An update on the Finches!

March 31, 2010 at 1:40 pm (Finches!)

The female finch that was born last month is doing really great! She’s thriving in her new home, although I feel the “pet shop birds” are teaching her bad habits. She’s fluffy and cute and is getting along well. Both of her parents feed her still – which is interesting to see. They are also teaching her how to feed herself.

The dipshit finches in the other nest have not made out so well.  All along, I’ve known they weren’t the smartest birds. Or the most caring. A lot of the fighting between the males is caused by this male and the female is just as argumentative. She laid three eggs a few weeks ago, all three hatched. One of the babies didn’t make it, so she threw it out of the nest (mother nature is so cruel!). Two of the babies appeared to do quite well. I was amazed she’d actually accomplished sitting on the eggs long enough so they could hatch. I noticed a horrible smell coming from the cage the other day so I took the flashlight to see if the babies were still in there. Finches have been known to eat their babies (WTF!) so I was concerned this might have happened. Except, it was much worse than I could have dreamed. Both babies were dead – I’m pretty sure they starved to death. Their bodies were starting to break down in the nest and I needed to get them OUT as soon as possible.

Getting rid of dead animals in our house has become… interesting. The fishes were flushed, no one had a problem with that. When the kitten died (during birth), we buried it in the back yard. The baby finch died and the boys (along with their cousins) found a spot in the backyard and buried it as well. I was certain the boys would want the same for the two baby finches. I have not told them the babies died, nor did I tell them I dumped their tiny little bodies in the garbage. I would have, but the bodies were decomposing and stinky and it was raining and cold last night. The last thing I wanted to do was have a burial in the backyard for the babies.

You have to be sneaky as a parent, sometimes. While they were watching Planet 51 (thanks Grandma!) I took the nest out of the cage and dumped their little bodies in the garbage. I was contemplating the compost, but felt that wasn’t a good idea. I needed to get rid of the smell and since Michael wouldn’t do it, I had no choice.

So as it stands right now, I have 4 adults and a fledgling. I’m waiting for the parents to start pecking at the fledgling, when that happens – I need to move her to a different cage. Maybe they’ll have more babies, maybe they won’t. Everyone seems to be happy, including the murderous pair of imbeciles – so I guess I’ll just wait to see what happens. In the meantime, I’m going to try and go to a bird show. I think it’s time to expand my finch birds!

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A few new things at the house

March 19, 2010 at 11:53 am (Finches!)

We’ve had quite a few events happening at the ol’ homestead. First, I got a new car.

It's a sweet ride!

The BMW was breaking down on a regular basis and it gets to a point when you’ve gotta say “enough is enough!” Last week, I added oil; on Monday I got a warning “check engine oil.” Same thing that happened four weeks ago. Just spent $650 on a new water pump… what a waste of money.  So, the pacific is a welcomed change in our household. I completely blew the boys’ minds yesterday. I went to pick them up from baseball practice and told them they were riding with me. That was met with a ton of whining and complaining… until I open the door to the Pacific! Brody said “is this for real? or is this a rental?” I said it was for real, then showed them all the cool things the seats do…. like flipping over to let in 3rd row passengers. The leg room! The head room! The drink holders (there are 6, thank you very much). I would have loved a sun roof…

I can seat 6 in this bad boy!!  6!!!

And, the baby bird who was disgusting and gross when he first hatched has morphed into something beautiful! At least I think he’s a he and not a she. But whatever.

He/She doesn't have a name yet

He/She is a sweet little thing. I was slightly confused and thought he/she was at the “get me out of this nest” stage; if that were the case, I needed to move him/her to a new cage so he/she didn’t get killed by his/her parents or the crabby neighbors. After checking the ever wise internet, I determined this little one needed to stay with his/her momma for a few more weeks.

The spot pattern on the tail is definitely the same as his/her dad (thank goodness there won’t be a paternity suit). I wasn’t really sure how birds mated – you can find that explanation here (caution: it’s not very romantic).  Apparently, these feathers will fall off (called molting) and the adult feathers will come in. Which is when I’ll be revealing the sex of the new addition. Fortunately, this story of life is NOTHING like when the kittens were born. I am happy to say I will be keeping this new little bird and… the other one that hatched yesterday…

What is it with me and animals having babies at my house?

