Posts Tagged Widget
I’ve been wanting to get one of these for the birds for ages, but the retail price on them is £23 and I’ve always had other things I wanted to buy with the money. Finally however, I got hold of the materials to buy them. The total cost was 3 metal rings for 75p each, and a ball of jute rope for £3.50, which I used less than half of. I planned to take a lot progress shots as I made this, but I forgot, so there’s only two photos of it in progress. Hopefully they’ll be enough for you to get the idea though!
I got three metal rings from the craft shop. Unfortunately, the woman didn’t know what sort of metal they were made of. However, I’m confident that our birds have no chance of getting to the metal now it’s finished, so I’m happy this toy is safe for my birds. I positioned the three rings overlapping to get the orbiter shape. Using a small piece of thread, I bound the rings together at all the joins.
At this point, it’s really helpful to have a second person to help hold things in place. I cut a piece of jute roughly two of my arm spans in length. Leave a tail of at least ten centimeters, then wrap the jute around the first ring tightly. Wrapping the jute takes two hands, so get your helper to hold the rings and the other end of the jute tightly in place. Beware of the rings sliding against each other. The thread should help to keep them in place. Whenever you get to a place where two rings meet, cross the jute across either the front or back of the join. Once you get all the way round, ensure both ends of the jute are tight, then tie them together over the outside of the join. Repeat this on the other two rings. If you meet a join where two rings meet and you previously went across the back, this time go across the front, and visa versa.
After wrapping round once we got Kami to test it, but the rope wasn’t quite wide enough for her to perch oncomfortably, and I wasn’t sure how whether she would be able to chew through to the metal easily or not. We decided to go for an extra layer. This time I needed three arm spans of jute to go all the way around. Repeat as before. It should be a bit easier this time, as the rings will all be locked in place. You should end with it fully wrapped and with a knot on each join.
For our birds the orbiter is going to be an out of cage toy, probably on their new playgym. I’ll be easily able to monitor how much they chew on the jute, and be able to replace it before they get anywhere near being able to chew through to the metal rings inside. For this reason I’m taking a calculated risk. I’m also leaving longish lengths of jute from each knot, so that I can attach toys to it at a later date. As they’ll only be on the orbiter under supervisation, it’s another calculated risk. Akio and Widget already love this toy/perch, and Misfit and Gizmo were coaxed onto it with millet last night.
This is a new variation on the recipein my pasta post. This time I’ve used a whole egg, the eggshell (washed well and crushed), seed, crushed ZuPreem pellets, some broccoli (chopped up very small to sneak it in), and various dried herbs. I put all this in a large bowl and mixed it all up together. I kept adding more crushed pellets to the mix until all the egg was soaked up.
For the first “experiment” I put these into mini muffin cups, but you could put them into anything bird safe. Because of the egg, these need to be cooked. I sat them in one of our pyrex dishes, as I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of using a non-stick baking tray with food for my birds. I left them in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes by which point they were nicely hardened.
The birds go crazy for these cakes. Widget climbed onto my hand to get at it before the others, and Misfit and Lofty ran around in my lap and squabbled over a couple. As these can be put into any shape and harden nicely, they can be used for a wide variety of foraging toys.
You can add anything to this recipe, provided it is safe for your birds – from small pieces of nuts, to chopped up vegetables, and you can sneak things into it, that you might not otherwise be able to get them to eat.
The boys are back from the vets and were given a clean bill of health. Akio has been holding his wing oddly and having trouble flying, so we had the vet have a look at it. A while ago he seems to have done something to it – probably pulled ligaments that tightened up when they healed. He’s not in any pain, but he probably won’t get any better now, so we have a poor disabled bird, who’ll need rescued when he plunges to the floor. So far, he’s been climbing to the highest point available (usually our heads) and launching himself off, but it doesn’t seem to help much. When she was listening to his breathing, he nipped her ear, but apart from that, neither of them have bitted anyone. Widget was good. He had a fly around the vet’s room, then wouldn’t step on to the vets hand, but did step on to Tom’s.
Now that the budgies have their big cage, they need some friends. We went out on Saturday to a local breeder who lives near us and got a two year old gray male (Widget), and one year old green male (Akio). The breeder we got them from breeds for showing and had loads of trophies for his birds. As the birds were trained for showing, they are fairly used to being handled and poked around. They were being kept in an aviary by the breeder, but they seem to be settling into their cage fine, and we left room for them to flutter from perch to perch. When they get put in with the girls, they’ll have more room to fly around the cage, as well as their out of cage time every day.
At the moment they’re in quarentine up in our bedroom and when we have the other birds upstairs, they answer the cockatiels flock calls. We’ve now had them nearly four days. On Saturday we left them in their cage to settle down. But on Sunday we sat in the room with them for a while, and took them out for a few minutes to fly around. On Monday we had them out for about an hour. Widget came out of the cage on Tom’s finger, although Akio had to be caught. Once they were out and had settled down, they were happy to sit on us and eat millet. Unfortunately, that also meant they got millet seeds all over the bed. They ran around on us quite happily and willingly climbed up on to my finger to sit next to each other. They were also happy to sit on our shoulders, and Akio likes to sit close to our necks, just under our ears. Neither have threatened to bite at all, and they’ve settled down so much that they don’t mind us seeing them eat while they are in their cage. Now we just need their quarentine to be over, so we can introduce them to the rest of the flock. They’ve got just over three weeks to go, which should give us plenty of time to get them converted over to pellets. They’re off to the vet tomorrow for a check-up. Akio is holding his wing strangely, possibly he broke it at some point and it’s now healed – it doesn’t seem to be causing him pain, and Widget is sneezing more than would be normal.