Andy’s Weight Gain

Andy, now 4, has been a very happy bird from the day he weaned. Always an enthusiastic eater, Andy developed normally in every way to an adult weight of 270 grams. The vet never questioned the weight during our regular checkups, and his breeder said that Andy’s parents (from the second importation in the 80’s) are small, and that 270 grams was probably his “baseline” weight.Well, a very interesting thing happened over the holidays when Andy was visiting (a long pajama party) a friend while I was away for ten days.

When I returned to San Francisco and picked Andy up, he felt heavy, noticeably heavier. Once home, I put him on his gram scale and was rather surprised to see him weighing in at a robust 330 grams. Yikes !

What happened?

I discussed the change with Maria Benedet, my friend and fellow Eclectus owner who cared for Andy while I was away. We compared diets and could not find anything whatsoever that could account for the weight gain. Then Maria made the observation that Andy did not have any shiny or reflective toys in his cage during his stay with her. Andy had not been feeding everything in sight, a habit he developed at puberty, and one that he really enjoyed.

Maria suggested removing all the shiny goodies from his condo cage and suggested I keep the gram scale nearby for regular weigh-ins to see what happened.

Ladies and gentlemen……..long drumroll…..not-so-little Andy has now stabilized at a full 370 grams !! Keep in mind that I left San Francisco on December 23, 1996, and returned January 3, 1997. There was a 60 gram gain in ten days. By January 20, 1997, he stabilized at 370 grams.

While I am delighted with this, I have to admit that I am still a little shocked. Andy is extremely important to me and I have always prided myself in the quality of care he receives. But, I get the feeling that I/we could have gone on indefinitely not knowing what Andy’s optimal baseline weight should be if Maria had not made the observation she did.

I have read that this type of “wasting” can occur when breeding males are not allowed an appropriate “rest”, but I never considered it as a problem for my pet. Perhaps I missed the day in Eclectus 101 class when this potentially health-threatening problem was covered and I can’t recall having seen this topic covered in the literature. I wonder if anybody else has experienced a similar situation.

I am happy to report that with the removal of Andy’s “feeding friends”, he has pretty well stopped regurgitating on everything, and doesn’t seem to be suffering from the absence of his former ways.

HOWEVER, he still can’t resist an occasional pumping of the neck, bringing up some of his very best as a token of his affection for me, and enthusiastically asking in perfectly articulated English, “WANT SOME? IT’S GOOOOD” !!!