No Internet

Our wireless router went out last week, so I'm stuck with no internet. I have pictures to post, but it will have to wait until our network gets fixed.

Sydney and Irwin

Sydney and Irwin are getting along great! I was worried when I got Irwin that the two of them wouldn't like each other, especially when I didn't know if Irwin was a boy or a girl, and Irwin was younger than I wanted. But judging by his behaviour, I think Irwin is a male.

I've slowly been introducing the two of them. I've let them play together, and last week I moved Irwin's cage into the living room and put it next to Sydney's cage. Since then, they've become fast friends. As soon as I open their cage doors, Irwin goes into Sydney's cage. He feeds her and they groom each other. Sydney has also quieted down a lot since I brought Irwin out.

They've yet to stay in the same cage overnight. A few days ago, I was going to be home all day so I put Irwin in Sydney's cage in the morning and hung out in the living room to supervise. They did just fine together. Hopefully soon I'll feel comfortable enough to leave them together when I'm not there to keep an eye on them.
On a recent trip to Tractor Supply Company, I realized something that I didn't like. With the exception of monthly board, my horse is cheaper to keep than my guinea pigs. Let's look at a side by side comparison, shall we?

First, there's the thing they both eat: hay. My horse's hay costs me $7 a bale. I buy it from the barn owner who buys it directly from a farmer. During the summer, he gets 1-2 flakes of hay a day, and a single bale can last a week. (In the winter, however, he goes through much more hay.) My guinea pigs' hay costs me around $10 a bag. When given free access to as much hay as they want (which is what should be done), that bag of hay can last anywhere from 4 days to a week. For convenience in comparing costs, I will say that the horse eats one bale a week, and the pigs eat one bag a week.

Weekly total so far: Horse: $7, Pigs: $10

Then there's the feed. The feed I get my horse is a pelleted feed. It costs $16 for a 50 pound bag. It lasts 8 days. The pellets I get the pigs costs $15 for a 5 pound bag. It will last about 10-14 days. I could make this comparison in terms of price per pound (which would be $0.32/pound of horse feed and $3.00/pound of guinea pig food), but that would skew things. I'm going to go with the weekly cost. So, in feed alone, the horse costs $16 a week, and the pigs costs about $9.

Weekly total so far: Horse: $23, Pigs: $19

After that comes the bedding. This is where the guinea pigs start costing a lot. For my horse, he gets wood pellets in his stall. During the summer, he can get by with a bag of pellets per week. Each bag costs me $6. The pigs, on the other hand, get Carefresh in their cage. Because of the size of their cage, they need the big bag. A big bag of Carefresh usually costs $20. (This is what I was buying when I realized this. I bought a bag of Carefresh on sale for $17 and a bag of horse feed for $16 at the same time.) This big, $20 bag of Carefresh lasts one week.

Weekly total so far: Horse: $29, Pigs: $39

Finally, in the things I buy every week, comes the fruit and vegetables. The horse only gets fruits and vegetables as an occasional treat, so his weekly total for that is $0. The pigs, on the other hand, could easily go through a head of lettuce a day if I let them. It's a little tricky for me to calculate how much I spend on produce for the pigs each week as the produce I buy goes not only to the pigs, but also the birds and my bearded dragon. For ease, I will say that the pigs eat half a head of lettuce each day, two apples a week, four green bell peppers each week, and about 6 baby carrots each week. A head of lettuce costs around $0.80 during the summer, apples are around $0.50 each (I think...), green bell peppers are $0.50 each during the summer, and I won't include the costs of the carrots. So, that's $5.80 on just those things, which I'll round up to $6. They often get other types of veggies as well, but I also grow some vegetables myself, so I'll just say that all the additional vegetables they get come from the garden.

This brings the weekly grand total to: Horse: $29, Pigs: $45, or a DAILY cost of: Horse: $4.14, Pigs: $6.43 (yikes!).

Now, I did not include vet costs, nor did I include the cost of monthly board. I also figured everything on summer prices, so hay for the horse in the winter is significantly more, as is the price of fresh produce for the pigs. The vet is often more expensive for the pigs, not the horse. I also did not include the cost of occasional purchases such as new toys, treats, farrier, medications, or anything else that I do not buy on a weekly basis.

