Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New Flight Pattern so to speak.

Hi Everyone,

I know its been a while but my aviary has recently taken a new direction.  Yes I still breed the finches, but within the past year I have started with more of the smaller hookbills.  I am breeding American Parakeets, Scarlet Chested Parakeets, Bourke Parakeets, and Lovebirds.
My husband Paul is hand feeding all the babies and they are turning out so sweet.  They love to be handled and will literally fly to you when you call them.  He gives them kisses and talks to them as he is feeding them.  He even teaches them to step up into his hand when they don't even have all their feathers yet.

We had one lady come over to pick up her baby lovebird and she said I am going to take the one that comes to me. Well they showed her they all flew to her when she called them.  She had a hard time deciding on which little sweetie she wanted.
All of these went to great homes, we currently have 10 more baby lovebirds, 3 bourkes, 1 scarlet chested and 1 parakeet being hand fed right now.  All are very sweet and soon will be ready for new homes.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Apple Cider Vinigar (with mother)

A friend of mine and fellow breeder gave me a wonderful tip I would like to share with all of you.  I have used this for about 4 months now and I feel it has made my flock stronger and healthier.  About once a week I put about 4 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother) in a gallon of water and use that as my birds only source of water for 1 day.  You would think that they wouldn't like it but they do.  I have found that it helps the sluggish bird feel better. 

I had a bourke parakeet that never really seemed healthy from the time I got him.  He was always sitting on the bottom of the cage.  He ate and would fly around once in a while but not active like the others.  I started using the apple cider vinegar with mother and after about 2 or 3 weeks, its like I had a new bird.  He never sits on the bottom of the cage anymore and is much more active and alert and has started to fill out like he should have.  Since then, I have used it for all my finches, lovebirds, parakeets and larger birds with only good results.  I was told that it helps them with the digestive tract to help bring the good flora back into balance.  So far, it has helped.

I had a gentleman that bought some parakeets from me bring by one of his other parakeets for a wing trim.  This bird was from someone else and had been in a home that had cigarette smoke and a bad food source.  The little hen had diarrhea.  I suggested the apple cider vinegar and about a week later, he said she was much better.  I don't know if that was the cure, but I know it has helped mine.

Remember, never give this straight, it MUST be diluted.  You can harm your birds.  The dose of 4 T per gallon of water is what I use. Feel free to try a lesser dose if it makes you more comfortable.   

Apple Cider Vinegar with mother is not expensive but can help your little feathered friends. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The benefits of keeping your birds in a well lit room.

I have always found that my birds are much happier when they are in a well lit area.  It can either be with natural lighting during the day and lamps in the evening, or if you don't have your cages near a window, I really like the daylight florescent bulbs.  They last a long time and unlike the regular compact florescent bulbs, the "daylight" bulbs put off a much brighter light.  The birds seem much more active.

To help the birds that have a lack of sunlight, I also get the reptile full spectrum lights and place the bulbs near the cage.  The reason I get the 60 watt full spectrum reptile lights is the cost is much less than the ones you buy specifically for birds.  The reason I only get the 60 watt is because it will be cool enough for any fixture and it is warm enough for the birds to "sun bathe" about 8 inches below.  The birds gather there and fluff their feathers straight out and lay down.  They look like they are at the beach sunning themselves.  Its really funny to watch.  Then when they have enough, they fly away from it.  They love it!!

Another light issue I hear all the time is people saying their birds fly around in the dark when they turn off the lights at night.  I always tell people to think of it this way.  Nature does not turn off the Sun like a switch, so we should not expect our birds to adapt to this in our homes. The larger hook bill birds are usually fine to turn off the lights at once.  However for my finches, I always turn off half of the lights in the room first, wait about 10 min, turn off a few more, and leave one light on, then wait another 10 min and turn that one off.  If you can leave a night light in the room near the cage, thats fine too, but still follow this 20 min process.  You will have less chance for injury of your little birds, who try to fly in the dark.  Birds have trouble seeing at night and if they loose their perch at night, the night light will give them help finding their way back to where they want to sleep.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Babies, Babies, Babies. . .

Well I am sorry its been a while.  Its been a little busy but I will try to be more up to date from now on.
I have gotten into a now line of bird, well for me anyway.  I have started breeding American Budgies.  Yes I know  that I have never mentioned the budgies before, but I really like them.  They are a very under appreciated little bird.  They are much smarter than they get credit for, but if you play with and treat your little budgie like you would treat a larger bird as far as attention goes, you can have yourself an awesome little friend.

As you can see I have lots of them.  Most of these recently found new homes at the last bird fair I participated in.  They are very healthy little babies.  I have more either ready to pull or just coming out of the nest boxes.  You can contact me if you think you would like to explore this wonderful little pet.

