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A few questions for my Green Cheek Conure (long post, mental health/OCD)

Baileybea

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Bailey
Hey guys! I’ll admit, I’ve been very stressed out lately. I’ve been having a lot of health issues (physical AND mental) which led to me realizing that I need to step up my game when it comes to caring for my green cheek Conure, Momiji (Momo). This is gonna be a LONG one, so thank you in advance for reading/answering.

I’m 23 and have struggled with intense anxiety and depression for pretty much my entire life, and now in the past few months I’ve developed some mystery health issues that I’m still trying to figure out with a bunch of tests. I’ve had Momo for a little over 2.5 years now (she’s about 4 though, she was a little over a year when I got her), and while the vet always says that she’s healthy, I know there’s things I could have been doing better and I’m really trying to start now.

Last week I realized her cage was in somewhat rough shape, so I panicked and got her a brand new one. She thankfully got used to it pretty quickly, the only problem is, it’s a lot bigger than her old one and doesn’t come off it’s stand, and since her sleep room is upstairs, we have to carry it up and down the stairs everyday.

I’ve been looking everywhere for a smaller cage that we can use as a sleep cage, but after googling about all the dangers of certain materials, how they can chip or rust or expose bad metals and this or that, I’m really struggling to find one. We live in Ontario, Canada. I actually picked up a brand new version of her first cage, but when I brought it home I noticed the powder coating was literally flaking off in spots, so obviously I’ll be taking it back. I can’t afford stainless steel at the moment and the cheapest one I can even find starts at 1000 dollars (I’m not even working due to my anxiety, I’m a stay at home artist but haven’t made a sale in months because of covid/depression).

I’ve also noticed that since she’s been in her new cage, she’s had a harder time sleeping. She’s always gone to bed with us at around 10-11pm, then slept in until about 10-11 am with no problems. Her sleep room is upstairs and my parents have always gotten up to get ready for work between 6:30-8am (their bedroom and washroom they get ready in is also upstairs) and she’s always been able to just sleep though it, but these past few days she has been waking up earlier, I’m afraid due to the noise. We tried having her cage downstairs, but the noise is even worse and she starts chirping if someone even goes to the washroom at night. We have also always covered her cage with a sheet at night. I then started reading that they can chew on them through the bars and die, and started freaking out, so tried no sheet one night, but when I came in to check how she was doing, she was wide awake and hanging onto the side of her cage, so I had to cover it again to get her to finally sleep. She’s never chewed on her cover before, but I’m worried with the changes lately, something will trigger her to start and I’ll wake up to her being dead.

Does she just have to get used to her new cage? I’m really worried she’ll get sick from not being able to sleep as much as she usually does and I don’t know how long this is going to last. She does like to take naps during the day so I’m hoping that will make up for a little bit of the time she’s been losing while she gets used to things.


Next is feeding/washing vegetables, and how often I should give certain vegetables.

She’s always been kinda picky when it comes to veggies, but we still try to give her at least something every day. She really loves red bell peppers, and she’ll eat spinach, broccoli, and kale and sometimes pick at carrot. I saw that certain vegetables should only be offered 2-3 times a week though. This is what I’ve gathered from research

Broccoli- 2-3 times a week
Spinach -2 times a week
Kale - 2-4 times a week
Red bell pepper - can be daily
Carrot - a few times a week

I also wanna try giving her more options, like cauliflower and stuff. One of my mental health issues is OCD and it has been BAD this past week with trying to make sure Momo is healthy and happy. I’ve read so many things on the internet and I have irrational fears that something I do will just kill her. Even something as simple as giving her a new vegetable even if I KNOW it’s something she can eat/is good for her. I’m worried I’ll prepare it wrong, not cook it when you’re supposed to even if I’ve read 20 different places that raw is ok. Another thing I never even THOUGHT of until now is organic vs non-organic.

honestly, we’ve never in the 2.5 years we’ve had her gone out of our way to buy organic produce for us or her. A lot of it has to do with the fact that most of the year, living in Ontario and the town we live in, it’s not readily available. She’s been perfectly fine so far, but I started reading horror stories about pesticides, how not washing well can make them sick or even birds who dropped dead from freak accidents after feeding a pice of fruit/vegetables. So I then read that you can make a wash with 1 part apple Cider vinegar (bragg organic with the mother) and 3 parts water, scrub them down with it and rinse to clean. I even went out and bought the vinegar, but now am afraid to use that, even though I know ACV isn’t toxic to them and can actually provide some health benefits to them in moderation. I’m worried that even a minuscule amount possibly left from cleaning will be enough to mess with her system or give her diarrhea or something and I’ll make her sick.

