DAY 1 – Feb 24, 2017 FRIDAY
– In the first half of the afternoon I was walking around Manalili. Seeing the very presence of different birds in their cages just triggered something in me that has been dormant for so long. I know that I just needed to keep birds again. I admit this was also because of playing Bird Paradise in android. There were several wild Java finches I saw there and I won’t lie, I was extremely tempted to just buy those instead. Java finch is my first choice for bird keeping supposedly, unfortunately it proved to be extremely difficult to find in Cebu. So I messaged up Wilbert Belena from our neighborhood and I was resolved to buy his birds and his cage as well so I can start keeping birds again! After one last look around the birds in Manalili, I knew I made a good call by not buying from them. AVICULTURE 101: ONLY buy from a proper breeder. I did buy some mixed bird seed around 45 per kg and large sunflower seeds, just 1/4 for 80 per kg. A total of 65php for prolly 2-3 weeks supply of food. We’ll see where it goes.
– Around the late afternoon, I couldn’t wait for the Saturday morning meet up anymore. I opted to go to Wilbert’s house already and just get it over with. I was amazed with his set up, these stacks of bird cages where ring-neck parakeets were and also a lot of cockatiels and african lovebirds. This guy is serious about this hobby. 18,000 for a pair of lutinos, 16,000 for the blue pair, these ring-neck parakeets do cost a lot!
– I got his pair of proven ALBs the grey one being female and the blue one being male. Their size differences are noticeable. 1800 for the pair is definitely a fair deal for a proven pair and also, I got the cage for 600php and he threw in a nestbox which I decided to add 100php voluntarily. I was just damn excited to get started with aviculture already. Wilbert did say that the pair is already starting to nest.
– When I got home I washed up the old nest box and the cage tray. I don’t have another standby cage so cage cleaning will have to wait until much later. AVICULTURE 101: Have a huge powerful electric fan to easily dry stuff. As Wilbert taught me, push two nails in front of the nestbox and you can easily suspend it on the side of the cage, yey!
– I set up the cage inside my room for many reasons but safety and familiarity being the two core reasons. First off, I wanted to prevent any rat or cat attacks on my birds. Second, I wanted them to be familiar with my presence and associate me with resources. The problem right now is that they are extremely afraid of human presence. This tells a lot of how aviculturists have been managing their birds. Every time I try to enter the room, they become very panicky and scared. They won’t even touch the food on the food dish. I guess this is normal because they’re in a new environment and they’re still stressed from the trip from one house to another.
– Tonight they’re going to be staying in my room. Hopefully being frequently in the same room will get them to feel more comfortable with my presence.
– Ants and poops is my problem. Hanging it up helps in terms of preventing the ants, but the poop still gets out of the cage because they tend to stay on the sides of the cage.
DAY 2- Feb 25,2017 SATURDAY
– I woke up to the sound of their shrieks. They were perched properly and not clinging to the side of the cages so that’s a good sign.
– Noting Wilbert’s foreword on the nesting, I stripped up some japanese paper and placed them on the floor of the cage. I hope this will encourage nesting behaviour.
– They’re still not eating the bird seeds, I sense stress still controlling them. Although right now, I can see the male occasionally being comfortable on the perch instead of always clinging to the cage wires. This is a start.
– When I’m not within area of vision of the birds, I see them exploring the nestbox. Maybe this is a start for the nesting process? I need to get veggies and cuttlebone for these birds.
– When I got home late evening I silently entered the room thinking. I was quite afraid that they might have already escaped the cage (yes I’m that paranoid and you really can’t underestimate these birds, they’re quite smart)
– However as I inspected the nestbox, it was apparent that they decided to rest inside the nestbox. Another good sign of being comfortable on using the nestbox. This way perhaps will encourage the idea of breeding.
– The nesting material I made for them proved to be useless as they did not use this for nesting.
DAY 3 Feb 26, 2017 SUNDAY
– The birds were quite noisy, I’m guessing it’s the heat of the sun since the cover in one half of the cage fell off. Decided to put it on and yes, it worked, they became more silent. Added additional cover so that they can have a part of the cage where they don’t see their surroundings and somehow this makes them more comfortable. I should’ve done this yesterday.
