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We’ve got a molten canary”.

Phaedra’s voice carried up the stairs as I was hauling my body from the bed. ‘Interesting’, I mused, with visions of a non-solid bird beginning to deconstruct itself from the perch and ooze out of the bars of the cage. Being semi-coherent, a touch deaf, not always the sharpest pumpkin in the patch and still not putting two and two together I descend the stairs, to find tiny feathers swirling in a miniature tornado around the living room floor. With the back door wide open and the hound-dogs outside I peer into the birdcage to see more feathers being discarded from the undercarriage of our tiny ‘not-so’ feathered friend.

Tweety Pie, is on her annual moult……now that makes sense!

From the Looney Tunes cartoons where Tweetie Pie is the nemesis of Sylvester the cat, our canary was named after this cute character even though the breed of canary is actually an American Singer. (Both Tina Turner and Dolly Parton were considered names. American singers, geddit?). Not all over yellow, she has patches of mottled brown and white, which she appears to be shedding at a rapid rate of knots. We are both discovering that should you sneeze or walk quickly near the cage then plumes of white fluffy down explode into the air attaching itself to clothes, carpets and dog’s wet noses. (Early morning wind-breaking has to be carried out at a discreet and safe distance from Tweety’s vicinity or it looks like an explosion in a pillow factory).

This is our first annual moult with our canary as we only adopted her a few month back. We quickly investigate what needs to be done. Surprisingly, there is a little more to the moult than we realised. Now that the longest day has passed it has triggered our little pet into it’s annual renewal of her feathers. For the next couple of months the process of moulting will occur. Even though she has a good diet of greens and seeds etc., she needs an extra boost throughout this time. An increase in protein is needed to keep her health in check. Meal-worms and crickets are a popular choice as is a hard-boiled egg! Boil-up and chill that ‘fruit of the hen’ then smash the living hell out of it. (Strangely satisfying!). Yep, the yolk, white and shell all bashed and mixed together with a combination of oily seeds will help keep the flapping, feathery fiend happy at this time. Fresh water daily, as usual, and a bath in the cage bottom should also keep a smile on her seed crunching, grit munching beak. The mineral/nutrient block is bolted and ready to nibble on the side of the cage; all things in place for the coming months.

Our older dog is curled in her bed at the base of the canary cage whilst the younger hound, Jack, watches from his chair on the opposite side of the room. All is quiet as we watch Tiva, nose hanging out of the side of the bed, breathing deeply in and out as she sleeps. On the in-breath the tiny feathers scuttle across the wooden floor heading towards her nostrils, but, seemingly, just in time she breathes out and they cascade in every direction; but on the next breath-in the canary’s revenge begins when a feather disappears inside her nose. With a huge shake of the head and ears flapping wildly the canine sneeze explodes and flurries of feathers turn into a snowstorm. I’m sure there was a sinister chuckle from inside the birdcage!

Vengeance could be mine though. That’s an awful lot of greens and vegetables to go with tonight’s dinner. Hold tight Tweety it looks like it’s gonna be a windy evening!

And the house looks like a feathery snow-globe……