Although I haven’t been writing much - more about that later, maybe, one day – anyway, life in the aviary has been going on at full speed.
The budgies didn’t really think they needed a winter break; they just kept breeding! My son has by now sold nine or ten budgies. But we have since realised we will have to keep their numbers down to our original two pairs. They are quite invasive little buggers. The move into the cockatiel nests, the princess parrots’ nests and our budgies start breeding at something like 8 months old already. They breed like mice!
Talking about mice, like the rest of Australia, we haven’t been spared by the mice plague. While we manage our chooks and ducks’ food in on-demand feeders, which are mostly mouse-proof, the aviary is a totally different problem. Not only is their food open, but the birds also mess a lot! We just had mouse tunnels from everywhere leading into the aviary. So we started trapping around the aviary and also inside. But the challenge was that we had to set the outside traps where the dogs couldn’t get to them and the inside ones where the birds couldn’t be trapped by accident. Can you imagine the devastation if we trapped one of our own birds! So we hide the traps behind the feeders outside and inside we place them under little covers.
For a while we were catching 4-5 mice a night. We’re now down do about one every second night.
Talking about mice, we took the last of the three latest budgies to Victorian Bird Company to sell them there. It’s always risky going there with the family – you never know what you are going to come back with. In this case we were looking for a mate for Twist, our Bourke parrot, and we were looking for a female white cockatiel as Riki turned into a beautiful and quite randy boy as he matured.
They didn’t have either, so of course we came home with the unexpected – a pair of California Quails, now named Quasi and Quoin. The interesting little side benefit we may have is that there are some urban rumours (and youtube video clips) of quails killing mice. So we may just get a bit of natural ecological balance going on in the aviary. The quails are quite interesting – they have some chicken-like characteristics.
Oh and we replaced some of the plants in the aviary too. Life lesson 101 as the kids call it – keep them watered, and whatever isn’t covered will be demolished! So the approach is now, whatever grows through the screens the birds can demolish, but we’ll keep the plants alive inside the screens.
The greatest news is that our princess parrots, Itch and Patch, have started laying. Itch seems the very doting father figure. He’s guarding the nest like a soldier, fighting the budgies off who want to move in there, even though there are 4 small lay boxes open. It seems some of budgies are like some people too – they always want bigger and better!
That’s all for now folks!