For Cory's avian diseases course at Ross, he was given the opportunity for a great learning experience by hand-raising a baby bird. His name was put on a list with others from his class, and as the babies hatched in the aviary on campus, students began getting calls that their babies were ready to head home with them. We waited and waited, wondering if there weren't going to be enough babies born this semester for everyone to get one. But just as early November rolled around, we got the call. We were getting a cockatiel! (It could have been a budgie (parakeet) or a love bird instead)
We got our baby bird at 2 weeks old, and he looked like a little dinosaur or alien!
We decided to name him Joey, partially because cockatiels come from Australia, and partially because it reminded us of our parrot in San Diego, Zoe. Officially, his full name is Joey Zissou, but we just stick with Joey.
Now here is the deal with raising a baby bird. When you first get them at 2 weeks old, they have to be fed every 2 hours. By hand. You mix a nutrient-rich powder with water, warm it up, and feed it to him through a small syringe. Not only does this make you tired because you are getting up multiple times a night for feedings, but it is not always easy! He gets a little excited, and quite demanding when it comes time to eat, and tends to make a mess.
Cory gets props for doing the majority of these feedings, since we got him when I was gone in California, and then I left for London for a week!
After a good meal, Joey would stumble around a bit, unable to keep his balance with a full belly, and mostly because he didn't know how to walk yet!
Sometimes, when he would make too much of a mess and his food would become caked to his feathers, we would bring him in the shower for a nice warm rinsing. Afterwards, all tucked in a towel, he would sit in a little spot of sunshine coming in the window and stay warm as he dried off
As the weeks have gone by, he has changed so much! He literally changed from the little dinosaur in the first pics, to fully feathered in 18 days!! Each day he seemed to have more feathers, better balance, and more mobility. Until all of a sudden, he was a fully feathered bird that could fly around the house wherever he pleased! Cory immediately emailed me in London when he had his first flight. Oh, the good ol' days. Now he has the cutest little mohawk, and pretty much runs or flies around wherever he wants.....
But although he looks different......do not be fooled. His eating habits remain the same....
Check out a game he likes to play with Cory. Cory calls it "going down the slide". Joey calls it "distracting Dad from studying"
And finally, a video montage to show off his flying skills