...you attempt to learn how to scratch her with your ear b/c that's what she keeps begging for. :-P

Seriously, she keeps sitting on my shoulder, preens me a little bit, then croons and begs for scratches while headbutting my ear. If I bring a finger near she argues and defends her roost. I'm trying to slowly start sneaking a finger in while I wiggle my head against hers. Any other ideas?

And meanwhile, thought people might be happy to hear that Gabe's getting pretty good at flying. She even knows that I prefer she land on my left shoulder, since I'm a righty and she's more likely to fall off if she tries to sit on my right. She doesn't yet get that she shouldn't land on my head or on top of the bookshelf yet, but she's getting there. It warms my heart every time she flies to me, knowing that she could go anywhere she wanted, but she chooses me. ^_^

Not all that great, but here's a couple flight photos:

Flight0

Flight1
DNA sexing results came back today on Gabriel. She's female!

As mentioned before, Gabe's a lutino cockatiel, which cannot be visually sexed with complete reliability, though there can be clues. The things that led me to guess so were faint spots on the undersides of flight feathers, faint stripes on undersides of tail feathers, and faint pearling on her back (so she's actually lutino pearled). DNA sexing confirmed my suspicion: it's a girl!

Now I know to keep making sure she doesn't get triggers to lay eggs, and to make sure she gets a calcium block in case she ever does start laying. Her name is remaining Gabriel though - gender of name doesn't make a difference to her, and I find it amusing.

Gratuitous photo! )

X-posted to my blog, [livejournal.com profile] parrot_lovers, and [livejournal.com profile] cockatiels.

New Cage

Sep. 15th, 2007 10:51 am
asterroc: (Gabriel - Sleepy)
I'm going to buy Everyone's Favorite CageTM finally. What color should I get?

[Poll #1055750]

Comment if you need more space. Funny that a new awesome huge cage costs only $119, while the heated perch I'm also going to get costs a whopping $42.

Geekery

Sep. 5th, 2007 08:19 pm
This is geeky on just soooooo many levels. Gabe wanted onto my shoulder - she hasn't been getting as much time w/ me the past few days as she should, since I went back to work. She has horribly watery poops, so I went to find her a towel, but to keep her calm I let her sit on my finger during the process. As I reached into the linen closet, put a towel on my shoulder, and put Gabe on it, I chanted "poop-towel: engage! bird: deploy!"

Shoppy, this's all your fault for the post on phasers and thrusters and stuff.
boring stuff about bird harnesses )

And here's the photos you actually want to see.

Harness from the front.
Huh?
Notice how it settles in between her feathers for the most part, and you can't even see it. Doesn't mean she forgot it's there though...

Harness from the back.
P1030161.JPG
According to the literature, the leash should just slide around to the bottom/front when she's standing, but it doesn't happen. I'd have to tug on it to make it happen.

From the side.
P1030164.JPG
Note the loop around my wrist. It goes on my wrist even before the harness goes on her while I'm still inside. I'm paranoid I'll forget that crucial step, so it happens before everything. And it goes on my left wrist so my right one (I'm a righty) is free to react if she flies into danger and I need to scoop her up.

And a final cute shot of her on my shoulder.
P1030172.JPG
Pecking at the harness as she tries to do continually... Hopefully with time she will get used to it, and she'll get more curious about the things going on around her instead of nervous about them. You'll also note in this shot that she's not fully flighted - I'm slowly growing out one feather at a time, haven't done a big clip since a year ago, working on a balance where she has a little flight but not a lot. She still lands awkwardly at times, but is getting better.

x-posted to [livejournal.com profile] parrot_lovers, [livejournal.com profile] cockatiels, and my own journal

Yay Cage!

Apr. 11th, 2007 04:56 pm
Gabe's such an easy bird. Yesterday I cleaned out her new cage. This morning I put it next to her old cage when I went to work. When I got home from work I swapped in a number of perches and toys, and put her atop it. And a few minutes later she was sitting inside munching on seeds (I gave her extra) and going back out to pick at toys.

The new cage is only a smidge bigger than the old one, the main benefit is it's not rusty. I still would like to get her a bigger one, but for now I'm not worrying about it until after I next move.

Here's a couple quick snapshots of Gabe and her cage. )

I think for now I'll clean out and save the old cage in case there's anything wrong with this one. After a while I may throw it out since it's rusty, or give it to my neighbors - I think their budgie cage is also rusty, and this one's bigger. Or maybe I'll just buy them a new cage for fun.

