Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Books for Parrot People

Well the holidays are finally over! It's nice to have things back to normal. I can go to the grocery store and not have to deal with long lines and crazy drivers in the parking lot! My animals and birds are happy to be back on their routines as well.

Books: Although the internet is a good source of information, it can be confusing at times. There are several books we recommend to parrot owners that we feel are "must haves". Most of these books can be purchased online at for very reasonable prices. They provide straight forward, unbaised, good information that is easy to reference (no searching for hours on the net). Here are some good ones:

Guide to a Well Behaved Parrot by Mattie Sue Athan. This book is considered almost a "classic" for parrot owners. Great book for first time and experienced bird owners alike!

Guide to Companion Parrot Behavior by Mattie Sue Athan. This book provides information on parrot behavior, grooming, choosing the right bird for you, etc. I really enjoyed the species profiles and wing trimming tips she recommends for the various birds.

The Complete Bird Owner's Handbook by Gary A. Gallerstein, DVM. Written by a vet, this book is an invaluable resource for the bird owner. The author goes over diet, medical issues, species profiles, care, and much much more. This book is available in hardcover so it is a little more expensive, but it is well worth it.

The Second Hand Parrot by Mattie Sue Athan. A great book if you own a "pre-loved" bird. But even if you purchased your bird directly from a breeder or a store, this book has a lot of great information in it.

Parrot-Toys & Play Areas by Carol S. D'Arezzo and Lauren Shannon-Nunn. What a fun book this is! Lots of tips on how to make homemade toys and enrichment items for your bird! There is even a section on how to make playstands!

My Parrot, My Friend by Bonnie Munro Doane and Thomas Qualkinbush. A very comprehensive book on parrot care and psychology. His description of the different species are very good. I also thought his case studies on the different birds he has worked with were extremely interesting. This book is more for the adult reader as it is very indepth.

The Pleasure of Their Company by Bonnie Munro Doane. This book is very similar to My Parrot, My Friend mentioned above (she was one of the authors on that book). A very good book to own. I feel the information this book and My Parrot My Friend are interchangeable, so one or the other would be fine.

Holistic Care for Birds by David McCluggage, DVM. Another book written by a vet, this book goes over "natural" care for your bird including dosages of some common natural remedies. He also discusses diet, grooming, psychology, etc. This book is meant to be used as a compliment to conventional vet care (if your bird is ill or injured, please take it to the vet immediately). Always get an accurate diagnosis from a vet before any type of treatment - very important! I really enjoyed the natural recipes and his description of the bach flower remedies.

There are many other books out there. Some are species specific, some provide details on different training methods (such as clicker training), etc. I only mentioned a few books here which I feel provide an excellent overview of all the aspects of parrot care. Do you have a favorite book that you can recommend to parrot lovers? I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Breeder Name Confusion

It has come to my attention that some people are confusing me (Christine MANN of Almost Angels Aviary) with another bird seller who has the same first name. I want to make it clear that we are indeed two seperate people and in no way associated with each other.

Almost Angels Aviary - CHRISTINE MANN has an excellent reputation for healthy birds, honesty, and outstanding customer service. Our babies are raised in a closed nursery, which means we only raise birds that we have bred from our own pairs (no outside birds from other breeders). We stand behind our birds 100%. We have many, many happy customers - references available.

I ask that anyone who is checking references, posting information about us online, etc. to please be specific when referring to either one of us by using our LAST names and/or our aviary name. My personal and professional reputation is very important to me. I have worked very hard over the years to maintain it by ALWAYS treating my customers fairly, honestly and with respect.
If anyone has any questions about me or my birds, feel free to contact me. My contact information is listed on my website

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


We are starting back up after a nice break! I have four baby senegals in the nest and three parrotlet babies (two are reserved). I will be pulling these babies to start handfeeding probably the end of this week or so. I am currently accepting deposits to hold these babies until weaned. Once a deposit is put down, I start sending weekly updates and pictures so you can watch your baby grow! The pictures are a lot of fun! Particularly when the babies start to get a little older and more active.

For information on the status of babies we have available, see my website

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ahhh, the holidays

It is that time of year again. Thanksgiving is almost here and the stores have already begun decorating for Christmas. Where has this year gone? I enjoy this time of year. The festive decorations, great food and time with family. I think people tend to be a little nicer around this time of year too. The holidays are not stress free however. Last minute shopping, holiday preparations and travel can take it's toll.

During this time of year, you may need to give your bird some extra activities to keep him busy while you are busy. Foraging toys are great as well as easy to tear up items. My yellow nape amazon LOVES pinecones. This time of year I do some of my own foraging to gather pine cones for her. I make sure they are clean when I get them and then bake them in the oven at 225 for about 30 minutes. Then I turn off the oven, leaving the pine cones in until the oven cools. Attach a screw eye, hang with a quick link and you're done! There are also some sites online that sell pinecones if you don't have any in your area.

Toys do not have to cost a lot. Just google "homemade bird toys" and you will get pages and pages of ideas. I myself use both homemade and store bought toys. When I am short on time, the store bought toys come in handy. Plus there are some really neat designs out there now!

Another toy that is a favorite with my flock are the "pinata" toys by Planet Pleasures. They are inexpensive and I have yet to find a bird that doesn't love them. For added entertainment, you can stuff small treats in them.

