Archive for July, 2007

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Trip to the Vet

July 28, 2007

Little Stewie has been home with me for two weeks, and everything seems to be progressing great. On Saturday he went to the vet where everything seemed to check out fine upon examination (we’re still waiting for results on the bloodwork).

Here’s a tip: when shopping for a travel carrier for a conure, keep in mind that a conure is considered a medium-size bird. Not a small bird. I made the unfortunate mistake of trying to get Stewie into a little travel carrier designed for much smaller birds (or at least birds with much shorter tails) and that was not a happy bonding experience for us.

On the drive over there, I kept a towel over part of the cage so Stewie didn’t have to see what was going on (basically everything whizzing by at 60 miles an hour) and he was really agitated. Once at the Vet he behaved pretty well. Didn’t step up for the vet but did let me  handle him. He hated getting his wings clipped and nipped the vet pretty hard. It was awful (for me!) watching the vet draw blood — it looked like soooo much blood from such a little creature. But the bloodwork was necessary for important tests to make sure he was a well birdie.

On the way back, I let Stewie watch what was going on through the window and he seemed fascinated. We even went through a Wendy’s drive-through and got to wave at some people.

Once home, Stewie was exhausted. All that excitement, plus the loss of blood, made for a sleepy birdie.

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Day 8: Introducing New Toys

July 23, 2007

I got Stewie a Mazey Munch Ball (4″ diameter) but he hasn’t really shown much interest yet. I, however, think this toy rocks. The best treats to put inside are small balls like NutriBerries.

You’re supposed to swap out toys on a weekly basis so that the parrot doesn’t get bored. As far as I can tell, Stewie doesn’t seem to play with any of the toys he has in his cage, except for his mirror. So I need to do some more experimenting to see what he likes (and/or teach him how to play with the toys).

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Letting the Conure Out of His Cage

July 22, 2007

Friday night I let lil’ Stewie out of his cage for the first time. He was quite timid and adorable to watch him checking everything out. At one point he got startled and jumped off the cage to land on the floor. For a split second I was worried that he’d scamper underneath the couch, making it impossible for me to catch him (keep in mind he’s till not trained to step up onto my finger). Much to my delight, his first instinct was to try to fly to his cage. Unfortunately, with his wings clipped, he couldn’t get enough lift to get from the floor onto his cage. So I put his little wooden ladder on the side of the cage so he could climb up. Stewie made a beeline for the door and climbed back inside.

Stewie!

On Saturday, I let him out of his cage again. Based on his behavior the night before I thought he’d stay really calm, but as soon as he climbed to the top of the cage, he tried to fly out the window (which was closed). Luckily it was slow going since his wings were clipped and he didn’t hit the glass hard — he managed to glide into a plant where I was able to scoop him up.
And then… miracle of miracles, the little bugger did some “step ups” for me. And this whole time he was pretending he didn’t know how. Stewie somehow conned me into giving him treats for things as simple as venturing out onto a handheld perch, and this whole time he knew how to do step ups. Now I just him to do that when he has more of a choice (i.e., not just when he’s already on my finger, but when he has the option to walk away). We’re not quite there yet.

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Bed Time for Birdie

July 20, 2007

Now I’m wondering if I should be concerned about how early Stewie likes to go to bed. Last night I went to dinner after work and come home a little after 8:00pm. Surely he’s going to be mad as hell that I’m late, I thought as I went in. Nary a peep from the direction of the cage. Nope, because he was already settled into his Happy Hut, ready for lights out.

After debating whether I should coax him out of bed, I decided that we needed to get more training/play time in. (And it wouldn’t be so bad if he was still too sleepy in the morning to welcome the day at an ungodly early hour.)

We played for under an hour and then he crawled back into bed. It was a funny sight, since I had moved the Happy Hut a little farther away from the side of the cage — when he slept, he didn’t crawl all the way in and his tail feathers were sticking through the cage. So when he went to go back into it, he apparently didn’t notice it was a little farther than before and he nearly missed the edge. Fortunately he managed to hang on and then crawl in.

But bright and early this morning, he was ready to go again. And boy does he like his morning noise-making sessions.

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Introducing Stewie!

July 19, 2007

I finally decided on a name for my new conure: Stewie McSkittles. The name “Stewie” because I like the character on The Family Guy — a total misanthrope who says the most evil things, but who everything thinks is adorable because they can’t understand a word he says.

And McSkittles, because … well, he’s all the colors of the rainbow.
Snack Time

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Wood Perch vs. Rope Perch

July 19, 2007

It’s so hard to know what the bird will like. And, no, he still doesn’t have a name.

I had two new perches I wanted to put in his cage: a branch and rope perch. He already has a branch perch; it’s his favorite. But when he saw it, he acted a little alarmed. So I put it away. Then I showed him the rope perch. No problemo. He was in LOVE with it. He didn’t even get off when I adjusted the height. He just walked up and down the rope perch making happy little cooing noises.

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Birdie’s Pooped

July 18, 2007

We spent an hour tonight playing and “training” and he’s really catching on quick.

He loves all the food that’s bad for him: sunflower seeds and peanuts. Junk food. And his little belly is so tiny that even just a little bit of junk food takes up valuable room in his belly – room that’s needed for more nutritious food. He picks through the pellets in order to get to the stuff he wants, but I’m not going to worry about it too much. Right now the focus is on getting him comfortable with me (and seeing me as the magic purveyor of the junk food).

After an hour of training, though, he just gave up and climbed into his Happy Hut (a little fuzzy tent for sleeping also known as a Snuggle Hut). I had been trying to get him to step up in order to reach a seed that was just out of reach. Always end on a positive note – that’s what all the training stuff on the web says. So, since I could tell he was starting to get frustrated (he tried getting to that seed every which way possible, every way except making contact with my finger), I was going to make it really easy and then call it quits. But then he just walked away, climbed into his Happy Hut and didn’t move. Apparently it was bedtime.

It was barely past sunset (and nowhere near my bedtime) so I wasn’t sure if I should be concerned. But I imagine all that attention must be pretty exhausting if you’re not used to it.