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Java cannot gain lift when flying

Brittany0208

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At first I thought it was just a coincidence, but now when something spooks him, he can only direct himself downward. He has all of his flight feathers except maybe one or two, but his tail feathers are atrocious. Are the tail feathers responsible for lift, or is that something he will have to learn?
I had him on the floor yesterday and something spooked him, but he was only able to hover about an inch above the floor. Now that I think about it, each time he's tried to fly, it's always been at a downward angle.
 

Hankmacaw

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Keep in mind that Java has suffered a terrible injury and has not had the best of living conditions until recently. Perhaps he never learned to fly, but just flew in response to a fright. Realize that he is not in Olympic condition and does not have the strength to fly properly. Even jasper who was flown for 3 months on a line for two out of every three days can't gain height - she hasn't discovered how and she doesn't have the strength.

He needs time and he needs exercise.
 

Mizzely

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It's usually a muscle mass issue. Think about a pull up. Your arms can work just fine but if you don't have good muscle mass, it is hard or impossible to pull your chin to the bar.

Tail feathers are mostly for steering, like the rudder on a boat.

 

Brittany0208

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I've tried holding him and gently dropping my hands to encourage him to flap, but he usually flaps VERY hard, and even after a few minutes, he's panting. I've thought about tossing him onto the bed for practice, but I'm worried I would just traumatize him. There are also times when I'm holding him that he wants to go back to the cage, so I'll lift him up and bring him close to the cage but instead of attempting to fly, he just leans forward and stretches as far as he can.
I'm still not sure if he's at an ideal weight, since the average weight for an adult Vasa is 480 grams and he's currently 439 grams, but I fear that if he gains weight, he'll be immobilized. How long do you think it will take before he's fully recovered from the years of neglect?
According to the first vet I took him to, he was described as 'tiny' for his species. I'm hoping he isn't afraid of flying, and that he will eventually learn.
 

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Hankmacaw

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To gain conditioning, we or a bird will need to breathe hard. It is good that he is flapping enough to breathe hard - what tells if he has a health issue is how long it take for him to recover. If he recovers his breath within 1 or two minutes there is nothing to worry about. If he doesn't recover quickly, or makes wheezing noises, or appears very tired, then she should back down and not let him flap so long.

The way he eats he should be in good weight or overweight. Feel his breastbone to see if he is too heavy, too light or just right. If you are going to be serious about getting him built up feed him more protein (you don't want fat on him) so he can build up muscle.

I'd like to see you try tossing him on the bed at least once to see how he reacts . I just don't think that you will traumatize him - just a little toss to begin with.

 

Brittany0208

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To gain conditioning, we or a bird will need to breathe hard. It is good that he is flapping enough to breathe hard - what tells if he has a health issue is how long it take for him to recover. If he recovers his breath within 1 or two minutes there is nothing to worry about. If he doesn't recover quickly, or makes wheezing noises, or appears very tired, then she should back down and not let him flap so long.

The way he eats he should be in good weight or overweight. Feel his breastbone to see if he is too heavy, too light or just right. If you are going to be serious about getting him built up feed him more protein (you don't want fat on him) so he can build up muscle.

I'd like to see you try tossing him on the bed at least once to see how he reacts . I just don't think that you will traumatize him - just a little toss to begin with.
I'll give him a little toss, and when he starts panting, it only lasts for about a minute or so and then he's okay. Too much protein makes him hormonal, so I've been trying to find a balance. When I first got him, he was 359 grams, which is VERY underweight, and he's now 439grams, so I think he's at a good weight. Dr. Dixon said he looks good weight-wise and didn't mention if he needed to gain or lose weight, but I'll ask him when I schedule Java for another appointment in a few weeks.
Tomorrow I'll try tossing him onto the bed and see how he reacts to it. :)
 

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Try giving him Tofu. I use the extra firm. A couple of tablespoons a week should be enough to give him a little boost.

If you seriously exercise him he will gain weight, but it will be muscle not fat.
 