If you are having a large party, I usually recommend moving the birds to another room. If your bird is social, you can bring him out for a while to meet everybody. Then put him back in the other room with his favorite treats and maybe a radio or television on. Parties can be exhausting and stressful for birds. Even social birds can get overstimulated with all the activity. Moving your bird to another room will also keep him safely away from poking fingers and unhealthy food and drinks that guests might give him while your back is turned.

Birds On The Way:

We have two pairs of parrotlets on eggs which should begin hatching this week. We also have a pair of senegals on eggs which are due to hatch around the end of this month. My pineapple green cheeks and blue quakers have been spending time in their nestboxes, so I expect to see some eggs soon from them.

I post all updates on eggs/babies on my website

Friday, November 5, 2010

Starting Back Up

I have been enjoying my "break" lately. I have one black headed caique that is almost weaned and will be going home in a couple of weeks (she is sold). I also have a sweet white bellie caique that is weaned and ready to go to a loving home. No middle of the night feedings, no brooders to clean, etc. - I can't believe all the free time I have right now LOL!

But the birds have started back up and I will be busy again soon with the fall breeding season. My new hahn's macaw pair are on eggs (very exciting!) as well as my meyers pair. My parrotlets have been breeding and hanging out in their nestboxes and I saw an egg in the senegal's nestbox yesterday. For more information on the status of babies/eggs, etc. visit my website at  I update my pages frequently to keep my information current.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Dollar Store

I just love the dollar store! Where else can you go on a shopping spree for about $25.00! LOL! For parrot owners, we can find some good bargains that help us take care of our birds for less. Here's the bird supplies I purchased on my recent trip: Eight natural wicker 9" wreaths, six rope dog toys, a few packs of plastic clothespins and some hand towels.

The natural wreaths will make nice swings for my smaller birds in the outdoor cages as well as great tear up fun for my yellow nape amazon.

The rope dog toys will make great rope swings for my smaller birds after a few minor adjustments.

The plastic clothespins are great for securing sheets onto cages and make great chip clips too!

I go through a ton a hand towels here. I put them on the back of the kitchen chairs to protect them from the birds, use them in the weaning cages as "bed" for young birds, basic cleaning, etc.

On other shopping trips, I can find inexpensive stuffed animals to put in my brooders for my babies to snuggle with (especially after Easter), inexpensive baby toys, plastic storage containers, natural wicker baskets (another great chew toy), etc.

So next time you go to the dollar store, open your eyes a little bit and see what treasures you can find that your feathered friend might enjoy! Always keep safety in mind though. A good general rule is if you wouldn't give it to a two year old human, chances are it would not be suitable for your bird.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Birds Available

I'm not sure what is going on, but things have been pretty slow lately. We have some wonderful birds available (and on sale) ready to go home now:

Senegal parrot. A real sweetie! Loves to come out to cuddle and will also entertain himself with his toys. Senegals are wonderful pet birds. They are not loud, learn to talk and mimic sound effects very well and are easy to care for. $395

Blue Quakers. A talking bird at a great price! I love the blue quakers with their soft wedgewood blue feathers. Gorgeous! I have three weaned youngsters that are ready to go home now. Very sweet. I have them on sale for $295, they normally sell for $350.

White bellied caique. I absolutely LOVE this boy! He is dna'd and super sweet! He's a little shy around new people at first, but warms up quickly and turns into a snuggle bug. Loves to be held on his back and cuddled. Somebody please come get this boy before I keep him for myself LOL!! I also have him on sale for $695, regular price for white bellied caiques are $800. A real deal on this angel.

Outdoor Cages:

I've written before about outdoor cages. I use mine all the time, especially lately because the weather has been so lovely. Equipped with toys, my birds will play for hours in them. My young birds especially enjoy their time outside. There they can see the hummingbirds, wild birds flying by, hear the dogs barking, etc. All this stimulation drains some of that juvenile energy and they come in relaxed and ready for a nap! On really nice days, I will give my birds a shower and put them outside to play and dry off. Caiques especially love this!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Losing A Pet

My father had to put his beloved blue heeler dog to sleep yesterday morning. She had been fighting various health issues for a while, but ultimately it was a blood clot (stroke) that ended her life. Chloe was a wonderful dog. Sweet, smart, kind, loyal. My husband and I used to take care of her when my father and stepmom would go on trips. We always enjoyed keeping her and made a point to spoil her as much as we could while she was here! We had many good times with her. We will all miss her very much.

To many of us, losing one of our pets is almost like losing a child. We form very close spiritual connections with our animals. Whether it's a parrotlet, a cat or a great dane, the heartbreak we feel when they pass on is indescribable. They fill our hearts with so much joy and love while they are in our lives. When they leave us, it literally feels like a piece of your own spirit left with them. Everybody is different. It can take weeks to months before we begin to feel "whole" again.

People who are not animal lovers do not understand. They say, "why don't you just go get another ____ (bird, dog, cat, etc.)." I find it best not to waste my time talking to these people about the loss. They simply do not understand. Family and friends are wonderful for support. There are also some wonderful online chat groups that are very supportive while you are mourning the loss of your pet.

My two favorite poems I read during these times are "rainbow bridge" and "lend me a bird". You can google them to read them for yourself. I also send these two poems to family and friends who have lost a pet.

