Moccasin plan almost ready

MoccasinMarch 28, 2013

Hi. There was a long trail to get the remodel plan this far. Not quite there, but almost. Take a look at it, and see if you can find the few things I've yet to change on it.

Our house, White Dove, is a white stucco cottage built in 1950. Two bedroom and one bath originally, with hardwood floors. The kitchen front and back walls are coming down with just a sort of beam left across the top portion of the walls. The same is true of the back wall of the bedroom, so we have a sitting area with a door leading to the deck.....and to an outdoor shower. I'm reorienting the front doorway and creating a real (but very small) entry by essentially bumping out the window on the wall adjacent to the front stoop. I could not see the little "phone booth" stoop having metal roofing, so this will allow a raised space to give a different look to the front of the house. Imagine the old doorway covered by a fixed in place cypress shutter (recycled from our river house destroyed by Katrina).

Note that the former 2nd bedroom is shown as "office" which is really our "study" since we do not work, and study fits what we do in there better. I'm also relocating the door to our bedroom away from the hall and covering that end of the hall with a much needed broom/vacuum/supplies closet, having fixed louvered pair of doors (think the kind they use for closets). When we have company, which is seldom, the study will not double as a guest room. The living room will stand in for that. So I'm returning french doors to the passage to the dining room, two pair of bifold french doors we found at Home Depot and have used in this house and the Cape we sold YESTERDAY up in Massachusetts.

The old back porch is being ripped off and rebuilt as part of our kitchen. There will be a long view through the house from a point just at the entry, through to the back deck and the garden. However, to see the back addition, you'd need to walk forward and see it slowly reveal itself, because I plan to have that entire area across the back of the house have the sort of cathedral ceiling covered by beadboard, as will be the walls in that add-on space.

Basically I think of the kitchen as a galley style, with two long runs. But the cooking side has a gentle square "c" and it will have stainless countertop.....except the bar surface for 2 people will be the same Silestone 'Stellar Snow' as used on the wet side of the kitchen. Notice that the bump out behind the sink will be countertop level, and 48" wide, I like a lot of light, even if it means expensive hurricane windows. All my appliances are either in use now or waiting in the restored Teahouse.

I prepurchased all the Bellawood Select Ash 5" flooring, but not the metal roofing. The job will encompass a whole-house hardwood flooring install. And a whole house roof replacement too. And rebuilding the inefficient windows. My DH volunteered to do the new high baseboards, but his knees are so bad, it just is not worth the contractor will be doing those too.

We plan to take a week off as soon as DH returns from closing on his sale for the beloved Cape and our trip includes a couple of days at IKEA in Atlanta, where I plan to select the kitchen cabinets and have them shipped to our Teahouse.

Take a look at the plan which still shows the old house layout, not trying to make a fancy thing out of it, just one very comfortable for two old gardeners to spend the rest of our lives in.

Sure I know I left out a lot of stuff here, but you can imagine how my head is spinning!

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So good to hear from you again! It's hard with my old eyes to read exactly what's going on with your plan, but what little I could see looked good.

I love it when we "oldsters" go with what works for us instead of all the fancy stuff that so many kitchens seem to be; we know what's important, right?

I thought we were set on our kitchen redo starting in January, then DH decided he didn't like that, so we're working with another contractor he likes better, we like the bid, have a few changes, etc. but it looks like it's a go. THEN he decided we needed to get our master bath done first, so we're waiting on a bid. Oh, those poor contractors must have the patience of a saint...

BUT, spring is pretty much here, so my attention is on the yard, I'll leave the house to him!


    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 10:05PM
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Happy that you are getting ready to complete your renovation. What I can see of your plan looks very nice - well suited to your needs. Hope all goes well and hope you'll keep us posted on your progress.

