Cage-cleaning day. O yay.

Betrisher

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Jun 3, 2013
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Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
Today was the day! Every six months or so, I dismantle my cages and give them a thorough cleaning scrub, renewing all the toys and perches and mending whatever needs mending. Luckily, my cages have dividers, so we can shunt the birds to one side while we clean the other. My son, Matt, is my helper on these occasions. He does the hard bits like reaching up to the cage rooves or forcing perches into their slots.

The first thing that happened was that I had what my daughter calls 'an epitome'. I realised the gunk that comes out of the cage trays is actually pretty decent mulching material for my garden! It's just a mixture of cardboard confetti generated by Madge and Rosetta, mixed with poop and left-over food. Because of the shredded cardboard, it will soak up water nicely and work well on my veggies (I hope). So that was the First Good Thing.

All the birds' ropes need replacing, but the rope I bought (35mm) is just a fraction too fat to be able to fit it between the cage bars (25mm). Buggerit! So, I reckon I'll need to get some plastic pvc end caps which I can glue and screw over the rope-ends with hooked bolts and then hook them to the bars instead of looping them through. This should actually make better swings than the current ones. So that was the First Unfortunate Thing.

Next, we found algae in Rosetta's swimming pool, so I took that and gave it a good soak in some mild bleach, then filled it and sat it in the sun for a couple of hours (sunlight denatures chlorine). I did the Beaks' too, for good measure, so the pools are squeaky clean this evening. Second Good Thing. (NB. Here in the Oz summer, algae grows while you watch it! I change my birds' water three times a day, so the algae is not there because of bad cleaning practices.)

The birds had to use ice-cream containers while their swimming pools were being cleaned, so Rosetta took advantage of this to collect a great pile of shredded cardboard and plonk it straight into her clean water. For some weird reason, she just adores doing laundry and washes everything that's not nailed down! Second Unfortunate Thing.

Madge, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to bathe in a pool rather deeper than her three-inch deep stainless steel baking dish. She squidged herself into the ice-cream container and twisted about with great difficulty, wetting every inch of her pretty little self. Then, she climbed up to her hanging rope and - well - hung herself out upside-down to dry. Barney just ate. He's a boy and tends not to want to bathe as often as Madge does. He much prefers a nice shower under the hose and will turn himself into a pretzel in order to get 'rain' on all parts of his skin. Third Good Thing.

While Matt did all the hard work of cleaning the trays and scrubbing them, I got to work fashioning some new foot-toys out of large whiffle balls and some colourful acrylic dummies (pacifiers). I put six dummies on a split-ring and then attached two of these to each whiffle ball. I also made small ones for the Lovies, who love jingly things to play with. Unable to wait to see how my lovely new toys would be received, I hung them in the cages right away. Madge was totally disinterested, but Barney *immediately* got stuck into his whiffle ball, turning the whole thing into confetti within ten minutes and cracking the dummies off of their split rings in roughly the same length of time. Note to self: don't make those again. Although Rosetta is still enjoying hers as her bill isn't strong enough to crack off the acrylic dummies. We'll see if it's still in one piece tomorrow. Third Unfortunate Thing.

As *soon* as I put Madge's pool back in, she went for an exploratory bath. This time, she was unable to squat deeply enough to cover herself with water, so we added more. Of course, this meant she swamped her lovely new 'cage carpet' (used pizza boxes) with water. Didn't matter. It dried in no time: was 42ºC today.

Rosetta, on the other hand, was given the last pizza box to jump on. Her favourite thing is get on top of the closed box and - well - jump! She jumps and jumps and jumps and yells her little lungs out as she does it. I've tried to think of a way to make her a proper trampoline, but haven't quite hit on a workable plan just yet. If you have any ideas, they'd be most gratefully received!

Next, I hauled out the two new boings which I bought for the bargain basement price of only $6AUS on ebay. They arrived tightly wound (they're two metres long) and with very dodgy end treatments. This meant I had to pretty much unbuild the ends and rewind them with better wire than the awful stuff they'd been constructed with. I just used coathanger wire, but bound it tightly, burying the ends deep in the fluffy cotton and making sure there were no pointy bits or loops where a toe or bill could be caught. I removed the bells (I hate bells! Too dangerous!) and installed the boings.

