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Gracie A Very Special Nanday Conure

Amazing Grace

Gracie A Very Special Nanday Conure

This is Gracie's story, a sad story because it occurs too often, but fortunately for Gracie, one with a happy new beginning.

Gracie is a 1 1/2 year old physically challenged Nanday Conure. Her right foot does not grip properly and she has a nervous condition which makes Gracie's head wobble when challenged with even a simple new task.

I first met Gracie at a local pet store where her previous owner, had just minutes before my arrival, sold her and left. Her excuse was one that we hear all to often "I just do not have time for this bird any more". When I first spotted Gracie she was clinging franticly to the sides of her cage, sad little eyes searching for the one who left her behind. I removed Gracie from her cage in order to offer her some sort of comfort. That is when I noticed that Gracie was not right. Her one foot did not grip properly and her little head wobbled when she tried to cling to me. I spoke softly to Gracie and this seemed to calm her. That day I left the pet store in tears. Tears for Gracie and all the other little birds that unfortunately suffer at the hands of people who just do not have time for this bird any more.

For about a month I visited Gracie as much as I could. I watched as people passed her by for the "perfect younger birds". The only information I could gather about Gracie's history was that she was purchased at a local pet fair (Corpus Christi, TX) from a local breeder (Band ID is JB tx 3) and was always fed a standard parrot mix. I seriously doubt that the breeder ever discosed Gracie's disability to the unsuspecting buyer. Unfortunately for Gracie she was improperly raised by an uncaring, unknowledgeable, out to make a buck breeder who sold Gracie to an individual who knew less than they did about proper avian nutrition and care. Seeing Gracie was hard for me, but I felt she needed someone in this world who cared enough to stop and spend some time with her. The pet store owner and staff did all they could do for Gracie, but with a business to run, individual one-on-one time for Gracie was limited. Gracie needed a home.

On 4 April 1998, Gracie came home with me. I purchased a new cage just like Gracie's old one and the store owner gave me Gracie's toys and her one short rope perch that she was most comfortable on. After Gracie was set up in her new home I immediately went and purchased 3 properly sized comfort perches for her. The old short inadequate perch was removed and tossed. I shaped the perches so Gracie could better navigate from one to the other with ease and could perch without dragging and further damaging her once long slender elegant tail against the bars of the cage. Also, I gave Gracie a comfort rope swing which she took to right off. With her familiar cage, toys, and decent perches, Gracie seemed to settle in.

It was quite apparent to me that Gracie was malnourished. Her weight was not what it should be for a Nanday of her age, her breast bone was way too prominent, and she was in poor feather. Gracie had further suffered from the ignorance of the breeder and previous owner. Each evening I bring my flock (Congo African Grey , Quaker Parrot, Nanday Conure , and Albino Ring-neck Dove) into the kitchen, place them on their play stands, and talk to them as I prepare their meals for the following day. I use this special flock time to introduce new foods and give my birds a chance to safely interact with each other away from their cages. Because Gracie was still in quarantine she was given her own special kitchen time. It became apparent to me at this time that Gracie had never even seen let alone eaten any fruits or veggies before. Her little head wobbled as she tried to take a bite of broccoli I held for her. A reaction Gracie shows when trying to perfrom an unfamiliar task. Tears fell again for Gracie as I watched her try so hard for that one little bite. It will take some time and patience on my part to familiarize Gracie with good foods, but I am determined that it can and will be done.

Due to the extremly poor condition of Gracie's feathers I knew she had probably never experienced a misting or bath. I placed Gracie on a play pen I had modified for her by wrapping the perches with vet wrap so she could get a better grip and feel more secure. With misting bottle in hand I gently misted Gracie from above so the water would gently fall upon her feathers. The look of sheer surprise as Gracie looked up to see where the water was coming from confirmed my belief that Gracie had never experienced the feel of water upon her feathers. After Gracie's bath, I gently dried her and held her telling her what a pretty bird she was. As Gracie preened her newly cleaned feathers, the shine becan to reappear, even Gracie's tattered fanned out tail feathers drew back to resemble that of a Nanday. With more future mistings I am sure Gracie will once again take great pride in her appearance.

In order for me to further properly care for Gracie, and due to her apparent physical, emotional, and nutritional problems, a visit to my Flock's Avian Vet was in order. I as so nervous while I watched Gracie being examined. Praying the whole time that Gracie would have a future to look forward to. Gracie had already suffered enough in her first year and a half of life at the hands of greed and ignorance. A sigh of relief came when no heart, respiratory, bacterial, or yeast problems were detected. Gracie was found to be suffering from a common metabolic bone disorder caused from improper nutrition during hand feeding and further complicated by her previous owner feeding her an inadequate diet. My Avian Vet prescribed 1cc/4oz of water of Neo Calglucon be put in Gracie's water 3 times a week.

Gracie will never be a so called "perfect bird", but then nothing in nature is. I am sure that with patience, understanding, love, and proper nutrition Gracie will blossom from an ugly ducklng into a beautiful swan.

For those of us who truly love birds, the story of Gracie is an all too familiar one. Next time you want to add another member to your flock, consider giving a special bird like Gracie a new beginning.

Becky and Feathered Friends

For The Life And Love Of Gracie - Her Story Continues

Gracie's Favorite Sites
Animal Lovers Web Ring
Avian Enthusiasis Web Ring

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