Tuesday, 10 January 2012

More on Toy Making later - Today, Special Guest!

Ladies and Gentlemen - I give you "Willow"!

Well, technically I don't give you Willow - We were just given Willow.  This parrot has been addressed as a "she" her whole life, but DNA sexing has never been done.  Something we do intend to see through when we have her blood work checked for health purposes.  Willow is a nine year old Goffin's Cockatoo, who was handraised in a pet shop and purchased by her owners.  She had been with them ever since. 

After a 5 hour trip (both ways) we've got her safely at home, and comfortably preening on the top of her cage.  Odd fact about cockatoos, one which I don't pretend to understand, but they like to preen while holding a small article in their wing, or back etc.  She's no exception to this rule, it seems to be some sort of game with which she tests her dexterity and balance.  Most of the time, when she drops it, she does manage to catch it again, unless we're close enough to fetch it for her.  She's been amusing herself in this fashion for a little while now.  It seems we won't have any bonding issues (her and I at least), as she was slightly protective of me when her owners were there, and let me do a full physical exam when we got her home.  So far (and only with me - Poor Mr. Man) she seems to be your typical "love sponge", which is a little sad because her previous home really didn't have the time for her.

Willow was homed with us for much too common a reason.  She is what we call a "screamer", now within five minutes it's pretty simple to conclude WHY she screams.  Her cage is too small, she has very few toys which were never replaced, her diet consists of a "parrot mix" that has a couple pellet like kibbles, sunflower seeds, peanuts and various other seeds.  This lacks a balanced diet, something we will have to work on.  Something I observed in my little inspection is that she has began plucking her feathers.  They are thinned out underneath the wings, by the legs, behind the neck and specifically around her face (Where there are some pin feathers regrowing).  These sorts of behavioral problems are caused by a lack of stimulation, and can be doubled with poor nutrition.

Willow came with her cage, and for that I am thankful.  Not for financial reasons, not because I hate shopping, and not because I love the cage.  To be honest, it's far too small, the paint is chipping in places and I see indication of some rust hither and thither.  This means I absolutely must replace said cage, as ingested paint and exposure to rust can cause a plethora of medical complications.  However, whenever a bird moves it's the most stressful thing they can endure.  This gives her a familiar area for now, and we can start hunting down a larger cage.  The trick with Goffins, they will use each and every square inch available to them, so we're hunting down and extra large macaw cage.  She came with two hanging toys, one of which only has a couple hard plastic beads (everything else has long since been chewed).  It is very obvious to us that she has had these toys many years, so we're going to work on introducing new things.  An important note is that this should be done slowly, as parrots are naturally very suspicious of the unfamiliar.  More on the toys we create in my next blog!  For now, we are giving her the "pieces" her toys will be made of, to inspect each individually.  Little pieces of twine, cardboard rings, wooden beads, metal loops, small dowel and popsicle sticks.  My theory behind this, is that allowing her to be familiar with each piece will make the over all toy a little less scary.  This also keeps her beak picking at things other then her beautiful plumage.  I'd like to keep that in tact.

So, here was my blurb about rescuing a parrot.  I will keep this updated, and hopefully those of you considering or doing the same will find some useful tidbits.  Keep up the good work!

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