Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Hershey the Cockatiel!
I would like to introduce you to our newest member of our flock! Hershey is a cinnamon split to pied cockatiel. I’m so pleased with her coloring. It is a dark cinnamon that has a hue of chocolate in it. Not only is she a beautiful baby but she is so sweet! Hershey had a rocky start and some bumps the last couple of days in the journey of growing up to be a Patchwork Parrot bird.
On December 7, she was hatched to Babe and Sunny in our aviary. The first 11 days of her life, things went very well. Then on the morning of December 19, I found her and a sibling very cold in their nestbox. Sunny & Babe had decided they didn’t want to do this parent thing anymore. Grabbing the babies up in my hands, I went running into the house yelling for Steve to come help me. Imagine the look on his face when I pushed this very cold, naked baby cockatiel into his hands and screamed, “Blow!” It took a few seconds for it to sink in that I wanted him to cup his hands around the baby and blow warm air over it to start bringing up its body temperature, but he did a great job!
Later that day, we lost Hershey’s sibling but Hershey persevered. Christmas went off without a hitch even with a naked dinosaur looking baby on top of my refrigerator. No one even seemed to notice she was up there snug and warm on that heating pad.
This past weekend, Hershey gave me a little scare. Her crop filled with air to the point she looked like she had been inflated. I’ve raised birds for 13 years and never had one look like this! I got on the internet and started posting questions and pictures about this condition. I got tons of great advice, lots of caring notes, and support while I did everything I knew to do to help Hershey through this. Was it yeast? No typical symptoms of that. Ruptured air sac? No, not the typical look for that either. What was wrong with Hershey?
After receiving a very supportive and encouraging email from Bridget Aylward of Upsan Downs Aviary in CA, I followed her wonderful instructions on flushing and emptying Hershey’s crop. I was so nervous! I had done similar procedures on humans during my nursing career, but this wasn’t that large a creature! This tiny little bird was depending on me and I wasn’t sure I trusted my abilities. With a lump in my throat, and a prayer (literally) on my lips. I gave Hershey the baking soda/water solution then flipped her upside down and proceeded to push the fluid from her crop. The whole process took a few seconds but it seemed like an eternity. The danger here is to clear the baby’s mouth so no liquid gets sucked into her lungs. Aspiration in cockatiels is deadly! Afterwards, I cleaned Hershey up and gave her some Maalox and pedialyte and tucked her into her warm brooder.
By 5 am this morning, I was through tossing and turning, I wanted to see how Hershey had done through the night. There she was… snuggled up to her whompie, warm and cozy. (image placeholder)What a day! I wouldn’t trade raising birds for all the tea in China!