CS03 twisted body

Amazon with Twisted Body

My bird’s name is Polly and she has been captive in the USA for 37 years now. We have no way of knowing her real age, but she is at least 37 this year. Polly came to me last year, abused from her past owner and rescued by a wonderful woman who rehabilitated her, and we’ve bonded so much that I’m quite upset right now because I don’t quite know what to do at this point with this bird’s health. I have a moral conflict going on. First off, I always tell people…take your bird to the vet asap!…but I have done that and what the vet has offered her is not curing the continual problem. The vet has her on Bactrim now for around 2 years. 2 years….it is NOT helping her to continually be on medications.

Polly has a severe limp. We don’t know if she’s walking on a healed dislocation or not, but it’s something she arrived with…AND her back is crooked…her tail pointing one direction her back another. That is why her pooper sticks out sideways. Originally, we thought a growth was causing the malformation of her cloacal area, but it’s not a growth…it’s where she healed up crooked. She has only 1 pelvic bone … the other is crushed up inside her somewhere. In otherwards, her insides are completely twisted up and rehealed into some wierd position and because of this, her pooper sticks out sideways, causing her intestine to be twisted which, in turn, causes bacteria to pile up in her intestine and is ultimately why the veterinarians both have her on this Bacterim constantly…so she doesn’t become sick. If it’s not given, her doodle stinks to high heaven, becomes runny and absolutely sick, or it piles up and she cries horribly when she poops. So I don’t want to put this bird under any more stress.

What is occurring lately, that had stopped because of my good care, is that she is once again falling from her perch when she sleeps at night. We are fixing that problem by building her a ledge today, but that won’t heal her, it will just cure her from falling down. She had ceased this problem for about 8 months now, but it’s back. It happens when her body is stressed and not able to fight off her bacteria. My belief is that she is getting immunity to the bacterim.

I need suggestions of what I can do to get rid of this stinky bacterial stuff and how to clean her out WITHOUT using medications over the counter anymore. Her little liver probably looks like chopped liver at this point…I don’t want to do anymore damage to this bird and I think our vets are headed in the absolutely wrong direction. She is on bactrim, zupreem, seed 2 times weekly, fruit, vegetables, eggfood with birdie vitamins.  Thanks ahead of time. Renee

Evaluation Form

Birds Name: Sweet Polly Purebred Species and/or color mutation: Lilac Crowned Amazon Age: At least 37 years Sex: They said female, but never laid an egg yet. Where was the bird obtained: From the sister of her original owner.

1… Please describe fully the problem the bird is experiencing: (Additionally include whether the bird appears to be warm, cold and fluffed, energetic, lethargic, hyperactive, excitable, calm, comfortable, uncomfortable, crabby, happy, angry and any behavior changes like stopped talking, increased screaming, bobbing etc.) Polly is not fluffed, or cold, she is however uncomfortable, crabby when disturbed by anyone but me, and she is a calm, contented, happy bird generally, except for the current malady.  Polly was given to me after being rescued from an abusive home by another family member. She had many broken bones at one time. She did not heal properly and can barely walk. Part of the malformation of her back causes her cloaca to shoot the doodle out to the side. She has only 1 noticeable pelvic bone. She is constantly fighting infection in her intestines.

2… When did the problem start, was it sudden or gradual: This problem began before I had her. Probably years ago. Debbie, the woman I got her from, noticed it when she rescued Polly. She immediately had her treated at a vet’s, who gave her antibiotic treatment and she is seen bi-annually and has continued this very same antibiotic now for almost 2 years. There are only small breaks when I can go without giving it to her. Her twisted intestines harbor bacteria and it just grows in there. I do not want Polly to die from antibiotics. There has to be something else less damaging to give her.

3…When is the problem worse, eg: morning, night, after handling, after eating etc: Mornings she’s stiff. She has arthritis, so I usually put her on my chest and warm her feet, which are damaged severely also. Nights she falls off her perch, loudly, and then gets up, wobbles up to the side of her cage and goes back onto the perch. I have used various precautions, but they haven’t worked, as Polly wants to “roost” and no matter what we put in there, she wants to roost up high…we are now working on a platform to prevent this from occuring. It will have a perch on it, but it will be about 6 inches wide across so that she can not fall even if she wanted to.

4… When are the symptoms less noticeable: When the Bactrim is given, the smell dissipates.

