The Continuing Capers of Companion-ing Cotton

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Cottonoid

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For the past few weeks I've been working daily on proximity "training" with Cotton - mostly using negative reinforcement to move away a step when he relaxes his stance after I move toward him.

The last couple of days I've done the same but added clicker. And yesterday/today added giving bits of walnut in his treat bowl after clicking (so, click, pause a half second, then move forward to drop walnut at which point he moves away, I look away and wait for him to come back then start again).

Just now he let me get about 15 inches from the cage door and I was able to drop the walnut directly into the bowl instead of having to move past his comfort zone. This is the closest I've gotten since going to the vet so that's exciting.

He has always been very clear where his threshold is and that he is going to move this forward SLOWLY. In the last week however he's started only taking one step away then checking to see if I'm paying attention instead of looking at me like I'm not getting it and going several feet away. So fingers crossed I'm getting better at reading his body language.

I think that he's super smart and he definitely notices all the little missteps I make. When I set up foraging puzzles he looks like he's barely paying attention but then goes straight to them to check them out. Any changes in his environment he explores right away. So he's way ahead of me on any training session I attempt lol

He's figured out which sounds will make the dog leave the room when she's barking ;)
 
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Cotton now always comes to the front of his cage asking to come out in the morning :)

I work today, so drank my coffee with him and told him he has to stay inside for a while today. He chirruped at me and went to the corner closest to the window and chewed at the connection to his little bridge from the cage to the window stand, as if to clarify his request.
 
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Last week Cotton was spending a LOT of attention under his wings and I was worried he'd start mutilating the skin, not just going over the bald spots.

This week it's obvious why!

Mr Please-Don't-Take-Photos wasn't too pleased with me for this and in no way will let me take a picture when he stretches his wings out so that we can see ALL HIS NEW FLIGHT FEATHERS COMING IN

He's looked like someone drew lines on his wings with Sharpie for a while with all the pins getting ready to poke through - it must have been SO uncomfortable against the skin on his sides!!

Lots of extra calories and protein for this guy today!


PXL_20220610_225334666.jpg
 
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Last week Cotton was spending a LOT of attention under his wings and I was worried he'd start mutilating the skin, not just going over the bald spots.

This week it's obvious why!

Mr Please-Don't-Take-Photos wasn't too pleased with me for this and in no way will let me take a picture when he stretches his wings out so that we can see ALL HIS NEW FLIGHT FEATHERS COMING IN

He's looked like someone drew lines on his wings with Sharpie for a while with all the pins getting ready to poke through - it must have been SO uncomfortable against the skin on his sides!!

Lots of extra calories and protein for this guy today!


View attachment 40902
Yayyyyy! Go Cotton!!!
Now you just have to leave them alone, little guy :)
 

saxguy64

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Wow, wow, wow!!! Beautiful! Please, little guy, leave them on you πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™
I'll just offer this, please don't get discouraged if he decides to go back to nudism. It happens. You're doing an amazing job with him and it shows, feathers or not. :)
 

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You have made so many changes sense I last seen pictures of Cotton's cage. It looks amazing. You've created an entire playground. Its impossible for Cotton to get bored.

Sense we live in the same state have you notices Cotton sneezing a lot? Both of my birds are sneezing, and Nico can't keep his claws out of his nostrals. I'm wondering how windy it was last weekend, and with the pollen going everywhere if they are just dealing with allergies. I was sneezing too!

Happy Belated Birthday to Cottton!!!!

All of those feathers coming in can be painful for little Cotton. I hope he hangs in there. :)
 

HeatherG

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I am wondering: IF Cotton pulls his feathers that are coming in, maybe a vet could put him on meloxicam or benedryl while the huge quantity of them come in?

If he gets over this, he’ll never have a molt like this again. But it seems like it might be very itchy or sore. I REALLY hope that Cotton does well.

And I am also inspired by your bird playground!
 
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HeatherG

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Last week Cotton was spending a LOT of attention under his wings and I was worried he'd start mutilating the skin, not just going over the bald spots.

This week it's obvious why!

Mr Please-Don't-Take-Photos wasn't too pleased with me for this and in no way will let me take a picture when he stretches his wings out so that we can see ALL HIS NEW FLIGHT FEATHERS COMING IN

He's looked like someone drew lines on his wings with Sharpie for a while with all the pins getting ready to poke through - it must have been SO uncomfortable against the skin on his sides!!

Lots of extra calories and protein for this guy today!


View attachment 40902
This picture of Cotton should remind us that parrots are a lot like little people. Who have pointy butts. (Yes, another butt joke.)

Have you ever seen him run? I’ve seen some online videos of owls running and they look creepily human.

I used to sing β€œwhat shall we do with a drunken sailor?” to Lucy, my Quaker who had a bad leg, because she had such a funny rolling walk. Wish I had a video of THAT.
 
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I'll come back later when my contacts are out and I can properly read the screen on my phone to reply to everyone πŸ˜†

But i do think it's time for a more proactive approach to his feathers coming in. I posted in the plucking forum about him causing a bleed today.

I've been using chamomile on his food, and did put a few drops of children's Benadryl in his water to try to get the 0.01ml he needs (so tiny) for a couple days which seemed to help - but I'm not sure whether I can do that with starting doxycycline again.

Of course it's the weekend but I think I can request an appointment with the mobile CAV online. There are mixed reviews about her approach. I emailed her briefly in March and didn't have a Yes vibe but she seems to have a clear plan for plucking.

Here's the aftermath of today's chewing session


PXL_20220611_213651267.jpg
 
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HeatherG

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I'll come back later when my contacts are out and I can properly read the screen on my phone to reply to everyone πŸ˜†

But i do think it's time for a more proactive approach to his feathers coming in. I posted in the plucking forum about him causing a bleed today.

