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Tinkerbell Legacy - Living with a flying parrot

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3rd day of shamaism - photos of YS
shanlung

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The cat did not wake me up this morning.

But when I opened my eyes, Ivan was on the floor staring at me. His tail was flicking right and left in great annoyance that I spoiled his fun. He meowed loudly and turned and stalked away as if in great disgust.

I measured out YS dry food, took a couple of crickets to thaw and took all that with my breakfast to the flight area. YS was hungrily waiting for me. I placed the dry food bowl into the ring, hung that cricket dish, and hand my coffee and breakfast while talking to him. Sometimes better to talk to him than my wife. At any rate, my wife talked more often , and in sweeter tones to Ivan than to me.

The cricket thawed while YS started with the dry food. I deliberately selected a small one and a larger one. I placed the small cricket in the dish and sat back. YS prefered me not to seat too near him at this time yet.

But over the next few days, I will shift my chair a few inches closer and closer each day.

Yesterday, I tried handfeeding him with chopstick just to do a bit of test. My wife Joy, shot a few photos and you can see her shots of YS in

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shimmertje/sets/1149687/

You can see the cage arrangement. The lower perch has the water, and the upper perch has dry food on one side in the smaller bowl and the cricket dish is the larger bowl. I know I should have taken thinner sticks for the perch. That will be fixed later.


YS then picked the smaller cricket, hop back to the lower perch , bang it about on the perch and swallow it.

After a while, and a few more pages of the novel I was reading, and adjusting the CD to recycle the sape trance music, the other larger cricket was given. YS took that and dropped to the floor with it. Releasing the cricket, he was pecking it about to dismember the legs. Instead of eating the cricket then, I was intrigued that YS picked up the tiny legs and ate them. He then broke the cricket up and had the head. Followed then by the body and the abdomen.

I was happy that I made that cricket zapper. If that's how the shama eat live food, I still like to be as humane about it as I can. Stunning the live cricket prior to feeding is best I can do for them. You can see in the photo that I still have that container of live crickets that I bought in panic on day 1. And a stack of frozen crickets I bought on day 0.

The day went well. YS ate the dry food, alternate with a thawed cricket now and then.

I started to check out if the local shopping center have the beans and stuff I needed to make Tink mash. Found to my shock and disappointment the varieties of beans and stuff here are so much less than what the average Taiwanese market can provide (even if they did not stock the Great Northern White beans).

Since YS is eating well of his former diet, I felt safe enough to prepare a diet based on what I know being feed to starlings, another insectivore similar in size to shama. But I need to get my ingredients first. I have seen enough of the locally prepared commercial food for shama to want to do something better. And if some people do feed commercial chicken feed to shama, I like to come up with something more appropriate.

You know of the big name company and the commercial food sold for parrots. Tink gobble up the mash in the morning and evening, bits of sashimi, bits of our dinner in between. She hardly ate the commercial pellets I still provided for her. You can see and decide for yourself if the state of her health and her feathers indicate if the mash I made was much better than those commercial food for parrots.

That shopping was not a total loss as I picked up a smaller bowl(similar to the water and dry food bowl) for the cricket than the bowl you seen in the photo. After all, if the cricket is either thawed, or stunned, it will not matter if the bowl is shallower. I also give one at a time, as part of the familiarizing and bonding process.

I called my friend CM on the basis that as he is a Parsi Indian and use a lot types of beans and peas, he can tell me where to get the stuff I needed. Luckily his staff compensated for his lack of knowledge (I should have called his wife instead) and pointed me to the right direction.

Towards the evening, a couple more of the live crickets were stunned but still moving slightly. YS did the same stuff to them as with the thawed crickets. I am tempted to deep freeze them as with the first batch. I have been feeding the crickets with rice and damp bread.

I know it is part of nature. I do remember my bird whisperer friend of Tsaoling and his wife, while looking after injured wild birds, will just as readily catch one of his free range chicken, slit its throat, chop it up and cook it into a tasty dish for all of us.

In the evening, I thought to go for a swim that I missed since YS came. I double check his cage was secured and the flight room was secured and went out to the public pool. After I paid and went in, I unzipped my bag to find in all those double checking, I forgot to check if I got my swimming stuff with me. One of those things in life.

But thats why I am back early and writing todays blog that I thought I would not do if I have gone swimming.

And found that my wife uploaded the photos she took yesterday of YS. She invite the curious and the idle that read this blog to spend time looking at those photos as well.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shimmertje/sets/1149687/


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Hi Shan,

If you intend the shama to eat dry food, you should not feed it crickets throughout the day. A vet friend of mine who kept shamas did so. The result was that the bird appeared to become very tame as it would always wait for the crickets. One day, he realised that the bird was actually starving. It was waiting for the live food and would not eat the dry food in the meantime. To prevent this, my birds that are fed dry food get to eat only dry food throughout the day and are only fed live food after 4pm.

Instead of crickets, you may wish to use very immature "white" mealworms to train the shama. White mealworms are those that have just shed their skin. It takes about 2 hours for the white skin to turn brown. The birds love the white mealworms and if you use the immature small ones you will be able to feed much more for training purposes than if you use crickets.

David De Souza

Thank you David,

I have read your advice which is a BIG influence on all that I have done so far. I am aware shama is also a very intelligent bird. I watched to see YS taking his dry food first as obviously, his taking of prepared food is very important.
Only after that, do I start to drop the cricket into the cage as part of my 'getting to know you' process.

That is another of the reason why I removed all the food at the end of the day, and to be seen giving the dry food first, and sporadically crickets from time to time. I do suspect YS is eating less and less of the dry food preferring to wait for the cricket handouts.

I do not like that either as it is important to me that YS get a balance diet, and it will not be balanced if he eat crickets alone.

I am still trying to establish his food intake and fumbling around.

You paid for your learning curve many many years ago. This novice just started on the learning curve and is extremely grateful for your helping hand, and helping hands from others who may like to add further comments in.

I will be getting the mealworms today. As you can see, yesterday I was getting all the trays for the mealworms and getting prepared for them as per the phone conversation that we had the day before.


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