I think one of the reasons we grieve when a pet dies is that we feel our time with them was cut short. We are grieving not only the loss of the pet, but the loss of "what might have been" - the additional time we expected to have with them. Remember the good times you had with your pet. Celebrate the relationship that you had with them. You can express this in many ways. Maybe write a poem or write a biography of your pet's life. If you are artistic you can paint or write a song. Maybe frame your favorite picture of him/her and hang it in a special place. There are even online sites where you can "light" a virtual candle in your pet's honor.

Life is unpredictable. Every moment is precious. Spend some quality time with your pets every day. Reflect on the joy they bring into your life. No matter how busy you are, you can always take a minute to give them a cuddle and look them in the eye and tell them you love them.

I believe this is excellent advice to follow for the humans in our lives as well! 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Conure Update & Hummingbirds!

Our green cheek conure has been adopted! He will be going to a wonderful family in a few days when his brand new cage comes in! Thank you Mary and Richard!


It is hummingbird season! We always have a lot here as we have hummingbird friendly flowers in our backyard and fresh nectar in our feeders. I just love watching them buzz around! They remind me of garden fairies.

People see all the hummingbirds in our yard and want to know what I feed them. I use an easy homemade mixture. One part white sugar to four parts water. Bring the water to a boil, then stir in the sugar allowing it to dissolve completely. Remove from heat, let it cool and serve! Extra amounts can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

The advantage of homemade nectar over the storebought "instant nectars" is that by boiling the water, you kill all the bacteria that causes the nectar to sour. Especially in our Texas heat, the instant nectars tend to ferment very quickly (within two days or so). My homemade nectar lasts until I need to refill the feeders. Which right now is about every three days LOL! During the peak hummingbird season in the past, I have gone through 60 ounces of nectar per day!

The homemade nectars are also much more economical. You can't get much cheaper than white sugar and water! And only use white sugar. Do not use brown sugar, artificial sweetners, etc.

And be sure to keep your feeders clean. Mold can grow on and in the feeders which can cause beak infections in those little hummers. I use a bleach and water solution to clean. Then I rinse with a vinegar/water solution to remove any traces of bleach, followed by a clean water rinse. This leaves my feeders sparkling clean!

Once the hummingbirds know you have good food in your feeders, they will return year after year.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Beak Appetit is back in business!

I just heard from the grapevine that Beak Appetit is back in business! Beak Appetit is a line of nutritious cook and serve food that you prepare for your birds. It comes in a variety of flavors that birds love! As soon as my distributor begins stocking this product again, I will put it back on the site. Meanwhile, you can order it directly at

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Green Cheek Conure & Molting

I'm ready to go to my new home!
Will you be my friend?

Well our baby that had the beak injury has healed up nicely and is doing great! We are looking for a home for this little guy. He is super sweet and will make a great companion! His beak just needs to grow out and he'll be as good as new. He is eating a normal diet (pellets, fresh foods, etc.) and loves to come out to play! He has a gentle, playful personality. If you are interested in giving our little guy a home, please let me know. You can contact me at

Molting Time:

I've gotten a few emails from customers who are finding lots of feathers at the bottom of their birds cages. They are concerned that their birds are picking. Right now, many birds are going through their pre-season molt. This is usually a heavy molt and you may see more feathers at the bottom of the cage than during a normal molt. Your birds may be crankier than usual and have a head full of sensitive pin feathers. So be careful!

This is normal for this time of year and is nothing to worry about. If you have your birds on a good diet (mostly pellets with some fresh foods), than your bird will have the nutrition he needs to grow in healthy, beautiful feathers!

Birds Currently Available:

We have four lovely blue quaker babies. They are on two handfeedings per day now. We expect them to be weaned around the first week of October. They are very sweet and cuddly.

We have the neatest white bellied caique available! He is so smart and personable. Loves to play on his back! DNA'd male. He will make an awesome companion. I almost kept him for myself LOL!

And we have still have one senegal available. Weaning now, I expect this baby to be ready to go home in about a week.

If you are interested in any of the birds above, please go to my website at or contact me at  Pictures of the above babies are available upon request.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Green Cheek Beak Injury

Anyone who has a green cheek knows how curious and bold they can be. Even while closely supervised, they can get into trouble. That was just the case when one of my young green cheeks decided to land on a cage containing young senegals. The senegals were not too happy about the newcomer and before I could get the little conure off the cage, one of the senegals bit the green cheek on the beak and caused a puncture wound.

I took my little conure to ABC Animal & Bird Clinic on Highway 6. This injury definitely needed medical attention! I thought it would be interesting for my readers to see this conure's progress as his beak was cleaned and patched. A big thank you to Dr. Roset for taking the time to take the pictures during the procedure while the bird was anethesized.

Dr. Roset did a wonderful job. As predicted, the patch did not last long but it did it's job allowing some healing to take place while the would was still fresh. The conure is doing fine and you must look very closely to see the injured part of the beak now. The procedure did not phase him a bit and he is just as friendly and curious as ever! He is currently for sale.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Happenings Around Here

What a nice day I had today! Two of my previous customers came by and paid me a visit. One of them needed her linnie's wings trimmed. "Ande" has grown into a beautiful adult lineolated parakeet! Thank you Cathy for bringing him by. It was great to see you and your kids! My other customer, Sandy came by to pick up a female parrotlet from me. We ended up chatting about all sorts of things and having a great time. This is one of the reasons I enjoy breeding birds. I meet so many wonderful people!

