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Wits End - Health/Behavioral Concerns

FlockMomma

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Hoping I post this in the right place. Long time reader, finally created an account to post. Warning, long.

My 8yr old female tiel is tearing my house apart, while teaching my new 4mo old possibly male her behaviors. I have 20 years of parrot hobbyist experience and I've never encountered such a trifle as this.

Sunshine is a tiel I took in almost five years ago as a rehome under the impression she wasn't getting proper time and care. It became immediately obvious she had trauma of being left alone, hands, certain rooms, environments, new items, everything was dangerous and out to get her, including me. She couldn't fly due to butchered wings, hated being active, and always screamed the moment I left her sight. She was also the first parrot I ever owned in a household that also had a dog and required having a set schedule and not constantly being out with me as she would fly to the kennel and the dog wants to eat her. Four years later she was a different bird, actively playing, better diet, healthier and her Avian always said I did so wonderful, snuggling, hanging out to play while I was on the computer, we've moved across the US since then together, and will move again soon.

I had curbed her constant screaming by using a combined method of 30second-3min covering method with zero contact or verbal attention, and rewarding her being quiet by giving her a treat w/praise, I taught her to whistle with me while I was cleaning and would come in every so often for more praise and a treat, taking breaks to play with her and keep her included. I also provided a variety of enrichment, cartoons, music, toys, time outside in her carrier to walk or go to parks, etc. She could go several hours with minimal panicked episodes screaming. She has a set routine for times out to play about 5-6hrs a day, and a cage full of toys and fun things to do, set diet of small seeds, pellets, I provide chop with fruits, veggies, berries, and some seeds, toys and enrichment both in and out to play with as well as anything of mine thats safe she enjoys, plenty of light from indoors and the window, along with going outside, allowed to be as vocal as she wants if it isn't screaming as I'm in an apartment and do have sensory issues, time outdoors to go to parks or sit on the porch, or take a walk, you name it. Due to being in a small apartment with a dog who I crate when she is out, I keep her in the bird room which I also have my computer in for playtime, she is also allowed in the master bedroom, bathroom, and outside in the carrier. If she wants to be with me while I'm cleaning I will bring her in her carrier to my location to have snacks while I'm busy and she can see what's up.

Suddenly, everything came to a crashing halt. She no longer wants to play, forage, try new things, follow our schedule. She wants to constantly scream, it doesn't matter if I'm in the room on my computer, trying to play with her, sitting in a chair idle, or even going to a restroom. She wants to be the center of attention at all times and out of her cage, which she must share times in the cage so my dog can get enrichment from me as well, she also cannot be around the home without the carrier as she flies to provoke the dog and rile him up to where he would snatch her from his crate if she was close. She won't earn treats either or try new ones, won't move to different bowls for food and only finishes one bowl then would rather starve, won't sift through a bowl of goodies to find food or new treats, won't shred boxes or straws or anything filled with food even if I show her what I am doing and give her a cheating way into the item like a large hole, won't take her chop just wants to bathe in it and stuff it in her feathers to not eat, won't try new toys or foraging shredders, hates bathing, screams in the carrier to go outside, won't sit in the carrier for chores, won't let me play music or a show without screaming, won't let me use a computer or my phone, or even get some water. It's like suddenly I just brought her home again.

These behaviors started six months ago, and have ramped up in the last two to where I have increased her sleep cycle to 14hrs and end up having to cover her to get a lunch or do some yoga, I can't even be in the room or she keeps going. She recently became lethargic, stopped hopping around or flying a bit, straining to poo, tail bobbing to breathe, shakes, obsessively cleans her beak and shakes her head, keeps the same weight at all times but doesn't want much food or water, constantly screams, wobbles and struggles to hold balance sometimes, prefers flat surfaces or warm surfaces, sometimes she has cloacal breathing as well. It's never constant, it's always episodic. She can play, eat, drink, scream, climb, perch strong, alert at all times, clear eyes, clear nostrils, no sneezing discharge, no signs of eggs or being bound, etc. It's always episodic halfway through the day. Yesterday I thought I was going to lose her, she plummeted to the worse case.

