How I have parrots with my health issues

Brittany741

New member
Feb 9, 2015
384
0
Atlanta, GA
Parrots
SI Eclectus (Ruby) - 11 / Eclectus (Wrangler) - 7 / Eclectus (Pinto) - 6 /
Red Sided Eclectus (Oliver) - 4 mos. /
White Bellied Caique (Dan) - 2 /
Foster Congo African Grey (Molly) - 6
You may be wondering how I am able to have birds with my spinal cord injury. My legs are partially numb but I can still control them. I use a wheelchair 95% of the time but I do force myself to walk to the bathroom.

How am I able to have birds while being in bed 23 hours a day? The answer is simple, the birds hang out in my room sometimes but it's largely many short interactions throughout the day! I have a small rolling stand, and I use a small acrylic perch on a piece of cardboard on the bed when we aren't snuggling.

My husband is my caretaker and we also have hired a caretaker for me, so that allows me to do 5-10 minutes worth of things out of bed at a time. I don't spend a solid 23 hours a day in bed. I get up every 4-6 hours. My chair has many functions, one function is to raise 8" which lets me reach the birds.

Feeding is something I have had to get creative about. I make and freeze enough fresh bird mash to last a few months. Ruby, the baby Ekkie, and Dan the caique eat this mash. Molly is a Pellet Piggy and hates everything except for nuts.

I simply serve up their veggie/bean mash first thing in the morning. It lasts all day. Then, I give them fresh fruit for dinner. Fruit spoils much faster and my pain is worse during the day, so I leave all bird tasks for the evening. My pain on average is an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. It hovers around 9 during the day and late at night it drops to 7.5. I also have had fibromyalgia since I was 15, and if it rains I will have a flare up. Those are the days Rob handles the birds for me, by feeding and interacting with them.

How do I handle feeding fresh fruit? LOTS of kitchen gadgets. I'm a great cook and a sucker for kitchen gadgets. I use a progressive brand chopper for fruit slices. I purchase plastic food containers in bulk from Amazon and use those to store the fruit for up to 5 days depending on freshness. I also feed the fruit and veggie mash in these plastic containers to avoid doing dishes!

Canning jars I use for vacuum food freezer storage of the mash. It's expensive to make ($150+) and bags fail, jars rarely do compared.

How do I handle baths? Frequently, bathing is done in the kitchen sink. Why? Because I can't shower unsupervised. This can be kind of humiliating at first but I'm used to it by now. Choosing to bathe the chickens in the sink means I can pay close attention to them. I did take Ruby into the shower once (I have a shower perch) and she hated it. I gave the baby a shower with me a few days later and he's still a potato. I know showering with an active bird is not an option if either of them ever decide to go wild for showers.

Cage cleaning: this is a big one. Cage cleaning is the worst part of pet ownership! I have a few shortcuts here. First, a pressure washer is your friend. Second, I use Publix brand puppy pads ONLY in the tray. Paper gets wet, cardboard does too. Bedding doesn't allow for monitoring of poop and it's also messy. Publix puppy pads contain an absorbent gel for liquids and they are completely white. We use them for our chihuahuas because they're too small to go outside (we have Hawks.) We have tried every brand and style of puppy pad, all the way up to the expensive Nature's Miracle ones, and none compare to Publix brand. I change the pad once every week or so. I know many of you change your cages every day or two, but I simply don't have the ability. For my perch potatoes (Ruby!) I will place some paper towel under her main perch and just throw it out every couple days. This is a money saver, too, since she rarely poops anywhere else.
I spot clean the cages with Poop-Off spray and paper towels, especially because fresh food creates a total mess. We pressure wash them every 2-3 months. Toys all go in the dishwasher.

My situation has helped me devise many shortcuts or better methods to do a lot of things. I'm hoping I can share all of those things to help others who may have physical disabilities or limitations.
 
OP
Brittany741

Brittany741

New member
Feb 9, 2015
384
0
Atlanta, GA
Parrots
SI Eclectus (Ruby) - 11 / Eclectus (Wrangler) - 7 / Eclectus (Pinto) - 6 /
Red Sided Eclectus (Oliver) - 4 mos. /
White Bellied Caique (Dan) - 2 /
Foster Congo African Grey (Molly) - 6
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  • Thread starter
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Forgot the picture! This is where she is when we aren't snuggling [emoji4]
381bec6e14247a3abbb90e40bf0b8d4a.jpg
 

Piasa

New member
Jan 12, 2016
560
8
USA Nomad
Parrots
Beau 17 year old male Green Cheek || Jimmy Bullet 14 year old female white cap pionus parrot
Thank you for sharing your system. You have come up with a lot of creative, interesting ideas. I may have to look into the puppy pads for when we travel.
 