Mom called me the local ornithologist and the nutritionist at the Petco thinks I’m a goddess. Apparently, Finches don’t have babies right away and when they lay eggs, it takes a couple of tries for things to turn out correctly.  Whatever, I guess I have a way with animals and their mating habits. And succulents.  And lemon trees.

So, back to the nestling… I went to take both nests out of the cage. As much as I love the baby birds, I just cannot handle the aggression the adults show towards each other during this period. Now, along with beating the crap out of each other, they have started ripping the others’ nests apart. It’s like a freaking soap opera. When I took the other nest down (the one that this bird did NOT come from) I found a newly hatched bird inside. Along with two other eggs (I was so tempted to take them out of the nest, but I don’t need the bad karma). I can’t tell if the other eggs are going to hatch or not. Since eggs are laid at the rate of 1 per day, I’m giving these other eggs a few more days. I am surprised (completely) any egg hatched at all. The pair of finches responsible for said egg have been the worst and most neglectful parents EVER.  Miracle of all miracles has occurred. We’ll see if the bird survives.

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What is it with my animals having babies?

March 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm (Finches!)

If you compare a cat having kittens, to a bird having a hatchling… well, there really is no comparison.  The cat was seriously hectic. Lots of activity, mewing, placenta, embryonic sacs, and the ingestion of said objects (I still vomit a little in my mouth every time I think of it). Not to mention 8 weeks of constant mewing, the fleas the mother brought home with her (a reminder of her dirty weekend), finding homes for said kittens and the momma cat eating their poop. blech.

With the birds… not so much. So far, it’s been stress free. Completely stress free.

It all started about 2 weeks ago. The birds had been fighting relentlessly. I thought it was because 1 pair had a nest and the other pair didn’t. The odd thing was, the nest had been in there with the original pair – they showed NO interest in the nest. The newer pair took right to the nest and set up shop.  FAST. To stop the fighting, I was going to do what any normal parent would do – put the nests next to each other and FORCE them to get along (for the love of GOD!).  Because the cage is enormous, the best thing to do is to take one thing down from one side, put it in the middle, go to the other side and retrieve the said item. I voted this job to Michael. He stuck his hand in the cage and removed the nest from the side of the cage, he put it in the middle, and as the cage rolled, three little eggs almost fell out of the nest. I immediately started jumping up and down and screaming with delight “eggs! eggs! eggs! there are eggs! in there!!!” So he put the nest back where we found it and promptly told me to stop screaming like a little girl! Helloooooo

She laid about 6 eggs or so, I only know this number because we found 5 eggs on the floor of the cage. I read a few websites and found that once she laid the eggs, the gestation period was about 12-15 days (give or take). On Saturday, we were on about day 16 so I figured I’d clean the nest of all the unhatched eggs – because I assumed the birds would be horrible parents. They were barely in the nest, choosing to spend their time dive-bombing the other pair of finches. As I picked up the nest to take it out of the cage, I looked inside and found the tiniest hatchling moving around. I put the nest back and immediately started jumping up and down!!  A baby! In the nest! The finches aren’t stupid! They’ve managed to hatch an egg… in between all the fighting – where’d they find the time?! It’s amazing! I can’t believe one hatched!

He/She has no feathers and looks sort of like this.  The only difference is our little finch has this yellow thing around it’s neck. It reminds me of those neck things you use on long road trips – or on the airplanes. Basically, it’s a repository for food. It’s big and yellow and deposits food in the birds tummy when it’s parents are out foraging for food. In our case, it deposits food when the parents are out fighting with the other pair of finches.

Apparently, according to the nutritionist at Petco, we must have a happy place for our finches. Most hens do not lay eggs and when they do – those eggs do not hatch. To have an egg hatch, in a home setup… with nothing special – is, well… special.  🙂 Pictures to come when the little fella is more presentable.

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