Celebrating Toby’s Fifth Gotcha Day

I can hardly believe it, but today we are celebrating Toby’s fifth Gotcha Day! For anyone unfamiliar with the phrase, a “Gotcha Day” stands in for a birthday as the day you brought your pet home. It’s especially useful when you don’t actually know the date your pet hatched. Since Toby came to us by way of Petsmart, all we know is that she was under three months old when we got her, because she still had baby bars on her head.

Toby was the first parakeet of the flock, and rather gracefully endured all of our first time parakeet parent mistakes. These included scaring her routinely with our hands, letting her stay up too late, and not understanding that the proper diet for a parakeet includes lots of fresh vegetables. Through all of it, she has held steady and not seemed to judge us too harshly!

Now that Toby is five we might have expected her to slow down a bit in what is, essentially, budgie middle age. Quite to the contrary, Toby is still easily the most energetic and active of the flock.

A blue parakeet hanging from a gray jacket
Toby checking to see if my jacket has pockets.

Toby is always first to check out a new jacket or sweatshirt to explore pockets, and is a classic budgie female in her utter territoriality. It doesn’t matter whether someone else saw it first, if she wants something then it is hers (no sharing either!).

A blue parakeet biting a bag of potato chips
Toby was very interested in the texture of this chip bag

She was not successful in exploring the contents of this bag of chips. In fact, Toby has never eaten a potato chip or any processed human foods. We agreed from the start that we humans didn’t really want to share our food with budgies and we’ve been dogged about sticking to it.

Toby is also the most likely to pose for the camera.

A blue parakeets poses for the camera
Toby working the camera

At various times, Toby has lived alone, then with Kelly, then with Kevin, and now by herself again. Having gone through all of these iterations I can now say that Toby is a horrible roommate. This is largely, again, due to how territorial she is. She doesn’t shy away from getting into a viscous battle when the mood strikes, which is occasionally at random without any provocation.

Even with her idiosyncrasies, we certainly wouldn’t change her one bit, or any piece of her story leading up to celebrating Toby’s fifth gotcha day. Parakeet parenthood has been a roller coaster of highs and lows, beyond anything I would have imagined five years ago, driving home from Petsmart, hearing her nails on the cardboard box and wondering what the heck we had gotten ourselves into.

A blue parakeet rests with one foot up
Toby in a rare moment of relaxation

So, cheers to Toby on her fifth gotcha day, I hope we have many many more together!

Please note: if you click any of the Amazon links in this post and make a purchase I will earn a small commission as a member of the Amazon Affiliate network. Thank you! 

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Petco budgie toys unboxing

I recently went into our toy cabinet, typically a treasure trove of unused budgie toys, and found that the cupboard was empty! I’m not sure how it escaped my notice that we’d run out of new toys and the cabinet was just full of random spare parts, plastic chain and extra perches. Of course this wouldn’t do at all, so I resolved to restock immediately.

Typically I buy budgie toys from Amazon, but the last few times I’ve done that I have had trouble telling what size bird the toy is for. I don’t like ending up with a macaw-sized toy that needs to be returned. Also unless it’s a brand name I’m familiar with, I worry somewhat about the quality and safety of the toys.

I used to love ordering from Doctors Foster and Smith, and since they were purchased by Petco, I hoped the experience and selection would be similar. I went a little crazy and ended up spending about $130 on 13 toys.

By way of review of Petco, I have to say I didn’t really care for shopping on their site. They did have the ability to filter toys by type of bird, which I always appreciated about Doctors Foster and Smith. But, there wasn’t the ability to “quick add” anything to a cart, so if I knew I wanted a bird kabob I had to access the product listing, add to cart, end up in my cart, and then start all over again filtering products.

Price-wise, comparing against Amazon after the fact, I don’t think I made out particularly well. It seems like pricing is either comparable or I paid  bit more than I needed to.

Two boxes and a shipping bag of budgie toys
So many toys, it came in three shipments.