I want to spend less on both the pigs and the horse (I'm pretty content with how much I spend on the birds and reptiles), but still provide everything they need. This is especially important because I'm hoping to add a couple of new animals (I'm still not saying what I want to get--I don't want to jinx it). One place where I can cut a lot of money is the cost of hay. I can do this by buying my own hay, and buying a bale of hay specifically for the pigs. I also need to grow more of the vegetables my guinea pigs eat. But the thing I REALLY want to spend less on is bedding for the guinea pigs. Does anybody have any suggestions for that? I use Carefresh because I have found it best for odor control, absorbancy, and not triggering my allergies.

On the positive side and somewhat related note, I mentioned in my last post that my last day of work was going to be Friday. But after discussing things with my manager, I'm staying at that job until I go back to my other seasonal job, which makes me quite happy. Also, I changed my blog layout. Now, I'm off to go research how much my hopeful new pets will eat.
We are now 12 days into the new year. The holidays are over, and the new semester has started at school. My Christmas seasonal job is almost done (tomorrow is my last day), and my spring/summer/fall seasonal job is just around the corner. I thought I'd share some of my animal related new year's resolutions and plans.

1. Ride more. I was doing really good with riding more consistently until about half way through October when my work hours changed and I was also doing a lot of babysitting. But I'm happier, and the horse is happier, when I ride on a regular basis.

2. More outside time for the birds, guinea pigs, and reptiles. Obviously this has to wait for the weather to warm up. Allow the pigs to graze more.

3. More varied diet for the birds and guinea pigs. The birds already get a pretty varied diet, but I'd like to add some more stuff. The pigs get the same veggies all the time. This brings me to my next one...

4. Plant a bigger garden this year with more veggies. So, this isn't strictly animal related, but I grow as much of my own veggies as possible for the critters.

5. Get ____s. I'm hoping to add a couple new additions to the animal side of the family, but I don't want to say what just yet. I will say it is a mammal, but is in a different order than any of our other animals.

6. Do all the projects I want to do for the _____s. (Goes with the last one.)

7. Build another playstand for the birds, or expand an existing one. Also, make more bird toys.

8. Start feeding Delilah a raw diet. I'd love to do this, not sure I can though.

9. Blog more.

10. Post more pictures.

11. Have a bird room. (I can dream, right?)

Added later, because I forgot about them:

12. Redo the guinea pig cage. I've been meaning to do this for ages, but I haven't.

13. Figure out a way to spend less on guinea pig food and other supplies, without cutting quality.

Sydney Had an Attitude Today

All of the recent spoiling has gone straight to Miss Sydney's head! She's starting to think that she's the boss around here!

It started this morning when my dad needed me to come give his motorcycle a jump start. I hadn't yet fed the birds--I hadn't even uncovered them yet. So, I uncovered them all and then started to leave without giving them their breakfast. Mind you, they all had food in their cages; Digby and Lenore had some pellets, Sydney had some seeds, and Irwin had his pellet/seed mix. Just as I was walking out the door, Sydney started chirping up a storm. She was not happy that I was leaving without giving her her mash. I assured her that I'd be back in about an hour, but she was still not happy.

All day long she's been loud and demanding. She demanded to be let out of her cage while I got breakfast ready. She wanted the TV on when it was too quiet in the house (yes, I do know that's what she wanted--she is a very easy bird to read). This evening, my mom told me that Sydney was very loud while I was gone at a Christmas party.

I got home a little after 10 PM and Sydney was carrying on because nobody gave her her bedtime seed yet. Before I realized this, though, I asked her if she was ready for bed. She did not go to her sleep perch when I asked, so that was a "no." That was when I realized that I didn't give her seed before I left. So I gave her a bit of seed, fed the fish, put Irwin to bed, got a drink, cleaned up the kitchen some, and then went back to Sydney.

She was at her food dish still, eating her seed. "Syd, are you ready for bed?" I asked her. She looked up from her food and chirped at me. I asked her again, and again she chirped at me. They were quiet little chirps, so I knew she was tired. I went ahead and covered her cage, and then she really started being loud, as if yelling at me for covering her when she didn't want to be covered. Well, excuse me, Sydney, for enforcing your normal bedtime!

