Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Some might call it fate…

On June 11, 2010 I passed the doorway to my home with a female Red-bellied parrot.

She is not, however, a baby bird. She was hatched in 2004 so would most likely be 6 and I’ll most likely be able to confirm her hatchdate since she originally came from the same breeder as Joey and Zuri and based on the information I have got from a fellow owner of a Red-bellied parrot which came from that same breeder, she only had the one pair of Red-bellied parrots.

She is named Stewie and I have known of her existence for a while.

I first saw Stewie in a pet store in 2008. By then she already had her adult plumage, being 3 or 4 years old. I had recently got Joey and fell in love with the quirks which make Red-bellieds different from other Poicephalus (they all have their thing which makes them different). I was very tempted to buy her, got ever more tempted each time I dropped by the pet store to see if she was still there, but I refused to (and still do) buy a parrot from a pet store given the outrageous mark-up and the fact that I do not want to help another bird get into the system (by filling up a spot which just became available). So I resisted and one day she was no longer there. To be honest, I was sad – yes I was no longer tempted but part of me really wanted her.

However it wasn’t the last I heard of Stewie; later in 2008, her new owner joined a few bird forums I also happen to be a member of and we talked for a bit. I was happy I got to hear more about her and he had actually suggested at one point that he would consider me as a new home for Stewie if he ever needed to rehome her. But after a while, he dissapeared from those forums for some years, or we just happened to not be on at the same time (as I can go months without going on a forum sometimes).

Then in May of this year I got an email from him asking if I was still interested in Stewie. He found himself in need to rehome a few of his birds for personal reasons and remembered I had showed interest in Stewie. Timing was a little off at that point but a few weeks later on a Saturday my boyfriend and I went to visit. Stewie proved to be quite adorable, however, the state of some of her feathers (more so why they were the way they were) amongst other things made me reticient to just accept taking her in without previously having her checked by my vet. I made an appointment the following Monday and this also delayed us getting her since the closest available time slot was nearly two weeks away.

From the previous visit, I had remembered her feathers on her chest to be rather ratty looking – the vet aggreed with me. However, she didn’t think, after examination, that there was anything really wrong physically with Stewie. To be on the safe side, I had a full blood panel done and will receive the results shortly. I very much suspect that the poor feather condition might be attributed to stress – while it was clear that her former owner loves his birds, he kept them cageless in his living room converted to bird room – this might have been too much for Stewie in my opinion. Had it been her alone, fine. Her with similar type birds, fine again. She was in there with a number of different species, ranging from Lovebird to a Sulfur Crested Cockatoo. From what we could see, she spent her time on a ciment perch or on a grate-type barrier. My vet also agrees that this might explain the poor feathers. While he also gave his birds pellets, what we saw was only the Zupreem fruit blend and I doubt this is the best thing available. So I’ll have to convert her to a better diet and I’m sure this will bring back some luster to hear feathers, combined with a few showers. For now, she’s being held in quarantine in my bedroom and will remain so until my vet gives me the ok.

As much as I have been searching for a baby these last few months, this was mostly due to me not being able to find an adult to rehome (or one which I wanted to take on), when I knew Stewie was looking for a new home I couldn’t resist. It seems like the fact that the clutch of babies I was so desperately hoping would contain a female and didn’t in the end might have been all males for a reason – because Stewie was coming along. Although we do have some work to do to get her back to top shape, she has shown so far a very sweet disposition (to which even my vet agrees) and I’m sure with a proper diet, living quarters (with her OWN space and toys) and frequent shower/baths, she’ll be good in no time.

One thing will have to go though…her name. I just can’t have a female bird name “Stewie” (I really despise the name). I have something in mind, will have to see if it sticks…

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