Giant Steps in Care for Parrot with Disabilities

Once upon a time, a woman passed away, leaving over 100 birds, mostly large parrots, in need of homes. The macaws, cockatoos, Amazons, and African greys were readily dispersed to new homes, the small parrots like lovebirds and cockatiels also found new places to live.

My husband and I were walking around feeding and watering the birds in the time until their new homes came to claim them. We both noticed one of the greys hanging by her beak at the top of her rather small cage. We laughed, and he called her Bo Dangles. Then we noticed she had no toes. She couldn’t perch.

Bo on towel

As no one else wanted to take responsibility for her, Mike and I gladly agreed to adopt her. There was one other disabled bird, a blind grey, that no one wanted, either. We took him, too. And that’s how Bo Dangles and Blind Io came to be part of our flock.

Bo had been in a small cage because the woman had been afraid to let her fall very far. We used a big cage for Bo, and padded the shelves and bottom with carpet remnants. Because Bo doesn’t know she is different, she loves to climb all over her cage and talk to all the other birds.

082015 gray attack bird

Bo’s nickname is SnapChat

Eventually we were given a huge iron cage for Bo. Mike made special shelves to fit across the front, leaving the back open for her to explore. We went through carpet squares like crazy. Then Bo chewed through one of the wooden shelves. I found a metal shelf from an office bookcase and Mike adapted it to fit the cage. I moved on to using towels to cover the shelves, and that worked pretty well.

Bo happily chewed up the towels, wrapped herself up in the strings that she pulled out of the terrycloth, and became Princess Poopyfoot because we couldn’t change out the towels often enough.

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All that changed when I got a dog. Tilda is the kind of dog many people dream of. She won’t relieve herself in the house. She won’t relieve herself in the yard. No, this little terrier must be walked on a thrice-daily basis. In an attempt to teach her to use the yard, I got puppy potty pads. I even got the stinky stuff to encourage her to use the pad. She would have none of it.

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So what am I going to do with the pads, I wondered. Well, here’s what I came up with. I use them on the bottom of all my bird cages. Cleaning up is so much easier now. But the best thing that happened is that I put a pad (cut in half and taped together to make a longer, narrower pad) on top of the towel on the shelf where Bo does the most pooping. Now and then she will chew one a bit, but for the most part, it’s a miracle, an idea of genius proportions. Her shelf is changed out daily.

Best of all, I found pads at a local dollar store. I cannot express how wonderful this is. Now if she would just stop trying to bite us when we clean her cage, life will be perfect. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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