Monday, March 26, 2007

Good Bird Medicine (Yum)

As a child and I was frightened of needles. Injections of any sort brought out my wild side...kicking and screaming all the way. Well, as a bird owner, I have that same thing to contend with when medicating Mr. Spock, our cherry head conure/parrot.

Today is day 18 of giving Mr. Spock his 21-days of medication. The stress poor Spock goes through while getting his medication using the vet's method should probably warrant a sedative for him (and for us). What a commotion! Spock is a very independent minded bird and doesn't do what Spock doesn't want to do. He tries to bite and claw his way out of getting dosed. He's also a biter when he feels threatened (the vet techs approach the little guy like he's a vulture).

If it wasn't so serious a matter, I would call it comical. Two human adults chasing a small green and red bird around the house with a hand towel. Slapstick. Spock sees the towel and dives to the floor, then starts a wild run and hop all around (his wings are clipped). Are you a bird owner who knows what I am describing? When we finally get hold of him, it breaks our hearts to see him in that stiff mummy pose. takes two of us to keep his beak open enough to slide in the tip of a syringe filled with medicine (a needle-free syringe). The first few times, Spock actually tricked us. He concealed the liquid meds somewhere in his beak, then"spit" it all out. Can you imagine? So we learned how to overcome Spock's trickery and get the meds down twice per day...and...make it a pleasure to do.

After about 10 days of the 'stalk/capture/medicate method', we really thought that he would become more accustomed to it and trained to accept the medicine routine. A delusion, I guess. So we switched over to the the 'sneak in to the beak' method. It all came to me while eating a yummy treat from Mercier's Apple Orchard in Georgia. We mix the two medications with about 6 cc's (very little) of sweet, smooth, delicious old fashioned apple butter. I hand feed it to him and whisper sweet nothings at him the whole time. He loves it! Tastes good, he's happy, and he doesn't hate us. We love it too. (Of course, we called the vet's office and got the method approved...which leads me to wonder why in the world they don't give you a little hint like at the start.)

What have we learned? A negative becomes a positive for bird and mankind. By sweetening things up a little when giving our bird medicine, we turned it in to a treat and bonding process with Mr. Spock, instead of one that seemed more of a discipline exercise which controlled him with fear and force.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes... Sweeten it up works!

Zowie is my Sun Conure -- so I guess she and Mr Spock are cousins maybe...

Anyways awhile ago - I had to give her a liquid antibiotic.... I knew my Zowie and I knew this would not be easy. So right away I had asked the vet if I could put it in vanilla yogurt. She absolutely loves vanilla yogurt! The vet said that was AOK.

So everyday for 10 days - I put vanilla yogurt on a spoon with the dropper of antibiotic and Zowie happily ate it all up! I was extremely relieved!

Glad to hear that Mr. Spock is liking his sweeten medicine!