Clicker Training

I decided to start doing target training with the birds. I'm starting with Digby and Lenore. I won't try it with Sydney for a while longer as I'm still trying to teach her to be comfortable around us and take food from my hand.

I actually started with Lenore about a week ago, just "charging the clicker", teaching him that the click means treat. Today, I introduced Digby to that concept. Both of them caught on to that very quickly. I also introduced the target stick to both of them today.

Lenore caught onto the idea of the target stick within three tries. He is very eager to learn and get his treat. Digby, though, is a bit wary of the target stick. A couple of times she walked away from it, a couple of times she just looked at it, and ONCE she bit it. She got a reward for looking at it, but she got a bigger reward for biting it.

Both of the birds seem very willing to learn, especially Lenore. I'm hoping that by teaching Digby this, I'll be able to eventually get her to step up onto my hand. Digby has made a lot of progress since I got her in October, but there hasn't been any change in the past few months, so maybe this will help her overcome whatever fear it is that she has over bare arms and hands. I'm also hoping I can eventually do recall training with both of them.

Sydney's Latest Thing

Sydney has developed a habit that I think I need to break her of.

She has a stainless steel water dish. It's a great dish, and she loves to take baths in it, but she has recently started looking at her reflection in the sides and bottom of the dish. At first, I thought it was kind of cute, but now it seems like she's almost obsessive about it and she will stare at her reflection for several minutes at a time.

I think it stemmed from me moving Digby and Lenore to my bedroom. I did it partly because their new cage doesn't really fit anywhere in the living room, and partly because I wanted to get Sydney into a main living space. Since I moved Sydney into the living room, she has started chirping a lot--I think calling for the other birds, though it doesn't really sound like a contact call. She has also started the reflection staring.

In light of this, I've been trying to bring Digby and Lenore upstairs to visit more often, but they don't seem to like her very much, especially Digby. Lenore is sociable with her, but he obviously doesn't like her as much as she likes him. And while Sydney tries to be friends with Digby, Digby will have no part of it. Digby gets very mad at Sydney if she gets too close.

I've also tried giving Sydney more time out of her cage than she was getting, but it doesn't seem to help either. If she's out of her cage, she looks for a reflective surface, and as soon as she's back in her cage, she goes to her water dish to look at her reflection again.

Maggie Looking Scruffy

Maggie needs a haircut.

Google Searches

A couple of new search terms came up on my Blogger statistics in the past few days that brought people to my site. I thought that, on the off chance those people stuck around, I'd answer them.

To the person who came here by searching "I just put some lettuce in my African sideneck turtles tank but it hasn't touched it. Should I be worried?" You don't need to be worried. While African sidenecks are technically omnivores, they tend to favor meat. They will eat plants and vegetables, but given the choice, they're more likely to choose meat. If your turtle is refusing lettuce but is eating fine otherwise, don't worry. And if you're new to owning turtles, or at least new to African sidenecks, I recommend reading about them at

And to the person who came here by searching something about being an impulse buyer of sugar gliders, I suggest you do a lot of research and don't freak out. Head over to the Glider Central forum and you will find out all sorts of stuff. I also recommend going to SunCoast Sugar Gliders and doing some reading there, and sign up for their monthly newsletter (I no longer own gliders but I still get and read the newsletter every month). Gliders really are wonderful pets, but require a lot of work.

To the other people who came to me through Google or a different search engine, welcome to Chaotic Zoo. I don't have any videos of talking lovebirds, even though Digby barks and my aunt swears that Lenore says, "Digby". I do have a lovebird named Lenore, but I don't think you were searching for my bird when you Googled "Lenore". And to the person who came by searching "chaotic zoo", well, that's pretty awesome. :)

My Early Bird and My Night Owl

Digby is my night owl. She is most active in the late evening and that is when she wants to play and spend time with me. She will happily be awake and active and playing until past 11 o'clock if I let her. She prefers to sleep in past 9 or 10 most days.

Lenore is my early bird. He is up as soon as he realizes it's morning, and he wants to go to bed by 9 o'clock at night. If I take too long to cover his cage, he will go to his sleep perch and, before he shared a cage with Digby, would hide himself in his fleece blanket/tent.

Because of these two extremes, having Digby and Lenore in the same cage has been interesting, especially in the morning. The cage is covered except for one little square right beside the perch where Digby and Lenore sleep, which is placed in a way that my bed is in their view. Digby likes to watch me as she falls asleep at night; Lenore likes to chirp at me in the morning.