I am selling some of my very nice breeding pairs to scale back a bit. I need to ease my workload so I can have time to do other things that I enjoy (spending time with family, working with the horses, etc.). Like I mentioned, these are very nice pairs! See my website for more information.

I have four beautiful blue quakers that I am handfeeding now. They have just moved into a cage and are starting to perch! If anybody is interested in these little cuties, let me know.

We still have green cheeks available. They are weaned and ready to go! I am running a sale on them right now. Normals are $100 and turquoise are $200. There are just a few available at these great prices!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Product Review Safety Pumice Perch

I've seen these in cages before but wasn't quite sure about them. The Safety Pumice Perch, manufactured by Sweet Feet & Beak is a hard plastic nail grooming perch. It it smooth on the top and bottom as to not rub your bird's feet, with a sandy texture on both sides to help blunt the nails.

I've been curious about them and thought they might be good in my weaning cages so I bought a few of them. Two small and one medium. I wanted to see the size difference between the two and figure out which birds they would be best for.

I put the small size in my young caiques cage. They took to it right away and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it groomed the nails quite nicely. The perch was easy for the young birds to grip. They were immediately comfortable on it. These perches are very lightweight - especially compared to the cement grooming perches we are used to using! So they would work well in the smaller cages as well.

I also placed this perch in my green cheek conures cage. They reacted the same way. Got right on it and were comfortable on it. The rough surface on the sides gave them a good grip and once again it helped blunt those needle sharp nail tips that babies have!

The medium perch, I put in my amazon's cage. She was a little leery of it at first (she is used to natural branches in her cage) but once she got on it, she seemed to like it. She is a good sized yellow nape amazon, so although the medium fit her feet okay, I think the large size would work a little better.

These perches only attach to vertical bars, so that is something to keep in mind.

All in all, I would give this product a thumbs up. These perches do a good job grooming the nails, are very lightweight and easy to attach to the cage. I definitely plan on purchasing more!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Arrivals

Our first caique of this clutch hatched Friday night. The second egg should hatch tonight sometime. No matter how many times I do this, it is always exciting! I posted some neat pictures of this baby hatching on my facebook page. I will be posting pictures periodically so you can all watch this little one grow. See the pictures here:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Craft Idea: Newspaper Swing

A customer of mine sent me this link. What an economical and interesting way to entertain your bird! I think with a little creativity, a larger version could be made for medium size birds too. Such a great idea, I had to share. Here's the link:

We have a variety of green cheek conures available as well as senegals and parrotlets. If you would like more information on what we have available, contact me or check out my website at

Our first caique egg of this clutch is due to hatch on Saturday! I'll keep everyone posted.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Parrot Skewers

I know I have mentioned these before, but they are worth mentioning again! I feel every parrot owner should have a few of these! These handy little skewers are great for hanging chunks of fruits and vegetables and for stringing up leftover toy parts to make a new toy!

My red flanked lory, Munchkin got into the habit of taking a bath on his fruit. He would rub his body all over the fruit (similar to the "leaf bathing" that caiques do) and would turn himself into a sticky mess. Finally, I got tired of it and started stringing his fruit up on a skewer. He loves it! No more mess for me and a great new toy for Munchkin! Here is a picture of his skewer from the other day. His breakfast consisted of a piece of hardboiled egg, a chunk of apple and a chunk of orange.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to make a play basket

I've been getting questions lately about how to make my famous play baskets LOL! They are not hard to make. All you need is a few supplies and some time. These baskets work great for small to medium birds. I find that birds prefer these over the store bought dowel type playstands. You can put two or three baskets together of varying sizes to make an interesting play area. That is what I do here. My birds hang out on their play baskets for hours! When my young birds are ready to rest, they will just go down into the basket and take a nap.


NATURAL wicker basket. No paint, varnish, stain, etc. I buy my baskets at Michaels when they go on sale at 40% off.

Hot Glue Gun. I think everybody has one of these! If not, you can pick one up at the craft store when you buy your basket.

Sissel Rope. You can get this at any hardware store. It is grass rope. The one I buy comes in a package. Be sure the kind you get is natural, and not treated with anything.

Zip Ties. You can find these in the electrical section at the hardware store.

Baby Links. You can get these at Walmart in the baby section.

Basically, you want to wrap the handle of the basket with the sissel rope. This makes a grippable, climbable perch for your bird. Put a little hot glue on the basket, and wrap a few strands of rope. Then proceed this way until the entire handle is wrapped. You may have to hold the rope for a minute or so to make sure the glue sets it in place.

After the handle is wrapped, take a couple of zip ties and attach one on the middle of the handle, and maybe one or two off to the side. Leave just enough room where you can get a quick link through, but your bird cannot get his head or leg caught. This is where you are going to hang your toys. You can also use baby links for this. I find the zip ties are easier though.

Place some paper toweling or a towel in the bottom of the basket and put some bowls down there for food and water. I like to scatter food in the bottom so my birds can "forage".

Hang some interesting toys, and your done! The entire basket is a bird stand/chew toy! When your basket gets worn out, just toss it and make a new one (you will have plenty of supplies for a few baskets). Get creative with toys, etc. I recently helped a customer who lives nearby with a play basket for her parrotlet. We poked several chinese finger traps in the bottom and hung a few toys. She loves her basket and spends lots of time out on it! Here are a couple of pictures of Zoe enjoying her basket.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My cup runneth over!!

Look at these little blue cuties!! I still have one baby available. If you are interested, please contact me.

