Budgie, Budgie

Commonly known as a Parakeet or Budgie (Budgerigar is their proper, full name), this 7 inch parrot is native to Australia and is commonly considered a “practice” pet for kids. These small birds have a low initial cost ($15-$20) and typically live only about 5 years, so the commitment is small.  However, when cared for properly, they can easily live 15+ years. It is not at all uncommon for them to survive that long in the wild.

Budgies are commonly thought to be domesticated, however they are not. They are still just as wild as their cousins flying free in Australia, though they do not survive for long when they escape from their cage or are released intentionally. These small little birds are bred in captivity, so they do not have any idea how to find food that grows, only how to find the dish on the other side of a cage. Live Science lists six things that qualify an animal species for domestication:

1) They cannot be picky eaters.

2) They must reach maturity quickly.

3) They must be able to breed in captivity.

4) They must be docile by nature.

5) They cannot have a strong tendency to panic.

6) They must conform to a social hierarchy.

(https://www.livescience.com/33870-domesticated-animals-criteria.html)

Budgies only have two of the qualities listed here, so even though they have been reproducing in captivity since the 1850’s, they require time, patience and regular handling once they are tame to keep them that way. Even if you do put in all the time and work, many will never become tame.

These small parrots are one of the most neglected and abused exotic birds. They are often kept alone in back rooms, passed around from person to person, released to try to fend for themselves and are denied Veterinary care. These tiny parrots are one of my favorite species of parrot. At one point I had twenty of them. Currently, there are only four in my Budgie flock. Like all the animals in my care, these little guys have their own stories and I would like to share them. Amazingly, all four of these little guys had people who cared about them and took really good care of them. They just needed a new home for different reasons.


Buddy Bird

Buddy Bird 2017Buddy’s age is not known, but he is guessed to be around eight or more years old. He was found loose and eating out of a wild bird feeder. He had consistently arrived at the same time every morning during the spring at the house of a retired couple, so they decided he needed to be captured so he could be returned to his home. They purchased a cage, removed their bird feeder, then placed the cage on a patio table with food and water inside where the feeder normally sat, then watched and waited. The little blue bird would show up every day, but was too quick to be captured. The couple then added some string to the cage door and went back inside while holding the long piece of string. As soon as Mr. Budgie arrived for breakfast and seemed settled, they pulled the door shut and trapped him. His original home was never found, so he was named Buddy Bird and became a part of their family along with their Quaker Parrot named Pauly.

Their owner called me about three years after Buddy’s capture and asked if I would be able to take on both Buddy and Pauly. She loved the birds and parting with them was upsetting, but her husband had passed the previous year and the birds were primarily his. Pauly laughed in her husband’s voice and said several words her husband said. While it was sweet, the constant reminders tore her up every day and it was painful for her. The next day, Buddy Bird and Pauly were delivered to me at work with brand new toys, food, bedding and a list of words that Pauly knew. With lots of tears, she said her good-bye’s to the pair and headed out.

Harmony

Harmony came to me from a friend. Harmony was only a couple years old when she Harmony 2017.jpgcame to me in need of a new home. Her owner’s living situation had changed, so Harmony needed a safe place to go and her owner new I loved the little parrots. Harmony had a HUGE cage and was quite spoiled for a budgie. The day Harmony was supposed to be transferred to my care, she decided that she was going to do things her way and she was not moving. The little blue and white bird became a budgie ninja. She managed to escape from the box she had been put in while still at her house and stayed home unbeknownst to her owner. Harmony was outsmarted though and arrived in a loner travel cage a couple of days later. Harmony settled in nicely with Buddy who was still living as a bachelor at the time. They became fast friends and often can be seen sharing a swing or their toys with each other.

