Help The Birds That Nobody Wanted
(Posted by Admin)
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche has a very spontaneous and natural love for animals since he was a child. He feels deeply for animals because he had observed that all beings need love, sustenance and are averse to pain and suffering.
Rinpoche teaches empathy towards animals that are unable to free themselves from captivity, aggression or even express how they feel. That is why Rinpoche cannot bear to see severely neglected pets in his neighborhood and would do whatever it takes to rescue them. In pet shops, Rinpoche would notice unsold birds that are languishing in little cages that most people would not have noticed. Therefore, Rinpoche would rescue these animals and he would look out for those that are abused or neglected.
Unfortunately, birds are not as popular or likeable as other types of animals such as dogs, cats or even hamsters and that is why we seldom hear of birds being rescued as much as other types of animals. The rescue of birds from pet shops is not meant to encourage the trade of breeding or capturing wild animals. That is because the rescue of these birds is not substantial enough to increase the demand for live animals. Hence, these rescues are done purely to create awareness for the humane treatment of animals and to encourage others to be kind to animals as well.
At Kechara Forest Retreat (http://retreat.kechara.com) in Malaysia, it took four weeks to construct an aviary in the area behind Wisdom Hall. The aviary is over 15 feet in height and spans over 4000 square feet. It was designed to incorporate the original trees there and have abundant space for the birds to stretch their wings. It is still enclosed to protect the birds from other wild animals like boars and snakes, stray cats and dogs. The aviary also has some pools for the birds to cool off with lots of hanging toys and mirrors that are meant to keep them stimulated, happy and active. The floor of the aviary is covered with soft sand so the birds can land safely on the ground without getting hurt. Generally the aviary is designed to simulate the environment of their natural habitat.
Tour this paradise for birds
The Birds of the Aviary
The current occupants of the Kechara Forest Retreat aviary are:-
Please click (donate) to adopt a Cockatiel
1 Malaysian Parrot
Please click (donate) to adopt the Malaysian Parrot
Please click (donate) to adopt a Budgie
4 Majestic Cockatoos
Here’s pretty Drolka, whose name means White Tara.
Please click (donate) to adopt Drolka
The cute Dechog and that is Tibetan for the powerful Tantric Buddha Heruka Chakrasamvara.
Please click (donate) to adopt Dechog
The indefatigable Gongkar which means White Mahakala in Tibetan
Please click (donate) to adopt Gongkar
The recently rescued Boy
Please click (donate) to adopt the Boy
2 African Greys
The curious Aki that’s also known as ‘Old Man’
Please click (donate) to adopt Aki
The loveable Jamyang also known as Manjushri
Please click (donate) to adopt Jamyang
At this point, these birds cannot be released into the wild because they are not native of the region and will not survive there.
Besides the birds, we also have 2 tortoises called Menlha who is male and smaller and Kadro who is female and bigger. They live on the floor of the aviary.
This is the smaller male tortoise, Menlha or Medicine Buddha.
Please click (donate) to adopt Menlha
The larger female tortoise by the name of Kadro or female sky-goer
Please click (donate) to adopt Kadro
5 Sugar Cane Parrots
1 Zebra Dove
The Main Caretaker
The main caretaker is KB Thapa
Breakdown of the cost of food to feed the birds and tortoises per month.
a) Millet (a pack of 20kg) at RM80 per pack
Two packs = RM160
b) Sunflower seeds at RM250 per pack
One pack = RM250
c) Fresh corn, apples, long beans and other veggies
Total food expenses for birds and tortoises per month is RM730 (USD218) Therefore, a year’s supply of food would be RM8,760 or USD2,506
Other Miscellaneous Costs
a) Multivitamins to keep the birds vibrant and healthy – RM25 per month
This adds up to a yearly cost of RM300
b) General maintenance of bird toys, perches, special snacks (special hanging millet sprays etc). Replaced every 3-4 months.
