Past Updates & News

Another article polished up with new graphics, layout, etc: All I Ever Needed to Know About Life I Learned From my Bird.

Check out the January issue of Bird Talk for my article on kakarikis.


Three new articles! Acclimating and Taming Your New Bird is for the beginning owner. The end of the article has a visual guide on how to hold your hands correctly. The other two articles are both on disease: What Causes Disease? and Major Avian Diseases. All three of these were first published in the Avicultural Society of America's bulletin. This will probably be the routine from now on. I'll write the articles for them, then post them here. It'll give my work more exposure and force me to do a more serious job.

I also updated Which Bird? so that the HTML code isn't all messed up. I added some better pictures, but I still need images for lory, eclectus, African grey, Meyer/Senegal/etc., parrotlet, caique, or pionus. If you have any please send them to

I finally got married. Yes, we both showed up. As of now we have completed our move to Northern California. Despite the HUGE pain of moving the birds involving much back breaking labor, wire cutting and swearing, my husband is still with me. The poor guy isn't even a bird person. Thankfully he is very supportive of my bird breeding endeavors.

I still don't ship, and will now be servicing San Jose/Santa Clara. Chicks will probably be available in Spring at the earliest. We have tons of unpacking to do, not to mention setting up the birds again. I may or may not be able to handfeed regularly.


No updates to speak of.

My wedding is only a month away. After that I'll be relocating to the San Jose area of California. We were lucky enough to find an area that will allow us to rent yet still keep all my birds (currently around 60).

Moving this time is going to be interesting. I've moved with birds before, but never this many and never structurally. The aviaries have always stayed put before. Now I have to haul everything. My biggest concern, however, is that the area is new to me. My aviaries are all outdoors, which means I have to get used to new terrain, climate and hazards. I'm in the middle of suburbia right now and the only wildlife I have to worry about are stray cats and the occational falcon. The new place is smack in the middle of the woods. I get to learn how to deal with mosquitos, and persistant rodents, and possibly large predators. I also get to deal with finding a new feed store, a new avian vet and a new place to market my birds. Southern California is a great place to raise birds because there are a lot of avicultural resources. I'm not sure how San Jose will compare.


Happy Easter! Good news- the tiels are taking good care of the ringneck chick so far. Here's a picture of it. I love cockatiels.

Well it looks like I'll have to kill that growth guide before it really gets started. The mother is not brooding her chicks, and I've lost three out of four. The last one is currently being fostered under some tiels, but I'm not sure that will even work- the two species are so different. If they can pull off fostering for two weeks I might be able to take over handfeeding, though I really don't need to be doing that right now. In any case, I'm not even sure which of the four chicks the survivor is, and it might not grow normally given the circumstances. I won't be able to do an accurate growth guide with this clutch.

I know, nothing but growth guides lately. School has been taking up most of my time as I near graduation. I hardly have time for breeding, much less writing. That said, I've started an Indian Ringneck Growth Guide. Pictures should be added as the babies grow. Hopefully the parents will do a good job with them. This is their first clutch.

I'll be speaking at the April meeting for the Avicultural Society of America. It's at the Yorba Linda library at 1:30 pm. Guests are welcome. The presentation will be on kakarikis.

I'll be getting married this year in September and it looks like I'll be moving to northern California. It could be troublesome, considering how many birds I currently have. It is possible that I'll have to downsize somewhat, so I may have breeder pairs available later this year.


A couple of new updates today, both breeder related and ongoing. The first is Breeder Woes & Chick Ailments. This article describes some common problems with breeder pairs and chicks. Right now it only contains splayed legs, nestbox pests, stunting and plucking, but I hope to add more in the future. The second update is a visual growth guide for budgies, much like my tiel growth guide and kakariki diary. It only contains one image at the moment, but I will be adding more as my newest budgie clutch progresses. I also hope to augment my tiel growth guidge with some better images, including week one chicks.

The breeding season is here! Check out my Birds for Sale section for available birds and prices.


Back in June I promised you a massive article once I got around to finishing it. Well here we are in January and I'm still not finished. What can I say? Things happened during the summer. Luckily, it's large enough that it can be split into various sections easily, so I've gone ahead and uploaded the parts I've completed. The other sections are almost finished, but seeing that I probably won't get to them for a while yet I thought I'd better just give you what I have. The rest will be posted at a later date. The topic is one that concerns everyone, even the casual pet owner: Animal Rights and Aviculture.

