November 30, 2011 § 7 Comments
If you read my blog, I’m sure you know that I have a bit of an obsession with stainless steel, despite how difficult it can be to find products made with it. One of the most difficult of them all, however, are ring holders made of stainless steel (to hold food bowls). I was lucky enough to get a few of them custom made a while back, but even still, I didn’t get to order as much as I wanted to and I am always looking for more. Thus, I was extremely pleased to see that the Birdsafe Store now has new stainless steel bowls that actually come with stainless steel ring holders! They only come in one size, 10 ounces, but it’ll do for the budgies. I’m actually happy that they are in smaller sizes rather than larger because it’s the small ones that are the hardest to find. I ordered two to test them out, and here they are!
They are simple in construction, but they are size appropriate and I think they will work out well. They consist of a simple stainless steel circular rod that is welded directly to a single washer with a bolt attachment. The second washer is removable, as is the wing nut. The stainless steel looks sturdy and well made, and the rod is thick and not malleable. Overall, I am very pleased with the quality of these! Probably my only complaint is that they aren’t dump-proof, but although Sabrina does enjoy pulling the bowls out of the rings to dump them when she can, I don’t think these will pose a problem because they do fit quite snugly into the rings. I’d be impressed if she could actually pull them out. The only other thing is, which probably only pertains to me anyway, is that because the washer is welded to the rings, I have to use the stainless washers and can’t use acrylic ones. Not a big deal, just an aesthetic thing.
Perhaps one of the most surprising things is that even though these 10 ounce bowls are technically twice as voluminous as the current five ounce ones we use, they don’t look even close two twice as big! As you can see from the photos, both the diameter and the depth are only slightly bigger than the bowls they use now, so I might replace a few of the current ones with these to use as nice water bowls. One of the things I really like about these is that they aren’t too deep, which makes it easier for a bird to eat or drink out of. I think Sabrina will really enjoy using one of these as a mini bath, perhaps. Charles, on the other hand, shows no interest in bathing… dirty bird.
I also decided to purchase a few other fun things from the Birdsafe Store while I was making an order. In the center is the stainless steel activity bolt, which is basically just a nice side-mounted skewer. I like to use it as a toy base sometimes or even just stick edibles onto it for Lola. It’s very thick and heavy duty, so it holds up well. They also carry some great perches, and it was actually one of the very first stores that was making perches with stainless steel hardware. I purchased two for the budgies: one beautiful grapevine wood one and another hardwood one that looks like it might be sandblasted dragonwood, which I don’t often see. Like I said in my last entry, I love both of them for their curves and their fun shapes! I’m trying to replace a lot of the more boring straight perches in our collection with more interesting and textured ones like these.
With all of these new toys and perches… I think I feel a cage redecoration coming on. I’m swamped this week, but maybe over the weekend? I just got yet another box of Christmas toys in (will post about those soon!), so I think I will have plenty to work with…
November 28, 2011 § 2 Comments
At least in the birds’ cages, it is! Or it will be, as soon as I add these lovely new Christmas toys from Things for Wings to them. What an amazingly fun lot!! Danita (of Things for Wings) is so incredibly creative. She’s constantly coming up with new designs each and every season, and she never ceases to amaze me with all of her unique creations. Her collection of Christmas and winter toys did not disappoint– it was so spectacular, in fact, that I purchased way more than I will probably need, but the budgies aren’t complaining!
That’s the entire order: I purchased a nice mix of toys and perches because she also had a new shipment with some beautiful new perches in. But let’s start with the fun stuff: the adorable budgie toys!
I immediately fell in love with the Snowman collection when I first saw it. It is too cute, especially with those hand-painted, smiley little faces on those neat pod cups. The snowmen each make a delightful clang noise against the pod cups and the hard wood, and I am sure that the little ones will have a blast jingling and jangling them this season. The middle one, called the Jack Frost in a Box, is a gift for my mother’s Hahn’s. I think she will enjoy shredding and preening Jack Frost!
These next two toys are also for the budgies, both from the Festive collection. On the left is a shreddable palm bag, stuffed with other delectable crunchy parts. Sabrina has a pretty beaded version of this bag that she is obsessed with, so I already know that this one will be a big hit with her. The one on the right is an adorable Christmas tree for Charles. Made of crunchy vine parts with lovely little bead ornaments, chewable seagrass, and even some shredded paper and loofah on the bottom, it’s a textured beauty!
