Eclectus Mojo Moult: A Picture of Pinfeathers

Is he sick? Does he have scabies? Is he dying?!!

No, no, and no.

Mr. Lou is going through the most intense mojo moult of his life right now, coupled also with a hard moult. He has to be beyond uncomfortable, but he’s still our cheerful little Lou! Our handsome boy is not so handsome.

Warning: Graphics of intense Mojo Moult beyond this point!

Continue reading Eclectus Mojo Moult: A Picture of Pinfeathers

Teacher In-Service Days = The Best

One of the hardest parts about teaching for me is that I have to leave my fids at home.

Sure, my admin *might* be open to my bringing of my feathered friends to school occasionally since they don’t leave potential allergy-inducing dander behind, but let’s be real–I teach middle school, and kids do stupid things to each other. Who knows what stupid things might accidentally happen with a bird?

Thus, the rare glory of the teacher in-service day allows me to work with one of my dinosaur companions by my side. Sure, he has to sit idly by in a small cage for the four hours of meetings in the mornings, but he gets to spend the afternoon with me, right? =)

Louie isn’t particularly helpful on these days (especially since he has determined the best place for him is smack-dab in the center of my keyboard, and he absolutely HATES with torrid passion my computer mouse and pens), but he sure is cute.

He gets to play on a desk pod away from my desk, make a GIANT mess, and receive frequent kisses while I grade and plan.

I wish this could be my life every day. ❤

Parrot Culture

Today, Hubby and I had our semi-weekly coffee shop work date, and a teenager was there with a survey for school–one of the questions was “What sub-culture groups are you a part of?”

His answer?

Parrot/Aviculture

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Hubby and I, attending the 2015 Birds of Prey Soiree, a benefit for Nature’s Educators, a non-profit organization that rescues injured birds of prey (and educates people on why they actually don’t want a “pet” falcon.)

…Where people’s first reaction to furry, brilliantly-colored masks isn’t “Hi Oscar and Elmo!” but rather, “Do you have an eclectus?!”

…Where people judge each other’s “parronting” skills with the same passive-aggressive judgment as in modern-day mom groups. (You feed your parrot that? Have you provided him with all the latest foraging toys? You’re ruining your bird for life!)

…Where people endlessly discuss the various species of parrot (and especially why the species they own is the absolute top of the trees–in all seriousness, though, ekkies are the way to go.)

…Where people roll their eyes when people claim they have to leave early/arrive late to ‘let out their dog’ but who instead cancel entire evening plans to go home and spend time with their fid.

…Where use of the word “Fid” to stand in for “Feathered Kid” never needs explanation.

…Where people don’t bat an eye when someone walks in with an ‘accident’ on his/her shoe… or shirt… or hair…

…Where it’s somehow considered more socially acceptable to have a bird nestled in your bra in public than to breast feed a human child. (For the record, I don’t/won’t do this.)

…Where being bitten hard by an aggressive pet doesn’t result in the animal being put down, but rather the question, “Well, what did I do to cause that?”

Yeah. We’re of that ilk. xD

Dog and cat people may not always see eye-to-eye, but one thing they absolutely agree on is this: nobody is as weird as bird people.

 

Foraging Toy – The Stuffed Pepper

Today was a snow day, which meant I had time to make my birds a foraging toy! Hurray!

Behold the fury that is Louie:

Easiest toy ever–cut a slice off the side of a fairly large bell pepper, stuff the inside with a bunch of fruits and vegetables (this one was filled with carrots, peas, lima beans, a variety of other types of protein-ish beans, banana, and raw jalapenos), then tie it to the inside of the cage. The only safety concern is the string–you want to make sure it’s short. Once your parrot destroys it, you don’t want it long enough that it could get wrapped around your feathered friend!

I’m still not sure Louie actually likes this toy, but, you know… it’s at least entertaining for me?

“I live to irritate you!”

I imagine that Louie follows the aforementioned sentiment on a daily basis. As much as I adore the rascal, he drives me batty frequently… but then, I’m definitely feeding into those behaviors.

Observe:

Seriously, what a pain! He shows very little interest in toys, bags, crinkly objects, etc–unless I’m ignoring him while he’s out (you know, like when I’m staring at pesky grading?)

