Hello - I need some advice for "Willy" the 59-Year-Old Yellow-Headed Amazon

tassanil

New member
May 20, 2024
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Parrots
Amazon
Hello everyone,

Willy and I are new here. I just adopted him yesterday, and I believe he is a Yellow-Headed Amazon. At approximately 59 years old, Willy has had quite a journey. His former owners (who had him for 51 years) couldn't care for him after the husband passed away in 2017, and just recently, the wife went into a long-term care facility. I couldn't stand seeing an old bird being displaced, so I had to help him. Despite being a bit scruffy, he's absolutely adorable, and I am looking forward to (hopefully) many years of adventures together.

As I'm still getting to know him, I've been observing Willy closely since he came into my life. I've noticed a few things that are causing me concern, and I'm hoping someone here can provide some insight.

Please note that I won't have his blood panel results until tomorrow due to the holiday here in Canada. Additionally, I will find out if Willy is truly a male tomorrow. I'm looking forward to the big gender reveal!

Here are my concerns: (I should also mention he has been living at the Vet clinic for the last 2.5 weeks)

  1. Today, he is sleeping a lot, and at one point, his head was hanging really low. I thought he might topple over. I do not believe that is a normal bird's sleeping posture, so I am very concerned.
  2. He drops his fruits and veggies into his water bowl and does not attempt to fish them out. While I find this amusing, it seems odd. Is he just being stubborn and trying to show me he wants his seeds instead? My plan is to slowly transition him off his "mainly" seed diet. He currently weighs 432 grams, and for now, he has "unlimited" pellets plus fruits, veggies, sprouts and mealworms.
  3. He seems to be cage-bound, meaning even with the cage door open for hours, he doesn't attempt to come out at all. Ideally I want to build him a foraging tree and so I do want him to come out.
Any advice is appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Unfortunately, I can't upload a 14 sec video here as it says the file is too large, but I attached a screenshot of the video.
 

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I have seen my 39 year old yellow nape sleep in unusual position but that looks very uncomfortable for him.

I can only say I think you have a right to be concerned.
did you show this picture to your vet?
I always try to bring in video/pictures of issues when taking a problem bird in.

I wish you the best with Willy .
BTW how is his breathing?
no painting or difficult breathing?

will follow your reports.
wes
 
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Hi Wes
Thanks for the reply, I'll be consulting with the vet tomorrow so hopefully I can share the video with her. His breathing is fine, although he does make little gurgling noises occasionally. Definitely no panting or laboured breathing.
 
Sometimes my Bingo will sleep with his beak “hooked” on a cage bar like he’s using it to hold his head up.
When he is waiting for a treat sitting next to his food dish he will lean his chest against the edge of the food bowl and fall asleep.

Both of these unusual sleep positions are /appear to be For comfort not like the photo you posted.

As a side note you should try to replace the dowel perch in his cage with a natural wood perch.

It’s hard for me to gage size of the perch he is on but perhaps a larger size would be better for an elderly parrot.
 
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Yes, good idea. I was planning on getting a thicker perch. They told me the ones in his cage are from an apple tree. The lower perch is thicker, approximately 1 3/8 inches, while the top one is about 1 inch in diameter. I just added a 2.5-inch plank in front of the top perch temporarily until I get new perches. Eventually, I want him to be able to use a tree stand with various sized branches.

What diameter perch do you recommend?
 
Yes, good idea. I was planning on getting a thicker perch. They told me the ones in his cage are from an apple tree. The lower perch is thicker, approximately 1 3/8 inches, while the top one is about 1 inch in diameter. I just added a 2.5-inch plank in front of the top perch temporarily until I get new perches. Eventually, I want him to be able to use a tree stand with various sized branches.

What diameter perch do you recommend?
It depends on the size of your bird and I am not expert but yah 1 1/2 to 2 inch in diameter would I think be the target.
Unless he is a special needs bird with a weak grip/arthritis .
Then platform perches or horizontal racks for more support.