I had to scrap the current surveys because they were making the main page load slow.


Happy Holidays from Feisty Feathers!

This time of the year it's easy to forget what's really important. We're fighting long lines, stretching our dollars and enduring the company of our relatives. We tend to forget just how good we have it here. The doomsayers among us would have everyone believe that things are going to hell. After the multitude of fires here in California had been put out I overheard a woman talking this way. She even referred to the supermarket strike as a "famine." I hardly think that the inconvenience of walking across a picket line or across the street to another store constitutes a "famine." And the fires, while leaving many people homeless, did not cause widespread death and injury. Just yesterday we had an earthquake here in California. Last I heard it was three people dead and a few damaged buildings- very unfortunate, but it could have been much worse. As far as natural disasters go California isn't that bad. I'd rather have the very occasional earthquake than deal with tornados, hurricanes and blizzards. Yet despite our mild weather, everyone here gets into a frenzy if it so much as rains.

As the holidays rapidly approach some of us get more stressed and agitated over the littlest things. Some people can't wait for the holidays to be over. I've never been one of those people- this is my favorite time of year. Shopping early helps, but it think it's more helpful to remember what Christmas means to you. To me Christmas is about traditions, spending time with family and picking out the perfect gifts for people to show how much you appreciate them. It's a celebration of life and family. It also helps to remember all that you DO have. If you have your home, your health and your family then you are doing well. My family lost my grandfather this year. However, if our only loss was an 85 year-old man that lived a good life then I count our family fortunate. We'll miss my grandfather, but our Christmas traditions will go on without him. I hope that all of you are doing as well as my family. Better yet, I hope that those of you who are appreciate all that you have.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes to All,
Karen & the Birds

I managed to snag a pair of yellow-fronted kakarikis at the last bird mart! Australian Express has been breeding them, just not offering any for sale. Outback Birds has also located a pair. Hopefully more and more of us will continue to breed these guys and keep our stock pure.

I saw this in Bird Talk and was pretty upset:

...there were also stories circulating about Task Force inspectors stoming into bird owners' homes, assuming their birds were infected and euthanizing them without testing them first. These kinds of rumors made bird owners even more anxious. There is, however, no proof that that happened. - "END: Where are we now?" by Rebecca Sweat

Great, so END is over and everyone forgets/dismisses the unscrupulous tactics used by the CDFA. I'm second-hand information (it happened to my aunt), but I urge anyone who was bullied or unjustly depopulated by the CDFA during the outbreak to write Bird Talk and let them know how you feel. Here is how to contact them:

Bird Talk 3 Burroughs Irvine, CA 92618
Phone (949) 855-8822
Fax (949) 855-3045


A ton of new breeders have been added to The Kakariki Network. Thank you Erin for sending me so many Canadian breeders!

TWO new polls!

Unfortunately, the big article I promised at the start of the summer is on the back burner right now. I may end up posting the completed sections and just adding the rest later. School starts for me next week, so I won't have time to write or breed much.

The END quarantine has been lifted! Read the press release. Unfortunately, West Nile may be on its way.


Sorry, no new updates at the moment. I've been extraordinarily busy lately (see below).

My grandpa passed away July 3rd. He was 85 and also bred birds. I'm am the executor of his bird estate, as it were. I inherited his flock, which contained mostly 2003 cockatiel chicks. Taking care of two adult flocks hasn't proved all that difficult, but the handfeeding is quite a chore. The night he died I had to rush over and pick up the four cockatiels and three Indian ringnecks he was feeding. Between handfeeding, caring for two flocks, work and the usual mess that comes with any death in the family, I've been really busy. I've already sold all his parent-raised chicks, but I still have a few left that were handfed and clipped but not socialized. If anyone is interested in these birds (all pieds and lutinos) I'm selling them for the reduced price of $30. Give me a call at (909) 908-7347 if you are interested.


Two more disabled bird stories: Honey & Lefty. I also started a diary for my kak breeding this year. I was going to wait until the breeding season was over to post it, but after figuring out my digital camera, I just had to get the cute pics of the baby kaks up right away.

