in the folds and crevices of the blanket we used talking into the fabric.
The birdcage that he came home in did have a small bird cage hut hanging inside.
We decided that we will provide him with a more appropriately sized Snuggle Hut that he can feel warm and fuzzy about.
We are prone to do this more with a male, better than a female bird because we don’t want to encourage broody bird behavior and egg production in females.
When we lock down Peaches and allow Keto out, he will go to the top of the cage and play with some of his balls.
Once he drops them into the floor or tossed them at Catherine, he’s happy to go back into his bird cage as though removing all the balls from the top of his cage is an accomplishment.
If we keep the cage door open, he will come back out and do a bit of exploratory flight, eventually coming back to the top of his cage then walking down the cage walls until he’s back inside.
We had installed a soft rope Booda perch vertically (on the front of Keto’s cage by the door) much like Peaches cage to assist in climbing from the open cage door to the top of the birdcage.
But Keto prefers the positive footwork of using the cage itself for his up-and-down vertical movement.
We removed that Booda perch and placed it back into the home cage inventory box for future use.
At this point I’m feeling confident that, when the birds are out, even a panicked escaped hooligan budgie, any of our birds will be safe flying within this area even when a bit confused.
Also published on Medium.