We are entering the "oldsters" who love to garden phase & are struggling with whether to stay in our current home and try and make it easier to care for, or downsize to a more manageable yard. We have 3 wooded acres now.
So much to think about. Love what you all are planning.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Thanks. Our whole property is just a city lot, about 125 x 185 or so. We define the space as front yard. Then the "back forty" 25' x 100' across the back behind the Teahouse. Then my New Orleans courtyard to the south behind the privacy fence, the middle garden/ground level patio between Teahouse and Garden Shed just off the back door deck. And then the north side also inside the privacy fence about 22' x 50' in front of the Garden Shed. All are connected, so we really use them like rooms and live all over our space.

I wish we had more space for letting it go natural where the wild birds can be at home, and a brush pile for small animals like rabbits would not be intrusive. Your garden with 3 wooded acres sounds lovely, and does not need to be kept like a lawn. Just some pine straw covered walking paths with benches now and then, maybe a few durable plantings near the benches, wow that would be so nice.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:19PM
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Loving the new floor plan arrangement. It appears it makes the whole house work better. Moving the front door around does make a nice entry.

I clicked on the picture here and then again on the + in the magnifying glass thing and for me it appeared much larger and easier to read.

I really like the added closet in the new sitting room off the master bedroom.

I also like your kitchen. For some it might be a problem to have the fridge around the corner. I would not have that problem. I used to keep all our food in a pantry that was not in the kitchen but around the corner and down two steps. I just went to the pantry and gathered what I wanted to prepare for dinner and brought it to the kitchen. It was never a problem.

So happy you have closed on your other house. Enjoy your vacation!!!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 11:23AM
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It looks good and very convenient. I've wondered what you've been doing; missed you! I like seeing the whole plan too. Your bedroom closet isn't anything like I imagined from looking at the photos of it while it was under construction.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 1:12PM
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Marti, actually that drawing of the walk in closet is missing one window. There are SIX in the closet. All are up high on the exterior wall. Three just like them are in the bathroom too. That wall faces north, so the light is constant and never any direct sunlight coming in. (I have a 4 year old African violet in there that is about 15" across and about as high--it blooms constantly) My DH tiled the closet in Italian porcelain (2" squares in the bath, 16" squares in the closet). I have a 14 drawer chest beneath about 4 of the windows, wire shelving above the windows and bifold french doors. We left the openings for the closet wall when we removed the pair of windows, but of course lowered the sill to make two doorways. This allows great light into the bedroom, because I treasure natural light.

If you notice, I'm closing off the old entry to the master and adding a closet at that end of the hallway. It will hold all the paper products, the vacuum, the dust mop, cleaning supplies, filters, light bulbs. Those doors will be the typical fixed louvered white-painted bifold closet doors folks were ripping out of their homes years ago, and I buy them for like $5/panel. The louvers will allow the a/c air return to suck through there just like it always has. Plus, in the future, the next residents will have the option of TWO master suites, both bedroom areas being about 12 x 12, and having a (private) bath, only this one has to share with guests.

We wanted to use the Lexan across the back just like we did on three walls of the sun porch, however, as of last October, new building code requires new windows (and replacement windows) to be "hurricane" or high wind proof. I don't think we can get that option with a contractor doing the work, perhaps we could if DH did it--but he is exhausted from all the work he's done so far, and says he'll give me the money to get whatever we must.

I really am pleased that he is agreeable with doing what I want. I think he has learned that I steered him correctly with the reno to his house in MA, which sold to someone who came to the first open house first weekend in February, and the sale closed on March 26. He just got back home today, in fact. He is tired but not broken....we are celebrating with champagne tomorrow night! Of course, this funds the reno on White Dove cottage.

Also notable, the bedroom has to have two ways out. If windows do not open, then there must be two doors. So we will have the sliding barn door and the reused back door out of our sitting room to the deck. There will be another "back" door, 36" wide, which is the reused FRONT door, all glass with the blind in the middle. I will have to select a new front door to swing from the opposite side. And you know, I can never remember how to tell a right from left door? All I know is, if you stand outside on the stoop, use your left hand to reach the knob to enter. It swings in and the hinge is on the right side.