January

One cold January day, I got a call from my Veterinary Technician neighbor asking if I January Budgie 2017was willing and able to take on a budgie with physical challenges. It’s is almost impossible for me to turn down a budgie, so without a second thought I said yes. She brought the little bird over when she got home from work. Unsure of what I would see, I carefully and cautiously opened the box. Inside was a light blue baby budgie about 5 weeks old. The original owner was not aware that her birds had babies and she just found this little one on the cage bottom unable to walk or fly and the legs were not staying underneath the little bird like they should. Not able to afford the veterinary care he needed, she surrendered him to the vet clinic. I fed the tiny little bird and got him settled for the night. I took him to work with me the next day for an exam with Dr. Charles Coleman and to keep him fed during the day as he was so young that he was not eating on his own yet (Budgies start eating on their own around 7-8 weeks of age).

Dr. Coleman laughed when he saw that I had a baby budgie. I had hand raised 3 budgies when I was younger causing a great deal of stress, sleep deprivation for the whole family. Once those little guys were weaned, I vowed to never hand feed another baby budgie again. Dr. Coleman found it humorous that here I was again years later with yet another baby Budgie. I had more experience this time though this time so it was not at all nerve wracking raising the little bird. What was the diagnosis on the baby? His leg issues were due to bruising from the fall and malnutrition. He was prescribed rest, a padded nursery cage and good food with a prognosis of a normal life.  In short order, Baby January learned to perch, fly and ended up being a very naughty little girl! She will chew on anything that she shouldn’t when she is out of her cage and particularly enjoys harassing the larger birds. She also talks! She only says a few words (Hey! And What?!), but she is quite loud for a tiny bird, is sassy and loves to mimic the larger birds. She lives in a cage by herself as she is just too much of a bully to be with the others.

Julian

This little guy’s story is actually quite short. Julian’s owner was getting married and the couple would be moving out of the area and into an apartment. Julian liked to Julian Budgie 2017party (throw his food like confetti) and make his voice known to all, far and wide. Unfortunately, these skills are not good traits for apartment dwelling birds. The request to take on Julian came from a friend of my brother. Later that week, Julian arrived. After his quarantine time was up, he got to meet his new bird friends. He settled in quickly and is enjoying being part of a small flock.

I am sorry this post is longer than my previous ones. I felt like the best way to introduce my little flock of Budgies was to share some information on the tiny birds first in hopes that it would give you a small glimpse as to why I love them so much. No, this is not a request for more of the little guys! My home, flock are full and I am no longer taking on more parrots. If you are in a position where you need to rehome your Budgie, there are rescues out there that take them. You can also contact Avian Veterinarians, they may just have a staff member who takes in parrots every now and then. I hope you enjoyed learning about the feisty little birds in my care as well as learned something new about captive kept exotic parrots.

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Welcome Summer

Summer and fire have season arrived in Benton City after what felt like the longest, coldest winter. I can’t remember the last time that we had so much ice and snow for as long as we had did this year. All of the extra moisture made for a lot of weeds that grew tall and dried out quickly when the warm weather arrived. While at first it seemed like we have had a slow start to summer weather, we have had on average two days a week that have reached into the 90’s. I greatly appreciate the cooler days in between as it gives the animals outside a break from the highs temps and a chance to recuperate before the next hot days creep in.

Even though I have not been writing, that does not mean things have been quiet here. Since the last blog post, I had to say good bye to one of the old barn kitties, Snaffle. He was having an increasingly difficult time getting around and life just was not happy for him anymore. Several of my older chickens passed on as well. Also, over last summer, my Dad had brain surgery to remove a benign tumor. He is doing wonderful!

But, now things are starting to find some level of normal once again (really, what is normal anyway?). The garden is looking more like a garden and less like an abandoned field. The method of choice for the weed elimination has been a combination of RoundUp, manual labor and some fire… Not much has been planted yet, but currently there are tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries (the wild critters are enjoying those!), lavender and rhubarb. Dad has been doing quite a bit of container gardening on and around the back patio. He has been growing lemon grass, different types of peppers and various flowers – it looks great out there!