Every morning, I wake up to Digby and Lenore chirping and being noisy. They have a set pattern in their morning chirps and sounds. Lenore will do a series of high pitched, loud chirps, his excited it's morning chirps. Digby will answer with a noise that sounds very much like a growl. It's the noise she makes when she's irritated. The two of them will go back and forth like this for several minutes every morning. Lenore is ready for the morning, and Digby wants him to be quiet so she can continue to sleep.

Wet Birds

After getting back from Kansas Monday evening, Digby and Lenore were in their cage for no more than five minutes when they both decided to take a bath.

I recently got a new, stainless steel water dish for these two. It's a Coop Cup. I think it's the 20 ounce size. They love it. (Sydney has a very similar water dish, but I can never catch her in the act of taking a bath.) When I first put it in their cage, Digby went right for it. She got completely in the dish and managed to get the water all over her body and her head. Their previous water dishes, while they were a good size, didn't allow them to get completely in the water.

Where I've Been

I haven't posted in a week or so because I've been out of town. I went with my mom and little brother to visit relatives in Kansas. We got back last night.

Digby and Lenore went with us. They did great, and Lenore charmed everybody as I knew he would. Digby, being shy and reserved around strangers, didn't shine like he did, but everybody agreed she was the prettier of the two (which I don't quite get--I think they are equally beautiful). Lenore behaved pretty good and wasn't too bitey. They were very good travelers.

Maggie and Ricky went too. They were both good. I taught Maggie to stay while we were out there. I'm always amazed by how quickly she picks up new things.

It is extremely hot here. The temperature is 96℉, with a heat index of 113℉. Right now it's storming and they rain is very much welcome.

Also, Blogger looks completely weird and has a new layout and look. I do not like it.

A Train Wreck

On Thursday, my best friend sent me a text message that said, "You OK?? The train wreck around you."

I replied and said, "Huh? Train wreck? Where? That's like so five years ago." (The "so five years ago" was in reference to the train derailment that happened a mere mile or two away from my house in 2007.)

She quickly replied, "No! Now! By your house! Now!"

I rolled my eyes and sent a quick, sarcastic, "Stupid CSX," and let her know my family and I were fine.

When my friend texted me, we weren't at home and we hadn't heard anything about a train wreck. I quickly checked the website of a local news station to figure out what my friend was talking about.

It turns out there was another train derailment. We were at home when it happened, sitting on our back deck, eating lunch. We didn't hear anything. A couple of helicopters flew overhead, but because Louisville is a sizable city, that's not really anything unusual. We had no idea it had happened until a few hours later.

Fortunately, this time there were no hazardous chemicals on the train. We were not told to evacuate. The train cars that derailed were all carrying cars and trucks. This derailment was no where near the size of the 2007 derailment (which was the largest in Kentucky). Witnesses say they saw a semi-truck hit the railroad track a little while before the train derailment and CSX is currently looking for the driver of that truck.

The real kicker? It happened in almost the exact same spot as the 2007 train derailment. It was so close to the same spot that the train cars from Thursday were dragged across the road to the area that was fenced off in 2007 to hold the train cars from that derailment.

On a related note, let this serve as a reminder. Make sure you have a plan in place for your pets in case an evacuation is needed.

Maggie Mae is Hurt

Crazy dog Maggie somehow hurt herself. We aren't sure how she did it, though we think, and so does the vet, that she hurt herself by simply being the crazy, hyperactive dog that she is. Maggie will often jump straight into the air, jumping up to three feet up.

Yesterday, at one point when my mom picked her up, she yelped. My mom thought maybe she was hurt and gave her a good look over. She couldn't find anywhere that Maggie would react to when she was touched. And last night, Maggie came inside and immediately went into her crate, something she doesn't normally do.

This morning, she didn't really want to come out of her crate, and when she did, she didn't want to go outside and instead went into Ellie's crate. After some coaxing, she finally went out. A little while later, I let Maggie and Ellie back inside and picked Maggie up. She yelped again. I had my mom help me look at Maggie, and we discovered that she tensed up whenever we messed with her back legs or her stomach. We also noticed she was coughing a little, but not too bad. She also wasn't acting like herself and was very subdued.

Because tomorrow is a holiday, our vet won't be in until Tuesday, and we didn't want to wait that long to take Maggie in, so we went to the emergency vet today. The vet noticed the pain actually seems to be coming from her back, so they did an X-ray. The vet thought it was possibly a herniated disk or just a muscle sprain. Fortunately, the X-ray looked perfectly fine. The vet prescribed some pain medicine and an anti-inflammatory for the pain, and an antibiotic for the cough.

We were also told to keep her quiet for about a week. That's way easier said than done.