Also, she’s been on Zupreem naturals since I got her, but I read that Harrison’s is way better so I bought a bag of the high potency fine to switch her over to and she had super watery poops, so I panicked and immediately put her back in the Zupreem that night. Is it normal for her poop to be watery when switching to another pellet and will it go away once she adjusts to the Harrison’s?

Even when it comes to toys, I’m afraid to leave them in her cage unsupervised. What if she chokes on something or gets stuck while I’m not there? Even though I try to only give her wood and cardboard toys, and never put anything with fabric/rope etc in her cage. I don’t even really like using plastic toys. It feels like I’m worrying/protecting her to a point where I’m actually harming her more in the long run, because I know I can’t just leave her without toys all day. But again that irrational fear that I’ll come home and she’ll be dead from something I could have prevented is there.

I’ve never been this bad with my OCD/anxiety involving her, and it’s kinda starting to ruin my life and impact my family/boyfriend (who also lives with us). I even got to a point where I wondered if I should rehome her…telling myself that she would be better off without me, go to someone who can look after her properly and give her a better life. But I love her so much and I know she’s loves me, and know deep down even if I thought I was doing the right thing, the stress/heartbreak alone could make her sick or even kill/traumatize her, so I could never actually do that.

Am I just letting my mental illness get the better of me? Am I worrying about things I shouldn’t be/worrying TOO much? I’m just so scared and stressed out lately. I can’t even sleep at night anymore because I’m so terrified something will happen while I’m not watching her. It has gotten to a point where I have to recheck if I’ve locked her cage 10 times and then take a video to be 10000% certain it is locked before I go do something. Any help/advice is very much appreciated, and sorry again for the extremely long post.
 

Mizzely

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The sleeping thing - it's an adjustment to get used to a new cage for sure. It could also be that the placement of perches etc may be different and making it harder for her to settle. I don't cover cages but that's just because my bird seems to be fine without it.

For food: most veggies can be served daily, and raw. Dark leafy greens just have oxalic acid which can inhibit calcium absorption within that food; it doesn't affect the absorption from other things eaten at the same time.

I do cook sweet potatoes because they are hard to digest raw. I also only give a small piece of fruit a few times a week.

Wash just like you would your own food. Vinegar is 100% safe. I don't bother buying ACV, I just use white vinegar.

You can also use frozen veggies, which is already prewashed and often fresher than fresh produce!

I almost never buy organic.

Zupreem Naturals is perfectly fine. Harrison's does have a lot going for it, and I do prefer it slightly, but I don't feel it is absolutely necessary to switch to it. Yes, diet changes can affect their droppings. Watery droppings are usually only a concern if there isn't an explanation.

Toys: as long as you know her play style (does she usually eat non-food items, for instance?), And she can't get her head inside them, toys are likely safe to keep in the cage. I do leave plastic in the cage because that's what most of my foragers are made of, and foraging is a safe and enriching activity! Avoid cotton ropes, long strings, etc and she should be fine.

Maybe invest in a wireless camera you can check on her without having to go to her. That way you can see she is happy and healthy.

We all worry, but we also have to remember that living life is it's own risk. You can buy the best cages, do all of the "right" things, and that's not a guarantee of anything. Taking common sense precautions is absolutely fine, but don't forget to just enjoy your bird too.
 

Baileybea

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Bailey
The sleeping thing - it's an adjustment to get used to a new cage for sure. It could also be that the placement of perches etc may be different and making it harder for her to settle. I don't cover cages but that's just because my bird seems to be fine without it.

For food: most veggies can be served daily, and raw. Dark leafy greens just have oxalic acid which can inhibit calcium absorption within that food; it doesn't affect the absorption from other things eaten at the same time.

I do cook sweet potatoes because they are hard to digest raw. I also only give a small piece of fruit a few times a week.

Wash just like you would your own food. Vinegar is 100% safe. I don't bother buying ACV, I just use white vinegar.

You can also use frozen veggies, which is already prewashed and often fresher than fresh produce!

I almost never buy organic.

Zupreem Naturals is perfectly fine. Harrison's does have a lot going for it, and I do prefer it slightly, but I don't feel it is absolutely necessary to switch to it. Yes, diet changes can affect their droppings. Watery droppings are usually only a concern if there isn't an explanation.

Toys: as long as you know her play style (does she usually eat non-food items, for instance?), And she can't get her head inside them, toys are likely safe to keep in the cage. I do leave plastic in the cage because that's what most of my foragers are made of, and foraging is a safe and enriching activity! Avoid cotton ropes, long strings, etc and she should be fine.

