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I've lived with Peachfront Conures Aratinga aurea for 30 years. I've bred 'em, trained 'em, even visited Bolivia to observe them in the wild. For more about me, click right here.

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Some recent entries you might enjoy: happy 27th birthday to courtney - 2017-04-15
i no longer own the peachfront dot com domain - 2017-04-09
ronnie 1990-2017 - 2017-02-15
Ronnie and Sheldon try again - 2017-02-11
clear eggs 2017 - 2017-01-23

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5:49 a.m. 2013-04-29

diary of a peachfront conure health crisis

Peachfront's Note: Peachfront Conures are hardy. Here's the story of a health crisis in an 18 year old bird, which resulted in a full recovery. Courtney is still going strong at age 23, and he no longer wants or needs the "coddling" I mentioned in my Feb. 2008 diary entry.

January 11, 2008:

Courtney is puffed, and I'm worried. I've moved Courtney and Ronnie back inside and put a heat lamp on them. Keep your fingers crossed.

January 12, 2008:

I'm not feeling too well, and neither is Courtney. He sits puffed, although he'll squeak up from time to time, when the other conures talk to him. He's eating and drinking. But, still, he manages to radiate misery. Ronnie has been too impatient to sit beside him, and I've put her in her own cage, while placing Courtney in a smaller orange one that allows him to rest and keeps him near the heat lamp.

I still have Dale and Sheldon outdoors on the bird porch, where they are doing very well, especially with the help of a heat lamp on cold nights. But, even though she's healthy, I don't want Ronnie out there alone. It will get into the 30s some nights while I'm gone, and I don't think a heat lamp is a substitute for a snuggle buddy. So she'll be indoors for the duration, as long as Courtney is. Which may mean that, at their age, from here on out, they're indoors when the temperature falls below 55.

Not sure what else to do. Courtney will be 18 in April, and there's no cure for old age.

Yes, Ronnie is the same age, but Courtney was always the runt and really only filled out to normal size over the past five years or so. Ronnie has always been and still is solid. So I can't really expect Courtney's older years to be the same as Ronnie's older years.

January 20, 2008:

I've moved the two birds remaining on the bird porch, Dale and Sheldon, indoors for the severe weather. Dale rode into the temporary cage on his perch, but poor Sheldon had to be chased with the net. He just never catches on.

Can conures have mini-strokes? A week ago, Courtney had a sagging eye and was unable to control how his head bobbed and twitched -- although his grip was strong and he was able to walk, climb, and eat. Today, as soon as he saw that I wanted to clean his cage, he climbed up to make it easy for me. He spoke to the other conures in the next room. And now that I've moved Ronnie back where he can see her, he has completely opened even the bad eye and again climbed high to take a look. I'm most encouraged. Keep those toes and fingers crossed.

January 23, 2008:

Courtney's "bad" eye is completely open, and he seems to be scampering about almost as good as new. A few odd twitches but he's in noticeably good spirits. When he was at his worst, rolling, twitching, neck-bobbing, and otherwise acting like nothing so much as a Holy Roller trying to speak in tongues, then Ronnie had rejected him and wouldn't sit with him to keep him warm. So I'd moved her away. Now I've put her back where she can see him, although not in touching range, and it's clear that she recognizes him as himself again. Neurological symptoms in a bird...very strange. But he seems to be overcoming them.

There was a bit of a scare last night when he got a huge glob of parrot dropping somehow glued to his undertail coverts. I thought he was, well, constipated, but when I cleaned him off, he wasn't. It was just sticky stuff on the feathers but nothing blocking his vent. He's still eating very well. Looking good this morning. Well, his head feathers are a little mussed, but they've always been mussed, except for the last three, four years of his life. The lasting legacy of being a bit of a runt compared to the others, I suppose.

I am increasingly optimistic that he will soon be in fine shape and that he will be able to move in with his beloved Ronnie again. However, he won't be spending any more winter days on the bird porch. He is officially too old for that and will now join the list of the coddled.

February 27, 2008:

Good old Courtney. In case you were wondering, he's baaaaack, and he's bigger and better in every way. He has customized a new manzanita perch, taking advantage of a crack to carefully peel the bark from the wood where he sits. Now, if you know manzanita, then you realize that this requires no small amount of energy for a, what, 6 ounce conure who will be 18 years old in mid-April. And, just in case that this doesn't convince you that there's life in the old boy yet, I've also caught him and Ronnie doing the dirty deed a couple of times recently. They do it the side-by-side way, which I don't think is particularly effective at incubating eggs, but it's how their parents, Gwen and Arthur did it.

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