Again I find myself apologizing for not writing sooner. Truth be known, I have been very busy….seriously, that phrase should be worn out by now as we all seem to be very busy these days! But, I really have! One of my ambitions is to become a P.A.  (Physician’s assistant) here in the Valley. However, despite having a Bachelor & Master’s degree there are certain pre-requisites that are needed to enroll. With only three pre-reqs left I decided to get one ‘out of the way’ and enrolled in Microbiology late Sept. I don’t have to tell anyone who has taken such a course how difficult and taxing it can be on the brain…. talk about information overload! I did find some of it extremely helpful, not only in the human field, but some of it was extremely applicable for the birds too. (I can elaborate later.) Regardless, the class was extremely intense and took every free moment of my life. Not because it was microbiology, but because it was online. It was a nightmare! After a great deal of struggling I finally was able to withdraw and will now take the class ‘live’ at a campus with a real instructor, students and lab.

In addition to the nightmare class, I also had a business trip to attend in northern California right when those darn occupy Oakland people were raising such a stink! Thankfully, they were far enough away from our location that we didn’t even know they were around. It was a lovely venue…on the bay, surrounded by boats…lots of lovely boats…some I would venture to say would have been yachts. I didn’t get out much because we were in session a great deal and then the rain and cold came, leaving me with no desire to venture outside at all. I met some great people and would deem the meetings a success. But now on to the birds…

The flock is doing fairly well, considering I have been so preoccupied with other things. However, one of our members had a set back a while ago. I hesitated from writing about it because I was hoping it would get better. It has not…well maybe not…we may be turning a corner now. Late August brought a trip back East to see our son, his wife and our, now 1 yr. old grandson. It was a lovely trip, which brought a great deal of joy as only children can bring (adults [meaning one’s grown children] and babies alike). While we were away, my daughter stayed at the house and took care of our 10.5 yr. old Lab who was recovering from surgery, [See previous post; re: Sampson and cancer], and the birds. You may or may not know about Magee’s history with me. He came to me naked ( should I say it?) as a jaybird. He had been with his previous family for about 10 yrs. and had been naked most of that time.  [Not much is known of his life before his previous family.] A visit to our wonderful avian vet, Dr. Wright, (who has given me permission to use his name), revealed Magee suffered from a vitamin A deficiency and a skin infection. With a series of vitamin A shots, medication and a lavish, healthy diet of Harrision’s and fruits and veggies, Magee soon became fully feathered. He was a beautiful sight. Magee has been with me for about 2 yrs. now and during that time he had begun plucking once or twice, but with the addition of Harrison’s Booster he stopped.

One thing that has also become apparent is just how much Magee hates being in a cage. I was told that sometime in his life, (he is 23 yrs old now), he had been kept in a barn, alone for over a year. While we were away in August, I had asked my daughter to be sure to let Magee out of the cage every morning. You see, he also does not like pooping in his cage. He will hold it for as long as he can, then drop a bomb when he gets out. This had created another problem last year- a C-diff infection. (Since my microbiology course I have learned more about this nasty microorganism!)  I digress… so my daughter followed instruction and let him out every morning to poop, but when she left for work he was sent back to his cage. In the short week we were away, Magee had begun working on his feathers. Half of his chest was plucked as was some of his back/wing area… and the pattern has continued. A few weeks ago, he had become so frustrated with being in his cage he just chewed off feathers from wherever he could. There were piles of them on the bottom of the cage and in his dishes. It was very disturbing to see and made me feel like I had failed Magee in some way. I felt defeated and discouraged. I think it is one of the worst things that a bird owner can experience.

Despite being taken out of his cage every morning, and often being left out for the day, or even spending the day in the outdoor aviary, nothing has seemed to help. I resorted back to giving Magee his favorite treat- peanut butter. Ahhhh, I know-  you say this is not good. BUT this is special peanut butter.  It is peanut butter mixed with Harrison’s Booster. AND he doesn’t get it every day. I am afraid to say it (I don’t want to jinx the situation), but I have noticed a difference already. I took these photos tonight and will keep you posted on his progress.


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