BY: RUTH MALOY-CARTER
It all began when I was visiting our neighbors’ house right across the street from us and met their three-year-old parakeet, Indigo (named for its beautiful indigo colored feathers). I noticed that her cage did not have the right sized perch (it was way too big for Indigo’s tiny feet to perch on), there were no toys for her to play with, and her food and water dishes were on the floor of the cage (which was unsanitary since the bird would defecate on them). I found out that they had only played with the bird when it was a baby, so now it was starved for attention. I suggested they give the bird to my son and me since we had two birds that were the same age. They agreed.
We changed Indigo’s name to Wheaty (my son’s idea) to rhyme with our birds’ names, Petey & Sweetie! At first when I tried to introduce the birds, Wheaty would not leave my shoulder, pecking merrily on my ear, hair, and earrings. I enjoyed the attention immensely, of course, but I knew this was not normal behavior for a parakeet. This activity went on for a few days until Wheaty hung out on the outside of our birds’ cage for a couple of days and I realized she might like to meet them. Once inside their cage, I could not get her to come out again.
I believe she fell in love with Sweetie, who I thought was a female, but soon found out that Sweetie was [indeed] a male. Petey, curiously, did not seem to mind that the other two birds were so enamored of each other. Ultimately, after two years of togetherness, Wheaty became pregnant by Sweetie. Unfortunately, she was not able to pass her egg and died since she had not received the necessary calcium, vitamins, and other essentials a bird needs during the first years of its life. It was truly sad to lose her, but we believe that the two years she lived with us were much better than the sad, lonely life she was living before.
I recommend that anyone who acquires a pet, whether it be a turtle, bunny, etc., should get ahold of instructions on how to care for that particular pet. Our pets not only deserve our love and affection, but to live a happy, healthy, and well-cared-for life.
FYI: For those who might be curious as to the lives of Petey and Sweetie, I can tell you that Sweetie lived to be 11 and Petey (who died a few months ago) lived to be 12 years of age. He was the oldest bird out of the many parakeets I have raised for almost 30 years.