Posted 22 June 2012 - 03:15 AM
I'm a Canadian living in Mazatlan, Mexico, and I rescued a baby Conure 2 days ago. I have spent many years involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of Birds of Prey in Canada, though I have zero experience with parrots?
I have no idea the species of this baby, or even his/her age, where she was aquired, or when she was born. The Mexican family (they called her a paraquita) that turned her over to me has been spoon feeding her only masa flour mixed with warm water. Obviously this isn't adequate. I took some of the flour home with me, and mixed in some mashed banana, and offered her some fresh cilantro that she seemed to happily nibble. I watched a video on youtube of a lady spoon feeding parrot chicks and fashioned a spoon into a little trough. Her wings have been clipped, but she managed to fly from a towel on my bed, and followed me into the shower. She actually slept with me last night, wrapped in a soft blanket, and I awoke with her on my chest making kissing sounds. She is eating readily, and I am feeding her every 3 or 4 hours.
I went to a vet today and asked for liquid vitamins, and the first bottle she gave me didn't have vitamin k in it, so with my broken spanish, managed to find a better supplement? The vet seemed ok with the masa flour, but advised against hulled seeds for now. After driving about most of the day I found her a large cage and a few cuttle bones. She seems very lonely in the cage, and prefers the warmth of my body and sits and sleeps happily on a towel on my shoulder.
Her excrement has a lime green center with a watery circle around it. She sems bright and happy. I had no idea little parrots were so cuddley. She lets me touch her everywhere, and coos when i stroke her feathers.
My questions are:
How old is this baby? Her wing and tail feathers are developed and thick, but she is bald on her tummy and her chest and neck. I can see some feathers coming in.
What species of Conure is she? Petz? Half-Moon? Orange-Fronted? Are these all the same, just different names?
How long should I be spoon feeding her, and what should I feed her? There are no pellets for birds here that i've found.
I chewed up some sunflower seeds and she ate those. She also was very interested in my glass of water, and i tipped it gently for her and she drank from my glass! I read that they love peppers, and I offered her a dried hablano pepper and she enjoyed picking at it. I disinfected her new cage and made a few fun things for her to play with. I sliced a carrot and slipped that in the bars and she seems to only want to sit on that carrot. Also an orange quarter is in there. In the photo she is sitting on a paper mache crucifux in my gardenia tree. (I had no where to put her while I cooked her food, as she was not planned, nor was I prepared for a baby bird!!!) The first day she wouldn't stop ripping apart the paper mache and eating the gardenia leaves, so no more of that. White glue and newspaper can't be good for anyone, and the gardenia leaves I have no idea?
I really hate to turn her over to the bird zoo, I have the time to care for her, and she seems to really love me, and my chihuahuas adore her already. I've always wanted a parrot as well.
Any advice the forum members can give me would be greatly appreciated.
Posted 22 June 2012 - 10:27 PM
Looking at the photo, she appears to be about 4-5 weeks old. I'm not a hand feeder, nor a breeder, so it's just a guess. Many conures wean between 8-16 weeks in age, so you still have a few weeks to go.
Half-moon is correct on the species. If I recall right (which I may not), I believe that Petz is just another name for the Half moons?
Place perches inside the cage down low, and if you can, find a place that sells parrot toys to give her things to play with. You can also try setting up some 'foraging' for her.
As far as food goes, it would be a good idea to try and find some hand feeding formula if possible, as well as seeds (especially seeds you could sprout for her) and pellets. Pellets can be moistened to make them softer. (keep looking!)
I don't know if hand feeding guidelines may help any on raising this chick but here's a couple of websites.
Lime green droppings could be a potential sign of an infection, and I'd hate to advise anything for it if that is the case. I don't know if it would be possible to find another vet more experienced with parrots?
Please DON'T offer her any food that has touched your lips or been in your mouth. We carry a lot of bacteria in our mouths that could make birds sick.... especially a young parrot who's immune system is still developing.
You mentioned a zoo... is there any way that you could get them to help you care for this chick and help get her weaned so you could keep her as a pet? Maybe they have access to a proper diet to feed her as well as possibly an avian vet to get her checked out?
Posted 23 June 2012 - 04:25 PM
The zoo is actually an aquarium, and though I've not been there, what appears to be an avian vet is across the street from it.(there is a blue and green mcaw painted on the outside, and a lot of loud squaks coming from inside!!! I have to wait until Monday, as they arent answering their door or phone calls.
