Within our household, and in these most recent years of economic hardship here in Greece, we have been blessed to add several animals to our flock with that promise of a lifetime commitment. Among those brought within our fold are 6 parrots. While they are not better than the rest of their brethren (3 cats, 1 dog and 1 canary), and do not deserve more (or less) love, their care and needs are far different from the rest of their family. And so too is the cost of their upkeep. For the cats and the dog food is easy, whether it be from cans or bags (with the occasional treat or table scrap thrown in). Also for the rabbit it is not too difficult; a constant fresh supply of hay, some quality pellet and a few fresh greens, carrot, etc. But the birds, now they are a different sort of culinary responsibility. They require foods similar in nature to the rabbit, but far more difficult to obtain here (only recently have pellets even been brought to the region where I live, and that was after several years of my urging the local pet store to provide them), and requiring more than just throwing them into a bowl and calling it dinner. The parrots (and the canary which I feed a similar diet) all require variety and quality to assure they recieve the nutrients necessary for a long healthy life. And time, feeding them is a slow process which begins by scouring the local green-grocer for suitable fare and ends with a nicely mixed "chop" being provided twice a day. The problem is, they are parrots, and parrots, being the highly intelligent, and often very opinionated beings they are, can seldom be content with just having a bowl placed before them then eating it. There are also foraging opportunities that must be provided, such as stuffing broccoli peppers, arugula, etc...into a rabbit foraging ball and hanging it from the cage top or side, or using a skewer to make a sort of veggie-kabob for them to hold and demolish. Of course whatever the method you use to feed, a great deal of play and destruction must also take place during their dining, and therein lies the rub; how to successfully manage to provide proper food when the cost of waste becomes exacerbated by the economic turmoil thrust by the previously mentioned forces upon ones life? The truth is, it may mean a bit of self-sacrifice if proper nutrition is to continue to be observed. And as far as I can tell, such a sacrifice is of little consequence when one considers how big a role our fids all play in a rich and happy life.
In the afternoons, during the warmer months and after the sun has moved to the rear of our home creating shade on our balcony/aviary, it is my habit to bring a long cushion out and enjoy the fresh air in the company of our smaller birds, all of whom love to flit about on the hanging branches and play with their toys. And so I will lay there on the balcony floor upon my cushion, talking to them, offering an occasional head scratch or referee service when a spat breaks out, and watch them flying about and generally having a good time. Of course I do get bombed occasionally (Midori our IRN seems always to seek a perch above me when it's time to "go") but it's not important. Often people pass by on the street below and notice the birds, then shortly after notice me laying there; the sight of the birds usually gets a smile, the sight of me laying tends to get a mix of something between a grimace and a look of befuddlement. But never mind that, I am sharing quality time with my family, and no amount of bird poop or curious looks can ever change that. And so it is also with the cost of upkeep for all of our fids; no matter how difficult things may become, no matter the personal sacrifices which must be made, the commitment to our family goes beyond the strictures of Governent, High Finance, Society, and the expectations of others. It is the expectations of the children (our fids) which are of supreme importance, and all of us owe it to them to see those expectations are met