The treatment process…

As anyone who has had to medicate a bird can tell you- it it can be more stressful for the human than the bird. This is especially true for my husband, who sweats, whines, and procrastinates about assisting whenever needed. As a result, I seek alternative methods to administer medication whenever possible. In Magee’s case, I found one thing he absolutely LOVED- peanut butter! So he began ‘eating’ his medications mixed with a little peanut butter. However, there could not be so much that it would increase his daily fat intake in that small 500 gram body; and not too little that he wouldn’t eat it. I managed to find a good balance and off we went on the road to health! Every morning his medication would be mixed with his beloved peanut butter, put in a small blue ramekin and presented. He devoured it immediately. As a matter of fact he came to know the blue dish, then the peanut butter jar, both elicited so much excitement it seemed he would fall off his perch! I could even put the dish on the floor and he would ‘eat’ his meds as our dogs were eating their breakfast. It seemed rather funny to see this African Grey on the kitchen floor eating out of a dish- but it worked! While it may seem impossible to imagine a bird with a hook bill to ‘lick’ a bowl clean, Magee did just that! There was no trace of peanut butter in that dish when he was finished!

Magee 'eating' his meds 6.2.2010

Everything was going well, physically, for Magee. He had another Vitamin A shot and continued to show improvement as his feathers began coming in slowly at first, then it what seemed to be a burst.

Despite Magee’s improvement in his outward appearance, I was still concerned about his emotional/mental state of mind. He didn’t seem interested in playing, chewing (on anything besides his feathers), or interacting with other birds or humans. I am sure much of it had to do with his feeling awful. I am always looking for natural objects to stimulate and replicate what birds would find in the wild. Living in a warm climate provides the opportunity for many trees and branches that can be used to contribute to a healthier and more natural environment for my Greys. I managed to obtain fronds from a Canary Island palm tree and began my work. I made perches, toys, hung leaves and stalks in cages. The birds had a ball! Magee, however, was still not interested. I spent a couple of hours doing the only thing I could figure on doing with the leaves of these branches- weaving squares. If it had been fabric they would have reminded you of the pot holders many children have made for Moms in school. It took me about two hours to finish the first ‘green’ pot holder. I hung it in Magee’s cage in a fairly convenient location. After about 15 minutes he began chewing, shredding and destroying what had taken me hours to create. But I didn’t care- it was rewarding just to see him stimulated and doing something else besides sitting. Over the course of the next couple of days, I made more pot holders, storing the excess and replacing the ones he had destroyed. We then moved on to other, larger pieces that had been made with the thicker branch of the palm frond. It was so nice to seeing him alive and acting normal!

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