I guess I should title this blog, my nursery runneth over LOL!! We are having quite the season! It's great that my birds are happy and healthy and producing lots of babies. But wow, I am one busy woman at the moment! My friends and family call once in a while to make sure I didn't fall off the face of the earth! I told my husband that I just can't get everything done and keep one hand on the phone too. Maybe I will get one of those blue tooth type headsets. I see people wearing them in the stores all the time. Does anybody have one of those? How do you like it? Let me know.

I just pulled three senegals for handfeeding. I am very excited about this because normally the parents will only hatch two eggs. They are getting better! We also have a variety of green cheek conures available (normal, turquoise and pineapple), and parrotlets. One of our blue quaker pairs are on eggs as well as our black headed caiques. If you want to know about what babies we have available, be sure to bookmark our site and check back often. I keep it current.

Being in Texas, it is really hot here right now. A friend of mine has birds on her screened porch and had a great idea for keeping them cool. She puts an ice pack (a baggie filled with water and allowed to freeze -NOT one of those chemical packs). She then has a fan to keep a nice breeze blowing. The coolness from the ice pack and the fan keeps the birds very comfortable. While I was there the other day, the birds were at the top of the cage licking the water that was dripping off the pack. They were enjoying those cool droplets!

Bird Toy Review: Stanley's Bird Creations Birdie Dreds Small

My red flanked lory, Munchkin and parrotlet, Avocado love this toy! It consists of many strands of natural rope which are filled with straw pieces and tiny beads. Munchkin and Avocado both have one in their cage and I also have one on the communal play area. Birds such as linnies and parrotlets like to chew on the straws and hide in the strands. Avocado, likes to cuddle with his toy with a few strands thrown over his back. I've noticed my young quakers, senegals and caiques also love this toy but I would not recommend it for those birds unless they are closely supervised (such as on a play area). 

This toy is moderately priced at around $6.95 and seems to last a while (with my birds anyway). It is economical as well as fun.

When the straws are chewed off one of the strands, I recommend cutting that strand to keep it from becoming entangled around your bird's neck or foot. For this reason, I would recommend this toy be used on a play area or only in a cage if the cage location is in a well supervised location (such as a family room). This toy as long as it is trimmed as I mentioned above, is a neat toy for small birds.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Paulie the movie

The movie Paulie has been running on the movie channels this month. If you are a parrot lover, this movie is a must see! Really cute, it stars a blue crown conure who gets seperated from his owner and is trying to find his way back to her. Paulie runs into quite a few adventures along the way! There are other conures in this movie as well, a cherry head, nanday and jenday. I saw a "behind the scenes" show about this movie a while back and it was amazing watching the trainers working with these birds. Without giving too much away, there is a scene where all the conures are performing a dance scene. The little jenday was even wearing a tiny fruit hat! LOL! No computer hocus pocus there, the parrots were actually doing the steps. All you bird lovers will truly appreciate the training that went into that scene. A great movie for the entire family, it stars Cheech Marin, Jay Mohr (the voice of Paulie and one of the minor characters), Tony Shalhoub, Gena Rowlands and a few other stars you will recognize. Here is a link for more information:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Wow we have been busy here! All our birds are healthy and happy and celebrating by giving us lots of babies! We are handfeeding normal green cheek conures in the nursery as well as blue quakers and caiques. We only have one blue quaker left available so if you are interested in this little cutie, contact me! We have more parrotlets on the way as well as turquoise green cheek conures, pineapple green cheek conures and senegals. We are also expecting our black headed caiques to go back to nest soon. We keep our website updated so if you want to know what we have available, go to

I get asked quite often if we ship. Yes we do! We prefer to ship through Continental airlines as their conditions are climate controlled and they hand carry the birds on and off the plane. Our birds are shipped in a very nice, customized carrier which is yours to keep. The carrier can be used in the future for trips to the groomer, day outings, etc. Cost to ship including the carrier is around $115.

Higgins True Fruit

We love this product! We buy it by the 20 lb bags! This product consists of human grade dried mixed fruits which the birds just love! You can put some in your pellet or seed mix for some added zing, feed it straight as a treat or we like to include it in our soak and cook mixes. Fruit loving birds such as caiques and lories especially like it after it has been soaked/rehydrated. This product is available at quality bird stores or you can order it off the net.

Get your bird out of the house

Taking your bird on short trips with you can be a lot of fun for the both of you! It is good for your bird to be exposed to new, safe experiences. I always recommend to my customers that they purchase a small travel cage in addition to their bird's regular cage. Some people only take their bird out of the house for grooming or vet appointments. This makes the bird nervous about going out because the only time he leaves it is stressful. Weather permitting, take your bird with you to run errands. bring him outside with you when you are doing yardwork, or take your bird with you when you go to visit a friend. The more people and experiences your bird is exposed to, the better adjusted he will be. Of course, if your bird hasn't been out of the house in years you will need to take things slowly so you don't stress him too much. But all in all, I find that well socialized birds enjoying getting out of the house as much as we do.


