Toby passed away right at the end of February and we were almost certain that we didn’t want to leave Kelly as a solitary budgie, unless she seemed to be 100% happy. To be honest, it’s pretty hard to tell whether she’s happy. I love her to bits, but her mood can most commonly be described in a range from irritated to downright irate! In the weeks following Toby’s death, Kelly was more annoyed than usual anytime she had to be in her cage, and certainly not less prone to biting me, although more interested in biting me while hanging out together.
In short order we prepared Toby’s old flight cage for quarantining a new parakeet and planned for his acquisition. We talked about the traits we thought a budgie would need to have to fit in with Kelly (and a few things we humans hoped for too). It boiled down to male, friendly but not aggressive, confident, likes to sing, and of course all the signs of good health.
We determined the best day to go pick out a new friend and I started thinking about how I’ve heard over the past year or so that there are budgie shortages in North America. I think it’s largely due to pandemic-related supply chain issues.
I wanted to get our new pal at Benson’s, where Kevin came from, because he was such a delightful fellow and I really like the way they take care of their birds. So, I gave them a call to find that they had no budgies available, but they were building a call list for when they came in. I declined to be put on the list and called a local Petco, they indicated they had “three greens” available (this is when I started to feel like I was trying to buy drugs, haha!).
I asked if they happened to know whether the parakeets were male or female, to which the employee responded that “you can’t tell without a blood test”. So, off we went to look for ourselves. Not surprisingly, they were all female budgies, but so darn cute.
In the parking lot of that Petco I called another Petco and they had zero budgies. Next on the list was a Petsmart, over the phone they indicated they were well-stocked, so off we went.
Arriving at the Petsmart we found they only had six budgies and FOUR of them were female! At least we had two males to choose from, but we were hampered in telling anything about their personalities by the fact that it was naptime, and no one was doing anything.
In the end although we had put quite a bit of thought into what we wanted in a budgie, it boiled down to two criteria: male and healthy. We watched the two boys sleep for a long time and the one we picked seemed extremely healthy. His eyes (when he would bother to open them!) were bight, his nares were clear, and he was sleeping on one foot with his head tucked without a single wobble.
Into a box he went, and we were headed home. When he started cheeping and singing a little in the box, I knew we had made the right decision!
Vance has done very well in quarantine. It’s a totally different experience from Kevin, who was scared to death the entire time. Vance seemed to understand almost immediately that we were not a threat to him. He didn’t like having hands in his cage at first, of course, but he would calm down quickly. Also in our favor is that he’s a total millet hound and very easy to bribe into human interaction.
Quarantine has been hard for all of us. Vance is in my home office, which is great because we spend lots of time together, but not so great because he and Kelly spend significant time periods yelling to each other every day! I will be so glad when this is over, and I can stop apologizing to people during Zoom meetings. I still do hate quarantine as much as the last time, even though Vance is way less tortured about it then Kevin was, it feels like I don’t have enough time for anyone. I’ll be glad when we get to the next step.
Ultimately, it seems like we really lucked out and got everything we wanted. Vance is confident and although he gets startled, he rarely goes into a full-on panic. He is even friendly with humans, but not aggressive, and he sings so much! He and Kelly will meet soon, and I’ll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it goes well. Based on how much they enjoy screaming to each other from different rooms I feel like they will get along famously.