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New Disabled Parrotlet: Need Cage Advice

Flyover

Meeting neighbors
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parrotlets jpg.jpg

I went to a fair yesterday and found the Bourke that I've been seeking for some time, but in addition to him, I fell for a pair of female parrotlets that a woman was almost begging me to take for next to nothing: one is disabled and very tightly bonded to the female she lives with, and people were unwilling to take them since they didn't want the disabled one. (Still working on names for both of them.)

Apparently in a former home she flew into a windowpane and sustained neurological damage. The avian vet said that she was okay otherwise, but that she would never be able to hold her head up properly. (It tilts at various angles, but never moves upright. She rests it on her buddy a lot, which makes for some extra cuteness, as in the photo above.) Someone had brought the birds to this woman, who breeds mostly budgies, in hopes that she could care for them after their owner no longer could.

She told me that she'd had them in an aviary, so I thought that mobility would not be such an issue, but I suspect that for the disabled bird it really is. She does not fly, but climbs quite well. She found the food dish right away and even nibbled a bit on the millet spray feeder that hangs from the ceiling of the cage.

But the cage is the issue. I have a 60" long, 18" deep, 30" high cage that I thought would work, but it seems awfully big and a bit high for the disabled one. (The other almost never leaves her side, so they move almost in tandem.)

This morning when I changed their food and water, the disabled bird wanted to fly away from my hand, but instead fell to the ground. The floor is a non-removable grate. I am concerned about her falling now.

I plan to add some ladders to make climbing easier, and I have some additional manzanita perches that can go in as well.

Other ideas for making the cage safe and accessible? Lower all the perches? A towel on the cage floor? A platform perch or two? A platform going from one cage wall to the other? I have all of this in the house already, but I am wondering if I am really using the wrong cage.

Should I just move the pair to a smaller cage? I do have three 30" x 18" x 18" Prevue cages, but they seem awfully small (half as long) when I look at the birds. However, they are a foot lower, which might be a plus.

Photo of cage is below. It is indeed sitting on top of a bathtub. This little-used bathroom is my quarantine room, and I had never used this rather large cage there before. It took some configuring to make it work so that they could get some natural light and I could still use the room.

cage on tub.jpg

Thanks from the birds and from me.
 

dmiller91

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Madison, WI
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Diane
Aw! Thank you for taking them! I have a handicapped parrot and I just installed a higher floor in mine to lessen the fall - in case. You can also use soft towels. I would go to a hardware store and find something you could fashion into a higher floor, yet still be able to open the doors. You will get lots of other advice too I am sure. Where did you get that cage? It looks like you put 2 together? I love the length of it. My girl is in a dog crate that I elevated on a table. I'm not sure she likes it, but she is out most of the time anyway. I only need something for when I am gone. That's the other thing - obviously even if handicapped, they like to be as high as possible, so I hate cages that sit close to the floor. They feel more secure elevated. I put my dog crate on a bar height table.
 

Sylvi_

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I can't give much advice beyond providing plenty of platforms, placing blankets/fleece on the bottom of the cage, providing easier to grip perches (rope is great for this) etc.
- but thank you so much for taking them both in. :hug8:

I wish you many happy years with them both. And I'm sure other members will be able to offer some good suggestions.
 

sunnysmom

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They are adorable! Thanks for helping them.
 

Tyrion

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Both are so cute :fairy:
 

Flyover

Meeting neighbors
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I can definitely do fleece on the bottom, or at least in strategic spots. I've got a bunch sitting around just waiting for a purpose, and I don't look forward to scrubbing non-removable grates anyway. Do people ever cover the fleece with newspaper to cut down on the soiling? How well does bird poop come off fabric in the wash?

I will try some platforms. I have a platform perch, as well as some 18" across platforms for another cage in case it were used for rodents. I think those would work well, maybe also with some fabric as a cover.

The cage bars are vertical, so I will add in some ladders, including a couple from the aformementioned rodent cage. That should make climbing a lot easier, though she has no trouble at all moving around at a surprisingly fast speed as it is.

My main concern is falling. I think I can keep them in the larger cage for now with some modifications.

I got the cage for finches about 15 years ago on ebay. It is really a single cage, but it looks just like two standard 30" long Prevue cages. In fact, since it is 60", I had considered taking two of my 30" Prevues and mounting them on top to give it a four-foot height, but that doesn't seem like a good fit for a disabled bird unless I can really rig it right.

Diane, I do love makeshift cages and hooking mulitiples together, as you can see in my thinking above. Also the reason I even have this big quarantine cage free is that I put my finches into a gargantuan complex I made by removing side panels and adding industrial zip ties. (See photo.)

image.jpeg

Thanks to all for the encouragement! I have had very elderly birds before, but never one disabled like this. And I have never had a parrotlet before either, so the whole thing is a new experience!
 

iamwhoiam

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Thank you for taking the parrotlets into your home. Definitely pad the bottom of the cage and provide a variety of platforms. To pad the bottom of the cage find towels that do not unravel/get stringy and/or no pilling fleece. A few people here recommended using bird safe foam on the bottom of the cage. You could get foam and put a layer of toweling or fleece over that. In addition to platforms you can use flat perches. Perches and platforms can be covered with vet wrap if you think that is helpful. If you feel it is difficult for her to climb even with the ladders than consider switching over to a cage with horizontal bars on all sides or at least two sides. Keep food and water dishes low.
 
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