His obnoxious behaviors (like the one above) stem from the fact that they get my attention; kissy noises not working? Regurgitating for my toes producing no effect? Better chew on a bag or some books!

I have to wonder how many parrots are given up because their owners don’t realize that they are frequently the cause of a developing behavioral issue.

Today, I hereby resolve to give Louie the attention he so desires BEFORE he starts being bratty. =)

 

Gram scales are worth their weight in gold.

It’s no secret that birds hide their illnesses; by the time the standard bird owner notices that her bird is acting mildly sick, her feathered friend is often knocking on death’s door.

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Winston is a little on the skinny side for an English budgie; 45-55 is pretty typical for these stout fellows.

Typical avian illness symptoms include fluffed feathers, a loss of appetite (this can be mild at first and hardly noticed), being quieter than usual, tail bobbing, and if things are really bad, you’ll find your friend on the floor of his or her cage one morning.

Sometimes, they’ll seem perky and alert as they look up at you from the floor of their cage.

Sometimes, they are quite clearly dying.

How do you protect your feathered friends when they are masters of disguise?

It’s possible to predict the future and possibly prevent a tragedy with one simple trick:

Buy a gram scale. Weigh your bird in the morning.

There is one simple sign many parrot owners overlook that can be the canary in the cave of your bird’s health, and that sign is your parrot’s weight.

Weighing your parrot regularly could save your feathered friend’s life, especially if he or she is a newer member to your flock.

Take Louie: He came home with us at the beginning of last summer, otherwise known as during the “comp time” for all the sixty-seventy hour weeks we put in during the school year as teachers (smack anyone who tells you teachers “get summers off”–we earn them, darn it.)

We had three months of round-the-clock, home-always happiness with our little man.

But, the summer of our much-content had to come to an end at some point, and we weren’t sure how our jolly green man would adjust to waking up four hours earlier–would he be grumpy? Sleepy since he was now only getting eight hours plus naps rather than an unbroken twelve hours? We had nothing to compare it to and weren’t sure what to expect.

One week into the school year, he seemed a little tired. Just a touch. Quieter in the evenings–he was still eating generally the same amount. Maybe a bit less, based on observations.

It was because we were weighing him regularly that we caught his illness, and caught it early.

Louie was, ah, a touch on the bovine-side weight-wise when first we brought him home (apparently a diet of cheese, meat, pellets, and peanuts doesn’t bode well for ekkies).

The week before school began, we were weighing him every other morning or so.

His initial morning weigh-in was a whopping 394, on the heavy side for a Solomon Island Ekkie (other types of ekkies usually weigh more than this). One week into the school year, and he’d dropped to 370 during his morning weigh-in, a loss of nearly 24 grams.

This worried us, and with our experience losing our baby before, we didn’t wait. We called and set up an appointment for the earliest opportunity, which was the next day.

The night before we brought him in, he was lethargic. Tired. Sitting, mute, on his tiny perch, and leaning off to one side, barely able to keep his eyes open.

The next morning, he weighed in at 355.

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Louie’s healthy morning weight these days: between 365-375 when he wakes up. He’s usually around 385/390 at the end of the day and can eat 20-30 grams in one sitting!

Dr. LB put him on an antibiotic immediately, suspecting a bacterial infection. Louie hated the syringe, so I ended up dousing small pieces of bread with the medicine and feeding it to him, crumb by crumb, to make sure he took every last drop.

Within twenty-four hours, he was UP. Peppy. Perky, talking, kissing our cheeks, and back to romancing our feet with a vengeance. Because we’d only known him a few months, we weren’t able to spot his initially mild change in behavior.

We’d assumed he was just tired/acting differently because we weren’t home the way we had been. If we hadn’t been weighing him, it might have been too late.

But because we weighed him every few days or so, we were able to spot the subtlest of signs of illness, make the appointment, and take care of our little man.

Today, he weighs a healthy 373, which is just about perfect for a Solomon Island Ekkie. =) It fluctuates here and there, but nothing shouts “sick!” like a twenty gram + drop in weight!

Moral of the story:

1. Weigh your bird often.

2. Know what he/she typically weighs (link), both species-wise and your-individual-bird-wise.

3. Take him/her in to see an avian vet immediately at any sign of sudden weight loss.