5… Has the bird seen a vet: Yes

6…Have any OTC (over the counter) treatments been used prior to a vet visit: NO.

7… What condition was the bird in (depressed, dehydrated, etc.) when seen: The bird was in good condition last time.

8… Were tests, cultures, X-rays, etc. done: Yes.

9… If so, the results and diagnosis of problem/disease: The vets say that she is so old now, that it isn’t the quantity of life, it is the quality and certainly helping keep this growth down in her intestine is the best way to go about it and right now, antibiotic therapy seems the only outlet.

10.. Was treatment/medication prescribed: Please detail what was given, dosages, and duration of prescribed treatment. Metronidaz.Ben 50mg/ml #40cc Give o.4ml by mouth every other day. That may seem like a little bit, but it’s not. Every other day for the rest of her life????

11.. Was there an improvement shown from treatment: Deffinitely. It stops the growth of whatever occurs inside her. If I take her off of it, it begins again severely and is hard to get control of the next time.

12.. If treatment failed, what other steps were taken to resolve the problem: We feed her vegetables, fruits, babyfood, ornabec, Bird All, eggfood with treats in it, zupreem, seed only on special occasion because it wont’ digest right. We also give her small chicken babyfood weenies, which she loves, and meats, like chicken and cheeses. Sometimes we slip her a Fruit Loop, but no salt, sugar or preservatives allowed.

13.. Have dropping changed in color, frequency, consistency, and quantity: Yes. Constantly. They can be “nearly” normal. But, they are never completely normal.

14..What is your level of skills as far as giving emergency supportive and medical care. eg: do you know how to tube/gavage feed, SubQ, etc: I have raised many, many baby birds from hatch day until ready. I have been an avian mother a long time and I possess the necessary equipment to feed if I had to. I don’t like using a gavage, but I would if I had to. Fortunately she doesn’t need that. I worked on 2 local horse ranches for years, plus owning my own horses. I’ve sewn up foreheads that have been opened by barbed wire, I’ve given shots on my own, I’ve done just about everything a horse needs. If it had feathers…I’d not know what to do.

15..Whom do you have in your area (breeder, experienced friend) if the bird becomes critical, and you can not go to a vet. These people would be good to know during times when no one is available to help: I belong to the bird club. I could call anyone I know and I guarantee someone would come to help me with Polly. Probably most likely would be my friend Connie who raises Macaws.

16… How did you hear about HolisticBird List: My friend JJ told me about this. She recommended that we join.

Social and Cage Environment

1… How long have you had the bird: I got Polly in September of 2000

2… Do you have other birds, and how do the birds react to each other: I have 2 umbrella cockatoos, a sun conure and a cockatiel. They all get along fine because they are never unwatched or allowed to integrate. I don’t allow Polly to perch with the other birds. She gets a bit cranky at other birds … she only likes me as her human. She attacks everyone else visciously.

3… Is there other pets in the household, and how does the bird respond to each: Polly will tolerate me allowing my chihuahua on my chest in the morning when she snuggles. She doesn’t like him but she knows he “belongs” there. So she puts her head to the side and lets him sit in on the petting sessions and warmth.

4… What other *Human* members of the family interact with the bird, and does the bird have preferences:  We are pretty much avian fanatics. They live in our livingroom, where they can be part of our family. No aviaries, bedrooms or garages for our birds. They eat better than we do. Our daughter is already becoming an avian expert and has grown up with these birds as her family members. She is 10, well educated, and I would certainly trust her with any bird to care for it. My husband can interact with Polly if I am not in the room. When I am gone, she will let him cuddle her and preen her, but if she hears me, she quickly gets vicious to him. She will not allow my child to pick her up. My child does not push the issue.

5… Are other pets or family members ill: No. We have been very fortunate that there are no ill pets because of this. The vet concurs it is not something which is contagious. The bacteria is not a stapholococci.

6… What is the cage size and location: Polly’s cage is a California Cage, about 5.5′ high with a playpen top and sliding tray underneath, it’s about 3.5′ long, 2′ wide and so the main cage itself, not considering the playpen or feet is about 3.5x4x2.

7…How much activity is there in this location: She has Boing, soft cotton rope perch that locks onto the sides, about fifteen toys, of which she only plays with 1. She never has played with toys, but this past 3 months she is playing with one that has “hair” on it. She likes preening it. She has a hanging bell toy off of her playpen, the Tstand, her own carrier and she is taken on car rides in this carrier as well. It’s the soft pet carrier, not like those plastic things, it’s very soft and comforting and has mesh plastic front so I can see her at all times and she can see me (what little she’s able to see still) and they don’t usually bark if I take her into a store if she’s in her doggy taxi.