Maybe invest in a wireless camera you can check on her without having to go to her. That way you can see she is happy and healthy.

We all worry, but we also have to remember that living life is it's own risk. You can buy the best cages, do all of the "right" things, and that's not a guarantee of anything. Taking common sense precautions is absolutely fine, but don't forget to just enjoy your bird too.
This answer was very helpful, thank you so much. The last bit also really put my mind at ease and is very similar to what our vet and a lady who owns a really great parrot supply shop said to me when I came to them with some of these concerns. Even my boyfriend has been trying to reassure me that all we can do is our best and make sure she feels loved, and sometimes things happen that aren’t in our control, but we can’t let it ruin the good times. I’m trying very hard to accept that, and hopefully with some work on myself it will become easier. :heart:
 

Wardy

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I’ve had Momo for a little over 2.5 years now
Slow down a bit take a deep breath you have had Momo for 2.5 years and your vet has always said Momo is healthy so your doing something right.
I know there’s things I could have been doing better
I think we all think this at times, is my bird eating enough, are they getting enough time out of there cages are they getting enough enritchment ? I ask questions like this all of the time not that i am doubting how i am caring for my birds now but what can i do better.

Next is feeding/washing vegetables, and how often I should give certain vegetables.

She’s always been kinda picky when it comes to veggies, but we still try to give her at least something every day. She really loves red bell peppers, and she’ll eat spinach, broccoli, and kale and sometimes pick at carrot. I saw that certain vegetables should only be offered 2-3 times a week though. This is what I’ve gathered from research

i offer veg daily bell peppers,chillis,carrot,brocilli,cauliflower,mangetout,sugersnap peas,sweetcorn,carrots,egg plant,spinach,rocket,thyme,parssley,cress,green beans,squash,radish,courgette they get a mix of whatever is available, i offer in large chunks try cutting things in different sizes this can help and i dont cook any of her fresh food.

Also, she’s been on Zupreem naturals since I got her, but I read that Harrison’s is way better so I bought a bag of the high potency fine to switch her over to and she had super watery poops, so I panicked and immediately put her back in the Zupreem that night. Is it normal for her poop to be watery when switching to another pellet and will it go away once she adjusts to the Harrison’s?
I fed mine in zupreem for a good while until they become unavailable and was quite happy to do so, if you feel adding another pellet as a alternative offer both in the same bowl until you are sure Momo is eating the new one then offer one type in the morning the other over night this is what i do.

Both of my birds are covered of a night i have never seen any signs of them chewing the covers i inspect them daily for any signs also toys are inspected daily i removed one recently as i was unsure one of my girls was eating poly rope i will make the toy safe and replace it, so daily reviews of the cage,toys and covers etc are important to identify any potential risks.
 

Baileybea

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Slow down a bit take a deep breath you have had Momo for 2.5 years and your vet has always said Momo is healthy so your doing something right.


I think we all think this at times, is my bird eating enough, are they getting enough time out of there cages are they getting enough enritchment ? I ask questions like this all of the time not that i am doubting how i am caring for my birds now but what can i do better.
thanks so much for your response, I appreciate it! Very thankful for this forum.:swoon:
 

FiatLux

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I find that an overload of choices and changes overloads me and magnifies my anxiety.
I spend a lot of time researching as you are now. But then I simplify (3 veggies, 2 cages, 1 routine) and stick with it or I spin out. Set a limit for how much time you will research each topic (for example; research safe bird cage: 3 hours, research safe bird cage cover: 2 hours).
Decide on a set of choices, confirm them with your avian vet, write them down as bullet points in stick it notes. Then stop researching.
Place notes downstairs and upstairs but limit to 3 in each place.
For example: 3 notes on fridge;
1. “1/4 bell pepper, pinch of greens, 1 tiny piece apple”
2. “soak veggies in water, 1/4 c ACV for 10mns, rinse for 5” (use a timer to manage anxiety about doing this
3. “Fresh water“
Upstairs: 1. “My bird is healthy”
2. “My bird is safe”
3. “I’ve done the best I can”
These are just examples but I want to be concrete because in my experience part of the anxiety is fueled by a feeling of it never being good enough and the Best antidote to that for me are limits, boundaries and therapy. I am wishing you all the best —it sounds to me as though you’re doing a great job already.
 

