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Old 03-04-2010, 04:52 AM
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Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

Hi Everyone,

I just got some really distressing news, and I'm at a loss as to what to do.

The history, 5 years ago, I responded to an ad for a free B&G. The people were her second owner, and their baby had started walking and was putting her fingers in the cage. Bird became mine.

I had wanted a macaw for many years, had a mini for a short period of time when I graduated high school (it flew into a family friend's pool), when I moved into my own place and couldn't keep it, my aunt took him until he passed away many years later. My mom had a cockatiel from the time I was about 12, awesome bird. The mini was mean, this was pre-internet, so I really didn't have a ton of resources to help me learn to handle him, but we eventually got him to step-up, and he was able to be held after a lot of work.

Had been offered a B&G when we had a 1 and 2 year old, was told the bird had a lot of psych issues, so I declined, knowing at that point in our lives, we couldn't deal with a large bird with problems.

Anyway...that was pretty much the extent of my bird history. I didn't know much when I brought my girl home, but I learned quick (I LOVE the internet), and she is very much a part of our family. She came home to us on April 19, 2005.

(I apologize in advance for the length of this, I am just in shock and haven't a clue what to do now)

What I know of her history...

First owner was a firefighter, he kept a cockatoo in a cage of top of her, and apparently "punished" her with a squirt bottle. Second owner was a family that didn't ever let her out of the cage, kept padlocks on both doors to her cage, and from the way the bars are bent, I suspect they fed her by pouring food and water in through the sides of the cage. She was on a parrot seed mix when I brought her home, and according to the family, she was 5 years old at that time, which would make her roughly 10 years old now.

She plucks...her feathers are in terrible condition. I have had her on Zupreem Avian Maintenance pellets as her main food since I got her, and of course, she eats what we eat. She isn't a cuddly, friendly bird, but we can handle her, she steps up (when she wants to, she likes to tell *us* to step up , but in the event of a fire or something, we would have no problem having her step up and stay on our arm), she talks, she's part of our flock. We're a noisy household (4 kids with a 5th on the way, he was a bit of a surprise!), and her perch is in the main room where we are most of the time.

We are a military family, and we're due for orders, we live in Alaska currently (we've been here almost 6 years, I got her up here). We made all our plans to travel, bought a 25' travel trailer and a truck BECAUSE of our pets (we also have 2 'tiels and cats)...purchased specifically because of this move...

We leave Alaska in July, we don't know yet where we are going, but it will be in the contiguous 48 states. Neighbor has parrots, they told us we'd need a CITES certificate for the birdies to cross the Canadian border. So, we started researching that, and hubby emailed the Candian border guard to make sure we have our ducks in a row about the animals.

They emailed back...we're square on the cats...and the cockatiels won't be a huge issue....but chances are 99% that they will not let my B&G cross the border...because of the plucking. If a bird does not LOOK healthy (regardless of any vet certifications), they will not allow it to cross.

Hubby sent a picture of her, guy emailed back there is just no way anyone is going to clear her.

So now I'm at a loss. We've talked about how we would move her for 5 years, both of us agree that we just don't think she would do well on a plane. I don't even know if the airlines that fly up here would take her, but even assuming they would...I am terribly worried that she would kill herself on the flight.

Does anyone have any suggestions, ideas, I do NOT want to have to rehome my baby. (I *may* have a good home for her if it became necessary, a friend up here does bird rescue, but before I even think about that, I want to have exhausted every available option)

Are there medications that are SAFE that would sedate her for the flight? Any surefire way to get her across the border into Canada and then back into the US? Other than driving her through Canada, or putting her on a plane, I cannot figure out how else to get her out of Alaska.

Of all the things I considered when I got my girl, I never thought I would be told I couldn't drive her out of Alaska when we left
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:22 AM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

My first question is have you had her examined by an avian vet? This would be of primary importance. Plucking is complex and can be because of stress or diet or environmental issues such as cigarette smoke and nicotine. I would start here and then contact the proper authorities to see what the regulations really are. Perhaps the vet could help you out with that too. Good luck and I hope you can keep the bird.
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Old 03-04-2010, 06:41 AM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

I can understand the worry, I was pulling my hair out having to move across the states (no international component). I also would not like to fly with Auggie, but I know MANY parrots fly on a regular basis and don't suffer any ill effects.