8… How does the bird respond to activity:  Polly sees me and it’s “Toot, toot toot” and she wants to fly to me. Of course, she and I both know she can no longer fly and so she just stoops forward flapping her wings at me and does the “pick me up Mom” dance. Of course…I hold her every morning for about an hour, and everytime I think about her during the day, which is a lot actually. She is never locked in, and is free to roam, but she can not get around too good so sometimes I have to take her to the spot she is “looking” at. I do put her on the Tstand while I compute, but if she has diarrhea it shoots off the tray onto the floor so I haven’t been able to do that in 2 weeks. She seems a bit sad about not being with me while I compute.

9… How does the bird respond to being alone: She is pretty dependant on me. I guess I’m pretty dependant on her friendship too. When I went to San Fran, I ended up leaving her behind. I made the trip home in 3 hours….I missed my bird. Husband said she was okay, but I don’t know. I know I wasn’t okay.

10… How often and how long is the bird alone: Absolutely never, except on a fluke occasion such as my trip to San Fran for 2.5 weeks.

11.. How often is the bird out of the cage: Daily.

12.. Is the cage covered at night. Does your bird sleep in a different cage: She used to have a “night night” cage. I still have it, but we have elected not to use it. She is uncomfortable being shifted from cage to cage anymore and when I put her in her “night night” cage she just wants her big cage instead. I don’t cover her cage. She is in front of the windows, but we are in Redding, California and the weather here is very very very warm.

13.. What type of exercise does the bird like, such as exploring, flying, etc: Not as much as I try to get her to do. She’s quite fat. She has a really hard time moving around. First of all, she’s partly blind…mostly. She has very large round eyes from trying to see all the time. She seems to hear pretty good, but not great. She can barely crawl across a floor because of the bad leg, and it has little movement at all, even with all the exercises and ladder climbs we do. I do exercise her, from finger to finger in the mornings once she’s warmed up. She, however, is becoming less easy to convince that it is a fun thing. She does not like it anymore. I leave her cage open. If she wants water, she has to go down to the cage to get it. I will not fill the upper dishes. I want her to move around. If she does not move around, she will get stiff and then she just can’t do anything at all.

14.. What type of perches are in the cage and positions: Pictures can be provided. Her cage has a giant boing tied from ceiling to bottom anchored so that she can not move it out of place and can climb on it without jiggling. It has a long cotton perch across the center and one diagonal on the bottom. It has a manzanita perch along the center of the cage, a wood perch diagonal near the rope one on the bottom so she can go from one to the other and then she has a ladder, all those toys and no swings…she is unable to swing anymore.

15.. What is used in the bottom of the cage (newspaper, corn cob, etc.) and does the bird have access to it: She has a California cage, so the doodle falls through the bars into the tray below, which is positioned some foot below the bars. She can neither eat it or go near it. I use plain newspaper for absorbency and I scrub it almost daily.

16.. If toys are provided, what is the birds preferences: She has one she plays with. There are over ten toys in her cage. She has no interest in them, excepting the cotton fur toy.

17.. Is the bird passive or aggressive to the toys, eg: plays, or chews up: Not interested in toys. She would rather follow me through the house.

18..Is the bird quiet or very vocal: Tough question. She is usually quiet when I’m here but when I leave, I can hear her toot loudly for me and then when I come home she goes on a rant until I come and hold her first before I sit my purse down. And then if I go potty and she can’t see me, she will either flop to the floor and chase me down or she will toot until I come and reassure her I’m there. I’m constantly saying, “I’m here Polly, in the bedroom”, or “I’m in the bathroom Polly”.

19..What type of lighting is used (such as incandescent or full spectrum): We have regular lights mounted on the walls. I don’t do cieling lights because the birds tend to like climbing “up” and it’s so dangerous. The lights are behind globes that are inaccessible by the birds. We rarely need to use them, except in the evening, as we have 3 large back windows and they illuminate the entire area quite well. The bird cage Polly is in is directly in front of the first back window.

20..Is the photo period (of lighting source) natural and regulated, or random and irregular: Natural light from outside and in the evening illuminated.