Good news! It looks like the END outbreak might be a thing of the past. The CDFA and USDA have been lifting quarantines from several areas, and are consolidating their offices. The quarantine has been particularly hard on breeders who rely on shipping to generate sales.

Now for the bad news. It looks like AB 202 has a good shot at being written into law. This California bill was introduced by animal rights groups at a time when most of us in the avicultural industry were busy with the threat of Newcastle. It was originally so badly written that it would have banned ANYONE, including breeders, from having unweaned birds on their premises. This included birds that were unweaned and being fed by their own parents in the nest. Now amended, this bill has the potential to seriously cripple smaller pet shops which handfeed birds on-site. Many stores, like Magnolia Bird Farm, have their own nursery and well-trained staff for taking care of unweaned chicks. If AB 202 passes, such stores will face fines of up to $1000 PER UNWEANED CHICK kept on the premises. The death of unweaned chicks is a tragic occurrence, but one that doesn't happen frequently. Usually such deaths occur when unweaned chicks are sold to the general public, NOT to pet stores. Selling unweaned chicks directly to retail stores is an acceptable practice, despite what many smaller breeders have been led to believe. If you are a breeder who supports such legislation, please read this article by Howard Voren.


Not much of an update, but I edited a bunch of different things here on the site (actually, it just seems like a bunch because it took so long- I'm weird and only work with straight HTML, rather than using an editor). Most notably, there's a new survey. I even changed the color so that everyone would notice! I also reworked the Interactive Stuff menu so that it is more straightforward and less cheesy, and added a bunch of shameless plugs for the Toolady message boards. You can tell I'm in a whacky mood when I use so many smiles. Must be finals week...

It is SO hot here! It's only going to get worse too. Needless to say, I spent most of the day inside with the fans blowing. The good news is that I used that time to finally figure out my digital camera. I got it as a Christmas present two years ago, but was never able to use it (my last PC did not have USB ports). However, I became jealous of my fellow botany students this semester when I saw the gorgeous pictures they were able to take with their digital cameras. After picking up a new memory card (the one that came with the camera two years ago was only 4MB, the new one is 64MB) and changing the batteries, I was able to use it. Wow! I can't believe what I've been missing! All the pics you've seen thus far on my site had to be photographed, developed and scanned. That took a lot of time and money, and I wasted a lot of film with out-of-focus, blurry shots, and pictures of things I didn't remember (was that a Day 3 or Day 5 chick?). Plus I'd have to hold back on uploading new articles until I had the images to go with them. No longer! Now I can take pics whenever I want and have access to them immediately. Not only that, but my camera can focus automatically on the object I want, so no more blurry close-ups or pics with the wire in focus instead of the birds. The resolution isn't as good as a regular camera, but the quick results more than make up for that.


I'm in "breeder mode" at the moment, so here's another breeder article: Breeding Cockatiels. I see from my survey that you want more articles like this, and hopefully I'll be able to come up with some nice ones as my own breeding season continues. If there are any specific topics you can think of please let me know. Keep in mind that I only work with three species.

Thank you to Pam Bowman for all the lovely cockatiel pics. One was used in the new article and two others went into Cockatiel Mutations.

I'm working on a monster of an article that (hopefully) will be up some time this month.

The breeding season has started for me here. I know, I said I wasnít going to breed this year, but the birds were getting fidgety and some of the tiels were laying on the floor. Luckily no one else nearby keeps birds, but to maintain biosecurity I wonít be selling any birds directly to the public. Everything I breed this year will be held back (kakarikis), or sold directly to one of my regular retail customers. Iíve heard rumors that the END outbreak is dying down, and the hot summer weather should further stifle the disease.

I've got two first-time kak hens at nest. One successfully hatched five out of six eggs and is doing a great job raising them. It was so hot today that when I peeked inside the box all the chicks were spread out and flattened, but they perked up right away at the sight of something interesting. Kak chicks are curious and active even while still in the nest. The second hen didnít do so well: two infertile and two dead in the shell eggs. Iím colony breeding them this year and I think one of the other pairs might have bothered her during incubation. She still has two eggs, though neither are hers. I gave her a tiel egg and a conure egg that were laid on the ground.