ETA: You may have noticed from the photos that there's four cups inside her cage. Her old cage had two, which I designated water and pellets, and I added an additional cup that I moved around that contained seeds or veggies. Right now I've got in the current cups: water, pellets, seeds, and nothing. She just sat in front of the empty cup for a few minutes, poking at it, and then tipping her head with her crest up. Poor thing's confused! I think I'm going to put some beads/toys in, and see what she does, and I'll swap them all around every couple days.
asterroc: (Gabriel - Goofy)
<sing-song>
I have a featherbutt sitting on my shoulder!
Featherbutt is preening feathers on her butt
And whacking me in the eye with her butt feathers -
Featherbutt!
</sing-song>

Turns out her yelling oodles after I got her back from the neighbors after Spring Break was only partially missing her budgiefriends, and the other part is wanting to sit on my shoulder and try to break my necklace off of me. Yay, cutie!

I'm also trying another method to getting her to eat good food: I got some pre-made veggie and pasta mush, frozen. I simply thaw out an ice cube-worth and serve 1/4 of it every morning in a sushi tray w/ some seeds sprinkled atop it, and her main food bowl is primarily pellets. This way if she wants seeds she'll hopefully get some of the mush as well, and if she finishes the seeds she has to eat pellets. Or maybe, just maybe, she'll eat some mush. I don't think so yet though. I should start weighing her pellets to see if she's actually eating them, I'm not sure yet.

Playing

Feb. 19th, 2007 09:08 am
Gabe is really fun to watch. She sits atop her cage - or sometimes inside it if all the toys are hanging down - and starts methodically working on the closest part of a string of beads. Some 5 minutes later, she gets through it, and it falls. Part of it falls in the cage, and always at least one bead falls outside on the floor. She cocks her head and watches it as it bounces *pok pok pok pockity-pock*. When it finally settles down, Gabe watches it a little longer with her head cocked, then does a freak-out flap-dance atop her cage, yells for a couple minutes, sometimes does a lap of the room, then starts preening. Fifteen minutes later she's tired of preening and returns to the toys. ^_^

She's really become much more entertaining to me, and I hope entertained as well, now that she's discovered chewing these toys apart. It used to be that she'd just sit kinda fluffy and drowsy all day. Now she spends half the day all animated with playing and preening, and she does spend another half the day napping inside her cage, head under her wing and all, so cute, *gwah!*, but the intermittant activity definitely seems better to me.
Just 'cause I love y'all so much more than the [livejournal.com profile] parrot_lovers community, here's a photo just for you! It's Gabe, using her feet! Not only has she gone bonkers over the lanyard w/ beads toys I put together, but just today I caught her raising her foot towards the one hanging from the ceiling. After impatiently watching for a while with my camera, she finally grabbed ahold of it with her foot and held it for a little bit while beaking it. ^_^

P1020152.JPG

Awesome! Usually only bigger birds use their feet, cockatiels and budgies (parakeets) are not known for doing it much, and Peeper never did. Gabe used her left foot here, it was the closest one to the toy. I'm going to have to watch and see if I can figure out if she's a righty or a leftie. :)
The upshot to Gabe waking every three hours tonight with night frights is that now I know I don't have to wake up for real two hours from now.
She's playing with toys! Yay. ^_^ Some photos too here:

http://community.livejournal.com/parrot_lovers/2702458.html

Yup, a girl

Feb. 5th, 2007 07:43 pm
While fluttering around this evening, Gabe dropped a wing feather. It's got spots!

dream

Jan. 19th, 2007 11:38 am
I dreamed that Gabe let me scratch him.

In reality, he's kinda stupid - if I towel him, including covering his eyes, he'll let me start scratching him. Half the time, as long as he doesn't see my fingers he'll enjoy it, but as soon as he sees them he'll snap at me and hiss. The other half even if he sees my fingers he lets me keep doing it until I hit a pin feather wrong, and then he'll snap and hiss. Once he's snapped and hissed, I have to cover his eyes again to get him to let me start again. Repeat.
The good news post-neighbor-visit this time is that Gabe can fly up to 3 feet horizontally, to a surface at the same height. I don't see any new flight feathers and although a tail feather is growing in they give control not lift, so he must be gaining wing strength. Happy! :)

The bad news is that he's yelling near continually. I'm not sure if he's bored of his food, or if he misses Maria's budgies. :-\
asterroc: (Gabriel - Goofy)
Sometime lately I read an article by a breeder telling the story of when there was a tornado sighting in her county. She had 30 minutes to get all her birds (plus some cats and dogs) into the storm shelter underground. Among the other things she discovered was that she didn't even have enough travel cages for them all, and was stuffing multiple birds into travel cages built for one bird.