Her poops are dark green now, I suspect her diet of corn flour caused the lime green, and I've been preparing a parotlet mash that I found on another site, minus the pellets (which I cannot find after visiting 5 vet/petshops). Perhaps the vet by the aquarium has some, as I've left 3 messages and nothing back.
The mash I made consists of a dark leafy green vegetable that looks like swiss chard, grated carrots, mango, apple, a squeeze of orange juice and bottled water and masa flour. I make just enough for the day, and only put what she'll eat in her dish, the remainder in the fridge and I warm it up like I did with baby food for my kids. I've seen videos of people feeding with a syringe, but she's handling the spoon i made very well, and it takes her about 25 minutes to fill her crop.( I have to rewarm it in a bowl of hot water every 5 or 10 minutes as she refuses it if it's cooled. I also offer her, and she takes very eagerly, 1/2 teaspoon of pineapple juice before I feed her. she also loves ice water, and thanks for the advice on not sharing my glass with her. She drinks well from a glass. it's very hot here, and I'm worried about dehydration, so I offer her water often. She doesn't seem to want to use the self waterer or the cup of water in her cage. She loves the sunflower seeds that I peel for her, and she will work hard at trying to crack one open, but hasn't succeeded yet. I have 3 pepper plants and she really loves the chew the flower buds too. I think she spits them out though. This morning she ate a few nibbles of the crust of my whole wheat grainy toast.
I've made her cage very fun, and i give her lots of pets and soft words when i put her in there, and now she hops right in. I found this cool tree log that was in the bird cage shop, and the inside hollows out for a nest. she loves picking at that. I've got a bowl of mixed bird seed in there, as well as a variety of the whole foods i used for her mash, but she hasn't shown much interest in it yet. Great idea on the sprouts, Ive heard store bought can be mouldy, perhaps i could try sprouting from the bag of mixed bird seed i bought.
Surprisingly, the only birds I've found for sale here in the shops are budgies. Her feathers are coming in beautifully on her neck and chest, and she is full of energy now, as compared to a few days ago. Her eye ring is also very white, and was more pale before and the colour on her beak is creamy coloured as compared to the pale white as before. I suspect the beak and eye ring colour is a good indicator of health (for future reference).
As I type this she is walking around on my head chirping away at the computer screen. I find it hard to believe myself but she is actually barking like my chihuahua, and my boyfriend says "puta puta puta" when he sees her, and now when she sees him, she says "put put puta" to him!. (go ahead and translate that if you want a laugh). I think she's aslo saying "ma", as my boyfriend calls me "mamacita".
She is preening herself too, feather by feather. I'll take some more photos of her wing clip and her cage and upload them a little later. Thanks again for your advice, very much appreciated.
Posted 24 June 2012 - 01:15 AM
here is the direct link to my photobucket, I've got a photo of her poop, and a few of her wing clip. her beak colour has changed again, and now it's a pale creamy rosy colour.
As per your advice, I've moved her perches down. I've also found a store that sells rabbit pellets made with corn and yucca? but still no parrot food. And I've been doing some research on pellets and I'm not so convinced.
look at the ingredient list in this one product. really gross. With the vitamins from the vet, and a balanced diet of healthy grains, vegetables, fruits and seeds, I'm thinking we should be ok. And I am in Mexico, and here you can never really be sure what you're buying or how old it is, or what toxins are present. Frankly, the pellet diet has me concerned.
Grain products (corn, oats, wheat), Plant Protein Products (soybean), Processed Grain By-Products (corn
protein), Calcium Carbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Salt,
L-Lysine, Manganous Oxide, Manganous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate,
Ferrous Sulfate, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Menadione
Sodium Bisulfite Complex, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate,
Vitamin B12, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Sodium
Selenate, Amorphous Silica, Lecithin, Mixed Tocopherols, Vegetable Oil (one or more of the following: corn,
soy, canola, sunflower, cottonseed, palm, coconut), Medium Chain Triglycerides, Ascorbyl Palmitate,
Propionic Acid, Natural Terpenes, Acetic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Mono and Di Esters of 1, 2
Propanediol, Hydrated Ammonium Phosphate, Propyl Benzoate, Propyl Acetate, Butylated Hydroxyanisole,
Posted 24 June 2012 - 06:04 PM
Since she's not weaned yet, she should be receiving all the liquid required from her formula alone and should not need any "pure" liquid. With the heat though, I can very well understand your concern!
