Psittacine Traumatic Stress Disorder

Note: I am not in any way belittling or casting aspersions on the very real condition called PTSD. I have had it myself, I doubt many Americans have not had it. But parrots are drama queens, so it’s funny.

Parrots are very set in their ways. Give them a new toy, different food, or move the cage somewhere new, and things just don’t seem right. The bird panics, stops eating, more screaming, and maybe a bite or two. And by the time you give up and put things back the way they were, your parrot had decided the new thing/food/place was better. Yeah, it starts all over.

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But the biggest impact in my flock is when I take them in for nails and wings to be trimmed. I do my canaries and finches myself. Might try a parakeet, but luckily most of mine are outside and wear the nails down. I won’t do even my cockatiels’ nails, and anything larger than that, no way.

I was told early in my relationship with Aviculture that the smarter birds will remember who clipped of their parts, and resent you for it. I am not sure it’s true, but it’s best to play it safe. After all, Beeby our half-moon conure, was semi-friendly, at least by me, until we took him in to be clipped. We had to because as it was, he would launch himself off a cage to try to attack Mike. Somehow, the little monster knew we were the guiding force behind the job. He stopped being friendly to me and began to attack all humans.

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Maynard, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to mind that I stuff him in a carrier and take him to THAT PLACE where his wings and nails are trimmed. He’s really a good boy, but we have to tell the groomers to be careful since we never know what Maynard will choose to do. He does seem worried that we might be taking him somewhere to leave him, like his other four owners did. But as soon as we get home, he is fine.

Of course, with his nails trimmed, he can’t grip as well, or thinks he can’t. The groomer said he didn’t have over-long nails considering he hasn’t been in for a year (every couple months is the recommendation). That is probably due to my making him run around in the house as much as possible. Also keeps him a bit leaner, I hope. So there are a few weeks of his being uncertain and insecure when on a moving perch. It does go away eventually.

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The worst case of PTSD happened to be the CAG chick who not only has been a) flown away from its mom to a hand-feeder, b) left with me to watch while feeder went on vacation, and c) has settled in here because he seems to be calmer around the adult CAGs I have, this was also his first trip to the groomers.

We had no choice, he was taking unauthorized flights that could have ended badly, and I was becoming a bleeding pin cushion from those sharp baby claws. He screeched a little when they did his toes, but for the most part he was fine. At home, oh my goodness, he couldn’t hold on to anything! He had to learn to perch all over again. The next day, he found something on his wing that was uncomfortable and chewed on it until he drew blood.

But when I took the carriers out to storage, that’s when I knew we had rough times ahead. Just the sight of the carrier, moving away from him though it might be, caused the little CAG to growl. Not a happy camper.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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