My knack for crafty projects comes in handy when our birds need new equipment. Since pet stores don’t carry raptor supplies, I need to make their leather anklets and jesses from scratch. These two pieces of specialty equipment prevent the bird from escaping while outside or at a program, just like a collar and leash on a pet. Aldo needed new anklets (specifically known as “alymeris”) this week, so I gathered all the supplies and got to work.
I start by cutting the leather following a template, then cut slits on the top and bottom to add flexibility and punch a hole on both ends. Next the leather needs to be conditioned with “Jess Grease.” This is my favorite part because the aromatic blend of waxes and oils smells so good it could be a scented candle. The greased alymeri cooks in the microwave for 10 seconds to help the leather absorb the grease and soften. To fit it on Aldo, I wrap the leather around his leg and give it a spin to make sure it is not too loose or too tight. When satisfied, I crimp a grommet on to hold the loop together and slide the jess strap through the grommet. He will wear both pieces of equipment even while in his mew so he is always ready to come out for a program or to bask in the sun outside. Depending how quickly the leather wears down, it might be a few months or a year before I need to repeat the process and craft a new set of alymeris.