Approximate cost per year = RM2,000
c) Medical costs
Approximate cost per year = RM500
Total miscellaneous cost for a year is RM2800 or USD837
You may not have the space, resources or ability to care for animals like Rinpoche. However, you can still take your very first step by donating to the aviary fund that goes towards purchasing the bird food, aviary utilities, maintenance, caretaker’s salary etc. When you donate, you are doing your part in making sure that these animals have a good home and food for the rest of their lives. Please click the donate button below:-
We are currently building a Recovery Aviary at Kechara Forest Retreat, to create a quarantine area for sick birds to recover away from the general population. These are pictures to update you on the progress of the works there.
May 8, 2015
May 12, 2015
May 16, 2015
May 22, 2015
May 24, 2015
May 28, 2015
June 1, 2015
June 6, 2015
June 7, 2015
June 11, 2015
June 13, 2015
June 26, 2015
July 11, 2015
We welcomed new additions to the aviary today:
- 1 hill myna
- 5 budgies
- 1 zebra dove
- 1 finch
- 1 canary
I found these birds at a bird shop sitting in tiny cages, bored and unhappy. These birds were commercially bred and domesticated, and would not be able to survive in the wild if freed. Knowing Rinpoche would love to see them spread their wings at Kechara Aviary, I brought them to offer Rinpoche.
These birds have been medically checked by an avian veterinarian before they were brought up to Kechara Forest Retreat (KFR). Upon reaching KFR, they were quarantined in the Recovery Aviary for more than 10 days before releasing them to the big aviary.
July 26, 2015
A short update on our aviary! We installed two small wooden birdhouses so our canaries can take shelter from our larger birds if they feel threatened. The base of the birdhouses were filled with coconut husk to ensure a comfortable and hygienic place of refuge for them!
July 31, 2015
Today, we welcomed bird lovers Chee Leong, his wife Carole and beautiful Kilaya (their African Grey) to Kechara Forest Retreat. They brought with them four packets of organic hemp seed and 20kg of millet to offer to our birds.
Whilst visiting our aviary, Chee Leong and Carole shared with us some useful information regarding the best diets for birds and how to ensure they are healthy:
- Birds should be dewormed every six months to keep them healthy. Most breeders will do this periodically
- Seeds and grains for birds are better if sprouted
Thanks to Chee Leong and Carole’s information, we will soon be starting our next project…sprouting seeds to add to our birds’ diet! We will also be arranging for experts to come and deworm our birds to ensure their health.
Thank you Chee Leong, Carole and Kilaya for visiting us, we thoroughly enjoyed hosting your visit which was informative!
September 10, 2015
It has been a busy few weeks for our birds in the aviary who are enjoying the fruits of our labour…literally!
Irene’s sprouting project has been doing well. Sprouted millet seeds, hemp seeds and rock melon seeds are now a regular addition to the birds’ diet as a nutritional supplement. Irene takes care to sprout all the seeds in small batches to maintain freshness. As a treat, from time to time, the birds are also given organic mulberries grown on trees in Kechara Forest Retreat as well as organic broccoli that Irene brings with her.
August saw the release of three birds into our aviary, a scarlet macaw (which originates in Brazil) and two sulphur-crested cockatoos who came as a pair. Before the birds were released into our aviary, Irene invited Pastor Han Nee to recite prayers to bless them. They were joined by Girlie Ooi, Mdm Chuah, Pastor Han Nee’s husband, and Mr and Mrs Ooi who have adopted the birds and pledged to provide financially for their care.
September 27, 2015
Every weekend, Kechara volunteers headed by Jace Chong visit local flea markets where they sell pre-loved items to raise funds for all of our animal rescue initiatives.
Irene joined them this weekend and reported that although the haze was particularly bad, their concerns that turnout would be affected were proven to be unfounded. Not one to be kept away from a good bargain, intrepid bargain hunters came along anyway and bought up a whole bunch of goodies from our volunteers. In the end, Jace and her volunteers were able to sell about half of their items.
Please give them your support! If you would like more information or details on the whereabouts of upcoming flea markets, please contact Jace Chong via the Kechara House front desk at +603 7803 3908.
