Friday, October 29, 2010

Eating Slowly

Yesterday I gave both Manzi and Maui a whole almond (courtesy of Maui's previous owner). Manzi can finish an almond in about a minute. Maui on the other hand is very slow. She takes close to 10 minutes. She chews on each piece of shell she breaks off and then finally gets to the center.
So, they were both on their cage eating and by the time Manzi had finished his almond, Maui hadn't even gotten to the seed part. She was still busy chewing away on the shell. I was looking closely and it appears that she might even be consuming bits of the shell. Usually when Manzi is finished he tosses the almond aside, but he was watching Maui closely. He didn't want to be finished while she still had something to eat. So, he began chewing up the shell too, copying her. Next thing I know, they were both chewing the shells into little tiny bits. It still took Manzi only half the time it took Maui. Eventually he didn't have anything else to chew so he flew back to me, but not after first staring hopefully/jealously at Maui. Maui fluffed up at him as if to tell him, "Don't you dare!"
It reminded me of how some kids eat something really fast and then stare at those who still have their dessert in front of them slowly savoring every bite.

Both birds are back to eating together on the floor again. It has been going well. Every time Manzi looks up at Maui, she puffs up at him while backing away. Manzi then resumes eating after which Maui does the same. The bowls are 12" apart.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Health and more eggs

Good news. There were only good bacteria found in the culture of Maui, meaning that she doesn't have any kind of infection after all. Also, both her and Manzi stopped doing the choking behavior. Maui must have had some kind of injury or something in her esophagus that is now healed. A piece of food could have scratched it, making swallowing difficult or she could have had an abscess. Either way, she is looking much better and is eating just fine.

Maui laid a fifth egg. This one also had a much better shell than the first ones. It cracked though as she laid it in her cage from her food dish. She has not had a nest since I banned her from it last week. I thought that would stop her from laying eggs. I heard that they lay 4-5 eggs and then stop. Hopefully that means she is now done laying eggs. Her weight is still looking good. It is not back up to what it was before (495g) but is it higher than her low that she's been the other day. Today I am going to cook some eggs for her and Manzi. Hopefully that will replenish the nutrients she used to produce the egg. The only thing I am not going to feed her is the shell, but she has a cuttle bone which should help with the calcium.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fourth Egg

Here's Maui's fourth egg. It was laid in her new "nest" which is a box that she claimed for herself. It is the first egg that is whole, although there is a slight crack in the egg. The shell is much stronger, but that might be due to the cuttle bone that I put in her cage. She has eaten a lot of the cuttlebone already.

Here is a picture of Maui in her nest. The box is so small that she struggles to turn around in it. In the picture she is puffed up, making her take up the entire box.

I think Maui will be a great mom. She spent most of yesterday sitting contently on the egg. In the evening I took her out. She didn't want to come out and wouldn't step up, so I just scooped her up. Luckily, she is as loving as ever to me and is not threatened by me taking her away from her egg.

On the scale, she weighed only 466g. Yesterday she was 495g. I was concerned as Maui was more interested in sitting on her egg than she was in eating. I gave her a lot of food and locked her in her cage for the rest of the evening. This morning I put a zip-tie on her nest doors so she couldn't go back in. When I let her out, she went straight past her food without eating to check on her nest. She was very upset that the doors were not opening. She tried for an hour to get in and then came looking for me. She went back to her cage and finally had a big breakfast. Her weight is now at 474g.

I feel bad for her as she is awfully concerned about her nest. I put her egg in the fridge. I cannot bring myself to eat it. I will probably toss it out in a couple of days, but after I show Maui's previous owner as he was interested in seeing its size.

I clipped up to three feathers now on each side of Manzi's wings. He can fly from one point to another, but he has lost nearly all of his maneuvering ability. He cannot fly straight up from the ground, nor can he fly straight down to the ground from on top of his cage. Manzi seems to know it too because he is just sitting on a chair next to me instead of getting into trouble. Poor guy. Hopefully he won't be too down to have just been hobbled. I would certainly be down if someone temporarily disabled my legs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Clipping Manzi

I have decided to clip Manzi for my upcoming trip to Minnesota. It is a long drive and when I get there I will have to stay with Manzi and Maui in a motel for at least a few days. I don't want Manzi crashing into any windows or even worse, getting out during the drive and getting lost in a completely unknown area. Despite that, clipping him is extremely hard (emotionally for both of us). He loves flying around and I hate to take that away from him. He is going to be so sad and lose his sparkle by having to walk every where. It nearly makes me tear up just thinking about it.
I will clip him very slowly just clipping one feather on each side per day. So far, I have clipped two on each side. He can still fly, but he is definitely exerting quite a bit more effort than before. Since my move is a month away, hopefully not too much after the move he'll be flighted again enjoying the new place.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Visit with Veterinarian

Maui did great with the veterinarian. She really liked the veterinarian and stayed on her arm for most of the visit and even did a bit of chatting. I didn't give her breakfast but she still didn't eat at the vet's office. Luckily, the vet could see her behavior in the video I brought. She didn't think an x-ray would help and instead suggested starting off with either a culture and/or blood work. I went for the culture. She'll call me in a day or two if she finds any bacteria. If it is not an infection, then the vet thinks the next option is a florescent scope. I called my vet neighbor and he agreed with the plan. The scope is substantially more expensive and invasive as Maui will have to be put under anesthetics. Right now Maui is happily eating in her cage.

