Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Sex and the single bird
I have an 8-year old pionus parrot named Sibyl. She keeps me company while I work here at the computer, either sitting quietly with her beak tucked under a wing, napping, or playing on a shelf full of toys.
Then one day last year Sibyl laid, or rather, dropped an egg. Two days later, another, and two days after that, another. They were all dropped from on high and they all broke. She never made any attempt to sit her dud-eggs and they were all removed.
The vet was visited, Lupron was injected to halt the process. The Lupron worked for some months but then the cycles started again. She dropped another egg in front of me this morning.
Besides the issue of potential egg-binding, there is the loss of a good friend. A hen looking to mate is relentless. (Like a little dog that won’t get off your leg, a hormonal bird solicits endlessly. It’s not funny!
Well, maybe a little funny. I'm picturing a bird wrapped around my ankle, aren't you?)
My latest scheme isn’t working, either. I decided if you can’t stop it, then at least have her sit a clutch and stop the incessant soliciting for a few weeks while she does. Yesterday I put a small cardboard box in her big day cage and left for the day, thinking she would love having a “nest.” She didn’t go near it.
This morning she was sitting on her basket next to the kitchen table while I ate my breakfast; she’d finished hers. I heard a strange wheezing or hissing sound and could see her getting ready to lay. I took her to a nest box, she looked inside, turned around and went up onto the low-lying coiled rope perch, and dropped her egg. She cocked her head to look at it but didn’t go down. I gently moved the unbroken egg into the box, hoping she would go to it. She didn’t. I moved her to the egg. She touched it a couple of times, turned around and went back up on her perch where she has remained, beak tucked, napping, ever since.
I suppose the box idea was too little, too late.
What to do?