Monthly Archives: May 2008

Cockatiel treats..

Shreddies are the latest flavour of the month for our cockatiels!  Since Lloyd was a bit poorly and I was basically just trying find stuff to make him eat, as he’d lost so much weight and was looking unlikely to recover…. so it started with rice, but we’ve also been working on other healthy snacks they can have too, having previous cut out any non-pellet based food for them.

But since the illness we’ve relented on this policy somewhat, although are very careful to check out the food we’re letting them have – particularly for salt content – so they’ve been having rice, sweetcorn, cereals, houmous (!), ryvita and leaves like spinach, rocket and watercress… and the benefit of them mostly eating pellets means that novelty factor of other foods gets them eating.  Cockatiels love nothing if not a novelty, they’re curious and nosey little birds.

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Random update

Lloyd’s continuing to get better; his weight-gain has slowed a bit – and I think he may be getting bored of rice, but we’ve still got him eating plenty and he’s much more like his old self which is fantastic.  He clocked in at 96 grams today which was before any kind of major feeding – I’ve had him just over 100 grams after a troughing session, which is hopefully indicative that he’s been eating well during the day as previously his ‘pre-troughing’ weight seemed to be plateauing at 92-93 grams.

That said, 90-120 grams represents a healthy weight for a cockatiel, so he’s well into the comfort zone – but he was at the top end of the scale last time he was weighed in a fully healthy state at the vet (albeit on different scales to ours) so I’d be happier to see him up to something closer to that.  I have a few tricks up my sleeve to try to make that happen.

Having become a definite devotee of my iPhone I’ve ordered the bits and pieces I need to make it work with the car – so it will integrate with the inbuilt handsfree kit as well as provide music through the stereo.  I use my TomTom to play mp3 music but since I don’t generally need the satnav for familiar journeys, it will be good to be able to have properly portable digital music that I can then take with me to continue listening to via headphones.  So next week should be good as the bits and pieces arrive, frustratingly the disparate components have all come from different retailers so they’ll arrive in bits and pieces rather than in one all-encompassing package that will sort everything out!

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Carlsberg don’t do weekends..

.. but if they did, it would be the weekend I’ve just had!

  • Derby confirmed as the worst ever Premier League team, as they can’t now catch the previous lowest points total of 15.
  • Forest unthinkably achieve automatic promotion thanks to a win over Yeovil Town – of all people – and the wonderful side that is Cheltenham Town beating Doncaster. This of course puts us in the Championship, and most importantly, gives us a couple of games to look forward to finally after three years in the doldrums.
  • My car passed its’ MOT without any problems at all!
  • Les-dar were today relegated to the division Forest have spent the last three years desperately trying to escape – for the first time in their history! This has made me very happy.
  • And most importantly, Lloyd has actually started putting on a bit of weight – still a way to go, but he’s looking much more like his old self, which is fantastic.

If you stretch the weekend back a bit then you could also factor in Liverpool getting knocked out of Europe too, which cheered me up no end. Could fortune be smiling upon Forest fans for the first time in, well, years?

When you consider that’s also a bank holiday weekend so there’s no work tomorrow, and it just gets better and better – it means I can stay up to watch ‘The Championship’ on ITV at 11:50 without knackering myself for work!

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From Byron to Boatswain to Lloyd, in three easy steps!

Despite being born in London (with a family tree including a father known as ‘Mad Jack’ and a grandfather known as ‘Foulweather Jack’ which is pretty ace), Lord George Gordon Byron is a historical figure clung on to by Nottinghamshire – despite him rarely spending any time in Newstead Abbey, a property he inherited in Nottingham, the local media would have you believe he wandered regularly around our fair county.

That aside, he is obviously famous as a bit of a lothario, and given his tendencies to swing both ways he wasn’t always somebody who was tolerated in 18th and 19th century England – hence he spent a fair bit of time in Europe to avoid the kind of persecution that folks of his persuasions tended to attract, but anyway, I digress, but there is a reason beyond his tenuous link to Nottingham that I bring up the subject of Lord Byron.

Last week it transpired that Lloyd, the eldest of our cockatiels, was feeling under the weather – a trip to the vet revealed it was more than just that, and that he’d lost a great deal of weight, enough to make us fearful for his life. He was duly booked in to the vet again to undergo an xray and a blood test, of which the results were broadly inconclusive. Fortunately in the meantime I’ve managed to lure him into eating rice which has stemmed his weight loss, and indeed, he is showing early signs of regaining his weight and appears much healthier and more like his old self.

I’m cautiously optimistic he’s in ‘recovery mode’ – but it was very upsetting when I wasn’t sure if he’d come back from the vet since he was to undergo an anaesthetic in order to have his tests; you see I’m a soppy git when it comes to animals at the best of times, but to all intents and purposes Lloyd’s a child to me, it’s very difficult for non-animal people to fathom, and indeed non-bird people – you see, cockatiels are very affectionate and have real personalities, so the thought of losing him after only five years (they have a life expectancy of 15-20 years) was quite distressing.

It was during looking up the contact details for our vet (named after Lord Byron) that I came across this poem he wrote as an epitaph for his dog, Boatswain – a Newfoundland Hound actually imported from Canada, who died of rabies. (And people think my naming my bird Lloyd was weird!), and well, it resonated quite strongly given my circumstances at the time, so I thought I’d post it here. For those curious folk, Boatswain’s tomb is still present at the Abbey.

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.

This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov. 18, 1808.

When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown by Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below.
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,
Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye, who perchance behold this simple urn,
Pass on, it honors none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one, and here he lies.

Grand words indeed, and if you’ve ever seen Boatswain’s tomb then it’s a pretty grand monument too – one inspired by barely five years of a dog’s life; such is the impact the animal must have had on Byron. Whilst I can’t muster words like these, that would be a fair summary of how I would feel to lose Lloyd – so fingers crossed he’s on the mend!

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