Pionus Parrot's Forum

Parrot Foods, Health/Diet => Health / Diet Concerns => Topic started by: Finn on February 16, 2014, 06:58:35 PM

Title: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: Finn on February 16, 2014, 06:58:35 PM
Hi, I am coming here to see if I can get any advice about my baby Pionus.  Finn is not only handicapped but also slow to wean, he is still very young so I mean that is the sense that he hasn't even started taking any interest in food yet at all.  Before anyone feels like jumping down my throat for having an unweaned bird, please understand that I did not seek out this bird, I am just trying to help him out.     

Here's the story, someone I know bought a baby Pionus from a breeder and she ended up coming home with him and his handicapped brother.  He is now only 14 weeks old, so they were very young when she got them.  She had taken him knowing this and knowing that "it may take more time for him to eat on his own compared to another bird" and that he will need special care.   Though, after ~3 weeks I guess she got fed up because now he's here.   

Finn's feet are handicapped in a way that his back toes go forward and he sits on his hocks.  He can still grip with his feet, and he has a good, strong grip, but he had trouble perching.  It's like he doesn't have the strength were it should be to hold himself up, I wonder if this is a problem in and of itself or if it could be from sitting on his hocks.  Instead, he kind of slides back so that his feet are like a C on the perch (as opposed to an upside down U).  He had been to the vet, but the vet didn't say anything about whether or not his feet can be helped at this age. 

His feet were also very stiff and kind curled, one more than the other.  I did some massages while we were cuddling and after that, he would stand on a towel with his feet as they should be.  So, I wonder if doing some exercises to  help loosen up his feet could help?  When he perches on me, I also tried keeping him perched normally for a few seconds before letting him slid  down.  I actually tried it at first to see if he didn't perch like that because he couldn't or because he was not strong enough in the right muscles.  He seems to have the range of motion to perch properly, just not the strength.  I took him in knowing he was handicapped and accepting that, but I would still like to do what I can to help him out, of course.     

As for as his eating goes, he does not even touch food at all, or anything else for that matter.  I know that the poor thing is probably so stressed and lost now.  I also know that he was kept in a large parrot cage in his previous home, not the best suited for a baby bird let alone a handicapped one that doesn't even eat on his own yet.  Plus, he changed places so many times in such a short while, that alone would take it's toll on any bird. 

He was being fed two times per day "to try to encourage him to eat on his own".  I put him on three times a day as I find him a bit thin and also I don't think two times a day is enough for a bird that eats nothing on his own yet.  I also think the logic is kind of  flawed, that if he isn't even at the stage where he is getting interested by food and trying food, why would being hungry get him to eat it?  To me, I would think being full and happy and feeling safe would encourage exploration, not feeling hungry and anxious.  Anyway, I believe in abundance weaning and he will take as long as he takes. 

For now, I am not going to bombard him with stuff, I want to give him some time to settle.  But, what would you recommend for starting to try to build his confidence and interest in food?  I was thinking of trying out some mashed veggies to get a different taste in his mouth?  I put him in a rabbit cage with very low perches that are pretty much on the ground, because he does try to perch. 

The lady got rid of him because she were worried that he'd never wean.  I know that she was not patient at all with him.  But it kind of got me thinking, is there such a thing as a baby that just doesn't wean, either from trauma or otherwise?  Just wondering.

Thanks for reading.       
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: maxsmom on February 16, 2014, 07:15:56 PM
I have no experience with unweaned babies.  Strained veggies sound like a start but I do not know. Please seek an avian  vet's advice.  Blessings to you for trying to help this baby
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: Julie T on February 16, 2014, 10:51:33 PM
I also have no experience with unweaned babies. I do know that many people get them unweaned for whatever the situation. Another forum I'm on, you hear it all the time. I personally would not know what to do.
Like maxsmom suggested, I'd contact an avian vet about both weaning and foot problems. Especially since he has the foot handicap, an avian vet would be the person who would know how to guide you in that area. If you know of a trusted breeder and they're willing to take the time to help you with weaning questions, perhaps they can give you some good pointers. I don't know anything about hand feeding, but I always hear people advise about making sure the temperature of the formula is correct and not too hot. Also to be meticulously clean or a bacterial infection can happen. Good luck with Finn.
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: Dartman on February 17, 2014, 04:33:58 PM
If their foods too hot they can get crop burn. We hand raised a baby house finch we rescued from a crow on our roof and we heated the baby parrot formula till it felt warmish and not scalding anywhere.
She would scream for food when she woke up for the day and we'd fill her up every few hours till she got older and started weaning herself.
I'm sure we overfilled her and things but she hung in there and got to be with us for a year and a half she wouldn't have had and seemed happy and would even sing.
Jan bred and raised them so I bet she'll pop in with some good info soon.
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: momazon on February 17, 2014, 09:59:26 PM
There is handfeeding formula in pet stores, and that is what breeders use.  We handfed Dobby, and you syringe it down the side of the throat, I believe it was his right, our left?? It has been 4 years so please check and have the vet show you. An experienced breeder or hand feeder (someone paid to take the babies and finish weaning them) can show you. The amount depends on the age and type of bird.  Every few hours is good till he is stable. You must get someone to show you and use the formula, as it is wheat paste with vitamins.  Then you place soft foods like yam and banana on a saucer next to him.  He will start beaking it and eat a little over time.

