A YOUTube Video Saved My Bird
I flicked on the lights, greeted the Amazons, and opened the flight cage to release the cockatiels and parakeets. Then I saw her. Huddling in a food dish, puffed-out feathers, and glazed eyes, were all signs of illness, but it was her rapid breathing that frightened me. Her respiration rate was abnormally high. And her feet! Nelly was standing with extended feet, wide apart and straight, like me standing on tiptoes.
Birds perch with their ankles bent, folding themselves down on their feet. Their knees are hidden under their feathers, and the part we see is their long ankle bone bending as they perch.
Was she egg-bound? She and her mate, Paulie had been engaging in a lot of sex lately. Being egg-bound means the bird is unable to expel an egg from her body. It is stuck, making the bird critically ill, and death follows within a day or two for small birds.
Searching the internet provided a lot of information and advice to get the bird to an avian vet posthaste. I did not heed that advice for several reasons.
1) Melly does not enjoy being handled. She only knows me.
2) She has never been separated from her mate.
3) If she died during transport or at the vet’s, her mate would be devastated.
I had to attempt to resolve her problem myself. It was scary but YOUTube videos showed me it was possible to help her expel the egg.
Wrapping a screaming Melly in a towel, I inverted her on my lap and gently felt for the egg. It was there. A round object in her belly. Following the video, I massaged her belly and applied lubrication (warm K-Y liquid to her vent areas (where the egg exits).
Was I terrified? Yes. I was afraid of crushing the egg and causing her more pain and certain death—two more massages that day, with blood dripping from my fingers drawn by an enraged Melly.
I was certain she would be dead on the floor the following morning, but she was alive and straining to remove her egg. More massages, more liquid. Her rapid breathing lessened. On day four she was still fighting and alive. By this time, it could have been my imagination, but the egg seemed to have dropped down. One final massage and she expelled the egg!
It has been two weeks since her ordeal. She is still recovering, slowly regaining her strength. Her eyes are bright again, she is responding to her mate, and starting to fly short distances. I am overjoyed.
I hope this situation never arises again. I may not be so lucky next time.