November 15th, 2005

Conditioning clicker day 3 - and some tips on suris

I am a creature of habit, or just morbid curiousity. I did say yesterday that I would not bother to weigh YS bowl anymore.

But I did that first thing when I woke up, and way after YS woke up, but before Ivan got to me.

YS bowl remained at 39.2 and control still at 36.5 gm indicating that YS did not eat that dry mash. I weighed YS and found him to be 34.4 gm. What can I say. His weight is high and obviously he was not hungry enough to take the mash.

So I got rid of that and gave him fresh YS mash of 1.4 gm for total weight of 39.2 gm. I just did not bother with control anymore. So I replaced that bowl back on the perch next to me placing in it 1.4 gm of Claus making a total of 36.5 gm.

Found lots of newly moulted mealworms beetles or whiteys in the pupae box. Those that are older and dark were not liked by YS and they got placed back into the mealworms box to make more mealworms. Whiteys are separated to smaller box with YS watching me very intently. He came on alert when I picked the clicker and he tensed with the click. Only when I called 'Yingshiong, come' that he flew to me to get that whitey, or the suri.

When I took too long a break, he would fly to the table and sing softly to me. He broke my resolve and he got more click and treat than I wanted to give him. A whitey is about as big as a sunflower seed. Tinkerbell at about 440 grams got one sunflower seed per click. YS at 34 grams getting a whitey would be like Tink getting 15 sunflower seeds per click.

That was meant to be just a treat. Instead, YS got a big hamburger equivalent each time.

The whiteys are fixed in size, short of cutting them into icky tiny portions. Even though there were smaller suris, it would not be practical to try to give small suris. My fingers and thumbs were huge. I could not hold suris that are too small.

YS trained me very well too. I tried to increase the time between the sessions of conditioning the clicker.

I tried to go elsewhere, but he would scream chair chair chair until I was back with him. When I was in the flight room, he sang softly to me in a song I recognised as a 'give me click and treat' song. YS have gotten to be my friend too. I liked the way he would fly to me and hover to get his treats.

This was fun and emotionally binding exercise. YS always ended up with more click and treat per session than I planned.

I noticed a new song sequence from YS. It was a haunting 4 note that I could not figure out. Until the CD of Andes flute came to one particular track. Then it was clear to me that YS lifted that sequence from that track. Truely haunting. I need to get a recorder and figure how to put that here for you guys to listen to.

Even though I placed back the Sarawakian Sape music, YS still sang that sequence, almost as if he was trying to place it into his accompaniment for the sape music.

Near the end of the day, I weighed the YS bowl of dry mash. To my surprise , the weight was 39.2 gm with no change. Perhaps the moisture was drained dry when it was in the freezer as this was the last from the little bag.

I had a bigger surprise when I weighed Claus bowl to find it at 35.7 gm or a drop of 0.8 gm. Since I did drop treats into this bowl for him to fly to (in addition to the bowl on very wobbly perch, he might have taken some food from here too.

His weight was 36.2 gm with his last click and treat about an hour ago.

Did two more C&T with a fat suri and whitey to see his weight at 36.5


Had some exchanges on another board that I thought I blog into here as well.
That was the board which assisted me giving URLs to starling diet.

That may be of help if you are going to use suris.

I wrote

> At 08:24 PM 11/11/2005, you wrote:
> Lynne,
> :-)
> Forming a companionship with a insectivore shama is not
> for those weak in the stomach. In the photos that you saw,
> I used a tweezer or otherwise, my hand would block the shots.
> He prefered me to use my fingers. Holding a mealworm or mealworm
> beetle is ok. But he really love thos surinam cockroaches.
> I had a bad phobia of roaches. Believe me, its difficult to put
> that phobia behind me. Even though those suris are very unlike
> the normal roaches (look like a cross between bedbug and small
> madagascar hissing roach, it took me a while before I could hold
> And what is worse, the suris do run. So when you are getting one,
> you got to be so careful the others do not run off.
> Can you imagine getting a sunflower seed and the other seeds
> legs and scurry away?
> Shanlung

Then CF was kind enough to add

> CF <tbird861@c...> wrote:OK, for the weak of stomach or roach
phobics, don't go to this site, but if you are interested in what
Shanlung is feeding his shama, here's a picture of the Surinam
roach: (click
on the picture to enlarge it). The biggest ones are about 3/4 inch
long, smaller than what can be found in houses here in the States,
plus the Surinam is nearly always going to be found outside in the
> CF

Me morbid curiosity got the better of her to go there and came back with


I then added

Date: Sun Nov 13, 2005 9:05 am
Subject: Re: Update on YingShiong and his mash. - Me - some tips




I did warn that look like a disgusting cross between a bedbug. Only
shamas, and those who really like/love shamas, love those suris.

CF also added dire warnings against looking at them too.

Even suppliers of live food must bave the attitude of Me as they do
not stock those suris even if they have other creepy-crawlies for

Which meant suris are passed from other shama fanciers to new guys
like me in starter culture that you will treat as family heirlooms.

If you freeze them, you aint going to get more suris. The way
Yingshiong loves them, I need to ensure those suris go on to generate
more suris until the moment when they are gloriously incorportated as
part of Yingshiong.

Should the day come when you have shama in your house, I like to give
some tips how to handle the suris.

Think of them not as the horrid creatures that start with letter C or
letter R.

Think of them instead as cutie-wutie scurrying cartoon entities such
as from those Japanese Pokimon cartoons that are so lovable and
huggable so that you can at least pick up with your fingers.

No blindfolds allowed. You need to see and stop escapees so they do
not join the other escapees in your flight room.

You cannot hold them loosely in your fingers. The suri has this
amazing ability to wriggle and wiggle loose to join the escapees.

You do not wish to hold them too tightly either. Yingshiong will
take them off whole from your fingers. If you hold them too tightly,
the suri will be taken off in parts, with icky spillovers on your
fingers. That is where your mental image of cutie wutie nice
creatures will sunder apart and you realised you got something you do
not want on your fingers with stuff you do not care to think about
oozing on your fingers.


Lynne got back to ask

"yeahhh... like that would keep me out of your posts...



wonder how they got such a nice name... suris...

i mean the C R things... that isn't a nice name at all - but i could manage to ask for suris.


Lynne should not wonder anymore. I coined up that name of suris.

I am vocal with YS. I have a phobia with that C or R thing. I just cannot call YS happily with "YingSHiong, come get this C or R". My mind would just rebel at that thought and I would feel all disgusted inside and I could not think nice thoughts to YS.

Suri just sounded so much better, and so cute too.

I rather hold a suri in my fingers and call to YS "YS come get this nice suri".

The mind games I got to play to toady up to YS !

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