These two are both holly-themed toys. One is a beautiful bough of very light and delicate palm chains, wrapped up with green loofah “leaves” and red vine holly berries, and the second is a smaller version actually meant to be a foot toy, but it makes a perfect little decorative item for the budgies.
Finally for the budgies, there are two more from the adorable gingerbread-themed From the Oven collection. The one centered is the Ginger Jangler, with beak-able beads and adorable little hardwood gingerbread men to play with, and the one on the right is actually another foot toy that is, again, the perfect size for the budgies. It’s an adorable little hardwood Christmas tree with a hardwood gingerbread man, and plenty of little beads to beak to boot.
The budgies, as you can see, made out pretty darn well this time around. Of course, I did not leave Lola out. She’ll be receiving an absolutely beautiful custom toy this year, designed with the adorable snowmen heads. (I felt like I had to spoil the budgies a bit more; Lola got a billion Christmas toys last year. Plus, Things for Wings made it too difficult for me to narrow the list down!!)
It’s a beauty!! It’s loaded with the types of parts she loves: lots of hardwood beads and sticks, lots of natural wood coins with the bark still on, several painted snowman pod cups, and even some vine balls for foraging. She is really going to love this toy. I’m almost afraid to give it to her because I know she’ll be done with it well before Christmas rolls around. But perhaps she’ll go easy on it if I make her some other “distraction” toys at the same time, and she’ll choose to destroy those instead of this one. Maybe.
Lola also got another treasured gift: a beautiful grapevine wood perch. I’d been really itching for one of these lately but they’re so hard to purchase because you usually have to buy them sight unseen, and the configuration can so often end up being horribly useless. But I’d been a little bummed that most of her perches are all quite straight and boring. They’re beautiful– lovely woods with delightful bark and very varied in size– but still more or less straight branches. (That’s one of the great difficulties of buying perches with exclusively stainless steel hardware– it really minimizes the buying pool.) So when I saw these beautiful grapevine wood ones, I jumped at them, and I’m so glad I did! This perch is really going to add some beautiful variation to her cage and switch things up from the usual straight branches sticking out at ninety degree angles. I love it!
And finally… phew! Last but not least, three beautiful sandblasted manzanita perches for the little ones. Again, I was very excited to find some not-straight branches, although I will say that shopping for varied perches for the budgies with stainless steel hardware is, for some reason, far easier. These are beautiful, though. Two are single branches that have wonderful curves, and the center one is a magnificent branched one. This is some really beautiful manzanita wood as well. I’ve been various qualities of sandblasting on manzanita and this is really nicely done, sandblasted to have a great and very easily gripped texture for birds, even for the little ones. I very often read on forums that a lot of people try to avoid manzanita wood because it is too slippery but this is a common misconception– sandblasted manzanita wood is actaully extremely easy to grip for birds because of the texture that the sandblasting process provides, when done correctly. I have no doubts that they will love these perches.
Well– there you have it! A wonderful and festive and big order from Things for Wings, that of course, as usual, did not disappoint in the least. Danita was nice enough, as always, to throw in a few freebies that I’m sure the flock will adore as well. Now it’s time for me to get decorating!
November 27, 2011 § 5 Comments
I should be getting two very excited packages in but there’s a back up with my mail because of the holiday. Phooey! I’m waiting on some new stainless steel food bowls with stainless steel ring holders (yay!), as well as a big and exciting box of Christmas toys and a few perches. I can’t wait!
In other news, we had a lovely Thanksgiving up north with my parents. Lola had a ball with all of the flying space– their home has a wide open floor plan with vaulted ceilings, and she got a lot of exercise in. None of us loved the car ride, nor the massive amounts of traffic, but that’s to be expected. Hopefully we’ll be slightly luckier when we drive back up for Christmastime.