She had a clean bill of health in March, zero cause for concern. Last week I made her a vet appointment for the 24th and asked to run labs, fecal, ultrasound, whatever must be done. They said they were concerned about her heart, they also want to take another look at her to see if it's possible she is older than what we presume. With how bad she was last night I began calling around and the only place I can take her in my area is the urgent care on Monday to which she is absolutely going in early. I also scheduled the 4mo old to go in as well and said to please run any necessary tests to make sure everyone is healthy and whole.

Since her symptoms developed I have lowered her cage setup, added more ramps and shelves to get around, made sure the room is nice and warm, run the humidifier at all times, very good diet, exercise, longer night cycles, calming formula for anxiety, everything I can think of to help until Monday.

Two weeks ago I was offered to visit a 4mo old baby presumably female to which I believe might be male. She bonded to them instantly when I took her with me to visit them, after bringing her home she would not eat or drink, and she sat sadly cuddling me while watching a companion video on repeat. I knew immediately she needed me to bring that baby home as we were reaching 20hrs with these worrisome behaviors, it was a surprise as I expected she would not have a want for a companion at this age. Once we brought the baby home she became completely maternal over it, it isn't tame yet but let's me give scritches in her presence if it can lean against her for safety, has learned all her chirps, kisses, vocal sounds, already gotten off full seed and moved to pellets without taking chop yet, very active and playful, she has become so full of life around the baby but at the same time she is starting to be aggressive and nip at them if they preen her or want to snuggle. I had wondered male and older than 4mo as they began being hormonal to give her songs, heart wings, bits of masturbating, so I put them both on the 12hr/14hr sleep cycle and immediately saw the hormonal behavior cease to be. However the baby is now skeptical to interact with her due to being bullied and is still scared of me but tries so very hard to do as much schedule as it can because it replicates her every move. The more she acted ill the more protective the baby became in standing over her cage to keep guard or becoming vocal and wanting me away from her in worry but ultimately let's me come in as mom and take care of her. The baby hasn't even had it's first molt yet, and I can see the sadness in wanting to be her best friend but she is refusing. The more she screams and panics to be difficult the more the baby wants to be just like her and it's hard to battle both of them while helping her out but she's also replicating the baby shouldn't trust foraging or fun activities, just be as awful as she is. They are in separate cages side by side, the baby shares everything she gets in schedule too, it won't step up but does come play and bond and then when I say it's cage time they promptly return to their cage for me and await the close up so the dog comes out. The baby will watch cartoons, eat, play, run around, and behave so well! However she makes sure at some point its riled up and isn't wanting to behave and gets in the same position as her. Baby Phoenix is so sweet and trying so hard and Sunshine is hurting us all.

I've tried everything with talking to her, explaining, new tactics, research, training, changes to cages, diet, health, routines, schedule, everything under the sun. Months and months of research. When it's bad I sing her lullaby to her and cry...She won't even learn new sounds to sing or talk she just has the same scream

Again, her behavior started way before the baby, and has increased since. The urgent care visit will happen Monday well before the vet visits that are scheduled but I am at my wits end...I used to play all day with my parrots, exercise, clean house, play on my computer, and had a full active life. Now I end up being near crying all day, prisoned to sitting in a chair or staying outdoors with making her take naps to stop screaming, I'm barely sleeping with lots of migraines and heart problems I need to see a doctor for. Very stressed and emotional and exhausted trying to make the best life for my babies and get through this together. I am fearful that once her health is sorted she won't stop being so awful. Please help me, I don't want to sit on the floor bawling anymore feeling so helpless. I don't have anything left to give. I made artichoke skewers yesterday and downsized them to be less scary for playtime and was met with screaming violence and fits until I took it away and left...These are my forever babies, please help me fix it. Sorry that was so long and messy, if I can copy it anywhere else helpful I surely will. Please help me. My fiance is trying to be strong but crying between being worried about her health and also being so tired because if he isn't at work he's by her screaming, my dog won't even hang out with me due to the noise. Please help me.
 

Aestatis

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I'm sorry to say I don't have any answers, but I wanted to acknowledge your post. That sounds frustrating, and it sounds like it is your concern for the bird that is causing you so much stress. I think the vet visit is the right call. Keeping you guys in my thoughts you get some answers.
 

