Murphy's Story (so far)
Posted 20 August 2010 - 05:23 PM
I posted a quick note on the main message board a few days ago re: needing help "rehabbing" a male ecelectus, and now that I have a little time to give more details about Murph, I thought I'd move it here to be sure the ekkie experts will see it.
I spent three days last weekend in another town, where I was visiting a sick family member. I went to the local pet store to pick up some dog food for her, and of course had to check out the birds! I was shocked!!! I was expecting the usual selection of budgies, 'tiels, and finches, which they had, but they also had a black headed caique, a jenday, a sun, a quaker, two IRNs, and a male eclectus! I have always loved ekkies, and think they are just the most drop-dead-gorgeous birds, so I was really interested in talking to the ecelectus. I could see right away that his cage was very dirty and WAY too small, and that he only had one little dowel perch that was about 1/2" in diameter. His feathers were ratty and dirty looking, and his nails were so long that they were over a half circle. The poor guy had a lot of trouble holding on to his perch, which sagged when he was sitting on it since it was so small. His eyes were clear and bright, though, and his nares were dry and clean. He had stress bars all over his feathers, and was sitting statue still, facing the back of the cage, never looking at anything going on around him. This is the famous ekkie freeze, right? Poor stressed bird.
I go back to visit him again the next day, and ask some questions. I got different answers depending on which employee I asked. One person said they got him in as an unweaned baby last fall, and thought he would sell fast because of his beautiful color and how cute his was, but all he does is stare at the back of his cage and people think he's a dud.
I do think he is probably about a year old, since his lower beak is all black, and his upper beak is still about 1/3 black. They fed him sunflower seeds and peanuts in the shell, with the occaisional piece of bag lettuce for a treat. Despite this high fat diet, the poor guy seems very thin -- I can put my thumb and forefinger aroundhis keel all the way up and down his chest. I can't stop thinking about this poor bird, and how unhappy he is, and Monday morning as we were leaving I stopped by to see him once more. I couldn't believeit -- they had put the caique in that teeny cage with him! The caique was bouncing around like a pinball, and the ekkie was in full freeze mode, looking like he'd rather be anywhere but here.
I asked if I could hold him, and he eagerly stepped up onto my hand, although the employees said he wasn't really tame. I held him and talked to him for a while, and I could feel him starting to relax, but then an employee walked over and tried to pet him and he lunged and growled at her, and then pressed his beak into my cheek and made a pitiful little mewing sound. Needless to say, I bought the bird!!!
We're leaving for his vet appointment in a few minutes---I'd really appreciate it if you guys could cross your fingers and send healthy vibes his way -- he is such a sweetie and I'm going to be just devastated if something serious is wrong with him!
I'll post more later after the visit, but I'd really appreciate any and all advice on helping him to feel safe and secure and and socializing him without stressing him too much.
Lisa & Kiwi the baby sun, & Murphy the male eclectus
Posted 20 August 2010 - 05:59 PM
Taz, DNA'd male DYH; Rosie, female RB2; Dilly Bird, Nanday; Clover, quaker; Kismet, White Eyed conure; Kiwi, Black Capped Conure; the tiels, Winston, Cass, Truman and Bess and last but not least: Fuzzy, our little BE2 with problems
I will lend to you a bird God said, and teach you all that you should do; and when I call him home again, you'll know he loved you too! In Memory of LJ, PF Lovebird, 2005-2007
Posted 20 August 2010 - 11:26 PM
He said Murphy was obviously suffering from malnutrition and neglect, but that those things are correctable. He did say that he wasn't really happy with the color of his poops (very green), but that it could be due to diet, and if it hasn't improved when we go back in three weeks that we'll need to do bloodwork.
Meanwhile, I got the go ahead to take Murph in the shower, which he really needs because he smells terrible! He has this musty, kind of old wet dog smell ---I don't think he's ever had a bath. I have tried to interest him in a shallow dish of water, but he has no clue what to do with it.
Murphy is thin, but not dangerously so. I think he weighed about 350 grams, and Dr. B said he should be closer to 400. I don't think it will be hard to put weight on him -- he's hardly stopped eating since I brought him home!!! For a bird who has had such a limited diet he has an amazing palate--he gobbles down everything I put in front of him. Sweet potatoes, apples, broccoli, whole grain pasta, carrots, beans & legumes, kale, grapes, cucumber, hot peppers, birdie bread, bird street bistro mixes, green beans, snap peas, and oranges, not to mention Harrison's & Roudybush pellets!
The poor bird has an atrocious wing clip --they cut not only the flight feathers but also the coverts, and left spikey ends that Murphy has chewed on because they were poking into his body. It's amazing that he isn't plucking.
Murph is such a sweetie -- he has an amazing temperament given his up bringing, and I already love him so much!
I'll get some pictures tonight and post them -- I'll be interested to see what kind of eclectus y'all think he is. The store employees didn't even know there *were* different subspecies! Dr. B said his best guess is red-sided, but that it's really hard to tell, given his poor feather quality -- some of his coloration is probably "off" due to malnutrition.
Anyway, gotta run & rustle up some supper for the gang -- many thanks for reading this and for the support and good wishes!!!!
Lisa & Kiwi the 4 month old female sun, & Murphy the male eclectus
Posted 21 August 2010 - 05:15 PM
My oldest clutch of SI girls started molting their primaries for the first time around 15 months. So he may be dropping some wing feathers for you in the not to distant future.
It's really hard to tell male subspecies from pictures, especially when they are young and their beak color is not yet defined. Like your vet said, the shade of green in his feathers could indicate if he's an RS compared to an SI, but because of his diet that may not work. And you don't have another to compare him to so that makes it even more difficult. Plus, there is always the possibility that he's a cross.
The head an neck feather colors on an RS male are usually described as kelly green whereas the SIE males' feathers in those areas have sort of a yellowish cast to them resulting in an irridescant look.
As his beak color becomes more defined you'll have a better idea. If he's SIE he will NOT have a dark/reddish orange upper beak. Instead his beak will be light yellow at the tip and gradually become orange near the nares. RS males have a very orange-red upper beak.
But, post pictures anyway because we want to see this lucky fellow.
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