Sunday, December 16, 2012

Léa's first difficult molt

I'm not sure who it was harder on, her or myself.

It all really started on Friday morning. As it is generally the case on week days, I got the Littles and the Boy had Léa with him during their time out of cage before we leave for work. When it came time to put everyone in, I noticed that Léa's morning poo didn't quite look like it does normally. It didn't look terrible, but it looked a little off. To make things worse, she seemed to want to stay on the bottom of her cage until we brought her food.

Generally, those two things together would be strong indicators that a bird is sick. However, when we gave her her breakfast, she made her way to her bowl and proceeded to sample the morning's offerings. As well, just before we left the house, we weighed her and that seemed fairly normal. The Boy also tried to reassure me that sometimes she acts that way in the morning. After all, birds are also entitled to have "those" mornings where they are tired.

The Boy promised that he would go check on her at lunch (as he works not too far from our home) and we left for work. It didn't take too long that I started to worry again and thought I had made a mistake to go to work instead of keeping an eye on Léa.

Lunch time finally arrived and the Boy called me to give me some news - while she was still preferring to hang out at the bottom of her cage, she was playing with some larger wood chunks that had fallen from toys above. She was also pretty happy to see him and made her way close to the door when he opened it. He weighed her and the weight still seemed to be pretty good and average and when he went to put her back in, she escaped his hands and was on the gyms in the birdroom, hopping around, which I guess were other good signs.

Finally, it was time to head back home and, just to make me worry more, Léa was once again on the bottom of her cage but came out pretty willingly. It was my turn to spend some time with her and all she essentially wanted to do was sleep. So I broke down and called the vet. I described everything that had happened so far that day, that things had really only started that day. I did mention that she was molting since the Boy and I had noticed a large number of pin feathers on her head/neck. The vet wasn't too concerned. Since there really was no obvious reasons for Léa to be ill, she said that it was most likely the molt. Given that Léa was still eating and maintaining a healthy weight, it was most likely that she was tired and feeling under the weather that day. As well, molting does draw out a lot of energy and that is probably why she was tired. She made us check if there was any obvious lumps in her crop and asked if any odours came out of her beak, both were negative, so she didn't think it was worth us going in yet. She ended up with saying to keep a close eye on things, and if her weight started to drop, to bring her in the clinic. She was quite reassuring and although the molting thing was an hypothesis I did have before calling her, I needed to confirm it with someone who's opinion I trusted. She did indicate that if it was truly molt related, that it might take Léa up to 48 hours to become herself again.

Saturday came around and things looked up. Poop was back to a more normal state and Léa was hanging out on her perches. She still wasn't her crazy self, but she was much more awake. It made me feel better.

Today she was definitively gaining more energy. She slowly reverted to some "naughty" habits (trying to chew computer screen, going on the floor) but really spent a lot of her time either asking to be groomed (those pesky pins on her head) or grooming the rest of her body. All good signs that clearly reinforced this molt being taxing on her system.

Last night and today I also proceeded to collect fallen feathers - while I had really noticed her molting because of the numbers of pins on her head, being really distracted lately has made me oblivious to the obvious mass of feathers she had lost.

This was what I collected over two days. A large number of them are some bigger feathers and those would be more demanding to replace.

Another flight feather that the Boy found after I had taken the previous picture, which really shows that I most likely have not uncovered all the feathers she's recently lost.

Léa just turned 19 months old a few days ago. She's obviously had some molts before this one, but none have resulted in her acting this way. To be honest, it does remind me of how Shade behaves when her flight feathers come in. A grumpy and tired mess at first and then, after a few days, seeking some help dealing with those itchy new feathers.

Going through all of this just reinforced my belief that it's important to know your birds' habits and that will help with detecting any changes, whether they be subtle or not. As well, having a great relationship with my vet was very helpful; she really did not seem to mind the call and helped ease my feelings; she asked for me to follow up Monday, even if things looked up.

On another note, here are some individual feather pictures of Léa's -

This is a covert feather and I absolutely love the green edging.

This one is from her chest, love the almost neon green edging and yellow center.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awww poor Lea. I'm glad she's perking up and I hope she's feeling better soon! It definitely looks like she's going through a big molt. Poor girl. Scritches for her!