FlockMomma

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I'm sorry to say I don't have any answers, but I wanted to acknowledge your post. That sounds frustrating, and it sounds like it is your concern for the bird that is causing you so much stress. I think the vet visit is the right call. Keeping you guys in my thoughts you get some answers.
I appreciate that. ❤ We will be visiting urgent care tomorrow. It's just not knowing and seeing so much progress become obsolete between she and I. I was all ready to train the baby who doesn't understand what's wrong, especially with her aggression which I attribute to being unwell. We ended up altering the office to have my fiancé in another room to be with the dog so I could close off the office to give them more freedom. Down the road I'd like to build a large standing flight cage and make things more appealing for everyone and more fair, but in the interim I am hoping to hear she just needs a little TLC and nothing more. I had actually been preparing myself to learn how to approach comm training and target training her and the baby.
 

FlockMomma

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I'm sorry to say I don't have any answers, but I wanted to acknowledge your post. That sounds frustrating, and it sounds like it is your concern for the bird that is causing you so much stress. I think the vet visit is the right call. Keeping you guys in my thoughts you get some answers.
I feel like I owe an update: Urgent Care did fecal panel and gram stain. Her fecal will be back in about 48hrs, her gram stain was 60/40 and they're looking for 90/10. I was given an antibiotic and a pain medication to administer once a day with food, as well as limited activity and some dietary adjustments. She will have her follow up next week and the baby will go with her. They'll most likely recheck her gram and run anything appropriate needed on the baby as well to cover grounds. Best case she has an infection, and worst case it's more cardiac related. They mentioned blood work and x-rays but prefer to be minimally invasive and tackle it slower to avoid straining her stress levels. Since she is a rescue with severe attachment issues and trauma they think it's possible she is harboring old issues and it's damaging her body. They said overall she had great vitals and great weight, looks great too. They are used to bird patients being very challenging and they said she was extremely polite and an absolute delight, she stepped up willingly to each individual and didn't give any challenges unless they needed to do a more invasive test. It's a very hopeful outcome, this week will give more answers with the fecal results and there's no rush for larger concerns unless she doesn't improve or they find something that gives grounds to suggest something else. She's really tired and was breathing hard being there but I'm really proud of how social she was for everyone and I know she understands everyone wants her to get better. Baby is a little spooked at an early bed time and hearing her disappear but I think he will feel better next week being included though I think he will give them a run for their money in terms of being unwilling to be handled.
 

WillowQ

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I hope the veterinary care helps. It sounds like you love her a lot and this is really difficult for you.
I adopted a Meyers parrot who was very anxious and constantly doing a shrill contact call that aggravated my terrible headaches. I started reassuring her when she did that call, replying to her and petting her when she’d been quiet for a while. She has responded really well and so rarely gets anxious or screamy now.
I realize that’s a very different bird but just wanted to say things can get better.
 

sunnysmom

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Just catching up on this. My thought was that wasn't feeling well. So I am glad you took her to the vet's. What medication did they give her? I wonder if adding an avian sun/uva lamp might help too?
 

FlockMomma

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Just catching up on this. My thought was that wasn't feeling well. So I am glad you took her to the vet's. What medication did they give her? I wonder if adding an avian sun/uva lamp might help too?
They gave me Baytril and Meloxicam. I don't have the exact doses in front of me since they requested I store them in a cool, dark cabinet. I believe one was 0.05ml and the other 0.08ml it's been over a decade since I had to medicate one of my babies. I noticed within a few hours she wasn't shaking nearly as much, she's eating and even tore up some lettuce leaves which I gave her so she could get some hydration cos she hadn't wanted much water since her initial med dose. She will have a follow up next week and possible retest, can't remember if I wrote that in another comment. The baby will go with her and I am expecting to be given more meds as gram bacteria is typically transferable. Im very upset with myself because I introduced chop this month and the Avian thinks the chop may have caused it. I washed all the ingredients in ACV and kept everything very clean, I froze it after making it and thawed each portion individually or let them have it for a cool treat but never let it sit after the mid morning early afternoon and always cleaned up afterwards but if it was the chop I must've not been careful enough. She had these symptoms before the baby came home so it can't be him, if anything she would've given it to him I'd think. I do own a dog and they do affect grams but she isn't allowed to cross contaminate and he isn't allowed to lick anything in the room to which I've since the weekend removed the dog from having any access to the parrot area period. They are also worried she made herself sick due to being a rescue with some trauma/stress as she can't be away from me without severe panic which has been a challenge for us. So now I've moved on to no chop and finding a new method of disinfectant for any bacteria like grapeseed oil or a vet grade cleaner. All my time goes into research for animal husbandry and I feel like I've just failed her and the new baby both. She's going poo a lot more now, still straining but it's only the first med day. Worried when I woke her up cos she had gone loads of poo overnight like all night and hoping she didn't feel unwell after her swabbing.
 