People ask me all the time whether they should board their bird or have a pet sitter come take care of him when they go on vacation. In general, I recommend having a trusted pet sitter come in. Birds are more comfortable in their home environment and you don't have to worry about exposing your bird to strange birds which may be harboring an illness. Ask your neighbors who they use for petsitting. I find that there is usually one or two reliable high school or college kids in the area that provide this service. My friend's daughter comes in to take care of my animals when I am gone and she does a great job! 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Goings on

Isn't this baby gorgeous! This is one of our turquoise/pineapple green cheek conure babies. They are almost weaned and will be ready to go home soon! We also have sweet pineapple green cheek conures available. Green cheek conures make wonderful pets. They are cuddly, playful and not loud. They are also great family birds as they are very social and will interact with multiple people. One of our favorites!

We also have five parrotlet babies in the nest. We got a variety of colors from this pair in their last clutch so we are excited to see what hatches out this time!

Sprouting for birds: Well, I am back on my sprouting kick LOL! Birds love fresh sprouts and they are so easy to prepare. They are a powerhouse of nutrition and closely resemble the natural diet our birds would eat in the wild. There are many pre-mixed sprout mixes you can buy, but you can make your own mix very inexpensively. The mix I am using now is black oil sunflower, safflower, wheat berries (hard winter wheat berries are better to sprout than soft wheat berries), mung beans, whole (unhulled) millet and whole oats.

I use the sprouting jar method. It is easy to make your own sprout jars. I use a mason jar and a piece of needlepoint canvas cut it to fit the mouth of the jar. The holes are the perfect size to allow proper draining while keeping the contents of the jar contained.

I rinse my seeds well and then soak them overnight. The next morning, I drain and rinse them well. Then during the day I rinse them maybe twice. I allow them to sprout on the counter for one day and then put them in the fridge. I found this prevents spoiling in our humid Texas weather. Rinse the sprouts and allow them to drain thoroughly before feeding. I use up sprouts within two to three days.

I make one "universal" sprout mix for my birds. Everybody from the parrotlets to my amazon eats the same mix. I find it is easier that way. Weaning babies also receive the same mix and relish their sprouts! There are a lot of good articles on the net regarding sprouting. Carolyn Swicegood (a well respected eclectus breeder) in particular has lots of information on the subject of sprouting for birds.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!!

We are earning our birdseed here at the aviary LOL! I just pulled five pineapple green cheek conures from the nest for handfeeding along with three lineolated parakeets. All the linnies are reserved at this time. We have another clutch of pineapple green cheeks which I will be pulling any day now as well as two senegal babies! My blue quakers are in the nestbox so I expect they will be laying eggs soon.

Check my website at for current updates on our babies here at the aviary.

Upon closer inspection the other day, I noticed the tail feathers and wing feathers on two of my pineapple babies were a different color than the others. Turns out they are pineapple/turquoise mutations! Both the parents are visual pineapples, but obviously there is some turquoise in their background. Absolutely gorgeous!

Wild Baby Birds:

This time of year I get phone calls from people who have found a baby bird and do not know what to do with it. Wild baby birds need frequent feedings all day long (every two hours from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM). They also need to be introduced slowly to the wild (called a "soft release") the correct way to ensure it's survival. There is more to it than just feeding the bird and then turning it loose! Please do not attempt to care for wild baby birds yourself. Most people do not have the time or knowledge to do it correctly. Remember, it is the bird that will suffer from incorrect care. Here are two places you can contact if you need to relinquish a wild baby bird (and/or any other wild animals such as baby squirrels, raccoons, etc.)

Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition: (TWRC):

Texas Parks & Wildlife:

*Your local vet may also be able to refer you to a wildlife rehabber in your area.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Aviary Update & Stick Training

We are very excited here at Almost Angels Aviary! One of our pineapple green cheek pairs is in the process of hatching their first clutch! So far they are great parents, feeding their babies and being very protective. Especially the male who comes after my hand like a bolt of lightning when I reach in the cage to change food bowls! So far, looks like there are four babies in the nest! Our other pair of pineapple green cheek conures are on eggs also which are due to start hatching very soon. This will be their first clutch. We'll keep our fingers crossed! If you have never seen the "pineapple" mutation of green cheek conures you are missing out! They are gorgeous with yellow, red, green and maroon colors. If you love the bright colors of the sun conures, but can't handle their loud calls, a pineapple green cheek conure may be the bird for you.

We also have a pair of senegals of eggs and a pair of linnies on eggs. I expect the linnies to begin hatching very soon! Our box is back up on our black headed caique pair and my girl just couldn't wait to jump right in LOL! So we will probably have some black headed caique eggs in a few weeks.

For current updates on eggs/babies visit our website at .

Stick Training:

I always recommend to people that they "stick train" their birds. By stick training, I mean that your bird is trained to step up on a stick or dowel. And I don't just recommend this for big birds. Smaller birds such as lovebirds, parrotlets, lineolated parakeets and cockatiels should be stick trained also.

It is easy to do. Start by obtaining a suitable perch or dowel rod suitable for your bird's size. Your bird should be able to grip the perch comfortably. Vetwrap in a neutral color can be used to wrap the perch to make a more grippable surface if needed.

Introduce your bird to the perch slowly letting him/her get used to it. Another idea is to use a perch that is currently in your bird's cage or the same type. That will make things go quicker. Once he is used to the perch, ask him to step up on the stick for a second and then put him back down. Or you can alternate stepping up on your hand and the stick. However he is most comfortable. Then practice having your bird step up on the stick from various locations: the top of his cage, off his playstand, from inside the cage, etc.

Once he is reliably stepping up on the stick, use it regularly to keep your bird in the habit of stepping onto it.