I waited for everything to arrive and then opened all of the boxes at once.

Several new budgie toys laid out.
I may have gone overboard…

Here’s a listing of everything I got. The product links do go to Amazon where possible rather than Petco. I’d rather not encourage you to overpay as well! Also Petco’s shipping took longer than Amazon’s would have with Prime. (Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial)

In every case that the toy was available at both Petco and Amazon it was less expensive at Amazon. Some by up to $5. I do see that there is a price match guarantee at Petco, but frankly it feels like less legwork just to buy the item where it is less expensive to begin with.

We did have a lot of fun unboxing the new toys, I laid them all out on the floor and let the budgies run around and explore. For those who might be worried that this is overwhelming, I’m sure it could be for some budgies but ours really enjoy it.  Additionally, I don’t swap an entire cage of toys out, these will be rotated in over a series of weeks or months.

That actually reminds me of a good tip, don’t ever put a new toy in your parakeet’s cage right before bed time. New stuff can be very scary to them, even if it’s a fun toy they will come to love. Always swap out toys as early in the day as possible to give them time to adjust to the new thing and find it non-threatening

A blue budgie examines a bunch of new budgie toys
Toby likes to check out all the new toys, don’t worry though, she doesn’t get them all at once!
A pale budgie examines her new selection of budgie toys
Kelly has chosen her favorite new toy already

While it was certainly fun loading up a cart of bird toys and doing a grand unboxing, I probably won’t order from Petco again. In the end I wasn’t thrilled with the way the site functioned, the pricing, or the selection. This doesn’t mean that I’m any more inclined to buy toys that I’m not familiar with from Amazon either.

I think the next time I need to restock, I’ll probably shop direct from a brand that I know and love. A couple of solid possibilities include Super Bird Creations and Planet Pleasures. They are both well-known and respected companies with products that we’ve used before and the budgies have loved.

What are some of your favorite budgie toys? Let me know what I’m missing out in a comment below, or on the Home Keet Home Facebook page.

NutriBullet Rx Review (and how that has anything to do with budgies)

When Patrick had his tonsils out we knew he’d be on soft foods for weeks and that he’d probably get sick or starve to death trying to eat popsicles and fro-yo the whole time! So, my mom and stepdad were kind enough to loan us their NutriBullet Rx and I began looking up Smoothie Recipes that would be good meal replacements. Leading up to his surgery we started using the NutriBullet Rx and testing things out.

Almost immediately we realized this was a huge game changer in a house with budgies, and would help us stop wasting a lot of fruits and vegetables.

Virtually every week I buy a bunch of carrots with tops so that the birds can have their preferred type of bath. But the thing is, I don’t want to eat carrots every week. They aren’t my favorite snack and they don’t always fit into our dinners. Same thing goes for bunches of celery, as well as most fruits and vegetables that I buy for the parakeets. If I buy a pint of strawberries and they eat two, I better figure out what to do with the rest of them!

I realize that this may not be an issue in larger households where there are healthy lunches and after school snacks being made for little ones. But, in a two adult situation it’s just too much produce to choke down every week.

Enter the NutriBullet Rx . Now for weekend breakfasts everything that didn’t go in a budgie’s crop goes into the blender. We keep some frozen fruit and oatmeal on hand to pad it out and I always have greek yogurt in the refrigerator. It’s a great way to stop throwing out money on produce and Patrick and I are having healthy breakfasts on the weekend instead of starting the day with carbs.

I know, I am years behind on discovering how great smoothies are! But, I think they are even more awesome to help manage the extra produce you have when you’re trying to get your budgies to eat some fresh fruits and vegetables and don’t particularly feel like eating crudité every day.