FlockMomma

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I hope the veterinary care helps. It sounds like you love her a lot and this is really difficult for you.
I adopted a Meyers parrot who was very anxious and constantly doing a shrill contact call that aggravated my terrible headaches. I started reassuring her when she did that call, replying to her and petting her when she’d been quiet for a while. She has responded really well and so rarely gets anxious or screamy now.
I realize that’s a very different bird but just wanted to say things can get better.
I'm hoping so, I've had her almost five years and we had completely trained out of the behavior so I'm not sure where the regression came from. I think the Avian is going to help loads and I can already see some improvement but they are worried her emotional state and stress trauma caused her to feel unwell so her follow up with the regular Avian will include what we can do to help her since it's so severe. She's completely rejecting the praise and training treats now and just screams to be in my arms. It makes my heart hurt emotionally.
 

Aestatis

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:hug8:Poor baby. Hope her regression in behavior stops once she is feeling better. Maybe she regressed from the stress of being ill. It would make sense to me since babies might revert back to wanting to be fed/comfort feedings. Maybe she regressed to her trauma response just like people with trauma can?
 

FlockMomma

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:hug8:Poor baby. Hope her regression in behavior stops once she is feeling better. Maybe she regressed from the stress of being ill. It would make sense to me since babies might revert back to wanting to be fed/comfort feedings. Maybe she regressed to her trauma response just like people with trauma can?
I'm thinking it's very possible. She's tough as nails but so stubborn right now. Could tell she felt so much better after her medicine but refuses more than a tablespoon of breakfast pellets and about half a small lettuce leaf, like half the size of my palm small. Have her in a quiet dark environment, put on her favorite music too. Trying to help the baby understand and stay busy cos he definitely gives her stress she can't have for right now but he is trying his best. Went and picked up some organic baby food, pedialyte, extra syringe, and tiny spoons so I can get her some nutritional value to help her stay strong while she fights this off. She's a bit weak and lighter, called the Avian to keep them updated. Better bowel movements but her vent gets icky quick so we are doing a nice relax in the washroom to soak up some shower steam and gently clean her vent since she can't get wet or bathe at all until she's better. Can't wait to have my precious girl back to normal.
 

WillowQ

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I would worry about getting her healthy and your problem may be resolved right there. Maybe she’s like a whiney little kid who’s sick and wants everyone to know it.

I hope she’s better soon. Reassurance has helped my anxious birds.
 

FlockMomma

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I would worry about getting her healthy and your problem may be resolved right there. Maybe she’s like a whiney little kid who’s sick and wants everyone to know it.

I hope she’s better soon. Reassurance has helped my anxious birds.
I do need to get better about reassurance myself. I don't have much or self confidence truly. She is absolutely acting like she has terminal cancer and even with the facts present I have to take a big breath and remind myself it's a simple infection and I need to be firm with her. I do hope it resolves everything! She had a really poor situation before coming to me that has left a big imprint in her I'm trying to reshape.
 

WillowQ

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My Meyers was a rescue, too. She acted like everything was the end of the world. She had calmed down a lot, and now has adventures where she comes looking for me. She screeches and startle-bites a lot less.
 

sunnysmom

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Don't blame yourself. We do the best we can. I am a little surprised the vet thinks it was the chop. The reality is there is bacteria everywhere and could come from any source. But the vet would know better than me. Hopefully, behaviorally she will return to normal once she's feeling better.
 

