I fully expected my new cage to arrive around Friday and figured I had a few days to get some other stuff done. But when I checked my e-mail this morning, I was amazed that it was already on the truck and showing up today.
Thus started a long morning of grocery shopping, getting some more bird supplies (because the food bowls they send with cages are flimsy or terrible to clean), and moving things around so I had room to actually put the cage together.
There were some challenges with actual assembly, in that I had to tighten things up a little at a time, lest the corners end up askew and the wire inserts not fit properly. It took about an hour to put it together and by then I realized it was time for the dogs to go out in the afternoon. So, that was some fun there, and it was actually kind of nice after the morning rain. I talked to a couple of neighbors and went inside and started putting all the stuff in the cage.
What was funny to me was getting the dowel rods and food bowls and putting them in place. The parakeets were a few feet away in the parrot cage looking at what I was doing with interest. I think part of them knew this was their new home if I could get it all put together right.
I swear, it was almost just like that… all of them standing and staring at the same place. Cute, but weird, too.
But wow–I didn’t expect it to take hours to get the cage paper cut and set in there, the dowels, bridges… all the typical stuff they like. I put what I could up without disturbing their cage because I knew once I took their toys and such out, that was gonna be an agitating time.
I am worn out because I was stressed as hell trying not to stress them out too much. There are two doors in the new cage, and the parrot cage didn’t line up with either one. So, when it came time to transfer the birds over… that easily took over two hours itself.
I’d hoped to make a tunnel of some type to get the birds to fly over to their new and improved section. The broadcloth was difficult to handle and I couldn’t figure the best way to ensure they didn’t find gap and go exploring. It didn’t help that the dogs were getting in the way (feeling neglected, I’m sure, and I made it up to them later with treats and a long evening pee session). So I had to put them in my bedroom for a while in case they got too excited and freaked out the birds by jumping up to the cages.
When Nana got out those three times in the past, I would catch her in one of those mesh pop-up laundry baskets. I opened the door and put the basket entrance in there with some millet spray to entice ’em, but they weren’t having it. I had to systematically take down the perches and rope ladders they were clinging to and then try again. My neighbor suggested an oven mitt, but that big ol’ thing freaked them out and I could see their little chests heaving in fright. I was not happy about that and didn’t want to give them heart attacks, so I backed off and started looking for other things.
I gave the tunnel idea a second shot, after I found my clothes pins and secured the broadcloth to the top and draped it over the open door to prevent flying out that way. I had a tri-fold board I put on the floor to block a floor exit and the wings would keep the tunnel in shape. When I was sure things were covered enough, I opened the parrot cage door and put it flush against the cloth. It took a few minutes for them to notice there was a way out of their situation, and I used a dowel rod to try and coax them up and move around. Nana and Sky were the first ones to figure out they could get away from that dumb stick (and my hand) by going through and to the other cage. They flew right in and seemed very surprised at what was there and calmed down quickly.
I was concerned they’d go flying back and forth when I was trying to get the other two out. Aqua’s my quiet one and she was the most stubborn. She didn’t want to leave at first, but after a few times when I put my hand in there (for maybe 30 seconds, then I’d back off), she figured out the opening, too. She kept going up to the top where I can’t reach her and was looking around like she was trying to figure out where everyone else went. Pickle eventually found his way out and joined his lady Nana and sister Sky. Aqua took an extra 10 or 15 minutes to finally get clear and figured out how to join her flock.
I shut that door quickly and started taking down the cloth. I wish I’d taken pictures of my bizarre engineering feat, but I was trapped between the cloth and the cages because of how the doors open, and my phone was across the house. I let the birds calm down a bit and quietly picked things up and moved them around. When they relaxed a bit more, I took the bait millet spray out of that laundry bag and put it in the millet holders in their new cage. They proceeded to stress eat, and I apologized for scaring them.
I’m hoping to eventually get them to accept me and trust me. Today would’ve been a major backslide, I’m sure, because it was stressful as hell (for me, and definitely for them). But I would love to have them listen, come up on my finger, let me pet them or walk around with them.
I seriously want to eventually have them be able to fly around the house, but I’d have to be sure of them and the dogs together. More than that, I’d have to try and “birdproof” the house as much as possible by coming up with new routines for keeping doors shut and covering fish-tank holes (last thing I need is them taking a dip to get their claws nibbled on by curious fish, or more likely they’d drown in fright). So, a big part of what I was hoping to get done before the cage came was bird-proof the house.
They have never been out of that parrot cage since they showed up here, and I want to rectify that. Not the stupid way a lot of TikTok folks have been doing, taking their pet parakeets and releasing them (I swear, since TikTok showed up on the scene, I think the collective IQ of the entire planet has dropped 5 points). Dangerous and stupid is apparently the name of their game.
Anyhoo–that’s gonna take a ton of patience, trying to train these birds to come out, not bother the dogs (or let the dogs bother them, which doesn’t happen often, but they haven’t been tested much, either)… stuff like that. I am so happy with my birds most days and miss petting and cuddling with birds. Haven’t had one I could do that with since I was 16, and that was one cockatiel. We’re going for 4-6 parakeets to train around the same time, but they are certainly curious.
My biggest thing–other than building the cage–is to start giving them a better diet. They need far more than just seeds and dried items, they need fresh fruit, veggies, all that stuff. I took a vlogger’s advice about feeding times and adding a vegetable or something at the start of the morning because that’s when they’re hungriest. I clipped a romaine lettuce leaf to the bars of the cage and in one of the food bowls, I stuck some leaf fragments out of the seeds like garden plants. I found it interesting that Nana and Aqua were the brave ones, and when I first took a look (after leaving them alone for 30 minutes), they were nibbling on the leaves. Sky took care of the one clipped to the bars. They didn’t eat it all, but they were willing to try the lettuce.
I wonder how they’ll like those bits of bell pepper and broccoli slaw I got in the fridge the rest of the week. I wish I hadn’t forgotten to get spinach, but I can rectify that tomorrow. Budgies apparently love this stuff, and these have had nothing but seeds. I’ve tried to grind up pellets as supplements, or add dried fruits and herbs that they’d like, but I don’t think it’s done much. The trouble with most big box pet stores is they exclusively give seeds to their birds. A few conscientious employees that love the birds will give some fresh stuff, but that’s not a general rule in most places. I wish it was.
Well, it was 9:15 pm when I finally finished the cages, transfer, all that good stuff. My feet are/were throbbing from walking around and getting up and down ladders to get supplies or double-check my handiwork on hard to reach places. But I was determined to get them in their new cage so tomorrow I can start off right with fresh veggies and a clean cage, and clean the hell out of the old cage outside when I get a chance. I’ll hang onto it for sure, and can’t wait to get back to bird-proofing my house as best I can.
The feathered-ones flying/walking around is a helluva incentive to keep things picked up and be organized (hee hee).