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Everything posted by KathyW

  1. I started this year using "Max's Cat & Pet Litter" (made from rice mill by-products) in my nesting boxes. It's supposedly "garden safe" and made from "all vegetable matter" (CopRice). I'm thinking after reading some posts that I may have used too thin a layer as I only spread enough on the bottom of the box to comfortably cover it and the hens in most cases have scratched it all away to the corners. What depth do people use for their wood shavings? Also I had wondered whether the absorbency of the cat litter may have an adverse effect on the eggs making conditions potentially too dry for them. Any thoughts on this? Cheers, KathyW.
  2. Kaz, I think she's fascinating. All you stereotypical types knocking her "looks" ought to be ashamed of yourselves I had a black Gouldian once. Looked like a normal juvenile, but every moult, he got more and more black feathers until he was completely black all over! Unfortunately, he never bred, and was not as hardy as the normally marked birds and had to be kept inside. Which made me wonder if it was some sort of deficiency or problem in his biological make-up. Those "black face" budgies are quite fascinating thou. Almost look like an entirely different species! Good luck with "Muddy"! Cheers, KathyW.
  3. Panting and wing-spreading are natural ways for the bird to lower it's temperature. Just make sure they have plenty of water so they do not dehydrate, try not to disturb them too much and they should cope just fine. Here in Albury we have days on end of over 40 degrees C, and while the birds do not like it much (lots of panting and spreading of wings) as long as they have shade to retreat to and water they manage okay. With your birds inside, if it's not too uncomfortable for you, then it should not be too uncomfortable for your birds. Just make sure the cage is not in the direct sun, especially in the hottest parts of the day. Cheers, KathyW.
  4. I have read various posts saying the only way to get rings is through a club. A number of clubs and associations I've been involved with in the past have had some very nasty politics to the point where I am not keen on getting involved in the club scene at all. However I want to ring my birds for easier identification of age and record keeping. Surely there must be some sort of generic ring available? Does not need to be engraved if colour coded (kinder on my eyes too - they can't read the small stuff as easily as they used to ...) Any suggestions appreciated. Cheers, KathyW.
  5. KathyW

    Building A New Aviary

    Most decent metal merchants that carry mesh SHOULD have a range of mesh designed for aviaries. Ask for aviary mesh specifically. There should be a range of different weights and sizes for finches right up to parrots! Ask or ring metal or hardware suppliers in your area. Good luck, KathyW.
  6. These are my first babies in nearly two years! My poor birds have been confined to close quarters and small cages during building (new home for us as well as them). 3 Danish Recessive Pieds and one pretty blue opaline: It was sooo windy out in the aviaries today, the some of the breeding birds took one look at my camera (which they haven't seen for some years) and retreated to the "safety" of the far high wall: The babies' mum is the olive opaline greywing (centre bottom). The dad could be either a yellow/olive pied or a violet (not pictured), both of whom have been taking turns feeding the chicks. And my clowns, Varied Lorikeets Stanley and Dee: Cheers, KathyW.
  7. Young budgies are all individuals. Some are fiercely independent and seem to know instinctively before they leave the nest to chew and nibble ANYTHING so seed poses no problems at all. At the other extreme some will chase their parents for weeks begging for food, even though they are able to feed themselves. Being fairly smart and curious little parrots, budgies learn quickly where the food is by watching the other birds in the aviary. Cheers, KathyW.
  8. Interesting. I had not heard of Ivermectin being used, although it does make sense. I've always used the old "country remedy" of a 50/50 mix of Detol and Olive Oil. Works just as quickly and I always have both on hand anyway. I tend to prefer it to pet shop chemical treatments. It's interesting how some individual birds seem particularly susceptible, while most others in the same aviary never contract it. I'm glad you offered to treat those birds. It would have been so wrong to put them down for something so easily cured, even at that advanced stage. Cheers, KathyW.
  9. KathyW

