To begin with, one last photo of Riko’s morning acrobatics: today he was particularly ‘flighty’ and decided to try his upside down and ‘hanging like a bat’ routines. I always have to be ready to leap to the rescue if he begins to lose his grip!
An indication of how different the characters of the two birds are comes from their bathing preferences. Riko loves showers: he will twirl round and round, hang upside down and flap his wings in the spray and get very excited. Bafut hates showers and thinks you are trying to do something unspeakably nasty to him. He is a bath man: he like to have still water which he can throw about as he pleases. And he does. All over the kitchen.
(N.B. In case these stories/pix make any of you feel like owning a parrot may I just relay a piece of advice given to me, after I got mine. Never keep a parrot if you do not like being bitten!! I have the scars to prove this.
There are times each year when they get a hormone rush, and for those weeks they are not capable of controlling their actions. However well you can read parrot body language, you will not be able to move fast enough to avoid the occasional blood letting. The softest, most gentle bird turns into the creature from hell, so be warned. It is not their fault.)
Our daughter in law has given us an old childrens’ paddling pool, blue and shaped like a dinghy, and this has now replaced the ‘his and hers’ aluminium pub drip trays. So now the two geese can bathe together. Incidentally, this should help them with their gosling-making activities, since geese prefer to mate on water!
Leonard the gecko sheds his skin every week or so, and recently it has been taking him a long time to finish his shedding. This is because at this time of year our house is not overly warm and even with his own heater he goes into semi-hibernation and does not move around as much as usual. If you do not take care, sometimes pieces of skin can remain, especially around a gecko’s toes: if this stays put it can eventually constrict his circulation and he will lose toes, so a warm bath is necessary to soften the skin and help him remove it.
This evening I felt the time had come to give him a helping hand: he also has some obstinate old skin on the tip of his tail and around the sides of his face. He is not very keen on his baths, but I try to make him feel at home by using a vegetable dish with plant decorations.
Incidentally, I put the old pieces of shed skin into the mealworms’ box and they fall on it and eat it up with glee: then the gecko eats the mealworms. Neat.
As for the rest of the household, well, like the parrots, I prefer showers, husband prefers baths. Actually, come to think of it, there are other similarities between me and Riko and husband and Bafut:)
Dog hates water and badly needs a bath. We have been putting it off but the time is coming when it just must be done, trauma all round.
The horses do not mind as long as the water is warm. They get washed once a year, rather like Queen Elizabeth I, whether they need it or not, tied up outside the barn, and we heat kettles of water to take the chill off the tap water, and use washing up liquid as shampoo. Once dry, they are finished off with a nice dusting of anti-louse powder, and that does them until the next Spring.
So there is usually one week in the year when all these ablutions coincide and the whole family is clean together. That is the time to invite people round!