Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Miss Claudia with a bit less

Two things: one, don't worry, the white rope is much to big to choke her,
and Two, Claudia loves her platform from 
Things for Wings you see in the background! It has really helped her chronic foot issues.

When I adopted Miss Claudia she was fully feathered, and beautifully so. Since her case of asper 2 years ago, though, which started an intense bout of plucking, her plumage has taken quite a beating. At times she has had all of her feathers save for those on her neck, which she keeps bare, and at times she has been much closer to nude. Right now she is somewhere in the middle. it is a bit harder than, say, Chester, who goes through similar ups and downs (he is doing fairly well now, incidentally) as he started plucking long before I got him. Despite her current appearance, though, I really feel pretty good about Claudia right now, mostly because she seems to feel really good herself!

Claudia has never been very healthy, and was quite thin when I got her, having been force weaned and not in a home that noticed the problem, rather, they just assumed she was boring and stand-offish. Likely owing to those problems, while she is confident in many ways, she is also quite a fragile bird, so it takes quite a long time after an "incident" or illness to get her back on track: playing, foraging, exploring and flying- even eating enough on her own. So I admit I was always a bit worried she was a "good candidate", if there is such a thing, for plucking or feather destruction, and just hoped I could prevent it. Not that I thought about that too often, since a happy and healthy Claudia could easily be confused with a caique on growth hormones that fell in a paint pot. Seriously. Compare that to when she is not doing well, and just sits, or sits and begs, very little else. And with an apparently weak immune system, she can get sick rather easily.

This past Spring, she was doing pretty well, then this summer she took a down turn, and late summer starting plucking again. However, I think the plucking may have stopped again now, or at least very much slowed, but more importantly, she is eating well, everything and a lot of it, and is playful, friendly, game for just about anything, and back to her toy-destructive self. So I am thrilled!

One of the ways I encourage her to get back to playing is through foraging. I know she likes simple chippable items and things easily shredded, at least when she is in the mood to play. Right now, I could hang a toy on the moon and she would fly up there just to show it who is boss. When she is not interested, though, I make sure all of her toys are as enticing as I can, and place them almost in her way by her favorite perching spots. I also make sure all of them have a way to hide or place treats in/on them. Once she is reliably getting the treats, I starting hiding them in the toys more thoroughly, making them harder to reach. Eventually, as is the case now, she remembers how much fun destroying a toy "just because" is, and will go to town destroying them, even dropping some of the treat in the process. In fact, just taking out one of the treat containers is enough to get her to go to her toys and start destroying. And as anyone with parrots can tell you, very little is as satisfactory as coming into the room to find piles of wood chips and shreds of toys lining the cage bottom!

Currently, Claudia's favorite toy, for foraging and otherwise, is this coconut head by Planet Pleasures. You can slip nuts in the holes the ropes come out of, although by now several of the holes have no ropes in them, or even coconut fiber around them to dig through. Pretty soon, there will be nothing but a shell left!

Oh, and just to note, I did finish my to-do list from the other day! Yay!

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