There are sedatives she could be given for the flight, and while every medication carries risks there are many sedatives (calming but not anesthetizing) which are perfectly safe - talk to your vet about these.

From the sounds of it I think a flight might be the best option. You have hurdles either way but I suspect fewer with a flight.

I have heard horror stories about people figuring out just how to jump through all the hoops to get their bird into another country for a short vacation - then they can't get them back to the US. Have you checked what you'd have to do to have her cross back into the US from Canada?
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Old 03-04-2010, 10:01 AM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

Wow ... this is very sad. I'm so sorry you are dealing with this.

Keep talking to authorities...especially after you see an avian vet. Get some paperwork that says she is healthy...something....that will be your only leverage...

Once you have that, keep talking to different people. I say that because I can't count how many times my husband and I, attempting to do something, would run into an obstacle because of someone (in authority) said we had to do this that and that and that it would be impossible....but as we did more research or talked to more people, we would eventually find someone with more accurate or UP TO DATE information. ....
There are too many people out there unwilling to help...they just say "No, it's impossible" and move on.... You may be running into something similar.
Get your vet work and continue to pursue the situtation. Someone in authority must have info for you on what you can do with a vet-certified bird that plucks itself. It seems to me that this is too common of a thing for them to NOT have figured out by now. (sometimes to get anywhere with issues like this, my husband simply mentions contacting a lawyer for answers.....then you see people suddenly more willing to help you.) .... it is sad that people too easily tell you no, just because it makes more work for them to say "Let's see what we can do."

..... This might be an incredible amount of work to do....so, if you are willing, sedatives for a flight would probably not be too bad either. ... if you trust your vet to give you something safe. The dose should be based on her weight, so be very clear of that before it is administered.

I wish i had better info for you....you'll either have to fight or fly....and in the end, you may have to fly anyway to take her with you.
Good luck to you and your family and your macaw. I'd do anything I could to keep her too....you're doing a good job.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:41 AM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

You are going to need a health certificate for sure. Get all of the importing paperwork, find someone in the US to accept her for you and put her on a plane. Make sure all us licencing is in order. She may have to be in quaranteen for 30 days. There is a sedative that can be given to birds, but must get from vet.
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Old 03-04-2010, 01:30 PM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

Great advise from all the abovementioned members. Nothing more to add.
Hoping all goes well, and you get to keep your bird.
Keep trying, every angle everything possible,
If there is a world there is a way.
Good luck
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Old 03-04-2010, 04:07 PM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

Quote: Originally Posted by Spiritbird View Post
My first question is have you had her examined by an avian vet? This would be of primary importance. Plucking is complex and can be because of stress or diet or environmental issues such as cigarette smoke and nicotine. I would start here and then contact the proper authorities to see what the regulations really are. Perhaps the vet could help you out with that too. Good luck and I hope you can keep the bird.
Our vet isn't JUST an avian vet, but she does deal with birds. (I don't know what would qualify a vet as "avian", but we've got limited options up here, our vet has been great with her and is who most of the bird owners in the area use) She has been examined many times, we put her on some kind of meds for the plucking (basically birdie prozac) a few years ago, and it was horrible. We (vet and hubby and I) finally decided giving her the medicine was more stressful to her than the plucking, and it didn't appear to be doing anything for it. At this point, she's been plucking so long, most of her feathers don't grow anyway, so even if we were able to "fix" her plucking, she wouldn't look like a "healthy" B&G, she'd still look like a plucked chicken

Quote: Originally Posted by Auggie's Dad View Post
There are sedatives she could be given for the flight, and while every medication carries risks there are many sedatives (calming but not anesthetizing) which are perfectly safe - talk to your vet about these.

From the sounds of it I think a flight might be the best option. You have hurdles either way but I suspect fewer with a flight.

