Seemingly the nesting material of choice for African Finches, Coco Fiber is taking on the characteristics of Spanish Moss, hanging on just about everything here. With Spring on its way, it’s time to make sure all of the nests and nesting material is in place. It is no small feat getting ready for a breeding season, but the stakes are high, and without helping the birds get to where they need to be, it would be a very disappointing time.
Pulling nesting material out of old nests, cleaning the bamboo up and repacking them with timothy hay, lots of coco fiber and feathers was a big enough mess to begin with. Then pre-fabbing another 30 new bamboo nests was just a topper. But that was only the beginning.
As I installed the nests in cages, I also dropped in bundles of more coco fiber so the finicky species could individualize and modify their nests. (Finicky is basically any species besides Zebras and Societies.) And I’m so good about separating the little strands from the bundles and removing that stuff that sticks to them and leaves a pound of coco dust on your counter. I also cut some in half to make it easier for these little guys.
I like raising Twinspots, but will they use a bamboo nest? Nooo. So, they have these strange looking things I buy at Michael’s Crafts and drape coco fiber all over them. Some may work, but probably not. If the Twinspots are really hell-bent on using nests, they generally want copious amounts of coco fiber to make their own from scratch. I put some in their cage at breakfast time, another bundle at seed and water time, another bundle when I tuck them in at night. But if you don’t stop and say “Enough is enough,” they will eventually build a nest the size of the cage floor.
The Free Ranger Red-Ears and Orange Cheeks I have (with the open door on their cage so they don’t have to make the extra effort to squeeze out between ½”-spaced wires) are the most industrious users of coco fiber. They will build anywhere, like at the bottom of the window drapes between the folds. But lately, all of their effort has been transporting coco fiber into their 15” of cage. I don’t where they get it all. Right now, it appears they are building an apartment complex as they make 3-4” balls of coco fiber with white feathers woven in. Once one is completed, they start another one next to or on top of the others. They began their 6th unit this morning.
Now that we’ve filled the bird rooms with three cartons of coco fiber distributed over 80 cages, the gradual “leakage” begins. It leaves the rooms attached to empty breakfast plates, water cups, my socks, cages that go to the tub for cleaning, air circulation and the “coco fiber demons” that always appear here at breeding time to disperse any loose fibers they find.
You know how your garbage disposer speaks to you? Like when it has eaten something it doesn’t like? It screams coco fiber these days. The bathtub. I keep a screwdriver handy to dig out coco fiber (and the occasional seed sprout) every couple of days. Gallons of Drano are not in my budget.
Speaking of the bathroom area, the other night one of my cats went to use the litter box. When he came back out, there was this “object” dangling near the back of his knees. Upon closer inspection, it was found attached to—a strand of coco fiber. I carefully extracted the rest of the coco fiber and told him not to do that again! Because it could be a danger, like tying up his intestines, I am now vigilant in picking up any loose coco fiber I find on the floors (“Six Weeks To Perfect Abs Picking Up Coco Fiber Off The Floor”).
Which brings to mind what the ever-present fiber does to my vacuum cleaner and silent butler, aka carpet sweeper. I am always pulling fiber out of the brushes and wheels, but never seem to gain on it. And when I have to dismantle the vacuum hose for deep cleaning, I pull out these horrendously large balls of cat hair woven together by coco fiber. I have started saving them in a last ditch attempt to appease the Twinspots as the perfect nest. If it works, I will be selling them, once I have a big enough supply.
I’m anxiously waiting for Christmas time, when I usually get the coco fiber under control. But then I have to contend with cleaning up tinsel. Will it never end?
Gulf Coast Finches