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Dear Parrots magazine,

Sharing my Blue-front’s ordeal

After coming home one day, I put my bags down and went to go and say “Hello” to Drifter, my Blue-fronted Amazon. But, when I approached his cage he began flapping his wings and screaming frantically, and I knew something was wrong. When I took a closer look he had caught his leg ring in the clasp of one of his parrot toys.

This is the clasp, you thread the nut onto, to tighten it up and attach the toy to the cage, which all parrot toys have.

He had obviously been playing with it, undone it and somehow managed to get it caught between his leg and his ring. The clasp had then turned upside down, so the nut was at the top, and without turning the whole thing round, Drifter was trapped.

I grabbed a towel to cover him up, as he was flapping and swinging about in his cage in a panic. I was concerned he may break his leg or do some real harm to himself. I held him against the cage bars to keep him still, talked quietly to him and tried to calm him down.

Then I had to quickly think how on earth I was going to get this undone, with not much space to do it in, and remove the clasp from the cage. My head was spinning. Do I ring the vet and ask him to come out? No, he would take too long. I had to find a way to free Drifter, and quickly.

Luckily I was not home alone and my son grabbed some cutters. He couldn’t cut the clasp off, but he did manage to cut the bottom of the chain off, and we were able to unthread all the toys, so only the chain was left hanging down. I then managed to undo the clasp from the cage bars and at least free Drifter from the cage.

I wrapped my parrot back up in the towel again, he was panting hard and I knew I had to work quickly to try and avoid any more stress. I held his leg gently while my son unhooked the clasp from his ring. He was free!

Sighing with relief, I talked quietly to him and tried to reassure him. I placed him on the floor of his cage so he could get his breath back and calm down.

Drifter had bitten me several times during the ordeal which was totally understandable, and although very painful, I knew he did not mean to. I went into the kitchen and got the box of plasters out. My hands were shaking and my heart was still pounding through panic and worry. I just hoped he was going to be okay.

After resting for 20 minutes, Drifter managed to get up onto his perch. I telephoned the Parrots magazine Helpline and asked for some advice and they were brilliant. They said to check his feet to see if they were the same temperature. If one was hot there could be a problem, but luckily they were both the same. Even so, they advised me to keep a close eye on him just to make sure.

Later, I mashed some banana for him, and he took it from me without hesitation, as though nothing had happened! My baby Drifter was okay!

He couldn’t put his foot down on the perch for about a day, but now he is back to his usual self, chatting and singing away.

I have now changed all the toys’ clasps over to large chunky thick ones that will not fit between his leg and ring. All the clasps now do up outside his cage and are over two bars for safety. After this I am also considering taking his ring off.

The toy in question was designed for African Greys and Amazons and had a small thin clasp, but I would never in a million years have dreamt this could happen.

I would just like to make everyone aware that accidents can happen so easily. Please check your parrot’s toys and ensure they have large chunky clasps that do not fit through a leg ID ring. Our intelligent parrots will undo anything!

Emma Rogers, E. Sussex



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