21..Does the bird have access to natural sunlight or is taken outdoors: Polly has access to both. Polly has small spurts outside in the front yard with me while I garden, but she is really not comfortable with it and if the grass is too tall she panics, if it’s cut she’s content to follow me around on the lawn while I do stuff. She also loves to stand on one of the poles we have inserted for them and to eat the wood or to watch birds fly by. She tries talking to the wild birds and it’s a bit sad because I realize everytime she is a wild bird made captive by man. She’s not like everyone else’s parrot. She wasn’t handfed. She was caught from her wild place somewhere in South America 37 yuears ago. How sad.

22..What is the water source and location, eg: bowl, dish, water bottle:  Polly’s dishes are on each side of her main manzanita perch she occupies. She has large crocks.

23..Does the bird like to bath, and what is it’s favorite form of bath (mister, sink, bowl, etc) and how often: She likes it when I spray her. She no longer bathes. I believe she’s afraid because she can not see the waterline any longer and doesn’t know where to step. She will, however, frollic in a good mist daily.

24.. Are night lights used: No. Good idea. Think I’ll take one and will put it up for her right now. She could benefit from this as could my others.

25..Was anything changed at all prior to the first display of symptoms. This could be a change of food, cage location, new bird additions, interior decoration (such as new drapes, carpet, furniture), new people, loss of bird buddy or human friend, etc. No. Same old thing. It comes and goes…when it comes, it’s horrible.

26.. Has your bird been showing signs of sexual maturity: No nesting behaviors. In fact, no female behaviors at all and she looks like a “he” to me according to her head. She’s just been a “she” for so long now, she’ll always be my girl. 🙂

Household Environment

1… What are the major products you use for general housecleaning. eg: Clorox, Windex, types of soaps, floor products/waxes etc: I do use bleach to wash clothing, and I do wash the bird dishes in bleach once a week, but I’m aware of residual buildup from the new clorox so we are not using it, but are in fact using a generic bleach which is the old bleach. We rinse the cups and dishes thoroughly.

2…Are there carpets in the house and what chemicals are used for cleaning them: No, really now, I don’t usually shampoo the carpet. I have large throw rugs which are taken outside to be shampooed.

3.. What disinfectants are used to clean the birds cage, and how often: Antibacterial Joy and water in the shower with the shower wand. Wash Polly’s often. Others scrubbed once a week or so and changed paper daily/every other day. Must be changed often or husband has tissy fit.

4… Are scented candles used: No.

5… What type of aerosol sprays are used, eg: room deodorizers, hair sprays, pesticides, etc:  I am no longer able to use anything like that because they are terrible for us and the birds. I’m allowed to bleach my hair once a month…outside in the backyard.

6… Are there any smokers in the household, and do they handle the birds: No. As of the 20th it will be 4 months. :o) Husband smokes outside.

7…Are strong perfumes used while around the birds: No.

8… Are fabric softeners used in cage coverings: Oh good god no.

9… What type of ventilation (such as windows, vents, fans, etc.) is used when questionable products are used, or painting or heavy cleaning is done: We have a window in the kitchen that opens, all rooms have huge windows up high, central air in the house and doors at both ends.

10.. *IF* birds are housed outdoors what type of shelter is there from sun and bad weather: NA

11.. Are any predators (cats, birds, mice, wild animals, insects) disturbing/distressing the birds during the night: NA

12.. Is the home heating electric or gas: Gas heat. We are not using it.

13.. What is the temperature in the house, and is it constant or varied:  It is constant between 72 and 80. I keep the thermostadt at 75, but sometimes others will move it one way or the other.

14.. What houseplants does the bird have access to: None.

15.. Are exterminators used: Yes. Monthly. Outdoors.

Diet and Nutrition

1… *If this is a bird being handfed* list what is being fed, how many feedings, amount, temp of food and container/brooder: NA

2…Is the bird emptying between feedings: NA

3… What is the overall condition (both physical and mental, color of droppings, etc.) of the bird: Green…either normal with white or runny and snotty looking. When they come out, there is often gas accompanying it because it’s been inside her so long. It’s so sad.

The following is for weaned and adult birds. *NOTE:* In each category list: the % from 0% – 100% offered and eaten, how often fed, birds likes and dislikes, etc.