Update on behavior: Since I've been back, Maui and Manzi are not doing well together. At feeding time, Manzi has attacked Maui two times. I separated them right away both times. Manzi has been showing a lot of aggression again. Maybe because they were without me for a week and now want to fight for my attention again. Either way, I am going to separate their bowls to six feet and slowly work from there.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Maui and vet

Maui laid a third egg. I do not have a photo of this one. I didn't see it right away when I got back and only noticed it the next day. After looking at it closely, I saw it was already molding so I threw it away. The shell is still no where near the thickness of a chicken's egg's shell. I don't know how thick they usually are.

I have a vet appointment for Maui on Wednesday about the choking behavior. Hopefully I can get some x-rays and figure out what her problem is.

Today Manzi and Maui had what might have been a scuffle. It was really hard to tell. After eating, Manzi began approaching Maui. They were both puffed up with their heads down. They kept touching beaks and pushing each other backwards. Finally, Manzi suddenly launched himself on top of Maui. It was so fast that it was kinda hard to see what was happening. I scolded Manzi and went towards him immediately and after only a fraction of a second he was flying away. I checked both of them and neither had any detectable injuries. I'm not sure if Manzi was attacking her or trying to mate with her. I don't know if Maui was sure either. I talked with my behaviorist friend about it and he said that often times, young parrots are not good at courtship and will try mating aggressively at first until they learn that you have to "woo." I am really worried about having a serious injury so I don't want to just let them "work things out." I will film them tomorrow as I'm sure they will interact again. Hopefully, that will allow me to re-watch what happened so I can take a closer look at the behaviors.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home again

I came home yesterday. Manzi was happy to see me, but awfully grouchy for having been stuck in his cage for a week. He did laps and laps around my living area. Maui was let out and she acted just like normal. They had plenty of food in their dishes, so I'm not sure how they will resume eating together on the floor. I dumped their food dishes last night so hopefully they are plenty hungry to eat together without fighting. I'll post a picture of it later.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Maui's health

Yesterday, a vet/neighbor came over to look at Maui's choking behavior. It is definitely getting worse and now she does it the entire time she eats. He gave me a few ideas of what the problem might be: scar tissue build up in her esophagus resulting from previous injury, an abscess or some other current injury. She also has slightly labored breathing when she puts her head down to get scratched, which would be connected as the esophagus is right next to the trachea. My neighbor doesn't think it is serious, but he does think I should get her x-rayed to get a diagnosis. He said in all likelihood there is nothing that can be done, but it would be better to know what I am dealing with. I am on vacation this coming week while my roommate watches the birds. Maui's weight is just fine and her lungs sound fine under a stethoscope, so it is not urgent, but I called my avian vet and will take her in as soon as I get back.

The neighbor was very impressed with how Manzi and Maui's relationship is coming along. He thinks that Maui will be the dominant one before long and Manzi seems to be handling it very well. I am still doing the feeding routine (although they won't be eating together this coming week) and now there bowls are within a foot of each other. They have also had more interactions with each other that don't result in fights. I thought Manzi would totally dominate Maui, and although she started off very timid, she is now dominant and even chases Manzi away. Luckily, Manzi is figuring this out and is even showing signs of submission towards Maui. Before long they'll have this all worked out.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Second Egg

This morning I found a second egg in Maui's cage. The shell was stronger than the first, but it was cracked at the bottom of the cage. Unlike with the first egg, her vent was looking totally normal and not all gross/bloody.
Today, I put the dishes at 18 inches (I measure from the midpoint of each dish) and they showed no aggression. When Manzi finishes first, he will go harrass Maui, if I am not paying attention. Usually as soon as he finishes I pick him up and take away his dish, while Maui runs off to her nest when she finishes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Feeding update

I was gone on Sunday and didn't get a chance to "feed" my babies together and instead over loaded them in their dishes so they wouldn't go hungry. The result of that was that this morning they were not interested in eating. I left them a bit of food during the day, but not a full meal. This evening, they were both hungry enough to eat together, although not for long. After a couple of minutes Manzi was already finished. Hopefully by tomorrow we'll be back on schedule. Also, I finally found a limit in distance. I started them about six feet apart (shown in picture below) and kept moving them closer. Today I measured the distance and it was two feet and Manzi began to puff up. He wasn't puffed the entire time, but whenever Maui looked at him he would puff up. Due to that, I am going to leave them at this distance for an extra day to see how it goes. The idea is to decrease as much aggressive displays (and acts) as possible. If Manzi keeps threatening her, then I will increase the distance again until they both see that by being together they get food.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Feeding Scheme

A new feeding scheme has been implemented over the past four days at my place. I am putting their food dishes (identical ones) on the floor twice a day and having them eat together. At first, I put the dishes over six feet apart, but am moving them closer and closer together every day. This morning, they were only 3.5 feet apart. This is very good because when eating Maui does not puff up and threaten Manzi. Manzi is struggling dealing with her because she is nearly always puffed up at him. Manzi is much better and doesn't threaten Maui much anymore, only when I leave him out and put Maui back. Then he taunts her from the outside of her cage, knowing she is locked in and can't get him.

The first day feeding them on the floor:

After two days their food dishes are already much closer:

Last night something really funny happened. When I feed them on the floor, as soon as either bird leaves their dish, I take it away and they have to go back about their business and leave the other one alone. Anyway, Maui usually takes much longer to eat than Manzi so Manzi almost always gets his dish taken away first. Last night, I was about to take Manzi's dish away, when he changed his mind (after seeing Maui still eating) and decided he wanted to keep eating. Maui then did the same thing, she started to walk away, but then also decided to keep eating. I kept putting more pellets in their dishes. By the time they finished, both had eaten more than I've ever seen before. I could feel their crops completely full of pellets. An hour later when I put them to bed, both still had very full crops. Neither wanted the other to "get more" food so it was like they were daring the other to stop first.
As expected, they both ate very small breakfasts.

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