Monday, December 28, 2009

Wishlist for 2010

Every year people wish for things, mostly unobtainable by themselves and often totally selfish. This year I decided to ignore my own wishes and tried to think of things which would ultimately benefit everyone on our fragile planet. Oh, don't be fooled, I'm as selfish as the next person when it comes to wishes, but once you get started thinking about the bigger picture, it really is not that hard to forget what you want in the small corner of your world. So here it is:-

  • I wish everyone in the world a crime-free year ahead. Although I am from South Africa and crime is truly a problem in our country, ours is not the only one where people are affected by the results of crime on a daily basis. Take a moment and think about this. Violent crime is not limited to street muggings and robberies from people you don't know. Domestic violence must be one of the most under-reported (both in the media and the police stations) crime in the world. Most abusers are clever and spin a web around their victims, emotionally and physically dis-empowering them to the extent where the victim feels worthless with no self-esteem left.  I've seen this happen over and over again while working as Commissioner of the Children Court and even in the criminal courts. We only hear about domestic violence in the media when the victim snaps and fights back - often with more force than people deem necessary. But, this abuse usually continues for years  before someone realize there is a problem. So my first wish for this Christmas is that nobody should suffer in the hands of an abuser - whether known or unknown. 
  • I wish every child in the world a warm bed, abundance of food and most of all - plenty of love for the next year. People able to support themselves and their families tend to look away from a street child begging on the street corner or at the supermarket. They don't want to see the hungry face because it makes them feel guilty. They justify not helping the child by saying there are millions of these children around the world and helping this one unknown child will not make a difference. Just think about this: if one person helps one child every day in each country of the world - how big a difference would we be able to make? How many children would be saved, helped, fed and provided for? So in short my wish for the year ahead: I wish every person on the planet would help one child in some way every single day of the year.
  • May the powers that be work together without putting the monetary benefits first, to ensure the future of our planet. The fragility of our planet has been in the news often lately and more and more people start to realize that we cannot keep on abusing the planet as we are doing. Resources are slowly being depleted and the recent funny weather (and this is my opinion) is evidence of more radical changes to come if nothing is done about the effect our habits have on the environment.     
 Three simple wishes for the world. The frustrating part is that one person alone can do very little to achieve these goals, but working together, we all can make a difference.

I hope everyone has a prosperous New Year and that health and wealth will follow after the 1st of January.

    Monday, December 7, 2009

    African Grey Babies Now 7 Weeks Old

    The African Grey Parrot chicks are now 7 weeks old and full of feathers. Hand rearing the chicks has not been such a mission as we first thought and they are becoming more and more independent. They started to eat soft food over the weekend and now resides in a proper parrot cage with extra mesh at the bottom to prevent them from falling through.

    The smaller one is a keen learner and already starts to react to instructions to climb onto your finger, but the feet are not yet co-operating and if she has one claw closed the other refuses. Her balance is much better than the bigger one which is a complete sweetie.

    The younger one also is the most inquisitive and will investigate anything and everything you place inside the cage. She now decided she likes the soft food better than the porridge and it appears that she will be weaned long before her older sibling as she eats less porridge with every feed and more soft food and seeds.

    I don't know how we are going to say goodbye to these two in two weeks time as they each has their own personality and are adorable, but I suppose that is part of breeding African Grey Parrots.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    African Grey Chicks - Comparison at 3 and 6 weeks

    A 10-week old Congo African Grey Chick

    Our Congo African Grey chicks are now 6 weeks old and I thought it would be interesting to show a comparison between the African Grey babies at 3 weeks and at 6 weeks. The chicks showed an interest in soft foods today for the first time and after realizing the food is quite tasty, they ate and played with the food for nearly an hour.

    The bare wings now have feathers and even the long feathers at the tips of the wings are developing quite fast.

    The red tail feathers, which are unique to the Congo African Grey parrots, have also developed and three distinct rows of tail feathers are present. Note the lone red feather just above the tail and the tuft of down just below.

    We weighed the chicks today and the smaller one weighs in at 550grams while the larger chick weighs a roaring 650 grams. They have more than doubled in size in three weeks.

    During the past weekend we cared for a 10 week old African Grey parrot. "Gogga" the parrot baby is already weaned and only wanted to taste the baby formula because the little ones ate. At one stage we had a total of five parrots ranging from 6 weeks to 8 years old on the kitchen table and it made for interesting play time. Gogga enjoyed climbing all over hubby while the little one sought refuge from the miniature windstorm Gogga created.

     In the photo's of the African Grey parrots below you can clearly see the difference in the eyes of an adult and baby parrot. The adult African Grey parrot has a yellow ring around the black pupil while the baby's eyes are nearly totally black.

    We have already found a home for the smaller baby African Grey parrot, but will only deliver after the chicks are completely weaned and able to fend for themselves.