December 2010 Breeder's Notes
Canaries Sing for the GDD
I have been contacted by a few canary breeders about their success using The Green Day Diet. It’s a natural, as it brings out some vibrant colors, making the various types more striking than ever. My friend, Rhonda Russell, sent me this picture a couple of days ago. One of the three chicks popped up beside mom. They have gotten so big, so fast, Rhonda says, that they have pushed mom right off the nest when they got a little rambunctious. I was also sent a picture of an agate canary that was rescued from a consignment at her local pet store. It looked malnourished, the feathers askew, but Rhonda saw the potential. By the second day at her place, the agate had discovered the delights of the diet and has been gorging himself ever since. I have the before pictures and once he is rehabilitated and has a molt, we’ll get the after pictures and show a comparison.
Preparing for the Unexpected
Recently, I read that the most common accident for those of us 65 and over was a fall. Well, sure enough, I tripped over a lawn sprinkler that hadn’t retracted after watering and landed smack dab on the cement sidewalk, my right shoulder taking the brunt of it. The shoulder didn’t appear dislocated, and didn’t show on my family doctor’s x-rays. But the arm wasn’t healing so I went to a bone and joint specialist who saw the shoulder did dislocate, returned inside the socket and was misaligned. The bone was damaged. A surgery date was set.
I had a couple of days to practice working single-handedly and kept the partially working hand at my side. I needed to find out what I could and couldn’t do with one hand, as my other would be in a sling as the shoulder healed. I looked for a workaround for anything that would normally require two hands, and by surgery day was still not confident I could feed and water the birds. I wasn’t convinced I could pull it off and thought I might need help. The most complicated part of preparing The Green Day Diet is the egg food, so I made “lots” of it until my freezer was pretty full.
The doctor told me that I would have to stay in the hospital 24 hours after the surgery. I filled all of the seed cups the night before the repair job, got up early and put extra helpings on the birds’ breakfast plates and gave them fresh water. All was set for an extended time the harried waiter wouldn’t show up. I think you know that when I show up with the first tray of food plates, all of the finches are chirping, “me, me, me!”
I was surprised when I woke up from surgery and my driver was sitting there in the recovery room. It looks like the surgery went well enough that I didn’t need to be observed. The good news is that I never skipped out on feeding everyone. And my practice runs using one hand did pay off.
A friend came over and chopped vegetables the next day, but it was apparent he wasn’t a kitchen person and his prep time was a little bit of agony for both of us. The next day I propped a head of cabbage up against my stomach for support and chopped away. The broccoli was easy, and although a little tedious, the collards got chopped down small enough to perform well in the food processor.
I’ve since been allowed a 6”x12” window where I can move my arm, as long as I keep the sling on and my elbow remains at my side. Progress.
The point of my story is that we can all have an emergency where we have to leave our birds. Instead of panicking, if we step back and look at the situation, we can many times figure out how we can change our feeding routine a little bit, or if not, decide to call in someone to help. The more prep we can do for these people, the better the chance that all of our charges will survive, even if we have to cut back the feeding to seed and water for a few days. That happened to be my worst case scenario. I couldn’t see someone unfamiliar with my birds, plating up different-sized portions of the breakfast and getting the correct size to match the number of finches in a cage.
My driver had already been lined up, as he had taken me to the hospital a month previously for what they call an epidermal puncture, where they use a long needle to get to the spine and put some steroids where there is inflammation—in my case the L5. Another friend volunteered to help and I agreed without asking him if he could handle a knife and a food processor. He did turn out to be a big help with emptying a 50# bag of seed into its container, taking out trash and moving a few things around. He’s even become interested in raising finches! What I didn’t have him do is clean cages, as that is not exactly a proper introduction to our feathered friends. I’m managing…