Thursday, May 31, 2012

BIRDYlicious Creations review.

I put the BIRDYlicious Creations new toys I got for Mika in his cage this past weekend.  He has taken a liking to the Big Squeak and Chime N' Tug, most likely because they both have long chains and bells, which he really likes, and they are strategically placed in spots he likes to hang out.  I often hear him shoving and clanging the bells on the Big Squeak and I always find him napping between the chains of the Chime N' Tug (just like he does with his Grey Feather Toys Groovaliscious).

I also saw him shove the Pond Life, placed by his water dish, for the first time yesterday but by the time I grabbed my phone to take a picture he had moved away.  I haven't seen him go to the Garden Cup, which is placed by his boing, yet but I'm sure he'll shove it eventually.  Hehe.  I am very happy with the purchase and it's pretty safe to say Mika is too!  :D

Big Squeak

"You can't see me..."

Chime N' Tug

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer break = heaving Mika.

This is a long post...  beware.  :P

Summer has officially started for me and I will be home for two months!  This is the time I look forward to every year!!  I truly am a homebody (much to my bf's chagrin LOL) and love nothing more than to be home all day with my babies.  Unfortunately, this is also the time of year that Mika's violent heaving goes into full force.  Even with controlling the amount of affection we show him, the mere fact that I am present 24/7 for an extended period of time is enough to kick it into high gear.

For those that don't know, Mika has a couple of issues - a compromised immune system, no thanks to former vets, and "hormonal overload".  The compromised immune system is due to Mika having been on different broad-spectrum antibiotics for a WHOLE YEAR.  Why a whole year?  Because one Exotics vet, and then an Avian vet, could not figure out why Mika was continually heaving.  And... stupid me...  I put my trust in these vets so I never questioned them.  

I remember that the heaving started while Kano (RIP) was still alive.  Kano was my rescue Creamino lovebird.  It began soon after I started my current job four years ago, a job that allowed me to be home more often.  I worked one hour less per day and had Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer break off.  I, along with the previous vets, didn't imagine that it could be hormonal because he doesn't heave like he's regurgitating to feed me.  I know what "I love you" or "let me feed you" regurgitation looks like.  No.  What Mika does is whole body, violent/spasm-like, painful-looking heaving.  

It wasn't until my current bf came along that, with the help of a very knowledgeable lovebird expert in Florida and some online research, he figured out what was wrong with him - hormonal overload, so to speak.  Mika is SO bonded to me that he can't control his heaving. 

Unfortunately, by the time it was all figured out, Mika's yearly gram stains/C&S's ALWAYS show something.  While he was completely fine prior to this, he has never had a clear gram stain since being on antibiotics for a whole year.  We are somewhat anal people that keep a clean, but not sterile, home.  Clean food, clean water, liners changed daily...  yet, somehow, every single year - or sometimes more than once a year - he gets SOMETHING while Raptor remains healthy.  My current Avian vet said there is no scientific evidence that being on continual antibiotics damages your immune system, but there is a REASON human doctors try to avoid us on back-to-back antibiotics ourselves.  We don't need Ph.D.'s to put two and two together.  The lovebird expert in Florida, along with other experienced lovebird owners on a forum, was extremely surprised Mika survived having had that much antibiotics in a year.

We have tried rounds of Lupron shots two years in a row to try to lessen his hormones.  The first year, it lessened a little but it made no difference the second year.  In the end, the only thing we can do to help lessen it is by not touching him AT ALL.  No scritches (I was never one to give full body rubs/scritches ever, just the head, so it's not like he was getting riled up that way), no beak rubs, no letting him nap cuddled up under our chins or in the crook of our elbows, nothing.   When we follow that strict regiment during our normal work schedule, his violent heaving tapers.  It never completely stops, but at least he's able to maintain his weight and I don't have to watch him day in and day out looking like he's in pain.  He doesn't cry out so I don't THINK he's in pain, but it just looks painful and I end up crying half the time.

Anyway, it really is hard for us to follow that strict regiment every single day.  Mika is my boy.  We have shared over 10 years together.  He is the love of my life.  How can I not give him a little scritch on the head here and there or let him sleep against my skin because he's already squatted and dozing off?  Both my bf and I fall off the wagon sometimes.  The bf more than myself... and, if it was too much, we'll see the resulting heaving for days after.  Mika so desperately wants our affections so I always have mixed feelings about giving in.  I want him to know he's loved but I don't want him heaving.

Now that summer is here again, even if I don't touch him at all the whole two months, he will heave.  I will be doing my best to follow the illusion of having my work schedule, allowing Mika to be out and about in the bedroom but with the door closed so he can't see me until the time I usually come home from work.  We'll see if that helps at all.  

I've had numerous people ask, "Why don't you just get him a mate?"  My bf, my vet, and I wholeheartedly agree that a mate would do nothing for Mika.  Mika is a true "human" bird.  No matter what other lovebird comes along, he still always chooses me before being with another bird period.  Even when Kano was here, he unfortunately played second fiddle to me.  We've tried to shack Mika up with a couple of females in the past and he still always chose me.  I am his chosen one.  So, no, a mate is not the answer for him.

