Of mites and men.

Crow has scaly face, a nasty mite infection which I think she has probably had since she first came to stay with me, but is manifesting now for whatever reason. Usually these things manage to take a hold when the bird is suffering from stress, or her immune system is depressed. As far as I know this is not the case, perhaps it is because the sun has finally come out this year.

The mites live under the skin and pose no threat to humans, but are very irritating for the poor bird who scratches and rubs her head. She has white, crusty lesions at the base of her beak which are typical of the infestation, and is going bald around her eyes, the skin there thickening which is also typical. The mites cause all kinds of problems and also can be passed on to the other two birds. Darling, with her unhealthy immune system is especially at risk. In short, they need veterinary treatment.

In an effort to bypass at least some of the veterinary fees, and more importantly to make it easier on Crow; I decided to do the skin scrape myself which the vet would want to ensure that the correct diagnosis and treatment is given. I have a microscope and can prepare a slide, and as far as Crow is concerned it is better for me to get the skin sample rather than a stranger as she is very shy among people she doesn’t know.

Girding my loins, I therefore brought out the microscope, a safety razor; prepared a clean slide for the sample and went to get Crow. 

Crow took one look at me and the towel I was carrying to restrain her, and not unreasonably decided to scarper.

While I went to catch her, Parrot the Technician decided to investigate this interesting looking equipment and chucked all my slides onto the floor for Sam to stand and slobber on. I came back with Crow to find Parrot flying away with a petri dish. Managed to get a clean-ish slide sorted, got my skin sample and weighed Crow while I was on. I dread to think what the scientifically minded would make of my methods, but it all worked out in the end. Tomorrow I hope to pick up medication for all the birds.

Crow, bless her generous heart; forgave me instantly for putting her through such an undignified process. As soon as I let her down she came straight back to me for a cuddle. She’s such a wonder.


Meanwhile Parrot, who hates being weighed flew over and bit my ear, hard; because I had the scales out. Blood is trickling down my collar as I type and he has been put back into his house in disgrace. He’s singing Rammstein’s, “Du Hast.”(“Du, du hast, du hast mich”) except he puts his own inimical stamp on it, as with everything. “Du hast Bitch”, is his version.