Saturday, December 29, 2012

Another Attempt at Introductions

For the last two weeks Rossby and Sprite have been living side by side with CB, Foehn, and Cirrus, but separate, in the large cage. In addition, we have been switching sides every night so that they have to live in each others "stuff". This has gone very well and none of them have had any problems sleeping in a pouch previously occupied by the others. Nights have been fairly quiet as well.

So we decided to try introductions again today. This time we introduced Sprite to Foehn, since they seemed to have the most problems last time. Into the bathtub they went. Sprite was very nervous at the start, and Foehn was nonchalant for the most part. Sprite crabbed a little as Foehn approached her, but I had my hand over her with a piece of fleece to keep her calm. For the most part they were OK with everything, but Sprite was looking for any way to get out of that tub, climbing on my arm every chance she could get. I removed all the fleece (save for one piece in case I had top break up anything) and left one pouch for them. Foehn crawled in readily - she wanted to sleep - but Sprite was hesitant. She poked her head in a few times, but would not go in. There were no fights or crabbing - she jsut did not want to get too close to Foehn.

I figured I'd wait her out. She would get tired soon enough and want to sleep, and that pouch was the only comfortable place for her. An hour later she was still running around the bathroom, having a great time climbing and jumping. At that point we figured we would bring Rossby into the picture. Perhaps Sprite would go into the pouch if he was there. I fetched Rossby from his nice warm pouch in the cage and brought him in. He readily crawled into the pouch with Foehn. Now Sprite was thinking a little more about going in. Although she briefly ventured in and then quickly out she still had no interest in settling in.

The tip of Sprite's tail is the only thing outside the pouch after
she decided to join Rossby and Foehn.
It took about 45 minutes before Sprite was visibly wearing out. She wanted to rest, and the only place was that pouch. She stood at the opening and sniffed around. Rossby poked his head out as if to reassure her, and to my surprise she crawled in and stayed. There was a little crabbing on her part, but nothing serious. It helped that Rossby was between her and Foehn. By the time I gave them mealworms a few minutes ago, they were all squished together in one corner of the pouch. We kept them in the pouch with us until I put them in the cage after mealworms.The three of them will be together in one side of the cage tonight and we'll see how it goes. If this looks like it's working, the next step will be to bring Cirrus and CB into the mix.  We're keeping our fingers crossed!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cruising Along

It has been a nice relaxing week with the gliders since we subdivided the big cage. Several days ago we started switching sides of the cage each night without switching anything between the sides. That means they have to sleep in each other's pouches and live in their "territory". The nights have been quiet and living in close proximity hasn't seemed to bother them. We will probably have another try at introducing them soon, possibly this weekend. Sprite has seems less skittish in playtime, and perhaps living right next to the trio has lessened her apprehension.

We also have Case and Ghost this week. Ghost had a followup appointment with the vet for his neuter and M took him in for that this morning. He's doing fine in that department.  He and Case are best buddies now, although sometimes Case seems a little overprotective and Ghost takes exception an there is some "tsking".

Case and Ghost playing on the "tree" in the office.
So, evenings have been a little busy since we take each pair/trio in to play for awhile in the office. Case and Ghost run around with each other like Rossby and Sprite and it's fun watching the pairs play together. CB, Foehn, and Cirrus aren't as interactive, but they have fun with each other too.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An Unexpected Setback

On Sunday morning we found CB, Foehn, and Rossby sleeping in the large Christmas tree pouch, and Sprite by herself in one of the other pouches. In and of itself this was not that unusual, but it was not something we hoped for. We figured that after another night or two they would get their differences worked out. Overnight Sunday/Monday turned out to be not much different. We were monitoring them during the night using a baby monitor and we could hear that there were still periodic problems. On Monday morning they were still in the "four and one" sleeping arrangement. We felt bad for Sprite because she and Rossby are close, and we knew she missed being with him.