GraciesMom

New member
Apr 9, 2016
699
15
California
Parrots
Gracie - CAG | Rookie - BRHP
Thank you for sharing your story, you aren't just inspirational to those with limitations but really are proof positive that if you are serious about the care of your pets then where there is a will there is a way. You show that there is no reason anyone with or without limitations can't find a way to provide the best care possible.

Your solutions are really great and show a lot of creative thought has gone into it, I think it's really awesome that you thought to share them to help out others in like situations.
 

BIRDIGIRL

New member
Jan 25, 2016
1,506
41
Mayo Ireland
Parrots
Rodney Blue Fronted Amazon
RIP Mr Biggles White Fronted Amazon , Elsa and Little Nellow the Lutino Budgies, Lady Primrose a Pied Budgie and English Budgies Houdini Popeye and Olive
What a wonderful person you are and how lucky your flock are to have you. I will be looking forward to reading all your tips and short cuts. I too have limited movement and spend most of my day in a wheelchair. In my case its MS and I dont have the severe pain you have to deal with. Hopefully your doctors and specialist will soon find ways of managing your pain so you dont have to bear so much of it. What a wonderful thought for a thread. Thank you for sharing. I will be following with interest and no doubt learning lots of useful techniques that will help me and my flock too...love the pic...she is so contented :)
 

Scott

Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
32,673
9,753
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Parrots
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
You are amazing, Brittany! I am sure your pets sense your intense dedication and return the love. Trust me, you have more drive and function at a higher level than many I know.

Thanks for sharing, you may motivate others!!
 

chris-md

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2010
4,273
1,921
Maryland - USA
Parrots
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Very inspirational Brittany! And im sure you get a real health benefit from having them around. I can certainly attest that I feel more plugged in to animals and nature than I was before (this coming from someone who got a degree in ecology:) ). He even got me more interested in gardening a gain (former horticulturist here, gave it up cause I just got sick of it). They are just so enriching in life.

And I have that exact stand! I couldn't live without it! What do you use to love it? I couldn't sand newspaper flying everywhere when I move it around so i started using crumbled paper, made all the difference.
 

DRB

Well-known member
Jan 23, 2016
1,016
65
Ohio
Parrots
Perjo - Female CAG hatch Nov 2015
Glad to hear the birds can have such a great impact on your life.
 
OP
Brittany741

Brittany741

New member
Feb 9, 2015
384
0
Atlanta, GA
Parrots
SI Eclectus (Ruby) - 11 / Eclectus (Wrangler) - 7 / Eclectus (Pinto) - 6 /
Red Sided Eclectus (Oliver) - 4 mos. /
White Bellied Caique (Dan) - 2 /
Foster Congo African Grey (Molly) - 6
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #9
Very inspirational Brittany! And im sure you get a real health benefit from having them around. I can certainly attest that I feel more plugged in to animals and nature than I was before (this coming from someone who got a degree in ecology:) ). He even got me more interested in gardening a gain (former horticulturist here, gave it up cause I just got sick of it). They are just so enriching in life.

And I have that exact stand! I couldn't live without it! What do you use to love it? I couldn't sand newspaper flying everywhere when I move it around so i started using crumbled paper, made all the difference.

Right now I just use paper towels to line it but I am thinking you're onto a better method. It gets gross fast :(
 

miki

Member
Jun 26, 2014
66
72
You may be wondering how I am able to have birds with my spinal cord injury. My legs are partially numb but I can still control them. I use a wheelchair 95% of the time but I do force myself to walk to the bathroom.

How am I able to have birds while being in bed 23 hours a day? The answer is simple, the birds hang out in my room sometimes but it's largely many short interactions throughout the day! I have a small rolling stand, and I use a small acrylic perch on a piece of cardboard on the bed when we aren't snuggling.

My husband is my caretaker and we also have hired a caretaker for me, so that allows me to do 5-10 minutes worth of things out of bed at a time. I don't spend a solid 23 hours a day in bed. I get up every 4-6 hours. My chair has many functions, one function is to raise 8" which lets me reach the birds.

