October 16th, 2005

getting into shamaism - 2nd day

A gentle patting on my nose of a paw with sharp claws all extended woke me up this morning. I realised I had my pillow over my head covering my ear this time. So Ivan used his other time tested technique to play his role as his self appointed duty of my personal alarm clock.

I had removed YS dry food bowl and cricket bowl the evening before and washed them. I prepared carefully measured amount of dry food to see how much he will eat. I then placed the dry food in and was clearing the many dead crickets that he rejected that fell through the bottom grating of the cage to the litter tray below. The dead ones were the frozen crickets.

I noticed two crickets were still moving and alive although paralysed.

YS was hungry and he started on his dry food. Since YS was hungry, I knew for sure the two live crickets will be eaten by him. I used the chopstick to hold it in the cage. YS was still not that used to me yet and he stayed away. That was alright with me that he needed more time. But you understand that I liked to check.

I drop that still alive cricket into his cricket bowl, went back to my armchair. YS then hopped on the cricket bowl, took that out and went back to the perch and I sat expecting he would eat it then as he was hungry.

He dropped that cricket again to the bottom.

Then a lightbulb went off in my head.

I recalled the photo in the chief guru of shama David De Souza's webpage that showed newspaper in the cage and not under the grating as in the case of parrot. I then thought of Taufik aviary where the floor was solid with no grating either. Then I realised YS may need a solid floor instead of a grating floor. I quickly place newspaper on the grating, retrieved that cricket and tried again.

YS picked that from the cricket bowl, dropped that cricket to the newspaper now on top of the grating, and dropped down to peck at it and ate that cricket.

Then I thought what an idiot I was yesterday.

I mentioned my friend CM who came over and we were trying to feed YS with the thawed crickets. YS took the cricket out and dropped that to the floor , which went through the grating. We kept on trying and trying until in panic, we decided to get live crickets. I was wondering why YS ate only the smaller crickets. But now I realised the smaller ones could be easily swallowed

Ok, now another secret from me. It is very difficult to try catching live cricket with chopsticks especially when you do not want to squash the cricket in the process. If you do not care to take my word, try doing that yourself.

I also did not like the idea of live cricket being torn apart even if that was towards the lofty goal of keeping YS well and healthy and thought I minimise their anguish too. So I quickly dismantled a mosquito electric zapper. Those kind of zapper is like a tennis racket with steel wires electrified that you wave at mosquitoes to stun and kill them. I quickly rigged up a makeshift cricket zapper with two wire sticking out. That worked like a charm. It stunned the cricket making it easier to pick up with chopsticks. Those stunned crickets also could not crawl out of the cricket bowl like the few I put in earlier.

And being paralysed, they did not crawl off the litter tray below and make my house their home unlike the earlier few that I could not catch in time. But I guess Ivan will take care of those escapees eventually should they be unlucky to craw out of the flight room into the apartment.

And YS was happy that he could now get to the newspaper floor to finish off those crickets that he dropped there.

I felt so sorry for the frozen dead crickets who died in vain and did not go onto becoming part of YS because I was, and still am, on the learning curve of shamaism.

A CD player was already part of the room and playing Sarawakian Sape trance music. I was dragged screaming by CM to listen to this which I feel in love with within a minute. CM's wife came from Sarawak and that was why he got to know of this music. If you followed me on this blog, CM was the guy who persuaded me to join him in holiday in Sarawak last December and there I was with my wife instead of diving in Thailand when that tsunami struck last year.

Check and listen to that sape music here and to buy that CD

You will love it. Maybe your shama will pick up this and use it in their song instead of the sound of flushing toilets that one owner complained he got from his shama after he kept him near his toilet.

So today was a much better day than the first day.

I defrosted the frozen crickets and dropped that into that bowl now and then. He ate the small ones, dropped the bigger ones down to the floor to break and eat there. So the rest of the forzen crickets can be content they did not die in vain and will get to live again as part of a beautiful shama.

I learned paper must be placed on the floor so crickets could be eaten. YS ate well from the dry food when I took that bowl in this evening to check and wash.

He accepted me but is still shy of me, but this is only the second day.

I think it augers well.

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