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Old 01-08-2019, 01:51 AM
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Re: Which bird changed your life?

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Jackie's a guesstimated 15 yrs old - still going strong .

As for feathers, if you read descriptions of peachies online, they mention a white ring of feathers around each eye and Jackie has this. Not sure if it's missing when young...

A couple of years ago Jackie also developed a few yellow-tipped feathers on his head. Apparently this is age-related. This wont help you much with your yellow fluff ball
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 01-08-2019, 02:50 AM
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Re: Which bird changed your life?

My story might come across more on the depressing side, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. (sorry i just realised how long this is lol)

My first bigger parrot was an eclectus, and he was the sweetest boy you could ever meet. In some ways I probably didn't learn how to handle medium to larger birds with him because he was always so good with me. We struck it off straight away when the breeder brought him out, & he was always so good with his body language and warnings that he only ever bit anyone enough to hurt if it was because he was literally going to fall. He would gently grab the offending fingers and move them a few inches away from himself and let go, like "no go away" it was so awesome.

I got him towards the end of highschool so he was my buddy all through my undergrad degree. I probably owe some of my grades to him purely because of his morning routine keeping my attendance on track. There were many days there when my only reason for getting up in the morning was because he needed his breakfast at 7am or he'd scream the house down.

The first year with Pickle was very humbling because we were new to bigger parrots, and eclectus, and something was clearly wrong. His beak and nails were always too long, and once he started moulting he never stopped losing feathers. Bird vets here are very cockatoo/budgie (or agriculture/chicken) focused so they didn't diagnose him on sight (though in hindsight it was all there, all along) all the information we were getting was that it was our fault; it was a stress or diet or behavioural thing that we just needed to put in the extra effort to fix. He wouldn't play with toys unless they were really good foraging toys, so he required a lot more effort in the mornings getting everything set before I left him with my family for the day. He didn't chew or entertain himself. He knew tons of tricks, and talked, but without prompting, if he was in his cage he just sat there, maybe practicing some words to himself - probably picking at his feathers. He couldn't fly (not even as much as a clipped bird. Like a stone) so he needed extra vigilance when he was out because he still tried jumping off of his cage and other things sometimes, and he needed you to get him around. But boy did we put in the extra effort. We needed to redesign his whole cage because he was awkward getting around in it and we didn't want him falling. We tried so hard to make it take as long as possible to finish with the foraging toys. The thing with situations like that when it means so much to you is you don't even notice it happening, its like that's just how things are now. I don't know if I'll ever have another pet that requires so much planning and time and caused me so much stress or worry but we just did it, and even now I think our other pets get the benefits of that raised bar.

When he was over a year old we finally found a vet that was actually willing to run some real medical tests as well as just giving him a once-over physical. It was pure chance when they were taking blood for a liver test, that he dropped a really disfigured feather. This was the first deformed feather he had grown, and the vet got it tested.
Pickle had PBFD.

I felt awful, because obviously that is horrible news to get, and it didn't help in any way because there was nothing we could do about it, but part of me was relieved. Finally we had the reason behind everything we had been dealing with for over a year. It wasn't my fault, a thought that still makes me feel rather selfish. Of course this just made us double down on everything we were already doing. There was no end to this, this was his life, so we could commit to our bigger cage plans. He got lots of food that he probably shouldn't have, because it was obvious he wouldn't live long enough for it to kill him first (something we would make morbid jokes about- idk if you're all thinking i'm a horrible person, but when you're in that situation you need that dark humour sometimes). We didn't want to distract him for any goal of growing his feathers out, but simply to distract him from his own discomfort. Watching him idly sitting there itching was heartbreaking.

Weird thing to bring up but people would ask me if i wished had picked a different bird back at the breeders that day. I used to say that while I wished he didn't have PBFD, I wouldn't ever trade Pickle for anything, even knowing what I do now. What we had was special, and it was my job to help him make the most of the hand he'd been dealt, and I wouldn't trust anyone else to do it as well as I would. He was also the first pet I had to make the euthanasia call on, just before christmas before he turned 5. A lifechanging experience if ever there was one.

Now, my next choice of bird wasn't going to be a galah (maybe a gcc, or another eclectus given enough time), but Charlie literally walked up our driveway and introduced himself into our life... He probably owes Pickle a million times over for the level of patience and good humour he receives, or the imagination that goes into his diet and toys which isn't nearly as necessary anymore. Anything he does that's annoying or destructive or messy; I can't hate. It makes me so happy I want to cry sometimes when I see his half destroyed perches and crap all over the floor. He plays! he's noisy! he can fly! He does bird things! you can leave him alone for an afternoon and he will destroy something and practice his words until you come back. He doesn't just sit there. And even though he doesn't get those beautiful golden rings in his irises when hes paying you special attention, he makes all the same faces .
(It wouldn't hurt to have him learn some bite-avoidance though lol)

Last edited by Oedipussrex; 01-08-2019 at 03:19 AM.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 01-10-2019, 01:59 AM
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Re: Which bird changed your life?

All the birds in my life have been special and taught me some hard lessons. But I suppose for the more optimistic side I'll have to go with Blueberry, my very first bird that I received when I was 8 years old. He was the love of my life and I'll never forget the magic of being picked out at the petstore... in a sea of budgies, he was the one that wanted me <3 I have no idea why he gravitated to that gangly energetic kid, but I remember him being such a good happy boy. He'd hang out on my shoulder for dear life as I ran around (we have video of this during my brother's birthday party). It's hard to believe he lived only a year because every moment with him was a bright spot that attracted me to birds for the rest of my life.

The other bird that changed the way I viewed birds was a combined effort of Jack Frost and Kermit. I was taking care of my birds under a lot of misinformation or poor research, not to mention just not taking care of the things that should have been common sense. Before Kermit I was doing a lot of re-evaluation on my husbandry methods. At the time I intended to entirely revamp the way I was taking care of my current budgie Jack Frost and give him the life he deserved. Sadly he passed away before I got the chance... I'm not proud of this, but I still felt like I had a lot to give to a bird and that was the only way I could heal after Jack's passing. After some more soul searching and meeting Kermit by fate at a petstore, I decided to put everything into her and give her the best live I could give her.
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