About the fridge location. Right now, the fridge is on the old back porch, and I do not find it all that inconvenient out there. However, against the south wall it has a problem overheating. We've recently replaced some part in the bottom, and if it keeps making frost in the freezer, I'm thinking that tall counter depth freezer/fridge (brand starts with an "S") is what I'm looking for. I do not want to have the bulky appliance blocking the clean and clear view out the back of the house, so it is going "out of sight out of mind." I did just buy a GE Monogram 2 drawer under counter refrigerator to build in beside the regular fridge. That way we can keep from opening the big fridge so often. I love the icemaker, and the ice water thingy, but did not get a through-the-door model, all internal. Our laundry is a stacking Fridgidaire model, which I really like. Allowing it might expire on us, I won't build a cabinet around it now, might do so later IF we get a new laundry stack unit. But what the heck, I'm going EUROPEAN here!

On the cooking side of the kitchen, I have the 24" gas Bertazzoni range, plan on stainless counter tops, and stainless shelves. I bought one shelf so far, to check it out, and it is really quality made. It is 24" x 9" deep. I will have only open shelves on the cooking side upper wall, and drawers below.

On the wet side of the galley kitchen, if you face that way, to the far left (in the corner by the back door) is the laundry, then a tall pantry screening it from view, then the counter tops begin. I have old heavyduty wrought iron brackets to hold up the big microwave so I can put a big cutting board on the quartz countertops to shield it from really hot pans. Beneath the countertop is a spring up shelf for the Kitchenaide standard mixer. I plan to keep my Vitamixer (blender) for smoothies somewhere there too. Then I think a stub of the old back wall must be left in order to have the power supply breaker box there. Maybe not, but I'm allowing for it. That can break up the long sweep of quartz counter perhaps, but I'm okay with it. Then the dishwasher to the left of the 30" single bowl undermount sink, If you pivot a bit, the end of the base cabinet on other side of room (the cooking side) will have the pull out recycling facing the dishwasher. Convenient to the fridge for empty bottles, or the sink for other stuff. I already have the roll out 2-can trash container under the sink on one side, and plan to reuse it. I love Rev-A-Shelf products, easy to find now at Lowes. A 48" wide garden window at counter height will have quartz on its bottom too. It may be so wide I can only put in a small set of open shelves to its left, above the dishwasher. Depends on whether the 48" wide window is centered over the sink or not. If so, then I'll have those small shelves which stand plates up on edge, know what I mean? In the base cab to the right of the sink, about 4 drawers with top being silverware and things like colanders and bowls in other drawers. And that brings up into the other side of the old wall to the dining room. To carry the weight of the ceiling, a stub wall will be left there. I'm thinking to set upper cabs 12" deep on the cabinet base, have glass doors there, and keep the dishes inside and visible. Then again, a base cab with shallow top drawer and 2 or 3 other drawers. Next, beneath the pair of windows, will be a windowseat built by DH to hold 3 or 4 roll out filing cabinets for mostly HIS paperwork and prior year taxes and such. Low access, because the 39" square dining table sits in front of the window seat. Then to the right of that is a tall pantry style cabinet, 3 deep drawers below counter height, and an opening door featuring a roll out storage pantry on top.

I want rope lighting as much as possible on a dimmer around the room. Not sure how to deal with it but think it can be done. Just I'm not as able to work on a ladder as I once was, so getting the message across to the contractor is important.

Trying to have a budget and sticking with it means we have to get the details worked out ahead of time, so he can bid the job correctly. We will be using Robert DeMouy, who did our closet and the big Teahouse restoration, and we work well with him.....or maybe he works well with US? :)

This last week, I received some of the lighting fixtures to check how I liked them, and will order more while they are on sale. Like Lighting Direct has Seagull fixtures on sale now, and I got two of the white glass half moon up lights. Don't want to overuse them, but boy they are nice and will give a nice glow to the ceiling. I also bought 4 Minka Lavery Dark Sky compliant outdoor fixtures for deck not want to create a glare outside, so these are perfect. And I got ONE 20" diameter round "cloud" ceiling hugger that is 4" deep, and it takes two rings, one inside the other, of florescent for the main kitchen overhead (200 watts) so lots of light when I need it. I want some LED under cabinet lighting, definitely not halogen which creates a lot of heat. When you can stand next to a light source in the summer heat and feel the heat emanating from it, I do NOT want to have to spend a/c to cool that dang thing down! But I like bright lights in the kitchen. There are now LED replacements for old halogen track lights, and if you have them then that is the way to go. This lighting stuff has gotten so complicated that you have to get a degree to know how to light your kitchen! I like being able to unscrew a bulb which has been on for hours and it is not hot though. That is much more economical, once you get past the purchase price.