1… What is your feeding schedule: Morning: Check all dishes and feed Zupreem. Check and clean water dishes. Husband makes Eggs, adds vitamins to eggs and veges or fruit. Polly is additionally given a chicken gerber weiner or other toddler babyfood such as Beef with Noodles, Chicken with Noodles, the peaches, pears…etc. Green romaine is given 3x a week.

2… Seed Mix (mfg. brand or are you mixing your own) Only as a treat. Never as the entire food. Nuts, mixed…brazil nuts, fruit trail mixes, sometimes over the counter seeds with peanuts (Polly loves peanuts as a treat). We only give her seed about once a month IF that at all. I don’t usually even have it around.

3… Pellets (brand/s), and mixed with seed or separate dish: Zupreem. I use 2 sizes. I use the large size and the conure size.

4… Vegetables: fresh or frozen, cooked or raw, shredded or chunks:  All dimensions. Usually fresh or raw, but sometimes the other ways too. Basically, if anyone is eating it is a routine to feed the birds some so they aren’t left out.

5… Fruits: types, and sizes, offered separately or with veggies:  Offered with veges together to choose at various times. Apples, bananas, pears, peaches (babyfood peaches for Polly) and sometimes other various fruits…depending on what’s on sale.

6… Is the produce washed and rinsed first: Yes.

7… What type of supplements do you use, eg: vitamins, spirulina, etc: Oh, Spirulina…no. Gave me horrid gas. I use Bird All 1 and 2 for our other fids. With Polly she gets small amounts in her egg food, but not as a powder. She has enough meds for her liver to filter out.

8…Is there a source of calcium such as mineral blocks, cuttlebone, etc: Cheeses, ice-cream (I know, not often but they would do anything in the world for it).

9… Do you use herbs such as Echinacea, etc., how often and for what reasons: Actually, earlier this week I gave Polly half an Echinacea capsul opened on top of her pellets and she mowed it down. I forgot but I’m going to continue that. She sure liked the taste. I know it sure helps me out.

10.. Do you add anything to the drinking water or treat it: No.

11.. Does the water intake change with certain foods: Not that I have noticed, but I will watch that more often.

12.. Does your bird eat table foods, and what is it’s preferences: Anything I eat. This bird even STOLE and ate a PICKLE. She is not allowed onion, avacado, tomato, gassy veges, and some other things for various preservative or nutritional reasons, but they basically eat anything. My birds never stick their noses up. They love eating…all of them.

13.. What does your bird refuse to eat: Oranges. She’s not so hot on oranges.

14.. What does your bird appear to eat or crave over other foods: She craves seed…that is why I won’t allow it except as a treat. She craves noodles and meat when I eat it.

Polly has a weight gain problem. We are not dieting her, as her health is so questionable so often, but she tends to weigh as much as my cockatoos. Probably not good…and it certainly does not help her as far as getting around goes. We do exercise her, but I know she is not getting what she needs. She is unable, physically, to do simple things other birds do. To get to her food dish, she has to slide slowly to it, then to the perch I put in front of it so she can bend and eat safely without falling. She is unbalanced because her feet don’t close all the way and they just don’t grip normally anymore. In fact, I’m not sure at all that they can close in a fist…I believe when she closes them, they stop at a certain point because of arthritis. Her feet also have additional problems: Thick skin where it appears there were many years of infections and they certainly show signs of being on a flat surface for a very long period of time.

When I adopted Polly I gave an oath that I would never abandon her and I’d do everything under my power to help her. I am at this point, questioning what I am doing and hoping and praying there are some answers to get her off of this antibiotic regimen. It’s messing up her liver, kidneys and goodness knows what else. I am hoping to spend another 20 years with this wobbly old bird.;o) But I need good advice on how to cure this so we can. Surgery is out of the question. Polly simply wouldn’t make it. I hope you can help. Thanks to you all in advance, Renee CEO Cockatoos.org

Renee, In my humble opinion I would take your bird off the baytril and use garlic instead. I know many people will disagree with me but I feed sprouted seeds with mixed veggies and four times a week I put garlic that I have pureed to a baby food consistency in. This is just part of their diet. I do this because the garlic is medicinal and the sprouts are live food. In addition I sprinkle cinnamon on the food on the days I don’t do garlic. I put my sprouted seeds and veggies in a bowl (enough for four meals for two toos) put about a teaspoon of pureed garlic and mix well, then sprinkle with barley green (for my fusspots won’t eat greens…yet), sprinkle with roasted and powdered egg shell. Sprinkle on one MSM capsule and mix well. Feed half and refrigerate half. I know it is getting into their systems from the garlic kisses I get. Next day I mix only one days worth and omit the garlic but sprinkle cinnamon.