Please pm Jan and get some professional advice.  We took Dob from a terrible handfeeder who claimed to be a breeder, and when we went to look at him, found out that Dob was a boy, not a girl, as she claimed, and ugh, what a mess of a human!

I hope he is okay and good on you for trying to help!
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: Finn on February 18, 2014, 06:06:15 PM
Thanks for the replies.  :)

Like I had said in my first post, we have been to the vet.  Honestly, he was not much help with his answers which pretty much summed up to "whatever will be will be".  I know he was probably just trying to be realistic, but still not really what I wanted to hear.  He has no bacterial/yeast infections, nice plumage, nice eyes, etc.  The breeder that he was from has their pairs tested for the 4 p's and his brother is doing great, so I didn't go into disease testing at this point.  Vet didn't seem to be pushing the tests either.         

I do have some experience hand-feeding and weaning, as I have raised several clutches of African Greys for a friend, so I am not in the dark.  But, I have never dealt with a baby that shows no interest in food like he does.  The Greys were super curious, into everything, etc.  This guy doesn't really do much and even at his age, doesn't yet nibble on millet, toys, etc.  He's almost like a much younger baby in a fully feathered body.  He hasn't even been here a week, so we'll see what happens when he starts to settle more.     

We do not know if this is due to the physical disability slowing him down coupled with stress/regression he's been through or if the handicap runs even deeper than what we see physically?     

I saw that Jan is a breeder and I hope that she might have some insight for us too.     

Anyway, thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: momazon on February 18, 2014, 07:36:07 PM
Did you say a sibling was also handicapped?  If so, I wonder what is going on, health-wise. I know with inbred mammals, big abnormalities show, but have no idea of the causes in avians. I wonder if he has other issues causing the lack of interest in food.

You sound as though you have good experience with birds, so I would keep seeking to add to your knowledge by asking for information from anyone who sounds experienced and humane. There are developmentally delayed animals, and some of them can do well if given enough patience and love.  I had a cat that I thought had bad vision because he head butted everything he tried to jump up on.  He also opened his mouth to meow, but never did.  When I took him to the vet, the guy said he needed special ed and adaptive steps. So I lifted him everywhere, responded to him when he opened his mouth to meow, and gave him soft meats and canned food.  He finally began to make noise at around a year, and thereafter acted kind of slow, but very sweet and definitely catlike.

I hope you have the patience to wait and see what the little sweetie shows you. Good luck!
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: Finn on February 18, 2014, 07:51:59 PM
Thanks for the reply.  Sorry if I was not clear, he in the only one who is handicapped, his siblings are all fine.  I have been trying to find any info I can on delayed baby parrots, but can't find much of anything at all, but I will keep looking.  And just to clarify, he doesn't lack interest in food, he is eager to eat when being fed.  He is just not at a stage where he is seeking to pick at stuff for himself.  I just wanted to mention in case anyone thought I meant he wasn't keen on eating at all.  And, of course I have the patience for him, I would not have accepted to take him in if I didn't.  :)   
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: maxsmom on February 19, 2014, 02:55:55 AM
Sounds like you should seek out a different avian vet. Best wishes
Title: Re: Handicapped Baby WCP
Post by: Jan on February 19, 2014, 10:30:30 AM

Hello to Finn's Mom,

Thanks for seeking out info for your little youngster.  You do not have to fear that he/she will never wean because eventually they all learn to eat on their own.  So can you feed him formula like the Kaytee or Zupreem brand to help him along while he learns on solid foods?  You said you have raised some Greys for another breeder.   Like Dartman mentioned just be aware of the temperature of the food so it there is not crop burn.

If you can make a soft mash food and even if he does not pick it up on his own, you can feed it to him with your fingers.  It can take some time but you do have to watch that he is eating enough otherwise he will loose too much weight and if not eating at all, a bird does not survive after not eating 48 hours or so.

As for the feet ... can you post a photo of him with his feet?  It sounds like from how you described it, he just needs to be set him so he can get around with ease, like not making any sort of perches high at least not until he get more self control with experience as baby birds at clumsy at that age he is at.  Any sort of deformities has a very sort time for correction, his bones at his age now are already hardened.  Some of these problems can not be corrected even when bones are soft.  If you can post an image of his feet, I'd like to see them.  I had a baby bird on my last clutch of babies I raised in 2008 or 2009  and parents bit off his whole left wing and his whole left foot to where the leg begins ... that bird is a very happy well adjusted bird, he is a Maxi Pionus living with a gal now in Texas!!