What have I forgotten? Won't discuss the living room, or the entry. Mostly a matter of furniture placement. And a light fixture in the new entry.

Most of the work on this project is not visible. Like the plumbing redo, the power redo, the windows redo, the water heater redo (tankless), the new flooring, and the new roof.
Pretty standard stuff, but expensive to do all at once, believe me.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:01PM
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Wow, ML, this has certainly evolved. I have one BIG question. Where will the birds live? That lexan sunroom was theirs, wasn't it? Are they still in the kitchen area or in your sitting room? Or are they on the side porch? That is all windows, too, isn't it?

Congratulations to both you and your DH on the quick sale of the cape up north. That has got to be a big relief, but also quite a change for DH, not to have his ties to New England anymore. Quite the step!

I really like your counter-height garden window. Those are so cool. I think you will be able to see your teahouse looking out that way, right? All that counter space behind and around the sink will be so lovely in your white quartz. To the left of the sink, you are talking about having a drying-rack style shelf for plates, right?

I like having rope lighting on a dimmer in the kitchen and dining room. Now you can get LEDs in a rope light with dimmer, and they will greatly outlast the old rope lights that eventually burned out, leaving dark areas in the rope. I used an LED tape in the molding of the library shelves. It is sooo thin! You can get a warm color or a stark white, too.

I believe the old right/left door tip is this: Stand in the open doorway with your spine along the hinged side of the opening. Is the door swung open on your right? It is a right hand door. If the door is on your left it is a left hand door.

I love your new plan. It is practical and solid. I wish that we had been able to hold off the new roof longer for our house, as I would have changed the front of the house to cover our porch and maybe extend out the foyer and laundry room more, but we did not have the luxury of time for planning and saving the money. When you look ahead, as you and your DH have done, you can plan your improvements in step-by-step fashion and end up with just what you wanted in the long run! For us, we had enough credit to buy the better materials, but since we are still paying off the unplanned expense of the foundation repairs from last year, we could not consider the extra debt for unnecessary (though desired) roof changes. Good for you and your DH! I hope that this spring and summer goes quickly and you are done with construction forever.

Just imagine what the nosy neighbor is going to think!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Hi Moccasin, thought I'd check out some posts over here since I'm in a small house (soon) too. You plan looks wonderful but one question: I'm only seeing one door into the office: through the bathroom? Is there another door that I'm missing?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 4:49AM
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Deedles, I thought that same thing at first. Blow up the picture and look more closely and you will see that there is a sliding door to the bathroom, and the door to the den is actually in the hall outside the bathroom.

ML, in another thread I read that the parrots will live in the teahouse. I bet they get to fly around in there! How will that work in your 40 degree winters? Will you have to heat the teahouse? Were you planning on heating it all the time anyway? Will the birds be in the house sometimes so they don't get too lonely? I know you will be out there with them sometimes, but they are used to being in the center of activity next to the kitchen. I know how committed to them you are, and am curious about how this will work out for all of you.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 9:07AM
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Hi Deedles, glad to have you join us on the "small side."

Originally, the house was two bedroom, and that hallway was the pivotal point to accessing bedrooms and (only) bath from the dining room. In phase one of our redo, I took the hall closet for a toilet area, and a cedar closet for the shower area, and in the walking space into the old bath, I placed the tiniest sink you ever saw....the Elf by Porcher. I added a pocket door. Mostly that door is closed, and so the hall remains as the passageway to both bedrooms. For the time being.

However, with the new plan, the hall door of the Master bedroom is being replaced by a utility sort of closet for vacuum, brooms, and storage for supplies, etc. Which further reduces the size of the hallway.