As for your bird crookedness. When I had a one footed cockatoo I could see that her spine caused her pain. I put pine slats in her cage at the corners and sewed pillows filled with buckwheat for the shelves and the top. The buckwheat settled in such a way that her spine was straightened more and after a time I could physically feel that it was straightening and I could see that she was in less pain. In addition, I used “comfy perches” as they can be placed in a way that will compensate for her body imbalance.

If your bird will tolerate it, try lying down and putting him on your chest and do tiny and light spirals with your finger tips up nd down his spine. This massage is very calming and will relax those strained and painful muscles. If your poor baby is in pain the muscles will be tense and it can become a way of life for him. This exorcise will give him relief so that the muscles can relearn wat it is like to be relaxed. It will also create an intimate bond and if it is done right, both of you might nod off.

I have been using MSM for my M2 since last January for feather picking. Now, this doesn’t relate to Polly’s problem but does say I haven’t had any adverse effects. I use the MSM for myself for arthritis and for my dobermans aging hips. I have also had some sucess using MSM for pain management. It doesn’t completely relieve the pain but does lessen it greatly.

I have the utmost sympathy for the both of you. It is difficult to have a feathered friend that needs you so much. Every time you look at them, your heart breaks because you don’t know if you are doing enough or doing it right.

Once again, this is just what I do.  Roxanne

I had a duck with a similar problem. except I pretty much knew the cause.  When he was a baby, something got a hold of his leg (probably a turtle) under  water, and took off half the leg, leaving the tendons, ligaments, and  muscles, exposed. The vet wanted to amputate the leg, but he wanted the  infection to heal up first. Anyway, bottom line is, I was able to save the  leg, even though half of the exposed tissue, dried up and fell off. During  the healing process, as the duck was growing rapidly, he laid on his side,  with his leg out, because, I believe, that was the most comfortable position  for him, at the time. Well, because of this position, and his rapid growth,  he grew “crooked.” His whole body was kind of “twisted.” He lived a good long  life, and even with his disability, was always jumping the female ducks. I  called him “Soupy,” for “Super Duck.”

<< I need suggestions of what I can do to get rid of this stinky bacterial  stuff and how to clean her out WITHOUT using medications over the counter  anymore. Her little liver probably looks like chopped liver at this  point…I don’t want to do anymore damage to this bird and I think our vets  are headed in the absolutely wrong direction.>>

My suggestion would be, to give her probiotics, yogurt, and digestive  enzymes, to help replace the gut flora. Make sure the bird is getting some  exercise, to help push the food through the body faster, thereby not sitting,  and putrefying so long. You will notice, that the longer the bird goes,  without defecating, the stinkier it gets. Example, the morning poop, or when  a bird is nesting. Just some thoughts. Regards, Linda

Hi Renee, I would also add some slippery elm bark  powder to Polly’s food. It is coating everything it touches, has  healing properties in it and is very nourishing. You can mix the slippery elm with water and see if Polly eats it. If yes, give her a teaspoon full and let her eat as much as she wants. If not, just put some powder over her wet food. In case you can not find it at your health food store, here is a site  where you can order it. I use theirs and know it is fresh. http://www.azurefarm.com Gudrun

I am so far from an expert, that I am almost reluctant to post. But a couple of thoughts struck me while reading about Polly that I would like to share…

First, on the meds for so long, I am sure her intestinal flora would be upset. Acidophilus supplementation and digestive enzymes (plant based only) would probably be very beneficial to her. I am quite surprised that your avian vet didn’t suggest this while having her on such a long course of treatment.

Garlic in her food could possibly help to kill the bad bacteria in her system without the use of the meds. It would be worthwhile to also investigate what other natural sources are antibacterial, such as possibly cinnamon, etc…

A trip to a holistic vet, were this my bird, would be something high on the agenda. I don’t personally have a holistic bird vet, that is something I am still seeking out (maybe I’ve found one? Have interview with him today). But look around in your area to see if you can find one.

Has Polly had any bloodwork done? Again, if she were mine (and you can take that for what it’s worth, because as I said, I am no expert <G>), I would want to know just what might be going on inside of her, what systems might need detox or support, how her balances of EVERYTHING are fairing. This also could give nutritional insight as to what she needs more of, or less of in her diet. Not just your regular CBC, but a complete blood chemistry profile.

