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A few years ago, Mother was "gifted" a very friendly, hand raised cockatiel. She loved this bird, she could take it out of the cage and let it roam a little and as was a "talker" kept her great company. When this bird died after a few years, she was distraught. Her friends gave her 4(!) unfriendly, random cockatiels that they had hatched out but didn't have time or energy to hand raise. They are essentially wild birds. Mother's ability to care for them has become almost nil. They live together in in 2'x3'x3' cage--so they are constantly crashing into each other. Mother can only manage to remove the paper in the bottom of the cage once a week. The smell is horrible and the birds scream all day..she must be losing her hearing as she says their "chirping" is so delightful to her. These birds throw off feathers and bird dander at an alarming rate. Her apt is filled with bird feathers and dander. I get a headache within minutes of going into her place.
Last winter Mother was sick with an URI for MONTHS. I had my brother take the cage out and power wash it and I scrubbed down her blinds, floor, counters, every surface in the apt. (She said she never lets the birds out but there was poop everywhere--she can't see well enough to see it). IMMEDIATELY her URI resolved itself. Now we are back to the same dynamic, except my brother won't clean the cage. He says she was angry last year that I got so involved and her birds were traumatized for days. The cage in encrusted with fecal matter and the air is thick with feathers and dander. I won't eat anything that might have sat on the counter. Mother cannot stand up straight enough to see into the cage and won't let anyone take care of her "babies". We owned a cockatiel for years and they are fairly high maintenance birds, if cared for correctly. Her birds need medical attention, but as they are "wild" you can't touch them.
They're annoying and mean a lot more work as I have to "sneak" into mother's to clean these days--just keeping the feathers and dander at bay means a lot of work. I am also wondering if they pose a health hazard to her? She breathes in this icky air (never opens a window--NEVER) and has a dry hacking cough all year. To combat the smell she just got a air freshener that spurts out a small dose of lavender, or whatever right by the cage. Doesn't help, BTW. Is is horrible of me to just override her wish to have the cage left alone and get my brother to powerwash it when she is gone one day? It has passed up disgusting long ago. We try so hard to keep mother's place tidy, but she hoards and is very connected to ALL her stud, so all we can do is clean what she has and do the best we can to respect that she wants to live that way. If I get sick from 1/2 hour around this cage, what is this doing to her?

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Thank you, SunFLo..I had not even THOUGHT about the condition of the birds, as she feels she saved them from a worse environment (I don't know what this means) The cage is actually smaller than I thought...it's 2'x18"x2/12'--guess it seems bigger with all those animals in it. She has just the one before, in the same cage.

Taking the birds away would solidify her anger with me--it's going to have to come from one of the sibs whom she respects. I'll run it by my sister. She'd just go in, take the birds and wouldn't give mother's protests a second thought. I will go this afternoon to the bird store where we got our bird and talk to the expert there. Maybe I can tell mom we're going to take the birds in for "obedience training" and see what happens. I was and still am concerned about the health hazards of mother breathing in all that garbage..she sits next to the birdcage probably 80% of the time she's awake. She barely walks anymore and spends all her time at the kitchen table..birds are about 3' away from her. Thanks for your response, I'll do what I can, but still, if anyone knows if this is a health hazard to her..I'd like to know (My hubby is a liver TP recipient and as he is immunosuppressed, he cannot be around the birds, ever.....I have to think they carry something that's not healthy!)
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This is animal abuse. Do mom a favor and get those birds a larger cage and hire proper care to come in to help (teen or pet sitter) to ensure safe, healthy environment. Or take the birds away and put up for adoption and let mom keep maybe just on --with a petsitter. I'm sure mom would not want to be mistreating these creatures.
Step up and do what's needed. It's obviuos you know what that is from your post but you don't want to hurt mom; sorry, get those birds a new home.
PS. You can call a local veterinarian or wildlife rescue and they can advise you on help and proper bird care.
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