It’s just I am trying to figure why Willy would sleep in that position. I was thinking maybe balance or grip issues.
 
It sounds like Willy has a good new home.

My old YCA George used to lean forward sometimes while he was napping, and sometimes he did topple over and end up on the bottom of his cage. He never got hurt and he used to pretend that he wanted to be on the cage bottom all along. He would find something he dropped down there and play with it and laugh. George's veterinarian said that he got so relaxed when he slept that he would just relax his grip on the perch and down he would go.
 
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It sounds like Willy has a good new home.

My old YCA George used to lean forward sometimes while he was napping, and sometimes he did topple over and end up on the bottom of his cage. He never got hurt and he used to pretend that he wanted to be on the cage bottom all along. He would find something he dropped down there and play with it and laugh. George's veterinarian said that he got so relaxed when he slept that he would just relax his grip on the perch and down he would go.
George sounds like a funny guy! It's good to hear he never got hurt and even turned it into a playful moment.
 
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Hello
So Willy's blood panel results came in, he has high WBC and the vet believes he may have an infection or it could be due to the stress that he's been under. She recommended I start him on antibiotics...2 times daily for 14 days :(
 
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Make sure you use the full course of medications - with antibiotics that is super important.


He's going to hate me by the end of this!

I've been brainstorming ways to give him his medicine without causing too much stress. I was thinking of hiding it in a raspberry or some other treat. Has anyone tried this method? I really want to avoid using gloves or a towel to hold him down, as I don't want to traumatize him or damage the bond we're just starting to build. Any tips or tricks you all could share would be immensely appreciated! i need to ensure he ingests it all too,. :(
 
He's going to hate me by the end of this!

I've been brainstorming ways to give him his medicine without causing too much stress. I was thinking of hiding it in a raspberry or some other treat. Has anyone tried this method? I really want to avoid using gloves or a towel to hold him down, as I don't want to traumatize him or damage the bond we're just starting to build. Any tips or tricks you all could share would be immensely appreciated! i need to ensure he ingests it all too,. :(
Giving meds in food is hit or miss. You never know how much or if they will eat it.

I had some early and good results using Hawaiian bread rolls. Let meds soak into a piece of bread.

But I have toweled my Yellow nape many times.
He sees the towel as the bad guy not me.
 
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Giving meds in food is hit or miss. You never know how much or if they will eat it.

I had some early and good results using Hawaiian bread rolls. Let meds soak into a piece of bread.

But I have toweled my Yellow nape many times.
He sees the towel as the bad guy not me.
that’s reassuring to hear that you've had success with the bread. I’ll definitely give that a try. I hope my vet provided a little extra medication just in case.

I'm also relieved to hear about your experience with towelling. It’s good to know that your Yellow Nape sees the towel as the "bad guy" and not you. How do you manage to approach him with the towel without him associating it with you? Does he scream a lot when you towel him?

It really helps to hear from someone who’s been through this.
 
that’s reassuring to hear that you've had success with the bread. I’ll definitely give that a try. I hope my vet provided a little extra medication just in case.

I'm also relieved to hear about your experience with towelling. It’s good to know that your Yellow Nape sees the towel as the "bad guy" and not you. How do you manage to approach him with the towel without him associating it with you? Does he scream a lot when you towel him?

It really helps to hear from someone who’s been through this.
Bingo my YNA is ez.
he can’t fly so I put him on a bed and cover with towel.

my two Mexican redhead amazons were much harder.
they both fly.
Only one is sort of tame so I must confine the semi tame bird in a small room first.
Then the more wild bird will be willing to go into the small room.

in the end it takes 2.
someone has to turn off the lights momentarily so the bird doesn’t fly at the critical moment of covering with the towel.

I did loos some trust points with the more wild parrot.
took a few weeks post meditation for her to trust me .
 
YOU ARE WONDERFUL!

Bless you a bunch for taking this old bird on!

And by the way, the Rickeybird usually sleeps kind hunched over like that.
 

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