If anyone knows of any yellowfronted kakarikis for sale, please let me know. Iíve got a lone male who lost his mate last year, and I havenít seen this species for sale in ages. Iíd like to get a hen for him, but Iím also interested in purchasing more pairs if possible.


Ever needed to take a long car drive with your birds? Traveling with Your Birds tells you what you need to know to make the trip as pleasant as possible. Thanks to standingtall from the Toolady boards for inspiring this article.

Thanks to all of you who wrote in showing concern and support for my aunt Lin.


With the amount of lost/found bird questions I receive, it's amazing that I didn't write this one sooner: O Budgie, Where Art Thou? Also check out the Product Reviews section for new reviews of Birds the Word, Companion Parrot Quarterly, Omar's Birds and Amazon Reptile Center. I also corrected the HTML, so those of you with larger monitors don't get logos floating all over the place!

News: Newcastle Outbreak
The inside story of what happened to my aunt.
Updates to the story. (last updated 1/31/03)
Daily Bulletin article that contains an interview with my aunt Lin.


I apologize for the lack of updates lately. These past six months have been pretty busy for me. We had a death in the family and I chose a very difficult school schedule. My computer was also temporarily out of service after a short in the motherboard. I have several ideas for new articles, as well as some product reviews to do. Hopefully Iíll get them up within the next few weeks. In the meantime Iíd like to wish you all happy holidays and a good new year!

I have some terrible inside news about the Newcastle outbreak. Southern California bird owners please read this!


I apologize for the lack of updates lately. These past six months have been pretty busy for me. We had a death in the family and I chose a very difficult school schedule. My computer was also temporarily out of service after a short in the motherboard. I have several ideas for new articles, as well as some product reviews to do. Hopefully Iíll get them up within the next few weeks. In the meantime Iíd like to wish you all happy holidays and a good new year!

Newcastle Outbreak in Southern California

Southern California residents, beware! There is currently a Newcastle outbreak going on in our region. PLEASE be careful to keep a closed flock at this time. Quarantine ALL new birds. Take extra precautions (change your clothes, bleach the soles of your shoes and shower) after attending bird marts, shops, club meetings or any other place where you come into contact with birds or other bird owners. Even better, try to avoid such places completely. Read the CDFA link above for more information on the areas affected and other precautions you can take. This IS a reportable disease (if found in your flock, the government must be notified). You can also check out the AFAís take on the matter here.


You asked for more breeding articles, so here's a new one on Breeding Budgies.

Everybody's Bird Mart and a reptile mart are both happening on June 23 at the L.A. Fairgrounds. What a great coincidence! I'll be taking my little sister with me to both.

On a more depressing note, Fry has been diagnosed with leukemia.


My article on What to Feed Your Bird has been completely rewritten. It was more than a little lacking.

Veterinary Care - Very long article that I've been working on for a while. Hopefully it will help you.
Should I buy a Second Bird?

For those of you who hang out on my board at Toolady, you should know that it has moved and changed to a new format. You'll have to register but it's a LOT better! Don't forget to stop by.


An article on Fry, my mitred conure, and Jay-Jay, my sun. The one on Jay-Jay was actually written in early 2001, not long after I got her. I didn't have any images at the time so I never posted it. Both articles are somewhat related, so if you want to go in chronological order start with Jay-Jay.

Yet another quickie on nestboxes. I'm hoping to write more breeding articles this year. It seems like a lot of people are just falling into the hobby by accident.

Enjoy this while it lasts! It's not every day that I have the time to write and actually feel like it. I'm sure the homework will catch up with me sooner or later.


I learned some new HTML! Actually, I'm just using new HTML. HTML is the code that tells your internet browser what this page should look like. Anyway, I've started using the HEIGHT and WIDTH properties with my larger images. This makes them load faster for you and allows me to keep larger images on file without shrinking them for each article, sacrificing quality. The largest ones now have a "Click on me to enlarge" option if you have a faster connection and would like to see the image in greater detail. 01/29/02
Just a quick one on Cockatiel Mutations. BTW, if you have any nice clear pics of your pets you don't mind being used on the site please send them to me. I've only got so many species and mutations. That and I stink at taking photos. One of these days I'm going to have to take a class.

