Sunday, July 20, 2008

In Budgie Heaven, it's all about the fresh Grass Seed

The texas flock has been greatly enjoying the grasses that I have found growing in the green patches in this urban area near our townhouse (near Medical Center). A very good resource for identifying grasses is: TEXNAT, Texas Natural Resource Center Plant Identification site (geared largely towards which ones are good for grazing cattle, not budgies). My impression is that Houston has swamplands, Louisiana style, to the east, Prairies to the north, marshes to the south, and a bit of desert starting to the west. Rhodes Grass, Hooded Windmill Grass, Bermuda Grass, are among the grasses I have found and fed the budgies. In fact, if I come home from work where I pass through a grassy area named (by me “snake alley”, though none of these eponymous creatures have been sighted there, as it is probably, simply just too damn hot for them too), anyway, if I come home and don’t bring grasses with seeds, they act petulant (squawk, peck at each other, and hop about staring at me with expectation). I would love to find some Barnyard grass, Canada wildrye, or Plains lovegrass, and especially, RAT TAIL SMUT GRASS for them. Those look as if budgies would find them very delicious. There is even some Texas bluegrass; but as a native Kentuckian, I think this is where I would draw the line.

While we were on vacation, we asked a neighbor to feed the budgies. She let her preschoolers feed the budgies ALL the food for the week in about a day and a half; they had so much fun pouring seed out into the bowls (and then the floor of the cage). But, she reassured me, they gave the budgies grasses. Well, she must not know much about birds, or pets, because they just threw grass LEAVES in the cage. Boo went into a serious molt, and we really thought Mary ann was going to make a “celestial final flight”. Her usual voluptuousness was gone, and she was very thin, and had a lot of missing feathers, especially on her head. I am happy to report that with regular seeds/pellets (Eggcite brand) and grasses (WITH SEEDS) from the urban prarie, Mary ann has all her feathers again, is looking back to her usual zaftig self, and Boo has gosy and complete feathers.

When choosing grasses, (note neighbor, this means WITH seeds!), its best to choose them from a non-maintained, non -manicured lawn, as that is less likely to have chemicals such as "chem lawn" treatments, which can poison budgies (or other animals including children, btw). Avoid creosote (telephone poles), also toxic. And wash them, especially if from near a roadway.

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The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple
Sutcliffe and Maryann in early 2007