Stick training has many benefits. If your bird is mature, you will notice it's behavior may change for a few weeks around Spring and Fall. This is the breeding season for many parrot species. Since we do not nueter/spay our birds, their reproductive systems are fully functional. Environmental triggers signal the hormones to kick in for breeding! Some birds are louder and more aggressive during this time. If you are not paying attention to your bird's body language, you may receive a painful nip or bite.

Some birds such as macaws, cockatoos, caiques and amazons can become very dominant and assert themselves by biting. It's not only the large birds though. I've seen some very aggressive lovebirds and parrotlets!

If your bird is stick trained, when he gets naughty, you can simply have him step up onto the stick instead of offering your hand. This keeps you from getting bitten which in turn keeps you in control of your bird. It's also a great way for other people to handle your bird if necessary. What if you are out of town and your bird gets out of the cage? Not everyone is comfortable handling birds and your bird may not want somebody else picking it up. Your pet sitter could easily ask your bird to step up on his familiar stick to put him back in his cage. No drama for either the parrot nor the pet sitter.

The above is just one scenario. There are many other instances where stick training can be beneficial. Birds that are afraid of hands, cagebound, or aggressive around their cage for example, often will happily step up on a stick to come out.

I consider stick training to be the equivalent of basic obedience training for dogs. You may not always use it, but if you need it, you're glad it's there.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring is here!

Finally! After a cold, rainy winter we are enjoying the sunshine and warm days! I've been out riding the horses and my pet birds are having a ball playing in their outdoor cages. Life is good!

The aviary has been a buzz with activity. I took down most of my nestboxes for a while to give me and the birds a break. Well they are back up and my pairs have been busy! Right now I have lineolated parakeets on eggs, three pairs of green cheeks on eggs, a pair of senegals on eggs and my blue quakers have been spending a lot of time in the nestbox! I have some more nestboxes to put back up, but I think I'll wait LOL!!

Be sure to check my website for updates on babies that are available . I keep my information current so check back often!

People often ask me if I ship. Yes I do! I prefer to use Continental Airlines as the birds are hand carried on and off the plane and transported in a climate controlled area. The birds handle being shipped very well and acclimate quickly to their new homes and owners.

Reminder:  Now is the time to get those flight feathers trimmed on your bird. With the nice weather, we often leave our windows open and turn our ceiling fans on. And remember, small birds such as budgies, cockatiels, small conures, etc. can usually still fly very well even with trimmed wings. If you take your bird outside, please have it in a safe travel cage or teach it to wear a harness.

If you haven't seen your avian vet in a while, schedule a grooming appointment with him or her. I often recommend people do this even if they know how to groom their bird themselves. It's a good way to get some face time with your vet and update your bird's records. Having a good relationship with your avian vet is very important. Don't wait until you have an emergency. Plus, I found that even though you are just bringing your bird in for a grooming, the vet will take the opportunity to give your bird a physical examination and talk with you about it's care while you are there. It is money well spent.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What happened to the bird?

A good friend of mine called me the other day crying. Her beloved parrotlet had died very suddenly. He literally was okay one minute and dead the next. I too was heartbroken when I heard the news. I had handfed this little parrotlet from a tiny baby. He was so sweet and personable, the pick of the clutch so to speak. He loved little cheek rubs and liked to cuddle under long hair. He was the perfect bird for my friend and her family.

She named him "Guacamole" after my parrotlet "Avocado". We are good friends, so I go over there frequently. Always checking in on Guacamole and bringing him a little treat or a toy. My friend loved her little bird and doted on him beak and foot. She gave him fresh veggies every day and baked special treats for him. His gorgeous color and generous size was a testament to his excellent care.

When she had called me, we went over everything I could think of that could be the cause of his death. He wasn't acting sick, his weight was good, etc. No scented candles, cleaning products, pesticides, teflon, etc. The days have been nice here so neither the air conditioner nor heater were on. She told me that before he died, her neighbor across the street had lit a rather large pile of brush in his front yard. Then the wind changed and quite a bit of smoke blew into their house before she had the chance to close the windows. Could this be the problem?

I was discussing this with another friend of mine, retired lineolated parakeet breeder Cynthia Williams. Cynthia is very knowledgeable about plants and such. When I mentioned the above, she told me that toxic plants when burned can emit toxins in the smoke. She told me a story about a man that was allergic to poison sumac. He cleaned out his yard and had a big pile of the stuff. He lit the pile and after accidently inhaling some of the smoke, died. Cynthia said "...and this was a human, as you know, birds are much more sensitive to toxins than we are. Remember the canaries in the coal mines?". She told me to ask my friend if she knew what her neighbor had on the burn pile.

It turns out, among other things, her neighbor had cut back his oleander bushes. She told me the bushes ran all down the side of his property. He had a bunch. They were completely cut down and he was burning them. Oleander is very toxic.  

We don't know for sure if this was the cause of death, but given the circumstances there is a good chance that it was. Her neighbor wasn't malicious. We live in the country and clearing the property of dead plants, tree trimmings, etc. and then burning them is a normal occurence. This was just a freak accident.  But you can bet, my friend is going to have a chat with her neighbor to educate him about burning toxic plants in such close proximity to his neighbors.