On Monday night we had all five in the office for play time and things started to get a little ugly. Foehn started chasing Sprite and then they would ball up. After separating Sprite would run off to a corner away from the others, but Foehn persisted on chasing her. A ball-up on a encounter is one thing, but for Foehn to be actually chasing Sprite was something we have never seen. After three noisy and scary encounters (and Foehn clamping down on my finger), we decided to take Foehn out of the room. We put here in our small cage and figured she could chill there for the night. She had been in heat and we thought that might have be part of the reason she was behaving this way. However, before we ended play time CB started chasing Sprite, although it didn't seem to be as aggressive as Foehn. After play time ended I placed the four of them in the cage together and things seemed to be OK.

Sometime around 12:30 a.m. a loud commotion coming in over the baby monitor woke me up. I went to check out situation and at first nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary. After watching for a short time CB came up to Sprite and they crabbed at each other, She took off and he followed.  She jumped into one of the wheels to run and soon CB jumped in as well. They tussled briefly and she bolted out of the wheel. She was leaping across the cage to get away from him and I was concerned she would hurt herself. It was clear we could not leave her in there for the night. I gathered her up in a pouch and placed Foehn in another pouch. I returned Foehn to the main cage, and placed Sprite in the small cage.  It was quiet the rest of the night.

The next morning we decided to move Rossby into the small cage with Sprite - she seemed lost without him. As soon as we did it was clear that it was the right thing to do. They briefly nuzzled each other, and then Sprite climbed on Rossby's back. She hung on to him even as he tried to move around the cage. It was almost heartbreaking. They both climbed into the sleeping pouch and settled in for the day.

Here you can see the divider in the cage.
The Christmas tree pouch is on the trio's side.
CB can be seen on the lower partof the divider.
We would not separate Sprite from Rossby after this, so we needed to come up with an alternate living arrangement until and if they can be reintroduced to the trio. They had been using the new "vacation" cage, but we wanted them to be close but separated and the floor arrangement wouldn't allow that. So, last night I converted the largecage into two "townhomes". I installed a divider down the middle of the cage using plastic hardware cloth (sometimes called landware). That allowed them close proximity but keeps them separate. Their first night in their respective new homes was a quiet one.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Not Quite There Yet

There were squabbles on and off all last night, but apparently nothing serious. I woke up this morning and heard one right off the bat (we had a baby monitor connected so we could monitor them). By the time I got out there only Sprite and Cirrus were still up. Cirrus was in one of the wheels, and Sprite was running around the cage. Cirrus soon turned in but Sprite kept running across the top, down the side, across the bottom and back up to the top over and over again. It reminded me of when Foehn used to do something similar when she was a little stressed. When they all finally settled down, it was four in the big Christmas Tree pouch, and Sprite by herself in a hanging honeycomb pouch. I was really hoping they would all be together.

Tonight we had all of them in the office for play time, and for the most part it was OK.  There were a few squabbles but they were minor. One of the reasons intros might be a little difficult is that Foehn is in heat and that might be causing some of the tension.

On a more upbeat note, today our son's new glider Ghost was introduced to his other glider Case her at our house, and it went without a hitch. Within a few minutes they were enthusiastically grooming each other and a little after that they were both snuggled together in the sleeping pouch sound asleep.

A Very Long Afternoon

Today is the day we decided to try introducing Rossby and Sprite to CB, Foehn, and Cirrus. Before introductions started and in hopes they were successful, I thoroughly cleaned the large cage and M added lots of stuff for them to play on, along with several pouches.

Shortly before noon we brought CB and Rossby into the bathroom to start the introduction process. M didn't stay in the room because she doesn't like it when they start to go after one another. I placed them in the bathtub (neutral territory) and let them explore. CB was pretty relaxed, and Rossby was pretty nervous. They sniffed and crabbed at each other, but mostly just kept a wary eye.  After about 10 to 15 minutes, they were tolerating each other pretty well. The next trick was to get them to join each other in a clean pouch. CB readily scrambled into the pouch and settled in, but Rossby was having too much fun. He managed to find his "jump" during this time. Up until now he has been hesitant to jump anything more than small distances. However, he had great fun jumping from me to the sink, then to the floor, then climbing up the shower curtain, and doing it all over again. A couple of times he tried jumping from the shower rod to the ceiling light which is flat against the ceiling. There was nothing for him to grab and he fell to the floor. Fortunately I was sitting below the light and was able to cushion his fall. He did get his chimes rung a time or two when he tried to jump to a wall and found nothing to grab.  I figured he would soon tire and then climb into the pouch, but it was two hours before I walked out of the bathroom with both of them in the pouch!