I have heard horror stories about people figuring out just how to jump through all the hoops to get their bird into another country for a short vacation - then they can't get them back to the US. Have you checked what you'd have to do to have her cross back into the US from Canada?
Would you know the name of some safer sedatives? And, when we say safe, how safe are we talking? When we moved up here almost 6 years ago, we drove almost 6,000 miles (and it will be the same leaving, we just found out we're headed to Alabama). I was concerned about how our cats were going to be, so I asked the vet about tranquilizers for the trip...she said they would give them to us, but that they did cause kidney damage. Needless to say, we drove all the way here with a screaming cat, there was no way I was going to use those meds on them. (One traveled fine other than getting carsick at first, the other screamed the whole trip, and shredded 2 soft carriers and 3 cardboard boxes while we were in the wilds of Canada. We finally found a Walmart and got a hard carrier for him!)

I haven't yet talked to my vet, I'm going to try to get an appointment next week to see what she suggests, but I'm confident that if I go in knowing some of the recommended meds for a plane ride, that she would look into them for me if she isn't already familiar with them.

I haven't looked into the US side of things at all yet, because if I can't guarantee being able to get her into Canada, there is no point. I have no desire to be at the border crossing 500 miles from a major airport and have them decline my girl. If I can't get a guarantee in advance of being able to cross her, then she will have to be flown or have a new home, I absolutely will not take a chance of confiscation.

(And if meds will hurt her, I'd rather find her a new family than hurt her, if that makes sense. I love her too much to put her through hell just so *I* can keep her)

Quote: Originally Posted by Riley's mom View Post
You are going to need a health certificate for sure. Get all of the importing paperwork, find someone in the US to accept her for you and put her on a plane. Make sure all us licencing is in order. She may have to be in quaranteen for 30 days. There is a sedative that can be given to birds, but must get from vet.
Health certificate is no issue at all, we have to get them for the cats, too. I'll have to look into the quarantine, I was under the impression that state to state didn't require one.

We have a few options if we fly her...we still have to drive, but we could leave her with friends in Alaska until we get to Seattle, and then they could put her on a plane and we pick her up at the airport in Seattle. My 16 yr old will be flying from Alaska to Seattle to Atlanta...we could fly her with the bird, and then just keep the bird with us in the truck from Seattle on. (We don't have enough seats in our truck for the 16 yr old, and she has no desire to make the drive with us, so she will stay here with friends, then fly to us in Seattle to visit with more friends, and then we'll put her on the plane to family until we get to the final destination)

Or, we could drive to Seattle, and my husband could fly back to Alaska to get bird and kid and then fly with both of them back to Seattle. (All of these options assume no quarantine...if there is a quarantine, I guess I would just fly the bird all the way to Florida and have family put her in quarantine there until we got in the area Not sure about that, I didn't consider there might be a quarantine, so I haven't thought about options with that yet)
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Old 03-04-2010, 05:46 PM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

I don't know avian specific meds that well, so this is something to ask your vet about - but their are many varieties of benzodiazepines that are available. For short term use most of these are very safe. EVERYTHING has risks - this is not limited to 'drugs'. Many pharmaceuticals with a laundry list of warnings are actually much safer than anything you can buy without a prescription at starbucks every morning.

To put it in rough perspective the 'risks' involved with many benzos is on par with taking a tylenol or advil. They can actually be quite dangerous if abused over long periods of time, but for short term responsible use there should be nothing to worry about - again this is not bird specific, just in general - so speak to your vet about the best options for your bird.
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Old 03-05-2010, 06:17 AM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

Your trying to get her here to Florida? From Alaska? Where does Canada come in then? I think I'm lost here. If you are just flying her from one state to another, then all you need is a health certificate. No quaranteen. As far as meds go, most people just use Rescue Remedy in the water. We ship alot of birds and it is really not tramatic for them. They all have done just fine. If this is what you want to do, then I would recommend you check with Delta. That is who we use to fly all of our birds and animals. They have been great. I don't know where you are going here, but the Delta Cargo here in Tampa are wonderful.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:13 PM
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Re: Need ideas/advice...how to move a B&G

I have heard wonderful things about rescue remedy... My aunt used to use it on one of her dogs when they would travel. works amazing.
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