Sunday, 26 May 2013

How I made the bird bleed, but not to death.

 Cute and Birdy. 
I love our birds.  They are so cute and birdy.

Not everyone loves them.

You see, the thing is, with birds, is that they can fly.  And they need their wings clipped if you don't want them flying around your house, and down the stairs and out the front door.

Once I took one of them to the vet for a wing clipping.  It cost $70.  The bird cost $30.

So I asked the man at the pet shop at the Mall if I could do it myself and he showed me on one of his birds.  It looked pretty easy, just cut along the line of feathers and leave the longest pair for show.  He said to just cut one side so they can't fly in a straight line.

The pet shop (a different one) we bought our bird from said NEVER cut just one side because it's so undignified to fly in a circle.  Or is it more undignified not to fly at all?

This blog does not attempt to answer such philosophical conundrums I'm afraid.

I put off the self clipping.  I didn't really want to clip their wings because I was afraid of cocking it up.  But I didn't want to pay $70 either.  Twice.  Because I am a tight arse.

Eventually I bit the bullet.  Captured the small stupidest blue bird, or Noodles as he is known,  fanned out his wing while he bit the shit out of the webbing between my thumb and forefinger, used Issy's craft scissors to snip up the line of feathers as I'd been shown.  Repeat on other side.

Now, just to backtrack, when we bought Noodles, the man clipped his wings for us before we left the shop.  He was very over keen in his clipping.  Noodles was also biting his hand at the same time.  He is a biter, is our Noodles.

The man (possibly in revenge) cut his wings so short that all Noodles has ever been able to do is take sort of short hopping jumpy leaps all over the floor.

If Nibbles shoves him hard enough during a hissy fit, he pushes Noodles from his perch and Noodles can't do anything but fall helplessly to the floor of the cage.

Noodles wings hadn't grown back much since the pet shop butchering, but I gave them a trim anyway.

Then I trimmed the crazy yellow bird's wings, leaving his long feathers long as suggested by the pet shop guy, but doing both sides because I don't believe in lopsided birds.

And the result? The yellow bird can still fly so high he can get himself into trouble.  Or fly straight into the window and give himself a concussion.  The blue bird still can't fly, but he never could.

And my hand is very badly bitten.

The next day, I walked past the birdcage.


I kept going.  Thinking it was a trick of the light, a strange shadow.

I came back.  Yep. Blood.  The kids realised what I was looking at and all started screaming.  They thought their bird was dying.  I thought their bird was dying.

Turns out Noodles had done one of his falls to the cage bottom, and bumped some part of himself on the cage as he went down.  For a while we thought Nibbles had nibbled him.  And we watched Noodles anxiously for signs of weakness.

I cleaned the cage, removing all signs of blood to stop the screaming.

We couldn't bear another Smuggler episode.  That just broke our hearts.  This bird needs to stay alive.

You see, birds are so small, they don't have to bleed much before it's too much, and they die.  Or they get infected and die.  Or just die.

But then I found out that it was his feathers that were bleeding.  Because I'd cut them a smidgen too short and when he bumped them, he'd made them bleed.  According to my excellent friend Clare (who knows birds) this has happened to her birds too.

Once I'd cleaned up the cage, got the bird out, been bitten to shreds again while I tried to clean the wound/feathers, I was a nervous wreck.  A friend offered Ti tree oil so I smeared that all over him with a cotton bud.

He seemed fine.  Still does.  But my goodness it gave us a fright.