And finally, I would consider finding, while looking for that holistic vet, someone experienced with acupuncture (and chiropractic, though with her injuries, I’m not sure what they would say about being able to work with her… I would ask THEM what they thought). Such a person just might be able to help somewhat with her overall balance, any pain, and her overall mobility.

Just some thoughts for you to consider and possibly explore. Regards, Angie

Here is the URL about diet that I’d like you to read. It gives you a good overview and best of all, it isn’t just from me. http://www.holisticbird.org/pages/dietSeedPellet.htm

Garlic is a good antibiotic, antifungal, but it is also an anticoagulant. If your bird has bleeding problems you should moderate your use of garlic. Echinacea is an antibiotic and antiviral herb. Garlic and echinacea plus probiotics are the three main things I give baby cockatiels if they have yeast and bacteria when I pull them from the nest for handfeeding. It works wonderfully well.

The dose I use is one capsule of each per every 50cc of handfeeding formula. If I am feeding 5 chicks 10cc each, then each will get 1/5 of a capsule of each. I base this dosage on any size bird. If a bird takes 50cc formula then it will get a whole capsule of each. Therefore the dose works out perfectly to the size of the bird. If you aren’t handfeeding, you will have to administer the herbs in a manner appropriate to the bird.

If Zupreem is a dry pellet and you sprinkle a dry herb on it, I don’t see how the bird will get an accurate dose. The dry herb will fall off of the pellets into the cracks between them and filter down to the bottom of the dish. Maybe the bird will consume some, but how much? The best way to administer a medicine is any way that you know the bird will get the dose that it needs. One way is by restraining the bird and giving it orally. If your bird is an eager eater, you don’t have to do that. Give the bird something you know it will eat completely (and that is healthy for it) and mix the dose into that food. Then you know that the bird has consumed the complete dose.

In your case, the bird loves those wieners. I’m not familiar with the baby food wieners. If they contain nothing but chicken and water, as you say, then it is probably OK for her to have some. I don’t know how big they are or how much of them you feed. I don’t know the protein to fat ratio. You will have to look that up. Are you sure they don’t contain any spices or additives?

If your bird is severely overweight, then you need to seriously re-think what you are feeding her. You mention fruit loops, ice cream, pasta, (I know, not a lot….but calories add up and these calories are not loaded with nutrition.) Your bird needs good nutrition to help that liver heal. It wouldn’t surprise me if her liver was infiltrated with fat. From now on, you need to make every calorie count. Even her treats should be good nutrition.

There are two diets I’d like you to have a look at: One is Alicia McWatter’s Mash diet, and the other is Pam’s Layered Salad. Both of these diets will need to be adjusted for your bird, though. The things from these diets that will need to be eliminated are beans, pasta, and potatoes. The things both diets have in common are that they contain fresh fruits, vegetables, and greens.

Beans need to be eliminated from your bird’s diet because they produce gas, which your bird doesn’t need. Otherwise beans are good food…just not natural to most parrots. The pasta and potatoes have too high of a glycemic index.. Carbs are great for athletes who need sustainable energy. Birds in the wild are athletes who need large amounts of sugar so they can fly great distances while they are foraging. Bird in captivity are sedentary and all those starchy carbs are not used, they turn to fat.

Your bird needs high fiber and complex chains of polysaccharides that are harder to break down. The fiber will help to clean out the intestines so bacteria doesn’t have a chance to sit still and ferment. An amazon is a perfect candidate for a diet of raw foods. The enzymes in raw foods will help with your bird’s digestion and also help to restore a healthy balance of microorganisms in the digestive tract.

These are the foods I recommend for your bird’s daily fare: Two veggies…alternate two a day for at least four days before repeating carrots, squash (including the seed), pumpkin, yams/sweet potatoe (cooked), broccoli, celery, green beans, peas, tomato

Two fruits…alternate two a day for at least four days before repeating banana, orange, apple, kiwi, mango, papaya, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, cantaloupe

Greens spinach, kale, beet tops, endive, escarole, romaine, radicchio.

Seeds serve only in the evening after the bird has consumed veggies, fruits, and greens for the day. A cockatiel seed mix is ideal. Do not feed a parrot seed mix because there are too many fatty seeds in a parrot mix. The cockatiel mix should contain mainly millet and canary with a few safflower and sunflower and pine nuts.