September 30, 2015
The aviary team today rescued and welcomed new additions to the Kechara Forest Retreat Aviary:
- 3 cockatiels
- 8 sugar cane parrots
- 8 budgies
For now, the new birds have been released into the Recovery Aviary so that they can be monitored before they are released into the general population. The sugar cane parrots have been released into a separate section of the Recovery Aviary, as they can be aggressive and may attack the smaller birds like the budgies.
The team also hung up plenty of toys for the birds, to keep them stimulated and maintain the health of their beaks. In the wild, these birds will eat seeds and nuts which help to maintain the health and lengths of their beak.
Why do we keep talking about beak health? For birds, their beaks are their main tools for climbing, preening, eating and defence. Once damaged, birds are left vulnerable to predators and can be unable to feed themselves. Cockatiels especially, have a fast metabolism so if their beaks are damaged and they cannot eat (or they cannot eat enough), they will lose weight very fast, become lethargic and eventually die.
The toys are also important for their stimulation, without which can lead to feather plucking out of boredom. That is why you will often see balding birds in pet stores – without any mental stimulation, they peck and pluck at one another in an attempt to keep themselves entertained.
Next time you are in Kechara Forest Retreat, come pay a visit to the new residents of our aviary! These inquisitive ones will be very happy to greet you with a loud squawk!
October 3, 2015
Rinpoche arranged for some students to get more bird items today, to ensure the latest rescues would be well-taken care of. Driving all over Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley, we visited various pet shops to acquire the supplies below. A total of RM2,408.52 was spent on toys, birdhouses, nutritional supplements, nesting material and special perches to maintain nail health.
In the wild, birds land on a wide variety of surfaces and perches. This helps them to maintain their nail length. For example, when birds land on trees, the rough bark helps to file down their nails to keep them at a healthy length.
In captivity, it is up to us to provide a similar environment. Maintaining nail length is important because overgrown nails can become trapped or caught, and cause injuries to the birds. So Rinpoche was very particular about what kind of perches we purchased, getting us to buy a variety of perches. One of the more interesting perches we found was a specialised rope / cotton perch to provide relief from foot stress.
As you can see, rescuing birds and providing for their continual care is quite costly. In the near future, we would like to find a more sustainable method of replacing the toys and birdhouses which the larger birds destroy eventually. If you can contribute to the cost of our aviary, or wish to sponsor a bird, please contact the Kechara House front desk (+603 7803 3908) to make your pledge…our feathered friends thank you in advance!
October 4, 2015
The day after everything was purchased, the aviary care team got busy hanging up the perches, toys, birdhouses, millet spray and cuttlebones in the Recovery Aviary. As you will see in the photos below, their hard work was met with the approval of the birds who immediately took to investigating their new homes!
The birdhouses are important for the smaller birds who may need somewhere to hide and seek refuge from the larger birds. They also encouraging nesting habits so who knows, maybe in the future we may see some baby budgies, sugar cane parrots and cockatiels!
November 19, 2015
Today I checked all the bird houses. I found two newly-born cockatiel babies in the big aviary. The mother is taking care of the babies. We cannot touch the babies because if we touch the babies, their mother will abandon them.
In the big aviary all the birds get along and no one fights. They stay as a family but they have their own territory and rules.
In the recovery aviary area, Gongkar is making noise all day long and seeking for attention. He is eating his food.
The budgies in the recovery aviary are fine. Now they have laying eggs in the bird houses. They threw away all the grass and coconut husk that we put in the houses because they did not like it. Some of the birds kept the grass but most of them don’t like it. We are going to have more cute budgies soon.
The cockatiels in the recovery aviary are fine and playing around.
The sugarcane parrots always hide higher in the aviary and they only come down to eat when there is no one around.
I don’t know what is happening, but we got hundreds of baby fish in the fish pond now. Even in the 5ft tanks we have fish eggs and in the aviary, the birds are also making babies 😀 is this a for something?
These are videos and blog posts with more details of each of the birds in the aviary. Enjoy!!!
Tsem Rinpoche saving fish, birds and bats…
Tsem Rinpoche feeding wild birds daily