They come in beautiful colors, and they don't scream like the larger birds.  They are easy to tame too.  After the first 4 or 5 flight feathers are trimmed (make sure you have an experienced bird expert trim the wings and show you how to do it for when they grow out)  and they can no longer fly, but glide gently to the floor, they are easy to tame.  Just go into a small room like a bathroom.  Make sure they can not fly or fall into any water, and slowly put your hand up to the front of them and tell them to step up.  Remember, they are scared and compare your size to theirs and think of how you would feel if a hand the size of an airplane told you to step up.  See what I mean.  Anyway be patient, calm and expect to get a bite or two. Unless they bite you in the cuticle or in the web of your finger, its not more than a pinch.  The best thing to do is not react.  NO pulling back and screaming and yelling.  This will only teach the bird that he taught the human a new trick, and let me bite harder next time so I can make them do it again.  If you DO not react, then the bites will be less hard and soon they won't bite at all.  Again PATIENCE is key.  Remember it won't happen overnight, but it will be well worth it in the long run.  YOU will have a great little companion.

Remember to be careful and keep the flight feathers trimmed so they can't get hurt.  Also just because the bird is great in the house, please don't bring them outside without putting them in a cage or carrier.  All it takes is a little wind and an updraft and they are gone.  Most won't fly back to you and they are easy prey for other birds.

Here is a little story about a bird a little larger than the budgie that a very good bird owner had happen to her little friend.  She had her wonderful little pet conure that she loved and spoiled all the time on her shoulder when she went out side.  She had done it before and thought nothing of it.  Then one day in the summer she went into her garden and a hawk came down and snatched up her little bird, right off her shoulder.  She could do nothing except listen to its calls and watch it be carried away.  So just because you don't think your little bird will fly off your shoulder, think about this story because you have no control of the other dangers outside.  I don't want something like this happen to your little feathered friend.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Finch Seed

I think one of the things that causes small finches to die more often than not is owners not giving their finches good seed or not enough of it.  I know it seems wasteful to pitch a dish of seed when it has hulls on top, but more often than not, most of what they are eating is what that particular species of finch needs.  Yes they do waste food, but that is the nature of birds.  I read somewhere that birds are what cause the populations of most plant species to move from the place of origin to new locations around the world.  Birds have a tendency to eat only half of what they take.  The parts (in the wild) that they drop helps to feed the other animals at the forest floor that would otherwise never taste the foods at the top of the canape.  They also drop seeds to the floor that help start new plants to continue the population of that same plant species.  So its not in their nature to be neat eaters, by design, they were created to be messy.

It is OK to blow the hulls off the top of the dish of food, but make sure you add more fresh seed to the dish as well.  Finches are not your kid that you can make him eat all the Brussel sprouts.  Finches will actually starve.  If you decide to remove the hulls rather than dumping the bowl out and starting fresh daily, make sure you add more food to the dish and every other day dump it out and start fresh.  As I have said before, the fat in the seed helps to maintain the metabolism of the finches.  They can starve to death in as little as 18 hours.

How to tell if you have "bad" seed.  First check the expiration date.  Yes many of the large pet stores sell old seed.  Just like your food when it is expired, most of the nutritional value is also gone.  So it is important to check the dates.  Also if you get your seed in a bag, pick up the bag and move it around slowly.  Do you see any webs or bugs in it?  If so, don't buy it, the bugs have eaten all the nutrition out of the seed.  Also if you open the bag in your home you are asking for an infestation of bugs in your house.

If you buy your food at a feed store, do you see flour moths flying around?  If so, its time to turn around and get your seed elsewhere.  Keep your food in a airtight container and if you buy more than you can use in 2 weeks, keeping the rest in the freezer is the best way to keep the nutritional value high and prevent bugs. 

Small Hookbills

Besides the finches I raise, I also raise small hookbills.  Although I have had parrotletts in the past that I have raised, I am not breeding blue masked lovebirds and Scarlet Chested Parakeets.  Both are so beautiful.  I am also getting ready to start breeding Bourke parakeets. 
I have 3 beautiful blue masked lovebird babies right now, learning what people are all about.  They are very sweet.  Eating very well and very healthy.
I also have my scarlet chested parakeets nesting again.  Last peek she had 4 eggs.  I hope there may be a couple of more eggs and we hope they all hatch and fledge.  They are so beautiful and quiet. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Calcium for your finches

Calcium is very important to finches especially if they are breeding.  Just like humans moms need calcium.  However they all need it for strong bones and beaks, but especially for egg production.  If a hen does not have enough calcium to produce a hard shell, it could rupture inside the bird when she is trying to lay it and this can cause death.  Or if she lays the egg and the shell is not hard, it will crack when she sits on the egg to incubate it.  So it is very important. 
It can come in several ways.  One of my favorites is crushed oyster shell.  Not powder but tiny pieces.  Just think how small their throat is and it must be swallowed to get into the crop.  This also helps with the grinding of the food they eat in the crop. 
Second way is Cuddle Bone.  This should be available like the oyster shell at all times.  They will eat the cuddle bone and also use it to groom their beak.  Very important.  If you can find the softer ones at bird shows rather than the "Manufactured" ones at the pet shops, they are better.  Bigger, cheaper and softer.
Third great way to recycle is when you use eggs for yourself, wash out the shells, and store them in an airtight bag in the freezer.  When you have enough, crush them up, put them on a piece of parchment paper, and put them in the oven at 325 degrees for about an hour.  Once they are very brittle, poor them into a bag and use a rolling pin or crusher to break them up to very tiny bits and give them to your birds in a separate dish like the oyster shell. 
Very important and easy to give.