Baileybea

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I find that an overload of choices and changes overloads me and magnifies my anxiety.
I spend a lot of time researching as you are now. But then I simplify (3 veggies, 2 cages, 1 routine) and stick with it or I spin out. Set a limit for how much time you will research each topic (for example; research safe bird cage: 3 hours, research safe bird cage cover: 2 hours).
Decide on a set of choices, confirm them with your avian vet, write them down as bullet points in stick it notes. Then stop researching.
Place notes downstairs and upstairs but limit to 3 in each place.
For example: 3 notes on fridge;
1. “1/4 bell pepper, pinch of greens, 1 tiny piece apple”
2. “soak veggies in water, 1/4 c ACV for 10mns, rinse for 5” (use a timer to manage anxiety about doing this
3. “Fresh water“
Upstairs: 1. “My bird is healthy”
2. “My bird is safe”
3. “I’ve done the best I can”
These are just examples but I want to be concrete because in my experience part of the anxiety is fueled by a feeling of it never being good enough and the Best antidote to that for me are limits, boundaries and therapy. I am wishing you all the best —it sounds to me as though you’re doing a great job already.
I definitely think this is part of the reason I become so overwhelmed. There’s just so many choices and often different opinions, I’m scared I’ll choose the wrong piece of advice and cause something to happen, and it would be all my fault! Thanks so much for your response though, I think it will be a good start for easing some of my anxieties about everything. :)
 

Mizzely

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Birds thrive in a wide variety of situations! I've spent a lot of time trying to do the "best" and honestly no one has all of the answers. So do what makes sense for you, your situation, and your bird. Don't compare yourself to people you'll never meet :)
 

Emma&pico

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Some brilliant advice

I love researching what’s best for my birds but I think sometimes it makes it worse more complicated in my head than it needs to be

it’s like kids you can take peoples advice read andresearch but I think best thing to do it take it on board but do what’s best for you and your situation

and like @Mizzely always says what’s best for them is what they will eat and you can afford

Instead of carrying cage down all time what about a play stand downstairs they could nap on eat on etc ?
 

Spearmint

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Sorry to hear you're not doing too well, trying to care for yourself and a bird at once is tiring.
On terms of pellets, i'm not sure if the water droppings are normal, but I don't personally like Zupreem pellets as they can be high in sugars and fillers, especially if the parrot isn't getting other things like grains, legumes, a bunch of veg in their diet.
Zupreem will of course be fine for a good while, but if you get the chance to make a change I would go for it :)

Spearmint didn't sleep the first few nights we got his new cage, so he slept during the day out of his cage instead until he was used to it.

Hope things improve soon with your overall health :heart:
 

Baileybea

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Some brilliant advice

I love researching what’s best for my birds but I think sometimes it makes it worse more complicated in my head than it needs to be

it’s like kids you can take peoples advice read andresearch but I think best thing to do it take it on board but do what’s best for you and your situation

and like @Mizzely always says what’s best for them is what they will eat and you can afford

Instead of carrying cage down all time what about a play stand downstairs they could nap on eat on etc ?
We do actually have a perch stand with 3 perches and a spot for food bowls, but everyone works at different times and I’m always worried about someone opening the door and her getting out! It just makes me feel better knowing I could quickly lock her in there if I need to get up and go somewhere, or someone needs to leave/come back inside. I guess we’ll just have to deal with carrying it until I find something I’m happy with, it’s not a huge deal, just kind of annoying! She was a year and a half when I got her and for some reason completely untamed so teaching her how to do things has been a bit difficult, especially being a first time bird owner lmao.
 

Baileybea

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Sorry to hear you're not doing too well, trying to care for yourself and a bird at once is tiring.
On terms of pellets, i'm not sure if the water droppings are normal, but I don't personally like Zupreem pellets as they can be high in sugars and fillers, especially if the parrot isn't getting other things like grains, legumes, a bunch of veg in their diet.
Zupreem will of course be fine for a good while, but if you get the chance to make a change I would go for it :)

Spearmint didn't sleep the first few nights we got his new cage, so he slept during the day out of his cage instead until he was used to it.

Hope things improve soon with your overall health :heart:
thanks so much, really appreciate it! Hopefully she’ll be back to her normal sleep schedule soon
 

Emma&pico

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We do actually have a perch stand with 3 perches and a spot for food bowls, but everyone works at different times and I’m always worried about someone opening the door and her getting out! It just makes me feel better knowing I could quickly lock her in there if I need to get up and go somewhere, or someone needs to leave/come back inside. I guess we’ll just have to deal with carrying it until I find something I’m happy with, it’s not a huge deal, just kind of annoying! She was a year and a half when I got her and for some reason completely untamed so teaching her how to do things has been a bit difficult, especially being a first time bird owner lmao.
I hope you find something soon that suits you
Mine is completely untamed too working on it so you have done well
 
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