Log sounds like a yucca thing.. we have a lot of yucca items here in the states... very soft and easy to destroy.
Sprouts at stores have been sprouted too far. You only want to sprout seeds for 1-6 days, depending on the sprouts. If the seed she has doesn't have any added vitamins, minerals or colors, you can try sprouting that... otherwise, it's best to buy sprouting seeds separately. I don't know if you have a health food store down there that sells seeds?
I would highly suggest teaching "PITA" (pain in the ass) over "puta" or some other word! lol May be cute, but other people may not feel the same.
Looking at her clip, it was poorly done, which is a good thing! Whoever did it didn't do enough to actually hinder her ability to learn to fly, although it does look worse on the right side. Ideally, she should be several months old, if not a year, prior to clipping, so that she can build up confidence, stamina and muscles - however, most birds are clipped shortly after learning how to fly. If you have the room, space and time, teaching free-flight indoors can be a great alternative to clipping! You'll just need to take some extra precautions with leaving her flighted.
The issue with *not* feeding pellets, is that if you don't feed a healthy diet to include a variety of grains, legumes, vegetables, some fruits, sprouted seeds and the occasional cooked egg, then you may not be feeding a 'complete' diet. You need to feed the "right" foods in the right proportions and the bird actually has to eat it! Easier said than done for most owners. Pellets on the other hand are supposed to be a "complete diet" without the hassle of making sure the bird is getting the correct nutrients. (not to mention some of the issues with feeding pelleted diets to certain birds) A convenience kind of thing. Kind of like feeding dogs 'dog food' vs a raw food diet - only, parrots can have a much more complicated diet than dogs, and can be far more sensitive to foods in their diet.
If you can't find pellets, and/or don't want to go the pellet route, I would highly suggest checking out the Feeding Feathers Yahoo Group!
The pellets that are most often recommended are Harrison's, TOP's (Totally Organic Pellets) and Roudybush. Being in Mexico, the only American pellets that you would probably be able to find (if any) would probably be Kaytee (they're on the lower end of pellets - highly not recommended if something better is available).
I hope you are able to find some better help down there!
Posted 26 June 2012 - 06:27 PM
Thank you for the Yahoo link, it looks like a great place for information. Good news...the Vet by the aquarium said the baby looks great. I showed him the photos on my camera of what I put in her homemade formula, as well as the vitamins i recieved from another vet, and brought him some poop.
He says that I should be working in the nutrition department at the aquarium, LOL. This is a far cry from the pureed chicken heads, and calcium supplements we tube fed emaciated eagles, hawks and owls at the bird rescue in Alberta.
Frida/Frido flew away yesterday, out the window and landed on top of a 16? foot high broken bottle retaining wall that separates my house from the next. Using a large beach umbrella placed over her, my 6'5 bf standing on a chair just barely reached her. Phew. I told this to the vet, and he suggessted we clip her wings further. Fine. Took her out this morning, and after a few kisses, she launched herself up, into the air and landed on a framed mirror. So much for her most recent clip. Breakfast served in the cage. My house is huge, and open air, and unless she is given her own room that we screen off, or cover the back patio with netting, she is confined to her cage for now. Little one isn't impressed. I'm considering the latter, though.
I would really like to find out how to rehack this baby back to her natural habitat. It is possible with birds of prey, so maybe there is a chance for Frida. My Spanish is so weak,and that makes it difficult for me to communicate with professionals during the day, and my bi-lingual bf works a lot, but I do know that as little human interaction as possible is how one starts that process. A delicate trade off, as if the rehack isn't successfull, one ends up with an unsociable bird. Something to think about.
The Vet also suggested this chick is better off in my care, than anywhere else. The manpower isn't there, disease is present, and they could never offer her the attention and nutritional care that I can. He also said he thinks hand fed parrots do better on a varied, all natural diet than a prepared formula, as it makes the transition to weaning faster and easier, and prevents finicky eaters.
I've added a few more photos to http://s1270.photobu...JillyGoLightly/
Big sigh of relief. Thank-you again for your support.
Posted 26 June 2012 - 11:01 PM
I don't know what the laws are like in Mexico, but I don't believe it would be a good idea to release her into the wild, especially since she's been growing up alone. You don't know if she was captive born or "wild caught", but as far as she's aware, she's a part of your family. She's already imprinted on you and humans, so that alone may make it unsafe to allow her back into the wild - not to mention having to learn how to survive on her own.