Most of us know the standard toxins that can hurt our birds: scented candles, febreze, cleaning products, overheated non-stick cookware, etc. But this was a new one to me. By sharing Guacamole's story, maybe this will prevent a similar tragedy from happening to someone else's beloved pet.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Easy, Healthy Food Tips

Go to the internet and google in "feeding parrots" and all sorts of information will come up. It can be overwhelming to new parrot owners who want to feed their bird a healthy diet but are short on time. For many of you who have just one or two birds, these tips will be especially helpful:

1. I like to prepare a grain and veggie mix for my birds. But I certainly don't have time to cook it up every day. So I make a large amount and freeze it in tupperware containers. The day before I am going to feed the mix, I let it thaw on the counter for a few hours. When it is almost thawed out, I place it in the refrigerator. When I am ready to feed it, I just slightly warm it in the microwave, stir and serve. At this time, I may add some fresh veggies to the mix or not, depending on what I have available. Some people freeze portions in ice cube trays, others use sandwich baggies (squeeze the air out before freezing). It all depends on the size of the servings you need. Food in the fridge should be fed within 2 days.

2. If you only have one bird, it may be more economical to buy pre-mixed cook n' serve grain mixes. My favorites are Crazy Corn (Polly Pasta and Kung Fu Yum flavors are favorites here) and Volkman's 15 Minute Soak N Serve. And just as above, you can cook larger portions and freeze the extras.

3. Sprouts are super easy to prepare and are one of the most nutritious foods you can feed your birds. I like to go to Whole Foods and buy grains and beans from the bulk bins to sprout. There are also online stores where you can order sprouts pre-mixed. China Prairie has some great sprout mixes. If you google in "sprouting for parrots" lots of information will come up on the subject as well as instructions as to how to sprout safely.

4. If you are preparing healthy vegetables for your family, put some aside for your bird before cooking it. Birds don't need the salt, butter, sauces, etc. I do this a lot. My pet birds are shameless beggers!

5. Birdie bread is another excellent way to get good food into your bird. There are tons of recipes on the net. I really like Mommas Birdie Bread. It's a dry mix you prepare like a cornbread mix. It is made from healthy ingredients and comes in a variety of flavors. Chopped veggies (I like chopped carrots or yellow squash), or a small jar of baby food can be added to the mix for extra nutrition. Birdie breads can also be frozen in portions for future meals.

6. A good pelleted base diet will go a long way to keeping your bird healthy. Pellets have protein, minerals and vitamins in every bite. Our babies here are weaned to a pelleted base diet so they develop healthy eating habits right from the start. If your bird is on a seed based diet, it's nutritional needs are probably not being met. Ask your vet or other qualified bird professional about how you can improve your bird's diet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Losing Friends

I apologize for not posting! I will make more effort to keep my blog up to date!

One of my dear friends, Anna Tipps lost her battle with cancer about a month ago. She was one of those special people that when you meet them, they change your life. She was naturally an open, giving person. One of those rare people that will help you because it warms their heart to do so. Not because they have an agenda or they feel you will "owe" them if they do.

I first met Anna at a party a few years back. Being animal lovers, we hit it off immediately. Anna was a busy mother of four small children, so we would get together when we could (our husbands are friends too). She was into "raw food" which is just as it sounds. Preparing natural vegetarian foods without cooking to preserve the enzymes, vitamins and minerals that are often destroyed in the cooking process. Of course, any meat she prepared was cooked accordingly. If you are thinking just salads and veggie platters think again! She was a true gourmet and could prepare raw foods in ways you could not imagine. One night, we had lasagna which was amazing. My favorites were always the desserts. Since my husband and I will eat almost anything (LOL) and were open to the raw food thing, she would try new recipes with us. It was a lot of fun.

When I told her I was going into business for myself, we discussed a website. I had some ideas, but hiring a website designer was cost prohibitive. She volunteered to help put a site together for me - a daunting task! I would go over to her house a few times a week and we would work countless hours putting together the site, shopping cart, etc. If you have never put together a website before, you have no idea how much work goes into one! I was so thankful she was willing to help me. Here she was, a mother of four children taking time away from her family to help me, and asked for nothing in return. I would do a few small favors here and there for her, but nothing compares to what she did for me.

We became close friends during the time we worked so many hours together. The more time I spent with her, the more I saw what an amazing person she really was. People naturally gravitated to her. The phone seemed to ring all the time! And what a great Mom! Patient, loving and kind. She was the kind of mom everyone wished for.

When my business model changed to more breeding and less focus on supplies, etc. I needed an image change. I decided to scrap the first website completely and start over with a different concept. Anna didn't blink an eye and designed a new website for me. That is the website I have up today - Almost Angels Aviary.

She not only designed my site, but taught me how to work on it myself! A lifesaver since I am constantly updating information. With all the changes I make, I can only imagine what it would cost me if I had to hire somebody every time I needed to make a change. Whenever I think of the saying "Give a man a fish and he'll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime" I think of Anna.

I remember our last conversation. Anna had just gotten back from Mexico. She went to a conventional/holistic cancer treatment center there. She felt good and was excited about the things she learned and the people she met there. As it goes with people who have cancer, her focus was more on recovering from treatments, healing herself and spending time with her family. So we didn't get to visit as much as we used to. It was wonderful to talk to her. We chatted for a long time.

I still have her email address in my contacts. Kind of silly, I know. I just can't seem to bring myself to delete it. Whenever I work on my website or receive a compliment on it, I think of Anna.

Anna, thank you so much for being my friend and being you.... and for teaching me how to fish.