The last days of Chester budgie

In the summer of 2012, Chester budgie had a narrow escape. This August, as we prepared to go away for a week’s vacation, I noticed that his poop was abnormal. I wasn’t overly concerned, but I warned our pet sitter. When we returned at the end of the month, Chester was clearly not doing well. Unlike the last time, he wasn’t throwing up, but he was sitting fluffed up and sleeping a lot.

New budgie

We hadn’t been planning on a third budgie. However, Chester’s close call last year had me thinking about what we would do if he suddenly keeled over. I realized Lola would be left alone, and budgies really need to be part of a flock. The two of them are both over 5 years old now, so it seemed like a reasonable time to get a third bird. That way when one of them eventually departs, we’ll still be left with two.

Chester budgie is unwell

When we returned from our vacation, Chestina the parakeet didn’t look too good. She had terrible itching and feather loss around the eyes, a dirty vent, and generally appeared ragged. Her head feathers had some kind of yellow material on them. I was concerned that she might have early stage scaly face, a mite infestation that’s a common budgie illness. We took her to the vet, and a physical examination revealed a serious abnormality, so we agreed to pay for X-rays.

It’s not all fun and tweeting

For Christmas, we got the budgies a new toy. It dispenses clean white paper in a long strip, so they can chew and shred it. Since they finished demolishing their Xmas tree last night, I put the new toy in the cage. As soon as he got a good look at it, Chester went into a full scale panic attack. He was flying frantically back and forth, shedding feathers. Lola followed Chester’s lead and panicked too, though she clearly wasn’t sure what exactly she was supposed to be panicking about.

Lola the budgie in HD

YouTube has started offering HD video. I’m not sure it’s really HD, but it’s way better than the crappy pixelated video they used to offer. I re-encoded the video of our new parakeet meeting Chester for the first time. I’ve uploaded it in HD. The result is much clearer. Now to re-do all my other movies… For anyone else hoping to do the same, the magic settings for QuickTime / iMovie are: 1280×720 progressive, MPEG-4 H.

Antipodean avian addenda

Baby girl budgie had her first bath, after Chester showed her how. Although she’s hand-tame, she still has trust issues–if she’s in the cage and doesn’t want to come out, she’ll run away and hide in the corner when you approach. Ah well, eventually she’ll learn that I don’t do the “grab the bird and make it come out” thing. I got another play gym, a larger one. I also cleared enough space on my desk that I can put both of them next to each other.

New budgie, day 2

This morning I put some seed on a piece of paper so she could “forage”. She seems to prefer eating that way. I let both birds out. Today they are getting on well. They just sat together for about 10 minutes, with Chester quietly preening the new girlie. However, the only place where she felt secure enough for that was on my shoulder, snuggled against the back of my neck. Nevertheless, it seems clear to me now that they’re going to be good friends.

Even parity

We got a call from Gallery of Pets saying that they had taken delivery of two hand-raised budgies. We drove up yesterday evening to check them out. We came home with a new bird, a small temporary cage, some new toys, and some new veggie-enriched food. The new bird is very young, barely fully-fledged. Her cheek patches are still stick feathers, and her vent is bare. She seems to be a climber.

Budgie update

Chester has continued to be well-behaved, so we’ve let him keep his flight feathers. He flies around, but he lands in places we’ve taught him are safe–windowsills, his play gym, and so on. He now likes to come out of his cage most days. He’ll typically want to sit with me for an hour or so when I’m working. Weekends, we’ve been sitting on our back deck with him, by taking his cage outside.

Pet angst

Once Chester had finished his molt, he began growing new a lot of new feathers. This included his flight feathers. The flight feathers are the outermost 6 feathers on the trailing edge of each wing. When the bird has his wings folded on his back, they stick out at the bottom. If the flight feathers are clipped back so that they no longer protrude beneath the wing when it’s folded, then when the wing is unfolded the bird can’t gain enough lift to gain altitude.