I've included quite a bit of links in the following thread which can explain further about recall training parrots and teaching them to fly to you on command (if all the links still work).
Glad the vet was able to look over what you are doing and approve of it!
Posted 30 June 2012 - 07:38 PM
In your situation, I would be trying to learn what I could do to make sure the bird has a legal home as a rescue pet, zoo, or education animal. I would not risk teaching the bird any "swears," because you could really limit its opportunities. I would also be socializing the bird, since it has already lost its parrot family, and these are probably pair bond birds (like many other Aratingas) that would be unhappy and potentially feather-plucky if there is no one to be their companion.
I'm not a big fan of pellets for conures. I have Peachfronts, not Orange-fronts, but they are probably not terribly different. I'm more into soak and cook, home-cooked beans and legumes and grains, for my birds. However, I'm also big on chopped produce, and I don't know the steps you must take in your area of Mexico to guarantee the uncooked vegetables and water is pure. Anything you do for yourself to keep the water/veggies pristine, you should do for your conure.
Chewing up the seed and feeding it to the baby, while I understand why the other poster recommended against this, I can tell you for a fact that it's how my first bird (an early 1980s import from Bolivia) was first fed in its village before it was exported. When it was explained to me about how people took the unweaned Peachfronts from the nest in those days and fed it with chewed-up food, it explained a lot about why my bird was always trying to kiss me with "tongue." Of course I tried to discourage this practice, the human mouth IS famously unhygenic, but in fact the bird survived just fine and so far from the photos we've seen, you've made a great start with this bird.
I hope you will post updates on this story. It's truly fascinating. But I, personally, am not aware of any single parrot that was released alone into the wild and survived. Not saying it couldn't happen...but those stories you hear about parrots being reintroduced into the wild, to me it seems like it's always a flock where they can rely on their strong social intelligence.
Posted 06 July 2012 - 05:39 AM
Fredo is doing beautifully!! He is now feeding himself!! I just put his little bowl with his warm fruit/veg/seed mash on the bottom of his cage and he chirps happily away, eating more than I've ever seen him eat! I feed him his mash when his crop appears empty, though now it's harder to tell because he has ALL his feathers!! he loves me to gently preen his new feathers. One thing, he seems to just stuff his crop when he feeds himself. Way bigger than when I was spoon feeding him. Do you think that's ok? I am hoping he's smart enough to know when he's full!!! I prepare about 3 days of mash at a time, and put it in an ice cube tray and freeze it, then pop the frozen cubes in a zip lock. He eats almost a whole cube each sitting.
He isn't swearing anymore, I put a stop to that. He now honks (mexicans love to honk their horns to signal their arrival or departure) and he barks. And he makes tthe best kissing sounds. He adores me, and quite honestly I don't think I can give him up. He follows me everywhere, and loves to sit on my shoulder and nibble on my ear and fuss with my hair and nuzzles me, making the swetest little chirpy sounds. He loves the shower and follows me in there too. And when I water all my plants in the garden, he gets sooo excited, sqwaking and flapping his wings and adores the over spray from the hose.
I've always got some fun snacks for him, he still hasn't mastered the sunflower seed but he does give them a go. he likes popcorn!!! Alot! and crackers, and he is very, very messy!!!
He really gets on with the dogs, they bark at each other, and when he flies and lands on the floor, the huddle around him and follow him about. he isn't scared of them in the least, and I do watch him very closely, as it only takes a second. He really only gets to come out to play in the evening when i can shut all my window slats and close the doors. The clip tht the vet did has seemed to be very effective, when he takes off, he glides down gently to the floor, he can't really get any lift.
I hang his cage in the shade in the garden near my entrance during the day, and between him and the dogs, I've got quite the door bell going. And my neighbor across the street has the same kind of conure, and the two sqwack and call out to each other. It's cute. I also met a lady and her daughter on the bus, and they have one too, and their bird goes everywhere, perched happlily on the little girls shoulder. That bird was FAT. I suspect lots of tortillas!
i'll post more photos tomorrow, I've got some really cute ones.
