Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wasabi is now 7 weeks old and making friends!!

Wasabi is now 7 weeks old, and nearly full grown at 59grams.  As you may recall, we decided to send a small sample of blood to a DNA lab that determines sex.  He is indeed a male! 
Over the last couple weeks, he has had only minor changes in his appearance.  The black coloration on his beak has begun to subside, leaving only a small patch on a bright yellow background.  His tail and wing feathers have completely grown in, leaving him fully feathered.  He has definitely learned the finer points of his wings, flying where ever he pleased in our lobby and at home; so much so, that he had to have his wings trimmed to avoid flying out the door or  into the waiting mouth of a hungry cat!

Wasabi is continuing to sample new foods all the time, with chick peas and safflower seeds being his favorite.    He will continue to need formula supplementation for the next few weeks, while he transitions to a pelleted diet.

When he is not busy meeting new people, Wasabi is now perching a lot more than being on the floor, although he does still prefer to be burrowed under something while napping.   He definitely is making bird-weary people into bird lovers.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wasabi is now 5 weeks old!

Wasabi is now 5 weeks old!  His (or her) body feathers are now fully filled in, and his wing and tail feathers are nearly half way grown.  Although he still isn't eating on his own, he enjoys picking at crunched up dry food, and only needs to be fed formula about every 4 hours.  Because he still needs to be fed quite often, he continues to be my commute companion back and forth to work. He truly enjoys his water dish, not for drinking purposes, but rather taking baths and making soggy messes!
At 4 1/2 weeks, Wasabi has fledged!  He has become very active, wanting out of his cage more, and consistently exercising his wings.  He has been able to jump up to the edge of his open topped cage, and able to perch there while being fed, with out issue.  His balance is vastly improved and he is beginning to learn the basics of flight, such as turning and landing, in short distances.  He has graduated to an actual cage, although he still spends most of his time on the floor with toys and soft places to cuddle up.  We will watch him as he continues to learn the finer points of having wings, and builds up his muscles, until it becomes a danger to have him fully flighted in the clinic.  At that time, we will trim a few of his feathers, a few times a year, so that he isn't able to fly into the mouth of a hungry cat, or out into the snowy temperatures.
We have all become comfortable with calling Wasabi "he", but we have decided to him sexed.  DNA will be extracted from a small blood sample, and analyzed at a lab. As in people, bird gender is determined by the sex chromosomes. Females have two different sex chromosomes (called “ZW”), while males have two of the same sex chromosomes (called “ZZ”).  We should know in about 2 weeks whether our assumptions have been correct!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Our Love Bird is growing!

Our little lovebird is 3 weeks old!  In the last week, his colorful feathers have begun to emerge and we have been able to determine that he is a peach-faced lovebird.  His wing and back feathers were the first to appear, later in the week they were  followed by his head and tail feathers, and last his facial and chest feathers. 

We do not know what sex our companion is.  Lovebirds, as with the majority of parrots, do not have any sexual dimorphism, that is, visual differences to determine male from female.  Because of this, the only accurate way to know is either DNA testing or surgical sexing.  Without knowing, it has been a little bit of a challenge picking a name that fits, but that hasn't stopped several names being thrown into the mix; Franklin, Munchkin, Guacamole... but Stephanie came up with the one that seems to fit the most, Wasabi!  He does have a bit of a spicy personality, after all.

Wasabi is now able to climb out of his nest on his own, and is beginning to explore his surroundings. With his new feathers, he doesn't need to be in an incubator during the daytime.  Instead, he is getting to meet all kinds of new people, while residing on the front desk.   He is very curious about new objects and things placed within his reach, but still prefers to be nestled somewhere cozy for his naps. 

He is still being fed a formula that is made specifically for parrots, by syringe, every 3-4 hours during the day.  Now, at night, he is able to go a little over 6 hours in between feedings.  After eating, Wasabi thinks that it's time to play, exercising his wings and running around, usually without much grace.  Next time you're in the office, don't forget to say hello!