What else? I made some bird bread for Lola using the Avian Organics Flatbread Fusion mix and added a ton of fresh ingredients: bok choy, red chard, and even papaya. It turned it into a lovely, dense, and rich bread. Delicious! Lola is loving it. They have some great new products as well. I hope to purchase a few during the semi-annual sidewalk sale. Surprisingly, my list isn’t too crazy this time around. Just stocking up on a few basics 🙂
In non-bird related news, my goal every year is to be done with my Christmas shopping by December 1st. I’m close, but I’m not sure I will make it. I’ve purchased gifts for everybody except my mom. Any ideas?? She is really hard to buy for.
November 17, 2011 § 7 Comments
I just love this little guy. He is the best eater ever. He’ll eat anything, anywhere, anyhow. This morning I was hanging a big leaf of fresh red chard in his cage but he didn’t want to wait for me to tie it up– he hopped on over and nibbled on it right out of my hand. He is too cute!!
Sorry that Charles is blurry for half of it. The video on my camera is supposed to auto focus but it chose to focus on the chard instead of the Charles for a good portion of the video. He sure loves his chard though! If you turn the volume up, you can actually hear him taking chomps out of the leaf.
In related food news, Lola had a tasty breakfast this morning of all organic and fresh papaya chunks, pomegranate seeds, broccolini, red chard, carrots, and sprouts. Yum! She really liked this combination.
November 14, 2011 § 1 Comment
Charles and Sabrina are doing well in their new cage. I added a boing to Charles’s side and he is really enjoying having it. Sabrina is keeping herself busy by destroying everything in sight and trying to get to Charles through the divider. I think about once a week she forgets that the divider is there and tries to jump on him through it, and is shocked when she is stopped. I am thinking of getting some kind of ladder for her so that it’s easier for her to make her way back up. Thankfully, though, she has grown in all her flights back– she knocked them out during a bad night fright a few weeks ago– and has been gaining her gracefulness at flying back, little by little. She sure is a cutie.
She and Charles are still iffy. They are somewhat okay outside of the cage, but even then, they have to stay away from each other or else fighting ensues. My latest project for them, however, is finding new temporary cages for them. With the holidays coming up, we will be spending a bit of time at my mother’s, and they will of course come along. Technically I do already have temporary cages for them there, but one of them is pretty tiny and inadequate, and it’s a piece of junk cage made in China. I always feel bad when I have to put them in it, plus because there are a lot of people around, they tend not to get as much out of cage time either. The other one is quite nice– it’s actually the cage that Sabrina was in prior to moving into the new cage. I’d love to get my hands on a second one of those, but the problem is, it’s an Italian cage (made entirely in Italy) that my mother somehow was able to finagle from an old wholesaler friend of hers, that otherwise aren’t available in the U.S. I’ve been contacting store after store to see if they would ship to the U.S., but so far, nothing. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll find something soon. The nice thing is that it’s only for one budgie since the two of them don’t get along, and it’s much easier to find a cage that is suitable in size for one rather than two.
In other news, Charles has been his same old self, keeping busy through grooming and looking dignified. He often sits across the divider staring at Sabrina while she makes all kinds of gestures and noises at him. He calmly sits and stares with no reaction. I trimmed his little nails yesterday and he was so compliant. Gotta love that bird.
Oh, one more thing: I was away this weekend and got back on Sunday night. When I walked in the room, Lola popped up and greeted me with, “Hi!! I’m so cute!!” Such a modest little bird I’ve raised!!
November 9, 2011 § 1 Comment
Two fun items of food news today: Lola went nuts for her delicious (and very pretty!) breakfast this morning, and we got a package from Avian Organics!! I’ve been trying to make Lola’s foods as local and as seasonal as possible… and today’s breakfast was almost entirely. Everything except for the sprouts, which were from the Totally Organics All-in-One Mix, were all locally sourced from the surrounding farmer’s markets. Today’s meal consisted of fresh and organic swiss chard, kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and sprouts. Actually, I’m pretty sure there was one other leafy green but right now it’s escaping me.
She absolutely loves biting into fresh cranberries and chewing them up, and sweet potatoes are one of her all time favorite foods. She even ate a good amount of the leafy greens. (I tend to throw in a ton of those, because she tries to avoid them otherwise. But today she was good.) It’s a shallow bowl, but there was close to nothing left when I removed her breakfast shortly after.