Usually Sydney is ready for bed before I ask her. If any of the birds argue with me at bedtime, it's Digby. She'd stay up all night if I let her. I think Syd woke up on the wrong side of the, er, perch this morning.

Lenore Flew!

Lenore flew for the first time yesterday!

When I got him almost a year ago, his wings were already clipped, and he was never fledged. His clip was very severe, and he didn't know how to land properly. As a result, his landings were crashes, and he broke all of his tail feathers.

A few months ago, he finally got all of his flight feathers in, but he still couldn't fly. He was able to glide down much, much better, but he wasn't getting any lift. Sometimes he'd get a little lift when he first took off, but no more than a couple of feet. And sometimes he'd fly like a helicopter, up a little bit, and then down in a circle. It made me really worry and I wondered if he'd ever figure it out. It made me sad when Digby would fly across the room and he'd want to follow her, but he knew he couldn't. The past couple of weeks, I've been working with him more, trying to build up his muscles, but I wasn't seeing any improvement.

But yesterday morning I brought him upstairs with me to get the birds' breakfast ready, and I sat down on the couch in the living room to wait for their mash to cool enough to give it to them. While I was sitting on the couch, Lenore was happily sitting on my hand while I gave him scritches, and then Sydney started making a fuss. All of the sudden, Lenore took off and up. I thought he'd land on the coffee table right in front of the couch or on the floor in front of the table, but he didn't. He flew all the way to Sydney's cage! It was about 15 feet, and he flew up about four or five feet. I was so happy!

Then, Sydney started showing off her toys, and when he didn't respond how she wanted him to, she got mad at him. So he flew off her cage and this time went all the way through the living room, the dining room, and the kitchen, and landed on the far end of the kitchen on the stove (which was NOT on). This second flight was at least twice as long as his first flight, and required him to go around a turn.

I'm so proud of my little boy. Now, if only his tail feathers would regrow.
The Avian Avenue Sidewalk Sale was last weekend. I bought stuff. I ordered from My Safe Bird Store (MSBS) and from Things for Wings (T4W). My MSBS order was small, just a couple of essential things and a few extra little things. My T4W order was my first from there, all toys, and I was very excited about it.

Both of my orders came yesterday. I was expecting the MSBS order, but I was not expecting the T4W order so soon, as the store owner, Danita, gave a warning that orders would probably take a while to be fill orders. Because the Avian Avenue Secret Santa exchange is also going on right now, and Danita had said she got all the Secret Santa things done, I though maybe that's what was in the box. When I opened the box, though, it was both my order and something from my Secret Santa!

I opened both boxes as soon as I could, and I didn't bother even trying to wait until Christmas to open my Secret Santa present.

From My Safe Bird Store, I got food (TOPs Crumplets), a new food dish for Sydney (one that she can't throw on the floor), a new skewer for Digby and Lenore since theirs went AWOL, some finger traps, vine balls, and banana leaf bundles (Lenore's favorite!). The order also came with some freebies--one finger trap toy filled with shredded paper for each bird, and a soap and lotion sample from Quaking Canopy.

From Things for Wings, I got two Busy Boxes, a watermelon platform perch, a Party Explosion, a Pipsqueak, two Simple Foragers, and a Mini Gypsy.

Finally, from my Secret Santa, I got all of this:

And this clue:

From that clue (a single lovebird that isn't very good at playing), I narrowed it down to three people who were participating in Secret Santa that just had one lovebird. I then was able to eliminate one of them because she had said she was SS to somebody on another continent. So that left me with two. I was pretty sure I had seen pictures of one of those lovebirds playing, so I guessed the other one. And I was wrong!

It turns out that my secret Santa is Natacha, who has the blog Just Poifect. I had no idea that cute little Piper wasn't into toys. I was almost certain I had seen pictures of him playing, but I guess not. (Thank you again!)

With the addition of the stuff Santa Natacha sent us, the birds ended up getting pretty spoiled.

Irwin's Loot
Digby and Lenore's Loot
Sydney's Loot
I put some of the new toys in each cage today. Sydney hasn't touched her toys, though she showed no fear of her new food dish, Irwin has chewed on the cords his toys are strung on, and Digby and Lenore got right to work on one of the toys Natacha sent them--pics coming soon! (What are those, by the way? They're like the Mini Gypsy I ordered Sydney, but different colors. Is that what they are?)