Nuts One raw nut served at the end of the day. Almonds, walnuts, brazils.

Extra protein If you are sure the baby food wieners are Only chicken, then she can have a small piece every day, but mix her herbs with it so she will consume them. Also give her some hard boiled egg that includes both yolk and white.

Probiotics should be obtained from the health food store in the refrigerated section. They should be human grade from a reliable company that guarantees the number of live bacteria. Digestive enzymes should be sprinkled on a piece of fruit the your bird will eat. I like Prozyme because it contains lipase, lactose, protease, and cellulase. Digestive enzymes will help to eliminate gas.

Green Food supplements: Mix barley grass, wheat grass, and spirulina powder (human grade from the health food store) together and sprinkle on the soft food with shaker. All three of these combined provide a mineral-rich nutrient base that will cover anything missed from the foods above.

For right now, eliminate all other grains (except the seed mix) from your bird’s diet. Make sure the seeds are fresh enough that they would sprout if allowed to. All of the foods mentioned above are live foods except for the cooked sweet potates, hard boiled egg, green food supplements and added digestive enzymes. I’m trying to eliminate dead food from her diet. The main thing for Polly is that the majority of her diet be living food. I’d actually prefer all of her diet be living except for the green food supplements and added enzymes.

Keep a log of your bird’s weight. Weigh her every day at the same time. She should be able to handle this diet with no problem for two weeks at least.

For medicinal herbs, use echinacea, garlic, and milk thistle. If it were my bird, I would administer half a capsule of each twice a day on food that she will eat….ensuring that she consumes the medicinal herbs too. Gudrun’s suggestion of slippery elm is also a good one. It will help to soothe her.

As she adjusts to the new diet regimen, you will probably see changes in droppings. She might even get a bit worse as the bacteria in her digestive tract change along with the diet changes. This is normal, but keep us posted. She might start to detox, too. Every bird is an individual, so I’m not sure what form that will take with her. Just be observant of changes and let us know what they are.


I was in a supermarket today and checked. Baby food wieners contain 300mg of sodium plus sugar, garlic, onion I think, and maybe spices. I knew I should have written it down. I believe the sodium amount was for the whole jar so maybe it isn’t so awful since there seemed to be a lot of them. I’m sure the sugar isn’t good for Polly. IMO, they are too highly processed a food for a bird, particularly one with health problems.


Hi Renee, I’ve gone back to read over your evaluation form again. Two things popped out at me: 1. your bird’s craving for salty foods….wieners and pickles. 2. falling off the perch, which might indicate dizziness or fainting

Both of these symptoms are indicative of adrenal malfunction. Unresolved stressful situations over a long period of time damages the adrenal glands. When the adrenal glands don’t function the way they are supposed to, then the immune system doesn’t work either.

Under active adrenal gland symptoms: weakness, lethargy, dizziness, headaches, food cravings, allergies, and blood sugar disorders. An under active adrenal gland is called Addison’s disease. An overactive adrenal gland is called Cushing’s disease.

The recommendations to help the adrenal glands are these: 1. Follow all the suggestions that were given to you earlier, but I would substitute astragalus for echinacea unless the bird is running a temp. Astragalus is particularly important to restore adrenal function and it is an excellent immune stimulant. Astragalus also helps with degenerative conditions, liver conditions, stress, and weakness…so it seems ideal for Polly. 2. In addition, supplement with vitamin B complex and Vitamin C (brewer’s or nutritional yeast can supply the B vitamins) 3. Give L-tyrosine (it’s an amino acid) 4. The bird would benefit from glandular therapy. Enzymatic therapy has taken that to a science; Use raw adrenal and raw adrenal cortex glandular supplements. They should be in the health food store 5. The raw diet I recommended earlier is very important. Avoiding any processed foods is also very important. 6. The bird needs omega 3 fatty acids. Humans could get that from cold water oily fish, but birds can get it from flax seed. Either buy the whole seed and grind them to a powder just before sprinkling them on the bird’s food or you can purchase the flax seed already ground. Omega makes a product that has been stabilized with vitamin E. Flax will also add fiber to the diet. Don’t overdo all at once or the bird will get gas. Half a capsule twice a day is fine.

I know it sounds like a lot to buy, but the nice thing is that it will last a long time. 🙂