Some more chickens and ducks have been added to the flock (most were from friends and a couple from neighbors). A fun new addition to the flock of birds is a trio of Pomeranian geese! You will get to hear more about the geese in a future post, however they are more like having feathered dogs. They are constantly busy and looking for things to get into. One of the girls (Catarina) has been recovering for several weeks now from a leg injury caused by being spooked. I have been using a couple of different products on Catarina’s leg and foot to clean the wounds, reduce the chance of infection and help her heal as quickly as possible. My favorite product so far has been Dy’s Liquid Bandage Salve made by Advanced Biological Concepts. It has helped keep the skin moist and it promotes healing as well as the growth of new tissue while reducing the amount of scar tissue. Once she is fully healed, I will post pictures! This is one of those products that I keep in my animal’s first aid kit for sure! I have used this on the parrots, dogs, cats, and now the goose. Here is a link to the manufacturer’s website in case you want to add some to your pet first aid kit. https://www.abcplus.biz/

In my next post, you meet the small flock of Budgies that call Almost Plum Nearly Ranch their home. They might be little parrots, but they have a huge personality!

 

Barn Cats

After the passing of our cat Sasha, we made a family decision to not get any more cats.

Not long after moving out to the county, we were outside on a pretty spring day and up walked a small gray kitten. Assuming the little guy belonged to a neighbor, we let him be. He continued to hang out throughout the morning, so we went ahead and asked the neighbors if they recognized him. Turns out, he was indeed homeless. After my sister asked if he could stay and eventually become a barn cat, Snaffle-Bit became a member of the family. I don’t remember if it was the same day or shortly after, but a litter of kittens was found not too far from our house – they had been shot and left in a pile.

Then another kitten appeared. This one was similar in color and age, though had more white on him. He appeared off and on, but he appeared to have a home, he just liked to come visit. He followed me everywhere in the yard durring his visits, more like a dog than a cat. One evening when he came to visit, he had blood on his head. He returned again the next night still with the blood on him. This time, it was me requesting to keep this kitty who clearly was not being looked after. I cleaned him up, found no visible injuries and watched him. He was a little “off”, with a slight akwardness now that had not been there before. He was other wise fine and resumed following me all over. Shadow was now mine.

Fast forward to now. On St. Patrick’s Day I celebrated their 16th birthday! Some neurological issues have begun to appear as they age, hinting that their mother was likely unvaccinated and sick with the terrible virus Feline Distemper when these brothers were born. Since the virus is deadly, it is assumed that she didn’t live long past raising her boys.

Though they were separated for a while, they are still best buddies. They don’t like being too far from eachother and are often seen snuggling with eachother. Snaffle shows his age more than his brother, but on his most recent visit to the vet, we found out he only has some slight signs of kidney issues setting in. Not bad for 16 year old cat!

Oh, and no, we still don’t have a barn. So, they patrol indoors.

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Introduction

Why did I decide to start a blog? People read my stories and updates on Facebook about the things that go on at Almost Plum Nearly Ranch, then tell me that I should have a blog. So, here it goes.

What is Almost Plum Nearly Ranch? It is a permanent landing spot for animals in need of a home. I firmly believe that if you are going to rescue an animal then you make life better for that animal by getting it veterinary care, feeding it a well balanced diet as well as providing the training and socialization he/she needs.

In some situations, animals (mostly parrots) come to me being so afraid of human handling that the best thing I can do for them, is find them a feathered friend from the already existing flock. On special occasions, those birds can eventually become cage mates. Most of the time, these birds have extremely poor social skills with their own species. Therefore, the only way to give them safe social oportunities with their own kind is by placing birds of like species or size, side by side in separate cages. They can then safely interact with each other, reducing stress and providing the kind of companionship a human can not. And that’s just the parrots.

If you would like to know more about the various animals that call this place home and why I do what I do, I invite you to hang around and follow my attempt to have a blog.

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