While Mika's situation can be a burden, both emotionally and financially, I would not trade him for the world.  He is my perfect little boy.  Look at him.  Would YOU be able to resist cuddling this ball of fluff my bf says "is softer than air"???

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sweet lychee.

Lychee seems to be harder to come by nowadays and I don't know why.  I remember eating lychee almost yearly as a kid during the season but, now, I can't remember when's the last time I've eaten it.  Well, I went to the grocery store yesterday and saw some so I chose the biggest, juiciest ones I could find - and man, they are expensive.  >_<  

Raptor has never had lychee before so I was really hoping he'd like it.  He took a bit to warm up to it but ate some after I modeled eating it for a minute.  He didn't eat it with the gusto he has for blueberries, but still ate some.  At least he's willing to try new things!

Hmmm...  what is this stuff??

I guess it's alright...

Meh.  I'm done now.  You can have the rest.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BIRDYlicious Creations.

A member on a bird forum I'm a member of recently started her own "noisy" toy (bells, chains, beads, etc) making business called BIRDYlicious Creations.  Normally I don't really stray from my tried and true Grey Feather Toys when it comes to noisy toys but I found several toys I thought were cute - and they came with the option of being made in stainless steel.  She is having a Grand Opening sale as well, so I figured I'd give her toys a shot!  

All four of these toys are for Mika, since he's the one that likes chains and bells.  (Not to leave Raptor out, he's got some toys from yet another new vendor that is currently processing - will blog when they arrive.)  Teasha, the owner, was extremely accommodating and answered any questions I had.  She was even wonderful enough to take my color requests.  These were all made with the s/s option.

Big Squeak

Pond Life

Chime N' Tug

Garden Cup

I'll probably put these toys in Mika's cage come next toy rotation.  I hope he likes them!  :)  Thank you very much, Teasha!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Shower coma.

Mika is the cutest little thing when he showers in the bath.  He stays extremely still, closes his eyes, and goes into a shower coma.  Hehe.  

Nice, clean, and WARM wrapped in a towel.  Love his spikey hair!!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Today's pics.

Just a couple of pictures from today.  :)

One of Mika's favorites - customized Grey Feather Toys Groovaliscious.

Raptor and his Things for Wings Watermelon Salad toy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Breakthrough with Raptor!

When Raptor first came home, he was pretty neutral and would let both my bf and I give him scritches.  Within a month of him being with us, he chose my bf as his "person" and refused to let me scritch him at all.  In fact, he would lunge and try to bite me - he even would try to trick me into giving him scritches by lowering his head for me and then lunging at me when my fingers came close.  He eventually started seeing me as competition and would get very jealous whenever the bf and I got close.  He wouldn't actively attack me, but he always made his presence known and would try to get between us. LOL  While my bf loves our birds, he's not a true "bird person" so he always asks me how I could have so much love for a bird that tries to bite me.  He doesn't understand that I take the relationship for what it is and I don't take his behavior personally.  

In the couple of years we've had Rappy, I've done my best to slowly build our relationship.  I'm the primary treat giver, I spend way more time with Raptor than the bf does, etc.  Still, the bf is the chosen and preferred person and that's okay with me.  The relationship had gotten a little better back in December during my Winter Break.  I was home the whole time so I was able to spend extra time with the birds.  It was during this time that Raptor allowed me to give him scritches using my wrist.  I kept a closed fist so that he wouldn't try to bite my fingers.  This was HUGE and I was so happy that our relationship had started taking forward steps!  Unfortunately, once Winter Break was over and I went back to spending my normal amount of time with him he regressed and I couldn't bring my hand/wrist near his head without his eyes pinning.

Well, I've been able to spend a little extra time with Raptor these past couple of weeks.  I've also been home for the past two and a half days from being sick so I've been spending a ton of time with the boys.  Today, I was laying in bed with Mika in his cage and Raptor on the living room playgym.  I definitely can't have them both out when I'm sick in bed.  I heard Raptor leave the playgym and head for the bedroom.  As usual, he sought to get to Mika's cage so he can kill.  I intercepted him while he was still on the floor and brought him on the bed with me.  

After a little while of just hanging out on my chest, he lowered his head for me.  I decided to take a chance and extended my wrist to scritch him - he allowed it!  After a while of that I decided to use the outside of my thumb, balling the rest of my fingers to prevent possible damage, to scritch him - he allowed it!  After a while of outer thumb scritches I decided to try to use the rest of my fingers - AND HE ALLOWED IT!!  I was amazed and ecstatic!  What a huge leap forward!!  I kept the scritches to short bursts just in case and, each and every time, he would lower his head again for more.  I would say I scritched him for a total of over five minutes before his attention turned back to wanting to kill Mika.

I do hope he continues to allow me to give him normal scritches, but only time will tell.  He seems to require a TON of extra time with me in order to be fully comfortable with me and, unfortunately, I can't quit my job just so I can give him scritches. LOL  Also, if I get any other job besides the one I have now, I'll have to be away from home at least an hour more a day and I won't have huge breaks (my current work schedule is 7 hours as full time with all holidays and school breaks off).  We seem to always take a step forward and a step back and I'm alright with that.  It can't be helped.  No matter what, I will continue to build our relationship at his pace and am willing to take forever if necessary.  :)