I already added a pair of fixed louvered arched shutters to the dining room door leading into the hallway. By closing them, that study is made into a suite all by itself. You do not go through the bath to get into the study, but you might consider the space an anteroom to the bath if you block off the dining room.

There is only ONE doorway into the study. Our architect called it an office on the plan, but it is really our study/library/computer room. We do not work, so calling it an office is too impersonal for my taste.

This smaller bath is the one for guests to use, so keeping the access from the dining room by way of the hall is important....that way, they do not have to go through a bedroom (i.e., the study) to visit the john. And the hallway is still the anteroom required to keep the bathroom door separate from the dining room.

It would be possible to plaster over the dining room arched doorway and dedicate that bath as a real suite for the front study/bedroom, placing a new bedroom door in the living room along the shared wall. However, it did not fit with our use of the space. Perhaps in the future, the home could be a rental for roommates desiring separate suite accommodations, but such a degree of privacy can be had now by latching the arched shutter doors.

I'm fond of shutters for the air flow through the house, and for the visual privacy. Presently all interior rooms have plantation shutters, which I hope to reuse after the old windows are renewed or replaced.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:02PM
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Nancy, you do remember well!
Yes, the parrots are very important to me. And, as time goes by my DH, who is not a parrot peep, is coming to appreciate their virtues as well.

First the sun porch was built for the parrots. Then that space was commandeered by DH because it is really comfy. He did not coexist well with two parrot cages. LARGE parrot cages. So I moved them into the dining room. He grumbled about that. Then I had to take in a third parrot, when her mama came down with a brain tumor and lung cancer. Up to three parrots now.....2 African greys, and 1 male eclectus....all beautifully feathered and great personalities.

So I began planning MY Teahouse, as a non-negotiable space reserved for MOI and my parrots. Yes, they would be allowed to fly free in the open raftered space. It is 25 x 25 and about 16 high in the top, with a section of the roof double walled Lexan.

We have two of those portable heater/ac units which keep it fairly warm in the winter. One end of the Teahouse has a loft above it, so space beneath is a lot cozier and possible to hold the heat.

I would definitely miss them if they were not here. And, I never let them become "set in their ways" so I keep moving them around, so they can adjust to change very well. New views out a different window, the other bird beside them, etc.

What I am planning to do is to keep an extra cage inside, where each parrot in turn can get the close attention and togetherness they really need. Possibly the one which does not fly can come inside on a play stand, with food and water and toys. My big male grey, who flies so strongly, and loves to eat lamp shades, may be restricted to the cage in the house and free to fly in the Teahouse. My dear sweet male eclectus, Keno, adopted when his mama died, needs to play on the bedcovers, play toss with his toys, and explore the contents in our chests of drawers. Plus, they all love to bathe in their big water bowls, and enjoy time on the deck under the shower. I'd have a hard time not having them around me. They always have dinner with us, although DH draws the line at a plate at the table.....something that a friend of mine does with her birds.....most delightful thing you ever saw, 7 African greys on the backs of chairs with a plate for them on the table. Like Alice In Wonderland teaparty.

Did I answer the question? hmmmm, I get so distracted sometimes and now I find out we missed a pre-op or post-op appointment and must go soon to the eye doctor, DH has his second cataract surgery in the morning. Like 6:30!!!!
So, excuse me. I'll post and correct later.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Oh my, seven birds at dinner, that is a sight to see! I guess that parrots became interesting to me when I learned that they live almost as long as we do, and when I learned how intelligent they are. When I got into gardening, I started fantasizing about big greenhouses - a perfect habitat for intelligent tropical birds. THEN when scientists finally figured out that birds are the living direct descendants of the dinosaurs, I just thought that people who got to know these cool animals were very lucky. Being a dog lover, I know about commitment to pets, and nothing means commitment like a pet that can live 50, 60 or more years. It is such a daunting undertaking that I don't know how folks can do it! You have voiced this commitment several times in the past, so I knew those guys were in the plans somewhere!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 1:37PM
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It is indeed a long term commitment, Nancy. One of the benefits of participating in parrot-owner groups is finding someone who can take your animals should life conditions change. Sometimes it is not death, but economics which force a rehoming of a large noisy macaws especially are rehomed when folks in recent years lost their homes and moved in with family or into apartments etc which did not accept such noisy pets. Of course, once night comes, parrots are quiet and asleep, but still, a macaw is a wood-eating machine and to consider what is fair to the bird is also important. They need space, and time out of the confinement. So, having someone who can permanently or temporarily care for the birds is a big issue for parrot owners.

