Monday, December 20, 2010
Updated Cage Layout
We're still in the process of tweaking the cages so that Rusty and Iris feel comfortable in their new permanent home. We added hide boxes in November, so I've added them to the cage layout diagram here. For the most part the owls don't use the boxes, other than to perch on top of one of them. In a way this is good...it means they aren't scared and feeling like they need a place to hide! I suspect the boxes are more likely to get used during the summer when I'm running the lawn mower....
At any rate, the biggest problem has been Iris hanging on the chain link. We added a couple of perches in the main spots where she hung on the wire and that helped tremendously, but now she's hanging in some new places. The key questions is WHY? It's obviously not out of fear. And I don't think she's trying to catch critters outside or trying to get to another specific perch outside. I think she just plain would like to get out of the cage which unfortunately isn't an option since she's blind in one eye.
I called Roger Meyer, master cage builder, last night to discuss our options. It seems we need to provide a physical barrier to prevent hanging on the chain link. I had suggested adding vertical slats over the chain link, but Roger asked about thin plywood. That seems like the way to go...they can't hang on it at all, and it would be the easiest thing to do.
I don't plan to put plywood over ALL of the chain link...just the top four feet. Owls like to be high and fly high and get higher, so I don't think they will fly down to hang on the wire. This will allow them to see outside still, but mostly just see the ground and grass and critters that are close to the cage. It shouldn't make them want to fly down and hang on the wire.
They will still be able to see some through the existing slats, so it's not like they won't be able to see anything. Rusty seems to deal with the chain link just fine, but Iris can't seem to handle it. Owls adapt slowly to change so I was hoping after two months she'd get used to her boundaries. No dice. So time for yet another cage modification in the interest of the owls' physical and mental health.
Roger's coming over in a couple of days to take measurements, then we'll see how long it takes to round up materials, cut them to size, avoid Christmas get-togethers, and get them installed.