Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Deejie - A 'Tiel Saga

I have a 5 year old cockatiel named DJ. Starting in April she has been laying eggs. In April the eggs were misshapen and somewhat soft. I changed her diet and cage around and during the months of May and June she laid 4 eggs that were all normal. Then in the past few days she has laid two eggs that are very soft - practically just membranes. Prior to this she was a 'tiel that laid 1 or 2 eggs once or twice a year.

Cockatiels can become chronic egg layers and a whole host of health issues can arise. That is not what I want to happen with DJ.

We had a vet visit today. The vet said DJ felt physically like she was carrying another egg but wanted to x-ray to be sure. The other reason she wanted to x-ray was to see what DJ's bone density looked like.

Well, she is carrying another egg and her bone density did not look good. We did a calcium shot and we need to return in 10 days for another calcium shot.

In the mean time I need to move DJ into a separate cage away from the hen she lives with (Larry Joe), clip her wings short, reduce her food to about 50% for the next 4 - 5 days, and in general make her feel as insecure as possible. Seriously. 'Tiels lay their clutches when the weather is warm, the food is plentiful, and they feel secure.

I also need to work hard at getting her to eat real food. She will not. My other hen Larry loves to eat whatever I am eating. Not DJ. DJ acts as though she is afraid of novel foods. The vet wants me to make mashed sweet potatoes and mash a Tums into it for calcium. Of course I also need to bring DJ outside in the sun so she can activate it with some Vitamin D.

I am also to increase her foraging activities to distract her from her hormones.

In the meantime I need to purchase a new cage to put DJ in, in a different room. I used to have a bunch of cages but I donated them all to the MSPCA. I should have remembered to keep one just in case I end up with a sick bird or one that is on an egg laying tear.

I have also ordered some plastic cockatiel eggs so that next time she lays an egg I can swap it out with the plastic one and she can sit on it for about 21 days if she so desires.

The appointment went better than I expected. Hopefully with all these changes I'll be able to break the cycle of laying.


Holly said...

Sending good thoughts that everything will work quickly for DJ!

Kathy said...

wow, wish you were around here I have a garage full of cages ;-), I would happily part with one. Geeze what a lucky girl DeeJie is, sounds like she is getting some top notch care, hope it gets her all fixed up really soon, poor girl.

Katrin said...

Yikes. That is scary stuff. I hope DJ will be ok and the vet's recommendations work.

Nat said...

Birds can be so sensitive! I hope that she's back to normal soon!

Dawn said...

Give her good things and periodically eat them from her bowl. Walk by and snatch whatever and munch it, pretending like you are trying to keep it from her. You can try clipping things like carrot tops, or swiss chard over the top of a piece of millet or her food dish,not only does she have to forage to find the food, but she might nibble the vegie too.
For the mashed vegies, sprinkle a few seeds on top to entice her until she becomes more willing to try the new foods.
If I think of anything else I will let you know. I wish I was closer too, I have several spare cages. Hugs

Sam said...

That's all really interesting - I've never had a bird before and don't know a thing about their egg-laying cycles. So, I just learned something new!

I do know they are sensitive creatures who often don't get the right attention after they are purchased by unassuming people - sure doesn't sound like that's the case in your home, though. What great care she's getting. Hope you get to the bottom of it soon.

Diana said...

Wow, I didnt know birds had those kind of problems. I hope you ideas work and she stops laying eggs. Diana