Saturday, August 27, 2016

August 2016 update

The year is flying by.  We made some much needed improvements to the aviaries just in time for winter, when the birds need shelter from the rain and cold weather here in Melbourne.  Our aviaries were well constructed in the first place, but the metal roof only extended half way across, leaving the front section open to the weather, which we thought was a good idea at the time, giving the birds access to rain and sunshine.  The disadvantages are that outside birds such as noisy miners, crows, butcher birds, etc. land on the wire section of the roof, leave their droppings, and scare the birds inside the aviary.  Also, when it rains, the front section of the aviary became a quagmire, messy and smelly.  The man who built our chook house came back and paved the back section of the aviaries, and put a fibreglass roof over the whole bank of aviaries,  covering them from front to back, with an overhang at each end.  So they are now doubly insulated against the weather, and the floor stays dry.  We wish we'd been able to afford to do this right from the start!

We have lost several birds this year.  Young Gouldian finches often die when it is extremely cold, and they have left the nest too young.  The Turquoisine female died of unknown causes, one Scarlet Chested male escaped (flew out past me when I was half way out of it's aviary) and the pair of Princess Parrots both got out when Ken left the door unlocked when he came inside to take a phone call.  I went back out an hour later and saw the door slightly ajar.  Found the three Cockatiels sitting on the perch at the back of the aviary, gazing at me as if to say "aren't you lucky that we stayed inside"!  

Ken has been busy this year, buying, selling and swapping birds with his friends at the Avicultural Society, some of whom live only ten minutes away by car.  As they breed mostly the same birds, they swap male for female as they need, as well as different coloured birds in a species.  Last week Ken acquired three more Turquoisine parrots - one pair, and one female to replace one that died.  He swapped some of his Scarlet Chested young parrots for the Turks, so that saved both men quite a lot of money :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February 2016 Update.

I  must make more of an effort to keep this blog up to date.  So many things happen in aviaries in the course of the year, it is easy to miss hatches and matches while life goes on around you.
Our pair of young Scarlet Chested Parrots have been wonderful parents.   They reared five young birds in their first clutch - 3 males and 2 females.  Then she went down again, and hatched four more,  so we have seven young Scarlets as well as their parents.  Ken will eventually sell some of these at the Avicultural Society, to make room in the aviaries for this year's young ones as it looks like she will be a prolific layer.

Ken sold 15 canaries and 20 quail late last year, which has taken the pressure off the other birds.  We could hardly walk inside the aviaries without nearly treading on quail, after they had gone mad and kept laying and hatching babies!  They are so cute and we enjoyed seeing them, but once they grow up, they are like mice and keep breeding.  So he has another 30 to sell, and will just keep one male and two females in each aviary for now.  They will breed too, but this time he plans to control them by removing eggs once the female is sitting on half a dozen.

The canaries also had a breeding frenzy last year, so it was good to get rid of the majority of them, as while they can be kept with the Gouldian Finches, the canaries can be aggressive, and are always the first to get to the food when we put fruit and veg. in the avaries.  While the Gouldians don't starve, we don't like seeing them pushed out of the way by the slightly bigger canaries!

Last week Ken succumbed to temptation and bought a pair of Turquoisines from a member of the Society at the meeting.  K. had brought them along to the meeting to see if anyone would be interested, and Ken was very much interested, but hesitated, as he worries about overcrowding his birds.  When I came over to have a look I said straight away  "'Oh, you must buy them, they are beautiful!" So he did.

Fortunately the Neophema family of parrots are very docile, and live happily with the finches in the same aviaries.