Brittany0208

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Try giving him Tofu. I use the extra firm. A couple of tablespoons a week should be enough to give him a little boost.

If you seriously exercise him he will gain weight, but it will be muscle not fat.
Ooo, I love tofu! How often should I exercise him? And I'll definitely be picking up some tofu the next time I'm out.
 

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Shawna stole my analogy so I'll use a different one. :) If you have never done any full out running you will have a lot of trouble running one mile. Never mind trying to run a marathon. Flying is a marathon.

You start by running around the block. You do it everyday. Then you run two blocks twice a day. You do it every day. You train. In no time you will be running miles.
 

Hankmacaw

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Start out giving him 1 tablespoon 3 times a week and then after a month cut it back to twice a week for as long as he is conditioning.

Use the plain tofu - they put gobs of salt in the flavored ones.
 

Brittany0208

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Shawna stole my analogy so I'll use a different one. :) If you have never done any full out running you will have a lot of trouble running one mile. Never mind trying to run a marathon. Flying is a marathon.

You start by running around the block. You do it everyday. Then you run two blocks twice a day. You do it every day. You train. In no time you will be running miles.
:) Then this is another objective for us. Maybe I'll get back in shape too.
 

Hankmacaw

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If Java learns to fly and flies regularly - he will according to all odds live much longer.
 

Brittany0208

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If Java learns to fly and flies regularly - he will according to all odds live much longer.
And that's what I want. I would love for him to be more mobile and confident, and if flying is the answer, then I'll make sure he learns how to fly and flies regularly. Safely, of course. I think flying will give him the confidence/independence he needs and he won't need to rely on me for transportation all the time.
 

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:) Then this is another objective for us. Maybe I'll get back in shape too.
That is exactly the perfect answer. You would be surprised what a little fitness does for "your" state of mind.

I just got back from our daily 10km bike ride. It's -4c today. I feel good. :)

 

Brittany0208

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That is exactly the perfect answer. You would be surprised what a little fitness does for "your" state of mind.

I just got back from our daily 10km bike ride. It's -4c today. I feel good. :)

I want to make sure both of us get to grow old together, and since we both have our medical hang-ups, I know we'll both benefit from increasing our activity and eating healthy. He's stuck with me for the rest of his days, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
 

camelotshadow

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Run a mile! I'm lucky to run half a block. I get winded just bending down & picking up things.

I had surgery & chemo so things are not like they should be.

I walk alot & will get some running in that too. Still I'm not like I was a few years ago.

Its like I used to be able to lay on the floor & raise my legs over & behind my head.

Then I could not even get may legs above my chest nevermind lift my body enough to throw them back. They would just not go. I had to get prop them up on one of those rubber balls to help & after some work I could do that again.

What I'm saying is we lose what we have so easily & its really hard to do something we never have done before.

Its strength of muscles plus signals to them that were never set in place.

They just don't develop the same. Its very possible he may never learn to fly. He may never have developed the nerves that fed those locations as he never ever used them...

Sad but you can try & he can get in better shape.

 

Brittany0208

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Its very possible he may never learn to fly. He may never have developed the nerves that fed those locations as he never ever used them...


I've thought about this possibility as well, but I would still encourage him to fly. Even if all he ever does is fly downward, I'll take that and work with it so he can get the exercise, and the experience of flight. I'm hoping he'll learn one day, but if not, then I'll do everything I can to pad his surroundings so he can still get around safely. It's unfortunate that he was not looked after properly, but those days are behind him. It's onward and upwards from here on :)
 

camelotshadow

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Try to make a game out of dropping him so he can flap his wings. They can like that if you start slow & try to make it fun.

Muscle does weigh more than fat but he does not look skinny to me. He might just be a smaller vasa. Would not fuss over grams. Just try to get him to eat healthy & try to get him active.

If he just never moves he is going to have weak muscles/ It is hard when you only have one leg. Been there in a cast after the beast ran over my foot with her car & just to get to the kitchen to eat or bathroom to whatever was like climbing mt everest in the winter during a snow storm!
 
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