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Old 02-14-2018, 01:37 PM
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Need Advice - New Human Baby + Asthma Issues

Hello all!

My husband and I have had an African Grey named Marley for 5 years but he is about 20. He's an incredible bird. Loves to chat. He came from a home that had teenage boys so he has a wide variety of burps .

Recently, we are facing three problems.

One being that my husband has always had asthma but it seems to be getting more aggressive. Actually spent 5 nights in the hospital due to his asthma and came home better but not 100%. He is still on antibiotics and prednisone. This is the longest he has been on treatments without getting better. African Grey's produce a lot of dust and my husband tested positive for bird dander allergies in the past but hasn't been tested recently. He has just lived with the symptoms because we love our bird. He is going to see a pulmonologist later this month due to his increasing asthma and we are a bit concerned what the pulmonologist will say about our pet bird.

We are also proud new parents of a beautiful baby girl who is now 8 months old!! The problem here is she is showing signs of asthma. She is too young to be diagnosed but the doctor said we need to watch it. There is a chance she will not fully develop it but there is a chance she will considering daddy has it so bad.

Lastly, our bird, Marley, has been gradually showing different behaviors since we brought home our little girl. He screams terribly when she cries. Before her he would make one certain noise when he was upset and we knew what it meant. Now it is nearly all the time and several different screams. He is also plucking worse than we've ever seen. We've been trying some of his old favorite toys and some new toys to distract from the plucking. We feed him all kinds of different foods and give him foraging opportunities. I have lost my patience occasionally but I really try to ignore his screaming. Lately with the stress of the health issues and the increase in screaming it is harder to stay patient. So we made a room he can go to with toys, food, and water so mom doesn't lose patience. I know birds are flock animals so we strive for that but sometimes its best for me to remove the stressful screaming. The other odd thing is, he will usually just eat and play with his toys in his room as if that's where he wants to be, AWAY from us.

We love this bird but for the first time ever we are regrettably thinking about re-homing him for daddy's asthma, baby's potential asthma, Marley's stress level, and the culmination of all three of those things elevating my stress level.

Anyone have any suggestions that we can try before making this difficult decision?

Thanks to all!!!
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:47 PM
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Re: Need Advice - New Human Baby + Asthma Issues

Let's look at Asthma first:
- Where you live has much to do with the level in which one is effected. You do not provide even a general region, so one cannot advise.
- If you own a home with a forced air heating /cooling system. Assure that it is current technology and that it has a 3" (75 mm) filter system. Select the filter based on your Husband and Child's needs. Change it often (monthly). FYI: They are expense if you have a professional buy and install them. They are a simple DYI under-taking. Have installed, a full house 'Air Exchange System with filters.' Add or update to a Digital Controlled Humidity unit as part of your H/C system. Assure that you're duct work is commercially cleaned at least every other year or more often. NOTE: If you are renting, you cannot control your environment and need to strongly consider buying a home where you can control your environment.
- Your Husband needs to be tested for what 'drivers' he is effected by!!! Unless you know for sure, you will likely never be able to get in front of his Asthma Issues! NOTE: There are different 'drivers' for different Parrots and the Doctor needs to target the testing based on your Grey.
- Once you have a list of 'drives' you need to fully test your environment for all of them.
- Your cleaning equipment needs very specific filters and you cannot simply add them to an existing unit. You need to start with a new unit and install the correct filter(s).
*** This will provide a starting point and will have a huge effect on what your Husband is facing.

Regarding your Baby and your Parrot!
- Sadly, you have likely missed including your Greg in preparing your home and your Parrot for the changes that where coming.
- At present, you have likely shifted from being a Parrot centered home to a Baby centered home and to little surprise your Grey is not happy about it!
- Humans always assume that together time is always 'one of one' time and totally miss family time is in fact together time! Your Parrot should have been in full sight of and been part of the activities of the four of you!
- Baby cries, Humans react!!! Parrot sees the activity and quickly makes the connection!!! Remember, to a Child or a Parrot, near all the time, any reaction is a good reaction, if you have been relegated to the background!

I have not provided all of the answers. Parrot Forums is a very large community and others will bring more to be considered. But, much of the above should allow you to identify specific issues and begin to address them.

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Old 02-14-2018, 07:58 PM
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Re: Need Advice - New Human Baby + Asthma Issues

I have a history of allergic asthma to animals - I developed an occupational allergy to lab rats. I'm not allergic to birds (yet, at least), but my contingency plan if I develop a bird allergy is to build a solid plexiglass cage for my parrot with a HEPA filter over the ventilation outlet. I don't know how handy you are, but that would be an option to consider that might be more aggressive if a whole-house filter of some kind isn't enough.
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Old 02-15-2018, 05:31 AM
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Re: Need Advice - New Human Baby + Asthma Issues

Wow, the advice you have been given is miles above my thoughts, well done guys. My rather simplistic and possibly pathetic initial thought is, how often does Marley bathe/shower? Would ensuring Marley bathes at least once a week help to reduce the dust. I give my CAG a spray down once a week now, always in the morning and in a dry/warm room in the house with no open windows or drafts. At present she is moulting and the dust levels have really gone up due to her new feathers coming through.
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:40 AM
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Amy a Blue Front 'Zon Jonesy a Goffins 'Too who had to be rehomed :-( And a Normal Grey Cockatiel named BB who came home with me on 5/20/2016.
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Re: Need Advice - New Human Baby + Asthma Issues

As a young boy I was allergic to EVERYTHING..grass,pollen..FEATHERS..I loved having a feather pillow for bedtime but I'd wake up in the morning with my eyes nearly closed and a runny nose,sneezing my head off. Summer time was a nightmare with pollen.
I got tested and ended up having to get injections. Once a week in the summer,then every other week and once a month in winter.
I got these shots into my late twentys..One day I said NO MORE!
I have been "cured" ever since..guess I just "grew out" of it

If I was still allergic I doubt that I'd be able to keep two fids that's how bad I was.

Amy my beautiful Blue Front. Who was four months old when she picked me to go home with to her "forever" home in 4/1990.. DNA'd MALE in 2015
Jonesy, a cute Goffin 'too
that had to be rehomed :-(

And a Grey 'teil, BB...a.k.a. The Beebs
that was 18 weeks old 5/20/2016,

Rest in peace,my precious Smokey..4/2015 at 28 years young
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Old 02-15-2018, 08:42 AM
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Re: Need Advice - New Human Baby + Asthma Issues

Thank you for ALL of the advice! I promise I will take it all to heart. Thank you for responding and trying to help us stay a family!
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