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Grandma's 18 year old, neglected cockatiel

LilSprout

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So I am currently (temporarily) in the care of my grandma's 18 year old cockatiel that she's been neglecting for the last 18 years. She's only been fed seeds for her whole life.

I want to get her eating pellets (gonna start on Zupreem natural and we can move onto something else if we have to) someone said she shouldn't be taken 100% off seed. Getting her to eat veggies or anything that isn't seeds can be a bit of a struggle but we're gonna keep trying. I've also ordered her some senior nutriberries that I hope she will enjoy them. I also want her to get a blood test to check her organ functions because I worry about the damage her diet has done to her body.

How's this plan sound? Is there anything in particular I could be doing for her I am not doing so far? They (there is a 10-12 year old conure too) are at my house for now. I'm going to be probably moving in with my grandma just to care for them because I know she will try and undo all the progress I've made with these little guys.
 

Hankmacaw

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You have a very difficult, but noble job ahead of you. It sounds as if you have a good plan.
 

LilSprout

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You have a very difficult, but noble job ahead of you. It sounds as if you have a good plan.
My greatest fear is my grandma will undo all the changes I've made for her. That's why I wanted to go to the vet so maybe she can get a dose of reality. Unfortunately she believes that avian vets are just trying to steal your money because that's what someone told her in the 80's or something
 

Birdbabe

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Slow education with Grandmother,,show her how much the birds enjoy the good food, introduction of celery leaves, shredded carrots, a tiny bit of spinach. Other bird safe veggies,,,,I birdsat a parakeet over Thanksgiving, by the time he left here, he was eating pellets. broccoli florets and scrambled eggs,,time and patience..
 

Zara

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If my grandma were here today, I bet she would tell you how happy her bird was (in the 60s/70s) in his round cage lined with sanded paper, with a plastic bird friend and a mirror, eating only seeds, and what on earth is an avian vet?. They were different times back then and it sounds like your grandma has the same understanding.
Try to remember that we are blessed with knowledge, we have easier access to information that they missed out on.
As @Birdbabe said, show her how happy the birds really can be :) That is the best way to teach her something new. Good luck :hug9:
 

LilSprout

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If my grandma were here today, I bet she would tell you how happy her bird was (in the 60s/70s) in his round cage lined with sanded paper, with a plastic bird friend and a mirror, eating only seeds, and what on earth is an avian vet?. They were different times back then and it sounds like your grandma has the same understanding.
Try to remember that we are blessed with knowledge, we have easier access to information that they missed out on.
As @Birdbabe said, show her how happy the birds really can be :) That is the best way to teach her something new. Good luck :hug9:
Well the conure is my friend now, we spend a lot of time together, he sits on my shoulder and snuggles into my ear or under my chin and she just said "you can't spend all this time with these birds, you are the boss" and I said I'm not the boss really, I'm their voice because they can't speak for themselves
 

Zara

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What if you got a load of videos of people spending quality time with their birds and played them for her? Sit and watch on youtube together?
 

LilSprout

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What if you got a load of videos of people spending quality time with their birds and played them for her? Sit and watch on youtube together?
I showed her how close me and her conure have become, he sits on my shoulder and snuggles into my ear, neck or chin. Instead of making her think "if I do what she does I too could have a good relationship with this bird" she's just like, jealous. It's quite strange.

Oh also I noticed the cockatiel has a busted toe, looks like it was broken and never healed correctly. According to my grandma one of her other birds who passed away a long time ago bite her toe and she just never did anything about it (she doesn't believe in avian vets) I worry this could be causing her pain, she does clean that foot a lot. Can't get a pic of it because she's scared of the phone.
 

Lady Jane

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Can your grandmother read some of our educational items here on AA? If any question come up there are many wise cockatiel people here.


 

Gazimon

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There may be some from that generation who think pellets are 'awful artificial chemicals'. If she does think along these lines, then the next best scenario is to go for a varied natural foods diet. To try and help her understand how varied the diet of wild parrots are and how great it would be if she could eat fresh fruits and vegetables also share a bit of that with her tiel. If she enjoys baking or cooking, how about recipes that both can eat [ with human portion adding honey or flavourings after the parrot portion has been separated out ].
 

Monica

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Don't forget sprouted seeds! :) Those can sometimes be an easy way to convert birds to eating healthier.
 

LilSprout

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We had an issue yesterday with her having a dirty vent, apparently all those veggies were too much for her body to handle at once so today we're only get one small portion from one type of vegetable (whatever I got in the fridge that looks tasty, maybe snap peas) and then over time I will boost that to larger portions with more variety but I'll give her at least a week with just one little vegetable treat + pellets and some seeds.

