Ahem, excuse the pun… I couldn’t resist.

Pip has fared the worst of our birds after Charlie’s death, but today we had a breakthrough. Her favourite part of the day has always been breakfast; she loves fresh seed, and goes mad for her ‘treat cup.’ The treat cup has bourn all manners of tasty things, from egg – boiled, or scrambled, shell included – raw fruits and veggies (broccoli and romaine lettuce being the favourite), to cooked things like carrot or rice, and a few times even mashed potatoes. By Pip, it is revered.

Charlie-Pip in their cage sharing days. Pip was first to discover the magic of the treat cup.

After Charlie, Pip became suddenly uninterested in food. She sat in the covered half of her cage against the wall, looking harried. She would go to her food bowl a few times a day, eat, and then drink a little, and quickly return to her previous position. Treat cups went ignored; offerings of extra seed were unnoticed.

There were several solutions. First, time. Second, when we decided that she was feeling less than her best, we put a dose of antibiotics in her water. Perhaps not the wisest solution, but we’ll run a full course and see. Money is tight at the moment, and our experience is that with a bird so small (too small for blood work), the vet can’t do much.

The next step with Pip was when we realised her toes had grown a bit too long and were causing her discomfort. We don’t (didn’t) like to catch the fairies too often to do toes, as it’s a fairly stressful experience. Small birds really don’t like it. Instead, our strategy is to let Pip’s nails grow out until she is basically a velociraptor, and then catch her for a quick trim.

The ‘e-Pip-hany’ moment. If you look closely, you can see how long her talons… um, nails are.

Next, post-toe-trim, we offered up another favourite food: cucumber (use sparingly; it can cause  avian diarrhoea). I think perhaps the birds’ seed is a little off – both kinds are getting towards the older side – so we’ll buy fresh ASAP. The other flock members haven’t been as keen on their seed as usual, either, and so they have all received snacks at the unusual time of 21:00 in an effort to get their appetites back on track (it seems to be working).

The little one was trying to figure out how to reach this strange, magical cup of goodness, but instead discovered the Snuggle Safe hidden atop Pip’s cage. (TERRIFYING.)

It’s wonderful to see Pip hopping about. After eating devouring some cucumber, she promptly went to her seed bowl for seconds. Hopefully this is the first big step towards finding normality. Another thing I’m going to do to help is a quick swap-around of everyone’s cage contents. This helps shake things up and prevent cage territoriality with the parrots. Pip will get one of Ptak’s smaller perches, as hers are currently plastic. I think I’ll look for some good mineral perches, too, for her – Mishka loves hers.

Mishka herself has spent the day out and about, chewing on O.’s computer manual (I hope he never needs it), trying to sing Jingle Bells (first six notes, anyway), and flapping to and fro. She likes being able to choose for herself where to go, and this is something we try to facilitate. Her mood has been less than stellar lately, so I’m hoping some extra time with her people out of cage will help.

And maybe some more time chewing up important paper-y things, too.

I’m keeping a close eye on everyone this week. If need be, they’ll all get toted off to the BBV (big, bad vet). I’m just hoping it won’t come down to that.


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