June 17, 2012

Vinny the Babbling Bird

Just for the fun of it, we've created a short video of Vinny. This video contains various footage in the form of random photos and some videos.

We basically created this video to make it easy to share the audio with you. The narration is completely done by Vinny. These are the typical sounds he makes when he's in a mood for it. We haven't been able to record his attempts to speak yet, but as soon as we do, we'll let you know!

This video is posted on Youtube. Click HERE for Vinny's own video channel.

Take care, and have fun!

Good Eats for Vinny!

For us, as first time parrot owners, figuring out the food has been an experiment. We've fed him just about any type of food we've been recommended. All kinds of fruits and veggies, the right pellets (no additives and only with natural coloring), the right seeds, beans and peas, and so forth.

For about 2 to 3 months now, he's been off the Nutribird formula and he's doing great. One night, about a month after his last formula feeding, he was on a rant around dinner time and wouldn't eat his bean mixture. So we tried to feed him the formula again, but after 2 spoons, he flung it all around the room and went back to his old 'new' food. And that was that.

We've gotten into the habit of making his food once per month, bag it up in small batches, and put it in the freezer. On a daily basis, he gets one of those batches, additional fruits and/or vegetables, and a small handful of seeds or nuts.

The most important ingredients for this special Vinny-mix are: wheat pasta, barley, rolled oats, couscous, yam, pumpkin, mango, brown rice, chick peas, green peas, mung beans, black-eyed peas, adzuki beans and lentils. We boil it in separate batches and put stuff together according to boiling times. After cooling, we mix everything up in a huge bowl and put a good spoon full (half a cup) in each freezer bag. We've also experimented with putting in some veggies like broccoli, but stuff like that doesn't thaw out well.

In the morning, he gets a healthy seed/grain mix (again: no added vitamins/minerals), around dinner time he gets the mix and in the evening it's usually snack time. His absolute favorite snacks are red grapes, corn-on-the-cob, and pumpkin. That last one, we sometimes buy at the farmer's market.

He also loves almonds or sunflower seeds, but we usually only give him those when we train him. We do stimulate him by making him open the container himself, or hide it inside a toy.

If you have an Eclectus yourself (or maybe more than one), feel free to comment and let us know what you're feeding your 'child'. If you don't have any Eclecti (maybe this is it?), feel free to skip the technicalities above. Oops, too late! At least I hope you're enjoying the pictures in this post!

Take care and Bon Apetit!

Vinny turns five and a half!

I know, I know, it's been a while. But here's an update about the wonderful life of Vinny the Eclectus!

Vinny is five and a half months old now. He's definitely a fantastic bird, but still a child in all respects. He likes cuddling when we watch tv, he's trying out what our limits are, he's playful, he's a true Explorer and he loves getting attention from us, but also from Charlie and Darwin, our Bubblehead-Budgies.

He rarely screams. Only in those cases where he desperately feels he needs our attention (i.e. when he's hungry or when he gets overexcited). Other than that, he's mumbling a lot and is starting to talk a little bit. So far, we've heard him try to say 'Always Coca Cola', although not very successful yet (something I'm trying to teach him). He is getting better at 'Ello', 'Owah' (which we guess means 'Shower') and 'Wocka Wocka' though. That last one is always followed by typical Eclectus-giggle, probably also an imitation of us, because we usually laugh our asses off whenever he gets it right.

From what we've read so far, this is the age at which Eclectusses (is that the correct plural?) can start to get nippy. And I have to say, our sources are at least partly correct so far. Set aside the playful bites (not hurting in any way) and the grabbing hold of a finger while stepping up, he is starting to bite a little bit. It only happens when he's testing us out and tries to gain some dominance (and if we don't give him that pleasure), or when he gets a bit overexcited when he's in a playful mood.

Of course we usually respond by pushing back instead of pulling away, and that definitely keeps it under control. We're convinced it's only a phase he's going through, like any other child.

Don't get me wrong, 99% of the time he's on his best behavior, so we must be doing something right in his upbringing. And the breeder, who had him for the first 2.5 months, must have done a great job as well. Or maybe it's just in his genes. That one percent of time when he tries to test us out, we usually laugh it off and manage to change his mood rapidly.

Last night, we had a friend over. He hadn't met Vinny yet and he was very cool with our little one. Vinny was a bit reluctant at first, but we can already tell that Vinny is and will be a very social bird. Within minutes, Vinny felt very comfortable being around our guest and was already showing off his new vocal capabilities a bit.

Take care and see you in the next update!