I want to ask my grandma to keep the cockatiel here and she can have back the conure because she does want them back but I am concerned about the future health of this cockatiel. The conure has been doing well eating his veggies and fruit so if I pre make portions of stuff for him once a week and give them to her she would probably give that to him plus I would buy him pellets for her to feed him. The cockatiel needs a larger cage, she needs to learn how to play with toys and forage, she'll need special food what with the slowly increasing vegetable thing and I worry my grandma will disregard all that and just feed her seeds again because she is picky. If I were to take her (and I am fully prepared to do that) I'd be able to make sure she gets all the stuff she needs to help her recover and live a good life in her last few years.
 

Dorcas George

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We had an issue yesterday with her having a dirty vent, apparently all those veggies were too much for her body to handle at once so today we're only get one small portion from one type of vegetable (whatever I got in the fridge that looks tasty, maybe snap peas) and then over time I will boost that to larger portions with more variety but I'll give her at least a week with just one little vegetable treat + pellets and some seeds.

I want to ask my grandma to keep the cockatiel here and she can have back the conure because she does want them back but I am concerned about the future health of this cockatiel. The conure has been doing well eating his veggies and fruit so if I pre make portions of stuff for him once a week and give them to her she would probably give that to him plus I would buy him pellets for her to feed him. The cockatiel needs a larger cage, she needs to learn how to play with toys and forage, she'll need special food what with the slowly increasing vegetable thing and I worry my grandma will disregard all that and just feed her seeds again because she is picky. If I were to take her (and I am fully prepared to do that) I'd be able to make sure she gets all the stuff she needs to help her recover and live a good life in her last few years.
Applause to you for caring and trying so hard. Hoping Grandma is okay with this idea. (May I ask how old she is?)
 

LilSprout

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Applause to you for caring and trying so hard. Hoping Grandma is okay with this idea. (May I ask how old she is?)
She's 84, she's always been weird and she's never actually liked animals. She only has birds because my papa had birds when he was alive and he loved them a lot and cared for them properly (with the info he had considering it was like the 80's and 90's) so she just has them because they've been around for so long.
She took the conure home because he's doing ok, he's eating pellets, vegetables and fruit now so I made 7 days worth of pre portioned food so he gets pellets, some seeds and then fruit and vegetables. I will make him more come next week so he always has healthy food.
The cockatiel is still here because she needs a lot of help. I've put her small cage on top of the flight cage I have so I'm going to ease her into it. I'm hoping she'll just let me keep her because she won't last much longer with the level of care my grandma gives her
 

Dorcas George

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Ah, that does explain a lot. I tell you, at 69, I think of birds my family members had. And I’m sad because while we loved them, there was so much misinformation. Cheers to you, and hoping for the best for the cockatiel.
 

Fergus Mom

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If my grandma were here today, I bet she would tell you how happy her bird was (in the 60s/70s) in his round cage lined with sanded paper, with a plastic bird friend and a mirror, eating only seeds, and what on earth is an avian vet?. They were different times back then and it sounds like your grandma has the same understanding.
Try to remember that we are blessed with knowledge, we have easier access to information that they missed out on.
As @Birdbabe said, show her how happy the birds really can be :) That is the best way to teach her something new.
Well said Zara! Even when I had my Lucy in the 90's, I had no clue I was doing wrong by only feeding her a seed diet. (And Italian food, Chinese food, and whatever she decided to grab off my plate!) AND she was in a round cage too!
Happiest and loved little bird you ever wanted to see.

@LilSprout - you are doing a WONDERFUL thing with Gramma's birds - just keep trying to gently educate her without making her feel neglectful. You are great!
 

finchly

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Ah, that does explain a lot. I tell you, at 69, I think of birds my family members had. And I’m sad because while we loved them, there was so much misinformation. Cheers to you, and hoping for the best for the cockatiel.
There was! I had a cockatiel in the 80s. I’m ashamed to say, his cage was too small and his diet....lacking. He did get to fly around though. And he was so beautiful.
 

LilSprout

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I don't know how long my grandma will allow me to keep her, but I put her in the flight cage (she still has access to her old cage I put it on top of the flight cage but the food and water is in the flight cage)
My grandma thinks that she will not like the flight cage because "the small cage is better" even though so can barely stretch her wings out in the little cage.
The issue is she's scared of new things because she's old and she's had very few new things in her life.
I put the foraging fun time box in the flight cage alone with the cork perch I gave her a few days ago that she likes to chew on but other than that I don't have many perches atm. I ordered some I hope they will come soon. I also hope my grandma will take the 2 flight cages when she eventually takes back the birds and just have them live in them. It would be so much better for their quality of life
 

LilSprout

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Oh also, she tends to listen to books more than she will listen to me. I have "The Healthy Bird Cookbook" that had a lot of nutrition information so I'm going to send that home with her to read.
A big issue with this is also she'll believe anything she reads, this is how she got the bad idea that avian vets are only looking to steal your money because she had a book on lovebirds from the 80's or 90's. It also told her to feed mostly seed and that's just been the gospel since then. She is willing to feed them pellets but it's just a matter of me getting them to eat them because if they don't eat them first thing she gives up.
Are there any other really good general parrot books (or ones specifically about conures or cockatiels) you guys can recommend that I show her?
 
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