After about a half hour we brought Foehn in for the next round. I set the pouch with CB and Rossby in the tub and then Foehn on the opposite side. CB and Rossby looked out of the pouch, Foehn cautiously approached. She sniffed a few times and then crawled right in to join the boys!  I was amazed it went without any consternation.

The last round of introductions was a little more difficult. We saved Sprite for last since she seems to be a little more scared and defensive at times. Surprisingly, Cirrus had a little difficulty with Rossby and even CB, She and Rossby got into it and when I went to intervene she locked on to my finger with her teeth and wouldn't let go. She was upset! Eventually, though, she and Rossby were OK. Poor Sprite had a tough time of it. She crabbed at everyone, and was very wary of anyone checking her out. Both Foehn and Cirrus did and both heard from her. Like Rossby, Sprite was not interested in going into the pouch with the rest of them and spent an hour or more jumping and climbing around the bathroom before she finally started to tire. She kept trying to settle down in my pant leg, but we couldn't allow that. I finally placed her in the top of the pouch and things seemed OK.

There was some crabbing back in forth in the pouch after awhile, so we decided we would put them in the cage and let them work things out. There were some tussles, but after a short period of time they settled in. CB, Rossby, Foehn and Cirrus were in one large pouch, and Sprite settled down in another.

They are awake now, and there have been periodic "outbursts" of complaining for the last hour, but I can't readily tell who is involved (although Sprite is certainly one of them). Hopefully they will be able to work things out overnight. It would be really nice to find all five of them sleeping together in the morning.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A House Full of Gliders

This has been a busy week for us as far as the gliders are concerned. We have an extra cage this week, as we are caring for Ghost. He had his neuter this morning, and since our son works days we took Ghost in to the vet this morning for the procedure.

So, trying to give attention to three cages of gliders is a challenge. Around 9:00 p.m. we bring CB, Foehn, and Cirrus into the office for their mealworms and playtime. After their mealworms and a brief time or two around the office they have been settling in to M's sweatshirt, leaving me twiddling my thumbs until M goes to get their dinner in the cage. At that point I scoop them out of her sweatshirt. The neat thing about that is all three comfortably climb on to my hand and arm to come out, instead of trying to get away or hide. They have a little time to play, and when M has the food in the cage we call it a night and take them back.

At that point I go set up the tent in our bedroom in order to spend some time with Rossby and Sprite. They have been sleeping a little later so are usually still in the pouch  when it's time to bring them in. They enjoy the time in the tent, especially the wheel. We start out with a few mealworms, but Rossby is not as enthusiastic about them as Sprite or the trio. The tent has been a good thing for them. They are getting into a routine, even to the point that they will climb into the pouch when I offer it to them when it's time to wind things down. They, too, now realize that dinner is waiting.

And yes, Ghost gets attention as well, He is a very sociable glider and loves to have the attention. Mornings have been a little hectic this week. I have been giving them their yogurt because M has had early appointments this week (including taking Ghost in this morning). Ghost is always waiting and I give him his first. Cirrus usually waits up for us to come out, so I next take care of the trio. In the meantime Sprite and Rossby are peering out of the pouch in their cage while waiting for us to finish up with the trio. When it's their turn, they come right to the cage door and go for the small dish with the yogurt. They don't usually waste time licking it off of a finger. They both perch on the edge of the dish and lick it up from there, happily chirping the whole time! Once they have licked the dish clean, they climb into their pouch and go to sleep. It's really nice to have them in a routine

Next up is introductions, and that may happen this weekend.