Just giving a quick update on Merlin and her broken beak. It has been an ongoing problem, unfortunately. She'd improve, start to move about her cage, then knock it and it would start to bleed again. This happened several times, and each time I would think it was the last time and we'd fixed it. So disheartening, and she'd started screaming at me every time I reached into her cage, which is so unlike her.
Saturday morning she was showing signs of distress and again, there was blood on my fingers when I tried to give her a bite of oatmeal. She cried and then stood on the floor of her cage and just screamed at me over and over, like a braying donkey. I was horrified and decided it was past time to see the vet.
I headed for the phone, but the avian vet couldn't see us. Vet was also 2 hours away, which was concerning in and of itself. I then wasted a few minutes trying to find a drug store and/or a vet that had silver nitrate we could lay hands on, which was a waste of time. I then fell back on what KateW said about the cayenne pepper. Amazingly, I think this is the only spice I have in the house. I grabbed that out of the fridge, took off my sweatshirt and headed back into the office, ready for the worst, and trying to act confident and fly casual.
Merlin was not pleased. There was much screaming, and some very serious biting, which was so sad as Merlin NEVER bites, so this just showed how scared she was and how badly she felt. Even when I had to give her multiple injections daily for liver failure she was never this frantic. But I managed to wrap her up -- and that proved to be the easy part. Putting the cayenne pepper on the biting, dodging beak tip was another matter. She bit me more times and more effectively than I managed to get any of the pepper on her. But this was the last step before the styptic pencil or possible death, and I couldn't not get it done.
We took a moment to catch our breath, her wrapped up in my sweatshirt in one arm, and the cap of bottle of cayenne pepper in my other hand. I set that down to tip out more of the spice into the bottle cap, thinking that maybe if I used more on my finger, I'd have a better chance of getting some of it on target. As I picked up the bottle, Merlin lunged forward and bit the bottle as hard as she could. In the process, she rammed that bleeding beak tip deep into the cayenne pepper, grinding it against the inner wall of the jar. When she let go, we were both surprised. She'd done the job better than I ever could have.
I unwrapped her and set her back in her cage, whereupon she treated me to every foul word and threat in the African Grey's language and a few in mine. She then backed into the far corner of her cage, feathers bristling and head down and beak out like a snowplow.
It hurts the feelings, you know, being told you're a booger -- and knowing she means it down to her last tail feather.
But she wasn't bleeding.
I was sure I had ruined our close relationship of over 22 years. It just broke my heart to have to manhandle her that way, and listening to her screaming was awful. But when I looked back in a couple of minutes, she still wasn't bleeding. In 15 minutes, she was standing on a perch for the first time in 2 days and said "hello" instead of AAAAHHHHHRRR!. In 30 minutes she was holding a glob of cold, stiff oatmeal in one foot and picking at it with enthusiam. Within an hour after the cayenne pepper treatment she was fine.
Today she's still not on hard food yet, and I'm still handfeeding soft food with what fingers I have left to me, but she's not bleeding at all anymore. She is moving about her cage and climbing freely. She is talking again, (with kinder words) and eating again. Best of all, she doesn't seem to be holding this against me at all!
Thank you so much, KateW for the tip, and everyone else for the support. You really helped my bird and me so much!