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How to (or Not) Administer Medicine to an Ungrateful Bird

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This is just a funny account of having to administer medicine to my Moluccan Cockatoo.

I knew when I picked him up at the vet, that I would have to give him his medicine twice daily. It was explained to me in great detail how important it was that he receive ALL of his medication. I understand; I can do this. I knew that it would be hard for several reasons:

  • Tinker has a huge beaky-boo.
  • Tinker has a strong will, and has already demonstrated that he does not want to take his medicine.
  • Tinker has had a very rough past and has trust issues due to this past.
  • Tinker hates being confined into a towel.

But, being the brave (or stupid) person that I am, I know that I can accomplish this task. I actually knew that it would not be easy, but finally bit the bullet, quit putting it off, and took the plunge. Here is the account of it, I just needed to get it off my chest.

First of all, I had to chase him down with a towel. Now, Tinker is a very smart bird and he has learned that when someone is after him trying to hide a towel behind their back, that they are probably up to no good as far as a bird is concerned. He kept taking cover in the tiny little 4 inch gap up under his cage, making it necessary for me to keep going from side to side to try to run him out.

I finally got him cornered, threw the towel over him, grabbed him, and wrapped him up. That sounds like the hard part doesn't it? It wasn't.

So now I've got a bird who is flailing, yelling, and trying his best to use that before-mentioned very large beaky-boo to every advantage that there was to try to break free. God help me.

Well, I grabbed the bottom of his beak like the vet showed me and held it shut from snapping (I was actually kind of proud of myself for being so brave. It actually wasn't too hard to do, once the vet showed me exactly HOW to do it.)

Then came the fun part: trying to ease the syringe full of medicine into the soft little part at the base of his beak. Well, I missed the first time, or I didn't have quite the control of the beak that I thought that I had, because he bit the entire tip of the syringe off before I could even try to administer the medicine. I'd already come this far, though, and I knew that it had to be done, so I kept trying to get the medicine down his ungrateful throat. Every time I got the syringe into the right spot and tried to squirt a little of the medicine in, the stupid syringe kept sticking and squirting way too much in. Well, you're supposed to hold the bird at a 45 degree angle and only squirt a little at a time, so you won't choke the bird on too much at one time and wait for the bird to swallow what has been squirted in, before squirting in any more. This is kind of hard to do when the stupid syringe wouldn't cooperate.


At the end of this experience, I had tasted both kinds of medicine, due to it flying all around the room when Tinker refused to swallow; had possible nerve damage on my hand where he bit in the fleshy part between the forefinger and thumb, and totally lost the trust that I have tried so hard to gain with Tinker. But, it had to be done and he will not appreciate why I had to do it, but he will be healthy again; and I will work hard to rebuild the trust (until I have to administer the medicine again, God help me.)

By one.of.a.kind

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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

Hysterically funny story! :-) How did the next few doses go? ;-)

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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

Piece of cake from then on out, of all things. I now syringe feed him almost every day, to let him know that Good things come in syringes, and haven't had any problems since. Heck, I can outsmart a two-year-old, (well, a 15 year old, that acts like a two-year-old, LOL.)

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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

I know exactally what your talking about. I had a sweet african gray, but let her see a towel and that was all she wrote. The battle was on. Unfortunatly at the age of seventeen she developed cancer and had to have drugs each day. The vet knew I couldn't do it and kept her in his pet hospital for three months, free of charge, to care for her. How many vets would do that. She did pass away, and took part of me with her. So, be brave and do what you have to. The whole hospital sent me condolance cards. Hope your bird gets well and it will forgive you. I know I'll never forget that careing vet.

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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

This made me think of my experiences of trying to medicate animals..I tell you, you take your life in your hands when you do it with birds or cats! Tinker is definitely a little strong willed bird! (Tinker needs to be video-ed) I am really interested in seeing the progress you two are making. Was he the one someone kept in a hamster cage in the basement?

Bless you,


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June 29, 20100 found this helpful

Oh my goodness, I feel so sorry for you, trying to help the little fellow and all he knew was he thought you were trying to hurt him. It is so hard to give medicine to any animal, they don't know you are helping them. I hope you can regain the trust, he is a very nice looking bird. Best of luck to you.

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June 30, 20100 found this helpful

Carol101: So sorry about your precious AG, I have one as well, and know how smart and personable that they are. You love them like you never thought that you would.

I never in a hundred million years thought that I would become the bird person that I have become, and if my husband ever gave the ultimatum that several had to go (Steven would never do this, this I know for sure), I would be hard pressed to choose the ones to part with. I love each and every one of them, for the qualities that make them unique to themselves; and thank God every day that I have them to brighten up my life. Wish I actually did have a video camera; Connor "swoons" for me every day when I uncover her cage and get her out; I've never seen anything like it before. (Maroon-Bellied Conure - MBC) Blessings, Carole.

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June 30, 20100 found this helpful

Thanks for sharing your funny (and painful) story!

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