Feeding is something I have had to get creative about. I make and freeze enough fresh bird mash to last a few months. Ruby, the baby Ekkie, and Dan the caique eat this mash. Molly is a Pellet Piggy and hates everything except for nuts.

I simply serve up their veggie/bean mash first thing in the morning. It lasts all day. Then, I give them fresh fruit for dinner. Fruit spoils much faster and my pain is worse during the day, so I leave all bird tasks for the evening. My pain on average is an 8.5 on a scale of 1-10. It hovers around 9 during the day and late at night it drops to 7.5. I also have had fibromyalgia since I was 15, and if it rains I will have a flare up. Those are the days Rob handles the birds for me, by feeding and interacting with them.

How do I handle feeding fresh fruit? LOTS of kitchen gadgets. I'm a great cook and a sucker for kitchen gadgets. I use a progressive brand chopper for fruit slices. I purchase plastic food containers in bulk from Amazon and use those to store the fruit for up to 5 days depending on freshness. I also feed the fruit and veggie mash in these plastic containers to avoid doing dishes!

Canning jars I use for vacuum food freezer storage of the mash. It's expensive to make ($150+) and bags fail, jars rarely do compared.

How do I handle baths? Frequently, bathing is done in the kitchen sink. Why? Because I can't shower unsupervised. This can be kind of humiliating at first but I'm used to it by now. Choosing to bathe the chickens in the sink means I can pay close attention to them. I did take Ruby into the shower once (I have a shower perch) and she hated it. I gave the baby a shower with me a few days later and he's still a potato. I know showering with an active bird is not an option if either of them ever decide to go wild for showers.

Cage cleaning: this is a big one. Cage cleaning is the worst part of pet ownership! I have a few shortcuts here. First, a pressure washer is your friend. Second, I use Publix brand puppy pads ONLY in the tray. Paper gets wet, cardboard does too. Bedding doesn't allow for monitoring of poop and it's also messy. Publix puppy pads contain an absorbent gel for liquids and they are completely white. We use them for our chihuahuas because they're too small to go outside (we have Hawks.) We have tried every brand and style of puppy pad, all the way up to the expensive Nature's Miracle ones, and none compare to Publix brand. I change the pad once every week or so. I know many of you change your cages every day or two, but I simply don't have the ability. For my perch potatoes (Ruby!) I will place some paper towel under her main perch and just throw it out every couple days. This is a money saver, too, since she rarely poops anywhere else.
I spot clean the cages with Poop-Off spray and paper towels, especially because fresh food creates a total mess. We pressure wash them every 2-3 months. Toys all go in the dishwasher.

My situation has helped me devise many shortcuts or better methods to do a lot of things. I'm hoping I can share all of those things to help others who may have physical disabilities or limitations.
Hi there!

Thank you for a great story. I can see that it's harder for you than most of us to take care of and play with your exotic birds, but you're doing a great job. Your husband sounds absolutely super, too. May you have many more great times with yours, and your birds.
 

HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
3,901
6,838
Hi there!

Thank you for a great story. I can see that it's harder for you than most of us to take care of and play with your exotic birds, but you're doing a great job. Your husband sounds absolutely super, too. May you have many more great times with yours, and your birds.
Hi—this is a very old thread. I don’t know that this person is still on the forum. But I do know that a bunch of us here have health issues but we still have birds.

Many of my photos of my birds are taken from my bed. They come in my bedroom and hang out with me if I don’t feel well. I have a basket for my Quaker to perch on that I set on my lap or on my bed. He can gaze at me or snuggle close.
 

miki

Member
Jun 26, 2014
66
72
Hi—this is a very old thread. I don’t know that this person is still on the forum. But I do know that a bunch of us here have health issues but we still have birds.

Many of my photos of my birds are taken from my bed. They come in my bedroom and hang out with me if I don’t feel well. I have a basket for my Quaker to perch on that I set on my lap or on my bed. He can gaze at me or snuggle close.
Hi. I didn't know that this was an old thread. Plenty of people, regardless of health, do have pets, including exotic birds. Pets can improve physical and emotional health, and contribute to people's survival, as well. Pets are very like and very part of the family, as well.

All the best of luck with your birds, and continue to enjoy them.
 

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