Posted 07 July 2012 - 12:17 AM
That said, someone on another forum rescued two Philippine (Tarictic) Hornbills and the mother. This gal is raising the birds for release as they are endangered, or possibly more so than orange fronted conures are. This would probably work out fine for these birds because if she still has all three, the chicks can learn how to forage from the mother once all are released at once. She plans on building an aviary and letting the birds get accustomed to living inside it prior to leaving the door open for release. After the birds are released, she may continue feeding them for a while after that, and with any luck, they'll be able to survive on their own. This woman also has the help of some local wildlife rescue groups to aid in getting the birds healthy and releasing them.
All Fredo knows is humans. And he trusts them. If he were released, he'd probably have a harder time surviving than the hornbills and may end up back into captivity unless he was lucky enough to join a flock of wild conures and learn from them.
If you read the very last thing on the article about the release of the parrots, it says this...
Present: Of the 10 parrots released on June 27, 2000, five are known dead, three have lost their radio transmitters and their conditions are unknown, and two parrots are confirmed still alive.
So yes, captive raised birds can and do learn to survive.... but of the many that escape from captivity or are released (intentionally), there's a high death rate.
You can read a little about the attempted release and reintroduction of Thick Billed Parrots into Arizona at teh following link.
From the sounds of it though, you plan on keeping him and enjoying him as a pet! And this I can only highly recommend! I would suggest a larger cage, if you can either find one to buy, or the materials to build a safe cage! And as for his crop, this shouldn't be too big of an issue so long as his droppings are normal and he's digesting all of his food! You can gently feel his crop area to determine how much food may be in there as well as try parting the feathers! I had an older bird (14+ years) who would consistently stuff her crop right before bed time! Out of all the birds, she was the only one who did this and it never caused any problems for her!
Posted 07 September 2012 - 03:35 PM
a few things i wanted to mention briefly from reading all of the above:
1. thank you for rescuing her and caring for her up until now!
2. please don't attempt to release her into the wild. she will not survive. it's obvious she loves you and you love her and that you are capable of providing her with a good life, so keep her! if you're unable to keep her for whatever reason, it is your obligation to find her a loving forever home where she will be happy and healthy.... please keep her!!
3. you mentioned that you have slept with her early on. please don't do this: you can easily crush her. if you're not able to closely watch her when out, always have her in her cage.
4. please don't allow her to chew/eat any vegetation (e.g. leaves, flower blossoms as you've mentioned, etc.) from your garden, around the house, etc. anything and everything can be toxic to parrots. please search the net on safe foods and toxic plants/foods.
5. the droppings seem too loose and not properly formed but that is probably due to her current diet, etc. as long as the vet thinks she's fine, then i'm sure it's ok. but, in any case, i would still have the vet run some basic tests on her to make sure she's healthy.
6. the cage you currently have her in is too small. could you get her a flight cage like the one in the following link: http://www.kingscage...ID=SLFXL%203221. would something like this be available in your area? more importantly, would something like this - that has safe paint (safe zinc, lead, etc. levels) - be available? please keep in mind that paint toxicity only becomes important if Frida/Frido chews and ingests the paint.
7. they really require lots of socialization each day and should be allowed out of their cages for several hours everyday to excercise, etc. so, is there anyway you could provide her with a safe room to do this or screen your doors and windows to allow her out for longer periods? she obviously enjoys her time outside of her cage and will require this for her wellbeing.
8. your dogs: i know it seems relatively safe to have your dogs around her but frankly it can only take a second for one (or both) to attack her. so, please do try to keep your dogs away from her (i mean in separate enclosed areas) at all times. it's just too much of a risk otherwise... better safe than sorry!!! also, for your information, not only could a wound from your dog be lethal but dog (and cat and human) saliva carries bacteria that can be equally harmful (especially once it has entered the bloodstream through a wound).
9. if you want to have him in his cage outdoors, please remeber to make sure the cage is secure [the door is properly locked/closed (you could get a second lock to make sure), the base and top are properly connected, etc.] so that he can't get out for certain.
i hope you can update sometime as i am very curious to know how she's doing.
best of luck.
Spread the word. Change the destiny of billions of helpless animals.
Posted 22 September 2012 - 03:02 PM
There are certainly some notable release projects, like the California Condor, that have been successful beyond anyone's wildest dreams. But for parrots...? It's a completely different problem. Once a species of parrot is lost from the wild, they may not be recoverable, which puts a lot of pressure on preserving habitat.
Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:55 PM
Owned by: Red and Babygirl -Mexican Red-Headed Amazons
RIP: Gandolf- DYH - You are sorely missed my boy.
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