Chocolate, Cheep, and Cookie
I always wanted a breeding pair of zebra finches (since I couldn't have real zebras). I've always loved how happy they sounded. So I bought a pair from PetsMart along with a small cage and a book on the care of Zebra Finches. Shortly after installing them in the new cage, I decided it wasn't big enough. So back to PetsMart . I bought a larger cage, a stand, and a coconut shelter.
The bigger cage really did the trick and soon there were three eggs in the coconut. Chocolate and Cheep were going to be parents! I re-read the book front to back. A normal hatch consists of one-three eggs. Check. They hatch in 13-15 days after the hen begins to set. OOPS...no sitting hen. Back to square one. After 20 days, I removed the infertile eggs, and began waiting again. Cheep laid two more batches of infertile eggs.
Finally on the fourth batch, Cheep started to sit on the eggs. Thirteen days later, a lone chick hatched. Wanting to keep the name in the family, I called it Cookie. Cookie quickly grew and soon was fly-hopping about the cage.
Not wanting to bother an expectant mother, I hadn't cleaned the cage for months. I decided it was time to clean the cage. I caught Cheep and Cookie rather easily and moved them into the small cage. Chocolate was harder to catch, but I finally wrangled him into the smaller cage too. I disinfected the larger cage and sat down to let it dry before putting the birds back.
That's when I made the mistake. I went shopping on Amazon. There I found a huge, flying cage. It was 5 feet high and sat on a floor stand. I felt it was perfect for my growing family. I ordered the cage. And then went about putting the birds back into their cage..
Once again, I easily caught Cheep and Cookie. Chocolate however, decided to zig when I zagged and bolted out the cage door. I tried to catch him for an hour. Then fearing that I would overtax him if I continued to try to catch him. I decided that he was safe behind the sofa and headed off to bed.
The next morning, I carefully opened the patio door to let my dog, Parker, outside. While he was out, I looked all over for Chocolate. He wasn't behind the sofa. Hadn't flown to the top of the curtains, like he had the night before. Usually he would respond to me by chirping when I twittered to him. The house was ominously quiet
That's when I remembered that my cat, Jazz, used to be quite the hunter when she was younger. She hadn't hunted in a long time. Surely Chocolate was safe if he stayed out of the living room. I decided to check her cat tree. There on the floor, she left me her trophy of the beak and one leg. Cheep and Cookie were now alone --- to be continued --