Fry OH MY GOD IT SNOWED!!! Sure it was only for about 10 minutes and the flakes melted immediately upon hitting the ground, but I can't even remember the last time it SNOWED here in the suburbs of L.A. Hail, yes; snow, no. This is one cold winter! At 10:00 pm it's 31 degrees out. I can hear all you nonCalifornians laughing.

Today I went out and bought a nice big cage for Fry, my adopted mitred conure. I'm going to give him a shot at living my apartment. After all, he's only LOUD when he wants something. Hmm, may this wasn't such a good idea...


Only one new article but it is a lengthy one. From Angel to Devil touches an issue long overdue: coping with puberty. Hopefully this article can teach you how to properly deal with problems that arrise when your bird hits adolescence.

Would you look at that! As soon as I put the survey on the front page it stops working.

I have officially halted the budgie and kakariki breeding season and begun the cockatiel season. I bred budgies literally all last year. Crunched for space that I am, I can't breed everyone all at once. I have to rotate pairs. As always the budgies did great and I've held back many of the best chicks for next year (now to figure out where to put them all..). The redfronted kaks gave me four chicks, three hens and one male, all of which I have decided to hang onto. My yellowfronts are on break indefinitely. I only have one pair of them and the hen was scalped by something (bird? rat?) over a year ago. Since then she's been blind in one eye and always underweight. It's also very difficult to tell if she is ill because she always looks terrible. Needless to say I don't plan on breeding her any time soon. Yellowfronts are quite rare and I haven't seen any offered for sale since I bought my own pair in early 2000. I think most breeders have given up on them and resorted to hybridization. If you know of any pure yellowfront breeders in Southern California please let me know.

Believe it or not, this is the first year I've ever had more than one cockatiel pair breeding at once. Budgies have always been my main breeders and before I was content with one handfed pair giving me chicks. Before my tiel pairs consisted of ex-pets or handfeds. In 2000 I began to buy up a few more tiels for the sole purpose of breeding, but never had the space to do more than one pair at a time. Now that I've booted the budgies into a separate flight I can try my hand at colony breeding tiels. I also had to evict my new juvenile kakarikis because they were harassing the tiels and preventing anyone from staking out permanent nesting sites.


Four new articles to start off the new year! Most of these were inspired by questions I receive at

How do I get my cockatiel to stop laying? It seems like every other question has to do with Chronic Layers. Now you have a step by step guide on how to halt the behavior.

Having trouble sexing your cockatiel? Gone are the days when all tiels were grey and so easy to sex. Check out my guide for Sexing Cockatiels Visually. It lists each mutation and how (if possible) to sex each visually.

Want to learn to handfeed but don't know where to start? How to Gain Experience in Handfeeding will help you learn the right way.

This last article I wrote a while ago but was unable to post due to server problems. I actually forgot I had it. What is Socialized? talks about the qualities handraisers should aim for in their chicks. Buyers should be looking for a bird with these qualities as well.

Not much news. The survey seems to be working again so I've added it to the main menu. I also added a "Past Updates" section (below). It's been pretty cold here in Southern California. Normally it gets as low as 50 degrees at night but these past few months it's been way below that. While my outdoor breeders are hardy and fine, I lost a couple of fledgling budgies who couldn't take the cold. The kakarikis could care less with their super-insulated feathers. They're playing and bathing like normal.


The long lost Part 3 of my Beginner Guide to Genes, Mutations and Hybrids. If you thought the first two were confusing, wait until you read this one!

At last another species profile! Check out the profile on Indian Ringnecks.

Everybody's Bird Mart is this coming weekend, November 25th. I'll be there along with my current stock (gorgeous budgies, eat your heart out English breeders!) so drop by and see me. If you've never been and live in Southern California I highly recommend you come. It's got the best prices on everything (Want a cage for $18 that a pet store would charge you $60 for? I'll be picking up Christmas toys.) and I guarantee you've never seen so many bird people under one roof.

Feisty Feathers
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Articles and images contained on this site are © 1997-2002 by Karen Trinkaus unless otherwise noted and may not be reprinted or used in any way without the author's permission.