Leaving the crock pot on all night made me wonder what I would do if I wake up to find a fire outside my bedroom. I would have to grabe Gabe in his cage, my car keys, and my cellphone. (Car keys are so I can take him somewhere he won't freeze to death.) I'm going to build an emergency kit I think. I may or may not put a bottle of water in the car again (it'll just freeze), I have some seeds near his cage maybe I want more, maybe keep his travel cage next to it even though his full cage fits in the car. *shrug* It's not as big a deal with just the one bird. Maybe a credit card, that'd be another smart thing to do, though with a car and a cellphone I can always get friends to help out, two hours away at worst. My house keys have a mini-ATM card on them, so maybe grab those too.

I needa get my landlord to replace my smoke detector. Remind me to do that, would you?
Peeper's been on my mind again. As mentioned previously, I'm really thankful for all the wonderful years we had together. I'm also really thankful for all the support from my friends this summer.

However, I recently read that in cockatiels, an all-pellet diet can lead to kidney problems. In 2003 I converted Peeper from an all-seed diet to an all-pellet diet. In 2005 she had signs of poor kidney function, and at my vet's recommendation I changed brands of pellet. In 2006 she passed away from kidney failure.

Now I won't say I *quite* blame myself for her death, but I do regret it, and I do think it's possible my actions to attempt to help her instead hurt her. I also don't have sufficient credible evidence to fully believe that pellets-only can cause kidney failure, but my personal anecdotal experience does show a correllation.

I feel it's important to learn from one's mistakes, even when we're not entirely sure they're mistakes. For Gabe I'm working towards 1/3 Kaytee pellets, 1/3 Harrison's pellets, 1/3 seeds. No, I'm not going to be giving him fresh cooked vegetables twice a day - there's a reason I'm posting this here and not on one of those all-knowing communities.

Gabe's still not as friendly as I'd like. It will take years for him to become more friendly, presuming he ever does. My neighbor Maria says he really likes hanging out with her budgies. Gabe definitely knows he's a bird, unlike Peeper. Shame, really. Makes me consider getting a second bird, both to fulfill my wish for a playful bird, and to give him companionship. I want him to be happy, and I don't think he is sitting all day in his cage by himself and then just placidly watching the large featherless beast lumber around all evening. I am thankful I have that goofy and beautiful creature to wake up to every morning; I want to figure out how to make sure he's happy. A little part of me is tempted to just give him back to Maria....

I'm tired, lonely, missing Peeper, I'm not thinking straight.

Thankful

Nov. 22nd, 2006 12:25 am
asterroc: (Astro - 2MASS)
I am thankful for the 16 years of joy I had with Peeper. I am thankful for all the many wonderful people in my life who supported me through it all. And I am thankful for all of my friends and family and Gabe who are still in my life and continue to brighten it every day, even when they're not here.

[livejournal.com profile] blue102 (and others), make sure I send a Christmas card to Aunt Pat.
It seems Gabe's making progress on eating pellets. When I got him back from the neighbors this past weekend, he'd put on some weight (at 99g, usually 91-94g). After receiving comments to an earlier post about whether it was them giving him budgie seeds, or him eating more in the company of friends, I actually looked at what was left in his dish this afternoon. He'd eaten all the seeds, all but a few Zupreem pellets, and all the Harrison's! He didn't touch the Nutriberries, and if he ate any of the Kaytee conversion pellets it was minimal.

This is awesome, he's eating healthier, and other than the seeds he's even choosing the healthiest of the options available. Since he doesn't seem to be going for the Kaytee or Nutriberries I'll phase those out after I finish off the current jar (I've got all the above listed things mixed together in one container to make it easier on my neighbors to feed him). After that I'll phase out the seeds leaving him with only Zupreem and Harrison's. Yay!

x-posted
As if Gabe's tail wasn't nasty enough from being dragged through his own poop, he now just dragged it through my guacamole. To make matters worse, avocado's poisonous to birds, so I had to dunk him in the sink and clean it off with my washcloth. And of course it just occured to me that he dragged his poop-covered tail through my FOOD. :(

Ah, the joys of pet ownership.

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