Happy birdies! Madge and Rosetta got stuck right in - I guess it's a Girl Thing - while Barney continued to eat. Later, he came to enjoy some peanut butter off my fingertip and we had some quality time. I have a soft spot for my big green boy!

All that remained was to quickly whip through the Lovies' cage and install a new Slinky toy for them to play on. Their cage has been moved recently. It now sits directly outside my window (I'm looking at them as I type) and they take great pleasure in watching my every movement. They sit in line on their long perch and blink as I type or play a game. If I happen to get up and move away, they *yell* at me to come back! The Lovies are really cute and I spend rather a lot of time enjoying their antics. Lovebirds really enjoy active toys and the Slinky has been their favourite to date!

So now all our cages are clean and re-stocked. The birdies are settling down for the evening, although Rosetta's evening squawking session hasn't taken place yet. The wild flocks come over around quarter to seven and she yells at them for a good half-hour before finally shutting up for the night. It's hot, so I won't cover the cages tonight. I hope it's a bit cooler tomorrow. And... Yep! There goes 'Setta! It's quarter to seven! 'Skraaarkskraaark - skraaarkskraaark - skraaarkskraaark - skraaarkskraaark'. O my poor ear-drums! :22_yikes:
 

LaManuka

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Hang on just a cotton pickin' second. Cage cleaning day when it's 42C??? Are you COMPLETELY insane???!??? I was exhausted just from reading your post! It's gonna be 35C in Brisbane today and I have a few household chores to do but I intend to get it all done before 8am and after that i'm not moving a muscle! I hope those birds of yours at least showed some gratitude for all your hard yakka!

You southern types are all NUTS!!! :eek:
 
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Betrisher

Betrisher

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Jun 3, 2013
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Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
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My Matthew is autistic, so he depends on rules and timetables to get by. Cage Cleaning Day had arrived and so therefore it *had* to be done. (Wasn't so bad. We had the hose to cool off with). :)

Also, I like to spend time with the birds on these foul hot days, just so I know they're OK. We had non-stop violent thunderstorms all night and today is stinking hot with about 120% humidity. What's with the bl**dy weather???
 

LaManuka

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I have a pet theory about our weather patterns, it seems to be they’re moving south in my opinion. Brisbane feels more and more like Rockhampton every year and you folks down around Newcastle and Sydney are copping more of the violent thunderstorms that our region used to be infamous for, like what happened down there last night.

Meanwhile I’ve decided the best way to deal with housework during all this heat and humidity is to have someone else do it for me. “His” name is Arnie (hubby’s idea) and “he” is one of those robotic vacuum cleaners :) “He” is in the corner charging up for “his” first run as we speak. We live in an old post-war home and I am sick to death of the wooden floors being covered in a light film of dust and bird bits literally within an hour of my cleaning it so this seemed to be the most logical solution. Hubby wants to stick eyes and flashing lights on it - I can only assume he does actually want to give Fang a heart attack!
 
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bigfellasdad

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Jeez that's hot! Those temperatures could be in Fahrenheit and I'd nod and say that's a nice fresh day.

Cage cleaning, I wipe down every week with a bird friendly cleaner soaked cloth and once a month a jet wash the whole cage outside, cleaning/replacing toys and perches as needed
 
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Betrisher

Betrisher

Well-known member
Jun 3, 2013
4,246
61
Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Parrots
Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
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Yeah, it's been that hot since December. Gettin' a bit old, y'know?

I don't know how the wild birds fare in weather like this - surely it affects them negatively in some ways - because my birds are usually uncomfortable and grateful for fans and wet sheets on the cages. Yet, at the same time, there are spotted turtledoves lying (yes, lying!) on the corrugated iron carport roof with wings outstretched and drinking in the sun. And they're European imports!
 

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