FlockMomma

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Don't blame yourself. We do the best we can. I am a little surprised the vet thinks it was the chop. The reality is there is bacteria everywhere and could come from any source. But the vet would know better than me. Hopefully, behaviorally she will return to normal once she's feeling better.
I was also surprised. I mean it has been about 100 degrees here and I understand bacteria begins culturing like the second it's pulled out. I have a freezer full that I'm unsure what to do with, feel like I'm supposed to throw it away? A lot of the items in the chop are newer to my girl but she just wasn't accepting much healthy options, it was always odd she bathed in it and tried to tuck it in her feathers instead of eat. (She stores treats and pellets in her back and wings too like she is saving snacks.) Still didn't leave the chop out long and cleaned up after. She absolutely hates the medicine and I'm having to be savvy so she eats but I can already see some improvements on day 2.
 

FlockMomma

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My Meyers was a rescue, too. She acted like everything was the end of the world. She had calmed down a lot, and now has adventures where she comes looking for me. She screeches and startle-bites a lot less.
Too, too cute! Once this is all over I'm going to find some creative ways to get exercise in. She is a very minimal effort girl but I will keep trying.
 

WillowQ

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I wouldn’t throw the chop away. I would just only leave it in her cage for an hour and then take it out and clean the bowl thoroughly.

birds that live outdoors don’t encounter as much old food because there are other animals, insects, rain…. But if they live in a cage they can find bits of food that got stuck in a grate or on a perch or toy and grew bad bacteria. That is likely what happened to your bird.

if she keeps getting sick after you’re being cautious with her fresh food, she may have some health problem or infection underneath it all. But likely it was just an unfortunate accident. Like, if she picked up some old food off the grate that had gone bad.
 

WillowQ

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You know if she saves food that explains very well what may have happened. She saved something and it went bad in the heat.

what a goofy bird.

i had a bird who would rub her itchy bad eye on the perches and get eye infections. I started replacing them every couple days to cut down on the dirt she could Rub in to her bad eye. Can you discourage your bird from stashing food? I wonder what would decrease that behavior.
 

FlockMomma

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You know if she saves food that explains very well what may have happened. She saved something and it went bad in the heat.

what a goofy bird.

i had a bird who would rub her itchy bad eye on the perches and get eye infections. I started replacing them every couple days to cut down on the dirt she could Rub in to her bad eye. Can you discourage your bird from stashing food? I wonder what would decrease that behavior.

I have some ideas after spending a lot of time in research. It's a behavior called Anting and I can substitute the options available and start there.
 

WillowQ

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They gave me Baytril and Meloxicam. I don't have the exact doses in front of me since they requested I store them in a cool, dark cabinet. I believe one was 0.05ml and the other 0.08ml it's been over a decade since I had to medicate one of my babies. I noticed within a few hours she wasn't shaking nearly as much, she's eating and even tore up some lettuce leaves which I gave her so she could get some hydration cos she hadn't wanted much water since her initial med dose. She will have a follow up next week and possible retest, can't remember if I wrote that in another comment. The baby will go with her and I am expecting to be given more meds as gram bacteria is typically transferable. Im very upset with myself because I introduced chop this month and the Avian thinks the chop may have caused it. I washed all the ingredients in ACV and kept everything very clean, I froze it after making it and thawed each portion individually or let them have it for a cool treat but never let it sit after the mid morning early afternoon and always cleaned up afterwards but if it was the chop I must've not been careful enough. She had these symptoms before the baby came home so it can't be him, if anything she would've given it to him I'd think. I do own a dog and they do affect grams but she isn't allowed to cross contaminate and he isn't allowed to lick anything in the room to which I've since the weekend removed the dog from having any access to the parrot area period. They are also worried she made herself sick due to being a rescue with some trauma/stress as she can't be away from me without severe panic which has been a challenge for us. So now I've moved on to no chop and finding a new method of disinfectant for any bacteria like grapeseed oil or a vet grade cleaner. All my time goes into research for animal husbandry and I feel like I've just failed her and the new baby both. She's going poo a lot more now, still straining but it's only the first med day. Worried when I woke her up cos she had gone loads of poo overnight like all night and hoping she didn't feel unwell after her swabbing.
I don’t think you did anything wrong.

I had an old bird whose bottom got dirty because she rested on her tummy. She got used to me rinsing her vent off under the faucet. (Of course she would automatically poop again). If you can do that and then squeeze her dry with paper towel, that might help manage the dirty bottom.
 
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