As far as the NutriBullet Rx review, it is extremely easy to use and clean up after. Fill the cup to the max line with your preferred combination of fruits, veggies, liquids and fillers like oatmeal, then just turn it over and place it on the base. The blender automatically starts working and stops after a preset amount of time. No timing or thinking involved there!

nutribullet rx cupnutribullet rx review

When it stops you remove the cup from the base, unscrew the cap (which has the blades) and rinse in the sink. Pour out your smoothies and voila, you have two perfect cups of goodness!

I can’t imagine the NutriBullet Rx being any easier to use than it is. And, Kelly enjoyed the carrot stump that didn’t go into the mix!

 

Dreaming about your budgies

Do you ever wake up and realize you’ve been dreaming about your budgies?  I’ve had a few dreams about mine in the past, and they tend to be surreal or disturbing! Here’s my notable budgie dreams.

  • I was in college and living in a dorm. I’m way out of college so that’s pretty weird right there! Toby is living in my dorm room with me, but she lives in a terrarium, and for some unknown reason she has to live under water. The water is gray, and gross, it looks like something a fish wouldn’t even be happy to swim in. Toby is happy as a clam though and as I’m leaving my dorm room I tell her I’ll be back soon!
  • I’m with Toby and Kelly and I’m in a shopping mall, in the middle of winter, and I have to go outside to get into another section of the mall. I don’t have a travel cage or flight harnesses, the birds are just on my shoulders, which is totally freaking me out being in public. In waking life I’m pleased that this strikes me as dangerous even in a dream. The parakeets keep flying off short distances and returning to me and I’m delighted that they are so well-trained (haha). Then before I walk out of the mall I give them a talking to and tell them they have to stay with me and can’t fly off. Upon walking outside they totally stick to me like glue and we make it to the next building!  Clearly a crazy dream, if either one of them actually got outside I know they would be gone in a heartbeat.
  • My last dream was about Kevin. My favorite band is America (they perform the song “Horse with no Name”). In my dream Kevin came walking into the living room on the floor and started singing an American song!  Not like budgie-warbling, he was literally singing the lyrics along with the music. In the dream, like in real life, he doesn’t say any human words at all, and I was in total awe.

I think that was a good silly Kevin dream. I’d love to hear what your budgie dreams have been like? Has anybody ever flown with their flock in a dream?  Please leave a comment or let me know on Facebook!

The parakeets eat popcorn for the first time

I am all about feeding the parakeets new and interesting foods, although of course only parakeet-safe stuff. There aren’t too many human snacks that we can share with our parakeets, but popcorn is on the approved list. The only caveat is that it can’t be the salty, buttery awesomeness like you get at the movie theater or from a bag of microwaved popcorn. Plain old popcorn is the ticket.

We’ve had a Presto Hot Air Corn Popper for years – it’s the same brand that I grew up with and it’s so easy to use. You put the corn kernels into the well, plug it in and wait until they pop. It’s a bit noisy as the air heats the kernels but in a few minutes it’s all over and you have a beautiful bowl of pristine popcorn. Our favorite kernels are Snappy White Popcorn and we have some on hand at all times. The best thing about the air popper is that you don’t have to worry about burning oil on the stove top or washing a greasy pan afterwards. It’s a great way to make a healthy snack for humans or parakeets.

Because of my concerns about the noise, I hadn’t made popcorn literally in the two years since we got Toby. Pretty silly, right? We recently decided to try it out and see how traumatized the parakeets would be – which was, as it turns out, zero traumatized.

Although that didn’t mean they quite knew what to do with the popcorn once it was popped. Kelly enjoyed ripping a few pieces apart while Patrick held them, but once they were on a little plate in her cage she totally lost interest. Toby was very suspicious of the end product and didn’t even venture to lick a piece of popcorn.

No worries though, parakeets are notoriously reluctant to try new things so I’m not really put off. Now that we know they aren’t scared of the noisy Air Popper there will be a lot more popcorn opportunities in our house. So, we will offer them a little bit each time and see if the idea catches on; if not, at least it’s something unusual for them to think about, which is always an enriching experience.