Wednesday, August 29, 2007

parrot update

Since it has been awhile since I have posted one...

Aziza still seems to be doing well - she is showing normal energy and a good appetite. She has also been very affectionate. She has been molting, and so she has pinfeathers that she needs help with on her head and neck, and I'm happy to oblige her. She did lose some weight between her last two vet visits, and we are keeping an eye on that, but when I last weighed her she seemed to have gained some of that back.

She does have one problem resulting from her hernia, which is that she can no longer reach all the way back around to her rump when preening - when she has tried it, she has let out a squawk (sharp pain?). As new feathers have come in on her rump and tail, I have had to restrain her and remove the sheath myself, because they are very obviously bothering her. She doesn't like being held down, so I try to minimize it to when she's getting a hormone shot, when I have to restrain her anyway. I bought a bird restraining strap at the vet's office. This is a vinyl piece with three rows of velcro-tipped straps; you wrap the bird in a small towel, and fasten a strap around the towel at the bird's neck. The bird is usually distracted by the strap and chews on it, which lets you do what you need to do. It doesn't put pressure on the bird's chest and abdomen, so breathing isn't impaired.

This strap has made things much easier (on both bird and human) than the towel alone; injections and such can be done without the help of another person. While she takes out her frustration on the velcro, I use one hand to hold her legs, and have the other free to remove her overgrown feather sheaths, then give her her shot, which is done in the chest muscle. It's a very small needle, and the only time she's ever expressed any discomfort at all was once at the vet's office, when they had just drawn the (refrigerated) serum (so she got a cold shot). I make sure the syringe has a few minutes to get to room temperature before I give her her shot at home, and she always seems more pained about the restraint part of things. She is due for another shot this Saturday. So far they seem to be working, though she is acting a bit "nesty" again as the days grow shorter (why she should go into season in the fall rather than in spring is anyone's guess, but I guess it is not uncommon in parrots kept in the US, including Pionus and African greys).

We have settled into a morning routine now. She really has been enjoying time out of the cage, so I try to make sure she gets some every day. Every weekday morning when I come from the shower, I stop and open her cage door. She is usually waiting on her lower perch right in front of the door, and offers her head to be scratched. (If you aren't familiar with bird behavior, birds will solicit scratches by lowering their heads slightly and raising the feathers on their necks and cheeks.) She usually wants me to scratch her for several minutes before she is ready to step up onto my hand, when I take her to the headboard of the bed. She sits there and watches the other birds, sometimes chattering or displaying, while I get ready for work. I go to the kitchen and prepare the birds' breakfast, then dump out their dishes and feed them, then I will call her over to go back into her cage and eat, which she is usually eager to do.

Everyone is still enjoying their diet. Corn has been in season, so I have been adding fresh corn shaved off the cob to their bird bread mixture. Aziza especially enjoys this treat, along with chopped carrot. I have a mango I need to cut up; Kelele is fond of those. Kianga likes grapes best. Koga will eat just about everything, but she is a funny bird - she likes to sip Hansen's soda (which she doesn't get very often, because we just don't drink much soda). I am still trying to figure out what Ti'iki, my Pacific parrotlet, likes best of all, though he eats the bird bread and his pellets with plenty of gusto.

I will need to post some new photos soon, because Aziza looks so much better now. She had been rubbing off all the feathers around her ceres (nostrils), but these have molted back in, and so she now has the rust-colored patches next to her nostrils so distinctive in the dusky Pionus.

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10:21 PM, September 02, 2007  

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