    Building A New Aviary

    On Jun 14 2007, Angelica asked: > 1. Can I wash or cover the zinc in the metal mesh with vinigar? Yes, or let it weather for a few months. > 2. How can I do this? Dilute the vinegar in a bucket of water, and using a scrubbing brush or broom scrub the mesh then hose it off. > 3. What kind of metals are okay to use as the wire mesh? Usually galvanised mesh as you've already discovered. Stainless mesh is available but horribly expensive and usually not necessary. If you're likely to have mouse or snake problems in your area consider using a mouse-proof mesh. As a rule of thumb (or finger) if you can get your finger through the mesh holes then a mouse can wriggle through it too. If a mouse can get through, then so can some snakes. > Then, the enclosed space, like the sleeping place that is completely covered by wood and has a Be careful with wood. Many timbers suitable for outdoor use are treated with various things that may be bad or poisonous for your birds. Also - budgies LOVE to chew wood! Actually ... budgies love to chew all sorts of things ... > extension for the safety door and door. Good idea. > What should the bottom be made of. I cant have concrete. My mom was thinking of wood. See the note re wood above. It would be a really good idea to at least have some concrete footings to secure your aviary too so it does not get blown away in strong winds or storms. If your ground is suitable, then pegs driven into the ground may be good enough. If your ground is sandy or gets soft in wet weather it would be wise to use something more substantial. Have a chat to your mom or dad ... there are safety considerations that are important. I've used dirt floors as well as concrete. I prefer dirt. The birds love it. Some people don't, and it can get muddy in winter. You might want to consider pavers? At least for a path. You will need to make sure nothing can burrow under the walls (eg rats, dogs, wild animals etc). And if you have a dog you'll need to make sure that it cannot damage or tear the mesh walls - ie use thicker or heavier mesh, or solid panels on the bottom 3 feet or so depending on the size of the dog(s). Also check with your local council about any relevant regulations regarding the size of the structure, any permits required (or how big can you build it without needing a permit) etc, or any specific bird related ordinances. Good luck! KathyW.
  10. I've shipped birds to and from Sydney by air using boxes provided by a friend who is also a bird dealer. The boxes I use are covered on 5 sides, air holes at the back and mesh front. They are just high enough for the birds to sit on a low perch, but not enough room for them to get any speed up if they get startled and try to fly "up"! Seed is scattered on the floor and there is a cheap plastic cup glued to the "floor" with wet cotton wool in it to provide them with some moisture in case they need it. 'scuse the mess, my birdroom is still "under construction". The door should be well secured. This one you can see has a small screw, and the door was taped over to-be-sure, to-be-sure ;-) Make sure you label it well as "Live animals" or "live birds". Some birds do no travel well, so a mild sedative administered shortly before travelling may help reduce the stress. I'm not sure what's readily available, only having used sedative tablets on air-travelling dogs. But I wish my last consignment of Gouldians had travelled better (lost quite a few within the first week :-( and sedatives or a "calmative" may have helped. If you've already bought your cage/box, and are worried about head injuries, one trick that worked well for quails (one of the most startle-prone birds I know) was to fix a sheet of styrene foam to the inside top of the box. As long as the birds are not in the cage for an extended length of time they should not get bored enough to turn it into confetti. Good luck, KathyW.
  11. I've used bread to bribe my birds to take their medicine (soaked in worming solution). In a previous large aviary complete with a large concrete, rock-lined (fish) pond it was difficult if not impossible to safely cover the pond to make them drink their treated water (and treating the pond was out of the question). Strangely they seemed to prefer the worming solution soaked bread to the occasional dry crust and there was never any left. Go figure ... KathyW.
  12. Hi. I'm KathyW and I've been keeping and breeding birds, mostly budgies, as a hobby for over 35 years. I've also been using the 'net since '95 ... but never been a great fan of forums. So please bear with me as I have no idea what I'm supposed to do here yet :-) Hoping I'm on the right track ... I'll forge ahead: My first budgie was "George", but I've long since stopped naming them. Preferring to keep and breed my birds in large open flight aviaries, the main aim of my breeding program was to breed happy, healthy and hardy birds. Getting my birds to breed has never been a problem. Stopping them has been. Uncontrolled flock breeding with a limited gene pool has had two other results - one unfortunate but predictable, the other a delightful surprise. My birds have not had the large size of "modern" birds, being closer to the wild budgie in size, stature and bearing. And a recessive pied strain started to emerge about 8 years ago and now over 90% of my birds are either full Danish Recessive Pieds or are carrying the gene. I've been unable to breed them for the past two years due to a combination of factors not the least of which was building and moving to a new home (owner-builder) with new aviaries. The birds have been in small cages until mid summer this year when the aviaries were sufficiently finished/snake/mouse/dog-proofed to be safe. They have only just started breeding again. My focus with their breeding has however modified over the past few years. The Pied strain is now very strong and I would like to improve the size of the birds, without losing the hardiness they have developed. My previous experience with the larger birds (I used to call them "meat birds") was not encouraging - they could not fly as easily and were not as active or hardy as the "smaller" birds. I hope in 30 years that has changed. I guess that's what I'm doing here - trying to connect with other bird breeders and enthusiasts in a neutral and convenient environment. I have kept budgies for long enough to know I still have a LOT to learn. I also keep and breed Gouldian Finches, have a pair of gorgeous clowns otherwise known as Varied Lorikeets, a one-legged Eastern Rosella (long story) and an odd assortment of King Quails. In the past I've kept Superb Blue Wrens, numerous finches, galahs, rosellas, crested pigeons and a cranky Little Corella. I've also had moderate success hand-rearing orphaned. rejected or injured babies (birds).
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