– Meeting the other aviculturists at Bert’s house, I found out that my pair are actually Persopied Lovebirds, a cross between Personata and Fischers lovebirds.
– I also found out that even pet birds like lovebirds actually need papers to avoid confiscation from DENR. Gosh, these things are a lot more complicated than I realised.
– I also learned that you can actually keep wild caught Java finches and with time and patience, actually breed them! Tempting but I need to do more research on the legalities of this plan.
– Wilbert gave me a couple of the fruits of the Moringa plant which turns out to be something I can give as a snack for my ALBs.
– When I got home I found them comfortably in the nestbox and I was quite tempted to urge them to come out but I know better than to do that.
– Added a second perch just near the nest box so that this was the perch they can go to if they want to get exposed to the sun.
– Made my makeshift water feeder using a plastic cup and paper clips. This worked out pretty well because after my ALBs got out of the nestbox and actually drank water. This was the first time I saw them drink water.
– I chose a container with a deeper pocket for feeding so that the seeds don’t fly out when they fly around the cage.
– They key to get them to feel more comfortable is not to make any sudden movements and to really move around the cage as slowly as possible.
– I spotted a couple of social behaviors such as preening of each other. I noticed that the female tends to be more scared than the male.
DAY 4 Feb 27, 2017 MONDAY
– Since I woke up really early they weren’t up and about just yet doing their social activities. They didn’t spend the night in the nestbox as they did last time, was it because the night wasn’t as cold as the nights before?
– I can pass by them without all the fluttering and panic but mostly I think it’s because it’s 4am and they’re still groggy so they can’t panic much.
– There is the temptation to remove their food and starve them enough so that they will always associate my presence with the influx of food but I think that’s just cruel. It’s only day four, usually it takes weeks before they become accustomed to human presence. Maybe I should read more on African lovebirds which surprisingly, is not very well-written in the internet, there’s a space for discussion in the search results.
– I still haven’t refilled their food tray, gosh these birds barely eat at all. I did however place eggshells (am I supposed to do this?) hopefully it’ll provide them the calcium they need during breeding.
– There was the question of training OR breeding bothering my head, again the game of patience is something I need to constantly remind myself, I’m too in a hurry to get things done. Logging these experiences keeps me in check, hopefully these logs will help others as well.
DAY 5 Feb 28, 2017 TUESDAY
– If you’re looking for birds because you like the sound of birds, trust me, African lovebirds are NOT your choice of birds. Their shrieks are loud, insistent and vexing. Go get a finch instead. I woke up to these birds just really really REALLY loud. Take note, the cage is just a meter away from my bed. I can REALLY hear them. Come to think of it, is it possible that hese sounds can mean something?
– I think I should be observing more and see if different sounds can mean certain things.
○ Short shrieks with high repetitions usually means fighting or distress. I hear it when I see them fighting among each other for a spot (when trying to hide from me).
○ Loud and high pitch regular chirps usually happen when they’re socialising or about to feed, I hear this just before they head to the feeders
– It was my decision to do something about the current stand I was using to elevate the cage. I was using my electronic piano (keyboard) stand for this and I can imagine the look of distraught on my father’s face that I was using such an expensive item…FOR A BIRD STAND. So I scoured the garage for some junk and found a nice metal frame with wheels on the bottom and a base that makes a nice stand with enough space to store stuff underneath.
– AVICULTURE 101: Even with a poop tray at the bottom, birds can find ways to defecate OUTSIDE the cage. Oh these feathered friends do wonders.
– I can already start to smell the poop accumulating at the bottom tray of the cage so I decided to change the paper lining. So I guess it’s safe to say tray clean-up is every 5 days for a pair of birds. To those asking if they should line their bottom tray with recycled paper, I say yes. It makes the cleaning process quite easy. I’ll prolly wash the tray every month, that with the cage as well.
– One thing about being an aviculturist and when you’ve had your first pair of birds, there’s a tendency to fuss over the interior of the cage, you want to rearrange stuff and make it look clean. In my set-up I placed the food at the center of the cage, I have two perches: one near the nestbox and the other near
From across the room (about 3 meters away) I got to observe them feeding. I’ve made the decision to take away the covers (I was using expanded folders). I’m going to hope that this will continue to build familiarity with my presence. There are times that I can move a little without scaring them, especially if my back is facing them. I guess that’s a start.