October 15th, 2005

learning what a shama eat

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YingShiong consists of 3 sounds

Ying- ryhmns with ring
Shiong = she + ong ryhmning with long

I woke up to Ivan my cat meowing right into my ear alternating with the rubbing of his cold cold nose on my ear as well. While I got up groggy, my first thought was it should not be. Ivan is a certified killer cat and when we were in Hongkong, I seen him chittering to lure birds in over the balcony and leaping 5-6 feet up to take down sparrows and pigeons.

My first concern was to protect YingShiong and the fencing of the flight area was one level of protection against Ivan.

YingShiong ( YS) cage is a cat cage, again against Ivan. As the bars of cat cage are an inch apart, I added the mesh to make sure YingShiong stay in his cage.

Being paranoid, and the first night, we kept Ivan in our bedroom but sealed up his cat door. Yesterday afternoon after YS came in, I allowed Ivan into the flight room to start the familiarization process. Ivan was tensed and leapt up and lunge towards the cage. That earned Ivan a severe chastisement and he went in disgrace to the spare room. That is the background. But bear in mind that Ivan is very intelligent. You find in one of my past reports how he realised a baby bat I was keeping until it could fly was part of family ( although he did kill the mother bat). That baby bat was kept in a bird cage to be released when it could fly. But one morning I woke up to find I forgot to close that cage door with the cage empty and I thought the bat was dead. I then heard squeaking and saw that bat hanging upside down on a suitcase edge between Ivan's paws and Ivan was actively protecting Batty from two other kittens in the house. Eventually Batty could fly and he flew off a few weeks later.

So I do feel Ivan will realise YS is family and untouchable, if he did not know that already. I maintain my vigilance at all times.

As Ivan was used to coming in and out of bedroom he howled and screamed at that blocked cat door. We needed our sleep and decided to lock him into the back and went back to sleep.

So there was where he should be instead of rubbing his cold cold nose on my ear. But he came out through a gap in a high window to do his morning ritual on me.

I went to find YS was ok in his cage and the flight area all ok too. Good to be double paranoid. Treble paranoia can be overkill and may not work either.

YS burst into song. I heard shama before. But hearing a song from your very own shama gives you a pride difficult to describe, unless you have your own shama and hearing him sing for you.

You do not see photos here as that area is still in a mess and I was too tired to clear that up to a point to take photos. As you know I am a good procrastinator, do not expect photos anytime soon.

I prepared and gave a blend of Claus and Sinlin that Taufik used to feed YS.
I moved the crickets frozen solid pouring them into a sealed tupperware and back into the freezer

YS was active hopping from perch to perch. I had my coffee and book to sit out with him to let him get more used to me.

Then I thought its time to drop a cricket in to let him know I provide delicious food. I had a couple of frozen cricket and place that on my thigh to thaw and warm.

To my shock, YS hopped over to that dish, took it in his mouth and drop it. Then I thought of my nicotine coated fingers. Got rid of the cricket and took a couple more with chopsticks. After thawing, it was a great relief that YS accepted that.

I went back to reading alternate with just talking, walking over and dropping a cricket.

I had no idea how many crickets should a shama eat and have to learn that. If crickets/insects are to be the bulk of his diet, it will be difficult if not impossible for me to withhold that to be used as treats. Perhaps I may need to cut that into small pieces. But since I have eaten and enjoyed crickets when I was in Taiwan by popping them into my mouth and not thinking about it too much, I will hate to cut that into pieces and recollect that was what I was eating, and enjoying.

My wife woke up later and was delighted with YS. YS was less delighted and remained away on the further side of the cage.

He had about 8 crickets by then. It is enjoyable to me too, to drop that in his dish and watch him come over.

He then took the cricket out, and dropped that to the floor.

That happened a few times. I felt sorry for the crickets became part of him, at least their deaths will be worth it, instead of taken and dropped in disdain.

I was getting worried why he did not take the crickets. In desperation, I took some frozen cricket to specially defrost in the fridge instead of outside.
That did not work either and YS kept rejecting them.

Then my friend, CM, that guy who provided the 2 triggers for me to get Tinkerbell came over to see the shama that entered my life.

I felt so worried YS was not eating that CM drove me over to buy live crickets.

With the live crickets, I thought all was well. Not easy to catch a live cricket but I did. I placed that into the food dish to see that cricket crawled off before YS got to it. I caught it again to place it back. YS got it this time, and to my surprise and horror, hopped to another perch and dropped that to the bottom of the cage. Then I thought may have been my nicotine contaminated fingers and try to use a pair of chopsticks to catch rapidly moving cricket.

That was not easy. When YS rejected that, it dawned on me that perhaps he had enough. I made a mistake thinking YS eat like Tinkerbell. YS eat like YS except this is my first day of YS and I had nothing to judge by.

I made a mental review of YS shit against David De Souza guide to interpreting the shama shit that all was well and perhaps I should have stuck with frozen crickets. Instead of now having a tank of live crickets cricketting away in the flight room and a bunch of frozen crickets in the freezer as well.

I am still learning the basics of shama101.

I need to get through this , hopefully with YS still alive and healthy before even thinking of training.