And as you say, they can life as long a life as human beings. I discovered parrots late in life, maybe when I was 45, and so any young birds I take will outlive me, given a normal longevity. My adored African greys are just now sexually mature, around 15 for one, and my big boy Kimali turned 14 on March 18.....I had him from the time he was 5 weeks old, fell in love with the little dinosaur when he was hatched only 3 days. So he's known me all his life. We have a special relationship.

One of the major concerns with most people is the long term care of the parrots after we pass on. So, the parrots are in my will. I am a fan and supporter of Iowa Parrot Rescue near Muscatine Iowa, and have taken several parrots to them for my vet when folks cannot keep them. IPR is a 401c3 or whatever it is, tax deductible etc, and it is a great place out in the middle of huge expanses of corn fields, with an outdoor aviary, and a large permanent care facility along with an active adoption program. Parrots coming from a home frequently need a new family to love, and prefer to be touched and handled. Yet others have been so badly abused for whatever reasons, that they are custodial candidates. Mike and Abi evaluate potential homes before and after an adoption, and I trust their judgement with this.
I have a bequest to the IPR in my will, and definitely support them during the present time. In most cases, family members are not inclined to share legacies with a bird, and in my mind it is not an optional commitment. Before everything else, my animals, dogs as well as birds, are to be provided for.

My external hard drive with 10 years worth of photos on it failed, and it also contained the backups for the whole computer. So, now I must send it off to be salvaged if possible. All I have left are albums on Flickr. I might have a couple of pictures accessible but what a sad thing. I took 10 gig of photos of just my hosta garden last year, so those are gone too. Real bummer.

Dolly and Dixie. Dolly is the puppy.

Keno, a male eclectus parrot adopted when his mama died of esophageal cancer

Kimali male African grey in the dining room

Rumbles, a tiny female African grey adopted last May when her mama was diagnosed with brain tumor and lung cancer

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 2:18PM
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One of these days I will get you a current picture of my Miss Lizzy, the Miniature Dachshund we adopted at New Years. She is 11 and has lost half her teeth. Given how she loves and hoards chew-chews, it seems obvious to me that they were never offered to her before now! Because of her missing teeth, her snout looks misshapen, like a Muppet character. Her lip catches on her canine teeth, too. She is the same color as your doxies. DH wonders if all doxies are as bossy or did we just get one with "problems." Do yours get territorial or guard you away from other things and people? Your Dolly and Dixie are cute!

Lizzy is a resource-guarding little b!*(# for sure! She growls at DH when he approaches us, snarls as he gets closer and has even snapped at him. I am going to have to do some serious clicker training with her. She was a total embarrassment when I took her to the vet. She snarled and barked at everyone and everything. Once the tech had her away from me, however, Lizzy settled down and was fine for them. She will snarl at me if I pick her up when she does not want to go anywhere. That is most of the time! DH's nickname for her is Mussolini, Il Duce'. He says she looks like him and has a similar temperament!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:01PM
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Your birds are beautiful! But what's up with the cancers? I didn't know that was an issue with them. Is that an issue in the wild, too or is there no way to know that?

I love birds. I wouldn't mind a pair of lovebirds someday but chickens are definitely on the radar again when we move next year.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 8:00AM
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Ok, I didn't make it clear. It was the OWNERS who contracted cancer, and of course treatment lowers the immune system and makes them susceptible to health issues. Most doctors will say to rehome pet birds, except for something like a canary or a tiny budgie which has very little feather dust.

The birds do not have the cancer.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:38AM
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