That had me in a good mood this morning, but I was equally delighted when I received a wonderful package from Avian Organics this afternoon! They recently held a very generous sale and I purchased some staple items and some new ones too… a good mix. On top of the sale, however, they even threw in not one but two free items!
The staple items ordered are the bottom row: two packages of Pacific Deluxe Parrot Mix and two package of Jungle Trails. The new items I’m trying for the first time are the new Cravings mix (I’d ordered the old recipe once or twice before but I don’t think Lola ever got a taste of it… it was too delicious to share!), the Jungle Gems, and the Pacific Shores Premium Seed Mix.
Finally, the two lovely toys you see were both freebies! On the right is the Twister toy, a very cool foraging toy for small birds, and on the left is what was described to me as a “warped” version of one… but I absolutely love it! I think that the curvy ridges make for even more fun and exciting foraging fun for the little guys. The warped one was meant as a large foot toy for Lola, but… I’m not quite so sure that she’ll be getting it just yet 🙂 After all, the budgies can’t share! They need their own everything, of course!
November 7, 2011 § 5 Comments
I redecorated Lola’s cage yesterday! I actually wasn’t crazy about the previous cage setup anyway (don’t think I ever posted photos of it because it never felt quite right)– but I think this one has a lot of potential. I tried to maximize foraging opportunities for her with various foraging stations throughout the cage, as well as make sure to have a wide variety of toys. As I’ve said before, I find it incredibly difficult to set up her cages, especially in comparison to the budgies, because I have to be so cognizant of layering and putting things under other perches. Her droppings are huge and once something is soiled, it has to come out. Things would get pretty disgusting otherwise. This time, I think I’ve done a fairly good job of using the entire cage yet making sure that nothing will get too dirty — or that the things that have the potential to be are very easily cleaned and sanitized, like stainless steel toys. Here it is!
So there it is: on the top left side there’s her double-bolted ribbonwood perch, which she likes to roost on because it’s extra sturdy. She has a ribbonwood perch underneath it, which I chose because it’s much easier to clean than other woods, as well as a stainless steel bell toy. Towards the back there’s a water bowl and her stainless steel side-mounted bucket full of foot toys, and a cotton rope perch that goes up to the ceiling. In the door, there’s the skywalk platform perch as well.
Just below the door, there’s a stainless steel shelf perch that creates a porch for her. I noticed that Lola would often try to perch on those thin bars when I opened the door because she likes to sit and hang out there, but it didn’t look very comfortable, so I added the porch for her to have a hang out spot when the cage door was open but she didn’t necessarily feel like coming all the way out. She’s loving it already!
This is the other side of the cage, where there’s a super soft and snuggly ring swing that Lola adores, a bamboo pedicure perch, an ocotillo perch, and a curvy sandblasted manzanita corner perch. There are three more bowls here, but the one in the door is just temporary. (I’m going away this weekend and want her to have two water and two food bowls each because I don’t expect the sitter to refill her foraging toys full of food for me. After this weekend, I’ll remove that one.)
As for Lola’s toys, I really tried to maximize foraging opportunities. Most of the toys double as foraging toys for her. The elephant shaped toy, for example, has several small holes in it that I stuff with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, pine nuts, and more. Then there’s the skewer with the two palm and woven boxes: Lola has to figure out how to open those two up, and inside she might find some nuts, seed, fruits, bird bread, or other dry treats. The corkscrew pictured above has three large vine toys amidst all the lovely wood to chew, and those hold all kinds of goodies, treats, or food as well. Finally, there are other natural, shreddable type toys, and all of these might contain goodies or treats.
On any given day, there are five different toys or skewers that could contain food or treats for her. In my effort to stop free feeding her anything except for her two fresh meals a day, I’m really trying to make a better effort to vary her foraging opportunities. Today, I chose to load four different ones with treats, but I plan on changing this everyday to keep her alert. She won’t know necessarily which to look in because I will be constantly changing them. Some days all five might have treats, some days maybe only one. In this way, I hope to keep her entertained, adept, enriched, and busy!
I’m pretty happy with it thus far: no perches or toys have yet been soiled, and she seems to be very active on all levels. She’s relaxed on her swing, foraged from perch to perch, destroyed some foot toys, hung out on the platform, rang her bells, chipped some wood, and taken a nap from all the excitement. I think this will be a good one!