I've been using chamomile on his food, and did put a few drops of children's Benadryl in his water to try to get the 0.01ml he needs (so tiny) for a couple days which seemed to help - but I'm not sure whether I can do that with starting doxycycline again.

Of course it's the weekend but I think I can request an appointment with the mobile CAV online. There are mixed reviews about her approach. I emailed her briefly in March and didn't have a Yes vibe but she seems to have a clear plan for plucking.

Here's the aftermath of today's chewing session


View attachment 40946
You can buy an insulin syringe to get .01 ml. But it’s still a tiny amount. Alternatively, you could dilute the childrens benedryl 1:10 and give 0.1 ml which would be easier to administer (100 ul).

I’m sorry to hear that Cotton had a bleeding episode today. 🫣
 

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I'll come back later when my contacts are out and I can properly read the screen on my phone to reply to everyone πŸ˜†

But i do think it's time for a more proactive approach to his feathers coming in. I posted in the plucking forum about him causing a bleed today.

I've been using chamomile on his food, and did put a few drops of children's Benadryl in his water to try to get the 0.01ml he needs (so tiny) for a couple days which seemed to help - but I'm not sure whether I can do that with starting doxycycline again.

Of course it's the weekend but I think I can request an appointment with the mobile CAV online. There are mixed reviews about her approach. I emailed her briefly in March and didn't have a Yes vibe but she seems to have a clear plan for plucking.

Here's the aftermath of today's chewing session


View attachment 40946
I feel ya Cotton. It's gotta be so tough to have all of these at once.

Its a pretty amazing picture tho , to see them in this stage, too see them go all the way to the bone. His face looks like its covered for privacy in a medical journal
 

Vampiric_Conure

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Awww, darn at the bleeding feather(s)! They'll heal up, and you're taking such good care of cotton. Birds are stubborn little critters :) . It takes a special kind of owner to handle them! Especially when they're chewing their new feathers!
 

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Is it just me that thinks Cotton's wings look like tiny dino arms?
 
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Ok, finally at a computer where I can catch up on replies!

Thank you everybody for the well wishes! Of course I don't want him to injure himself (I'm good with one bloody episode per parrot lifetime, heh), but if he eventually ends up being a naked guy that's A-OK with me. Right now he's just at the crossroads time-wise of having the potential to fly again, so naturally I hope he can get there.

If he does end up fully feathered, I'll actually miss seeing his little wings when he walks around. Heather, I've only seen him panic-run, where he's hopping/trying to fly, but he has a ridiculously cute way of side stepping on his rope bridge down, then walking very cockatoo-like back up.

@kme3388 I haven't noticed Cotton sneezing at all, even though does still have symptoms of a respiratory/sinus infection. I know *my* allergies are crazy right now with all the pollen and humidity. I do have a BlueAir air purifier in my house so maybe that helps Cotton? Poor Nico! I wouldn't be at all surprised if all the pollen/spores floating around are annoying him!

@HeatherG oh my WORD it didn't even occur to me to dilute the Benadryl - that's a great idea! I am waiting to hear back from my vet about meloxicam. I bet Cotton would eat it on a walnut piece.

@Laurasea I didn't purposefully hide his face but your comment made me laugh out loud because I was thinking "well at least I'm not going to also be analyzing his orbital area every time I look at this" hehehe.

@Vampiric_Conure Cotton is a stubborn fella ;) and I totally love that about him hahaha - he isn't subtle when it comes to his dislikes, that's for sure!

@PippTheBananaBirb they DO! :D
 

HeatherG

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Thank you for the update! Yes, I think the chance or option to fly is life changing for cotton. It would be easier for him to have good cardiovascular health if he could fly (like being wing-clipped or not).

My plucked birds didn’t pull their primary and secondary wing and tail feathers. Just their contour feathers. So I have thought something different must be going on with cotton. Like some problem that would make the whole feather very irritating. I would think that could be a skin problem or irritation and would have also wondered about a fungal or yeast issue. A cbc and/ or skin biopsy would help answer those questions. As you may have considered.

I would not be comfortable dosing 0.01 mL. You can’t replicate that dose reliably with an insulin syringe or even a micro pipette. You CAN dilute the benedryl 1:10 (and again 1:10) and get a more reliable dose at 0.1 mL.

One might remove the more allergenic grains from Cotton’s diet if the plucking or inflamed skin appearance continues. I also wonder about adding an oily seed like flax in his diet. Wish I had notes from my personal experiences of plucking rescue birds. My worst plucker was blind and had been mistreated and appeared to be very nervous (a decent reason to pull feathers, IMO).

What about a humidifier right onto Cotton? Would increase skin moisture and maybe he wouldn’t pull the wet feathers.

A naked bird isn’t the end of the world, especially if you have a heater😁 but the resemblance to a broiler chicken is a bit disconcerting.
 
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the resemblance to a broiler chicken is a bit disconcerting.
:LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

My first night on my trip, we were served chicken wings and I just couldn't do it πŸ˜‚

Supposedly Cotton had a skin yeast infection about a year ago that was the initial cause of his plucking. I don't have any vet records, though.

I have an evaporative humidifier in the living so it doesn't have a "spray". This week the natural humidity in that room is hovering around 50% with our weather so that's good timing I suppose.

My vet prescribed Meloxicam today so hopefully I can pick that up tomorrow (crossing my fingers I can leave work early). His main recommendation is to do everything I can to keep Cotton focused on something besides what's on his body. Rotate toys more often, foraging, change up his play area outside his cage more often. And keep going with food/humidity/warmth.
 

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