Cloe is our Alexandrine parakeet. He’s been a part of our family since 2010. Yes, he is a boy with a girls name. Funny story about that.
Nik had been telling me he wanted a parrot from the day we met. I have always envisioned a macaw as the type he wanted and flatly refused. Absolutely, I am mean. In 2010 we took the girls to Paradise Park for the day. Here we watched the keepers free flying all types of parrots and parakeets. Which started Nik off about having a parrot again. Small Parrots I can live with. Hense the reason we have an Alexandrine parakeet.
Obviously, I didn’t give in straight away, but when I did with the word ‘small’ as a stipulation Nik went into overdrive looking a Sun Conure. Which are beautiful, mainly yellow and small parakeets. It was while he searched that he found Cleo in a specialist pet shop in Devon.
Here comes the funny story.
We arrived at this shop with Katie, who wanted to help buy our new pet, and were shown to Cleo’s cage. At this point, Cleo was only seven months old. He hadn’t yet grown in his colours. We knew it could take two years for these to show if he was a male. However, some breeders have them DNA tested for gender. So we asked if his gender was known. To which were told no sorry. OK, no problem we’ll give him a neutral name.
At this point, the owner’s wife joined the conversation and told us she could try to sex him with crystals.
“Oh, does that work?”, one of us said. “It can be very accurate”, was the reply. With that, off she trotted to get the crystals.
We all thought that she’d gone to get some crystals that she can mix with, I don’t know, the oils on his feathers or something, that possibly have male/female hormones on them. The crystals will react to the hormones and the reaction will tell us the sex. HAHAHAHA!
No. The lady came back with a crystal on a piece of string and started waving it over Cleo’s head. I kid you not, the woman was doing a voodoo old wives tale, crystal directional swing test. As you can image the three of us looked at each other with raised eyebrows and bit our lips to stop the laughter.
We didn’t for a minute believe that this could tell us the sex. Which of course was female. Once we had him and were on our way back home the laughter was loud. And we started to think of neutral names for our new family member.
On some level, though it must have had an impact because someone mentioned Cleo. Short for Cleopatra who when we’d looked it up had a connection with the Alexandrine parakeet. The name stuck, oops.
We did consider changing his name once it became apparent he wasn’t a girl. By then he knew his name, responded to it and said “Hello Cleo”, all the time. So we decided if he didn’t care that he had a girls name we won’t either.
Cleo has been living with Marisa for the past two years because we didn’t have the space in old Daisy for him. Nik has missed him though, so Horatio was built with space for a cage so Cleo could join our adventures.
He isn’t one of the species that talks too much but he does do fantastic impressions of the many noises that he hears. Cleo also very much enjoys feeding the dogs, mostly Oscar, his food. He calls Oscar over to him when he’s bored, then amuses himself throwing things out of the cage to him. We do have to be careful not to let him out when Ella is about as she is prey driven and tries to catch him. Yet she can happily ignore him whilst he’s caged.
Read more about the animals that live with us in Horatio HERE