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Weekly Sweet Pea Update

 Sweet Pea continues to interact more with her enrichment items and toys. 


    Her 1st week or so here she wouldn't even sit on the other perches we had bought her, and would only use the 2 that came with her cage.  She didn't interact with her bird toys, or sit on her rope swing.  She wasn't used to having items in her cage, and this 'stuff to do.' 


Sweet Pea stepping out!

    This is likely one reason she began plucking at some point- a bird will 'go to its body' to have something to do, with which to interact, to feel they have a job/purpose, when they don't have a lot of enrichment options.  -This is what we've learned from bird behaviorist videos and writings. 

 

    The idea is for Sweet Pea to start interacting with, and enjoying, her environment more, and ideally: plucking less to not at all. 


Sweet Pea hanging out on her rope swing

    So it's a huge deal that she's playing with her toys... grabbing them, biting them, moving them, destroying some of them- this is what we want!!!  We are thrilled to see her engaging in more healthy, natural behavior for a parrot in captivity.  Of course she's still out of the cage ample time daily as  well (2-5 times/daily).  She typically works on her little sheet-nesting area on top of her cage when out, and I toss millet and/or small seeds up there to encourage natural foraging behavior. 


It's not all 'sunshine and lollipops' though.

Not sure why I save some of her plucked feathers, but I do (I show them to her, and say 'no pluck')

    Doing everything 'right' for Sweet Pea: getting her vet care, showering her with calming bird mist (pluck no more) 2-3 times/daily, feeding her an enriching diet consisting of cooked, organic whole grains, seeds, fresh organic fruits and veggies, interacting with her a lot, loving her, has not 'fixed' her plucking issue.  And we now know that none of this may ever fully 'fix' that dirty little habit of hers.  It's just that- an unhealthy habit- and as we humans know all too well- unhealthy habits can be very hard to break... but for the grace of God


    She had the most beautiful, vibrant, soft and shapely yellow chest feather than had fully come in a few days ago- 

We would compliment her on it daily, and praise her for 'letting it grow.'  -This morning I noticed it was no longer on her chest... but on the bottom of her cage.  That was heart-wrenching, and so discouraging. 

Proof of her latest vet visit for weekly antibiotic injection (Shively is affordable!) 


    Lastly, her little bird poncho is scheduled to arrive today.  We're hopeful that can help her learn not to pluck.  I've watched videos by the maker of that product line, UnRuffled RX, and learned that the poncho should be left on just for a few minutes at a time at first.  So that will be a process in and of itself!  As always, we will do our best.  -We do love her.  And I still envision her living in a warm environment, in a gorgeous, large outdoor aviary with other macaws, or as someone's most precious and loved sidekick. It is still my goal to find her a home (when the time feels right) in sunny Florida, or warm New Mexico, Arizona... there are many warm places, and all must have some bird lovers! 


Best,


Jessica

    

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