Monday, October 6, 2014

A Dissolution & Hormonal Problems

A Dissolution

After surviving this first food crisis we thought that she now would be safe. She had regained her weight before the first cold days of Winter 2000 – 2001.

We were almost sure that we wouldn't have to worry now, but … this positive outlook didn't last long.
On December 28 – she got again the same problem! Suddenly she stopped eating again, and after five days of loosing weight, we had to consult the vet again.
For us, this became the most dreadful New Year's eve we had experienced in her life so far.

We were so worried. It was cold and freezing now – and in that time she had no warmth lamp outside – only a cubby-hole. She had now also lost so much weight, that we sometimes had to consult the vet for tube feeding twice a day!
The vet tried to figure out was going wrong but he couldn't find out what the cause of her problem was. So - after nearly one whole month of tube feeding he suggested to take x-rays, maybe he could find an abnormality on it.

To take this x-rays he needed to put her under general anesthesia.
This became really a stressful situation!
Narcosis for birds is very risky!
We had seen birds being anesthetized on TV – birds that were healthy – and even some of them didn't survive.
Pipke wasn't healthy, but if the vet would find out what her problem was, then we had to take the risk.
The vet's co-assistant (a woman) would make the x-rays. She allowed us to join her to go with Pipke to the x-ray room. While I held Pipke in my arms the co-vet placed a hood on Pipke's beak. Pipke tried to shake the hood off, but - of course she didn't have enough strength to succeed in it.

Only a few seconds later Pipke fell in a deep sleep.
That was a very strange sight for us. She seemed now like a floppy rag doll. The co-vet now had to support her floppy long neck to avoid that her neck would get injured. Then she placed Pipke on the table and laid her in the correct position to take the x-rays.

After the x-rays were taken, the co-vet laid Pipke in my arms again. She was still in a deep sleep – and now, I was the one who had to support her floppy neck. The vet advised me to whisper very soft to Pipke while she awoke to put her mind at rest. If she could hear my voice then she would be less traumatized by the whole procedure.
While Pipke slowly awoke in my arms the vet showed us the x-rays.

(Unfortunately, I cannot show them to you. I asked a professional photographer to take digital photos of the x-rays, but that is not possible. One needs medical imaging equipment to do that. So I hope my description can give you more or less an image of the x-rays.)

It was amazing how detailed they were.
We could not only see Pipke's fine bone structures, but also the tiny ovaries with her very tiny egg cells – eggs in the making – which she carried in her body, and it were many!
(It seemed like a cluster of very tiny grapes.)

Those could have been her babies – the start of new life – but because she had chosen me as her partner there was no life possible.
Oh, I felt so sorry for her!
The x-rays showed no abnormalities.
On the one hand this was good – but on the other hand – now the vet still had 'no explanation' for what was happening to her.
Now we were completely puzzled.
During this illness period this season, we had to revisit the vet 26 times before she started to eat again.
Unfortunately, also this reassurance didn't last long. 
Only one week after she was eating well, she suddenly started to lay eggs again.
The poor thing, she still was far below her normal weight – she had just survived her 'second' fight – and now this.
Of course, this first egg wasn't a good one.
The shell wasn't developed well and it was very soft.
She started to lay eggs that year on January 30, 
and stopped laying eggs on August 9.

 As a good mom, carefully rearranging her eggs.
Fortunately she continued to eat now and that made us less worried.
The total amount of eggs that year was 92, far too much for her health!
Hormonal Problems

Summer of 2001.
This Summer, 'the same problems' as the year before!
(I know - it's maybe a bit annoying that I have to repeat this, but I want to give a true picture of the story. This is reality thus I can't change it.)
Again she was exhausted from laying eggs (83 this season), lost weight – stopped eating and: there we went to the vet for tube feeding again!
Now it had already came so far that we assumed that she would have the same problems the next year.
And yes - our assumption was right, but this time it was even worse than before.
Now - June 2002 - she had problems with 'all' her eggs!
The whole month she had laid eggs, but this time they were all soft – not one had a firm shell.
Therefore the vet assumed that she had an hormonal problem, and he suggested to give her an injection to stop her from laying eggs.
Because we thought that this would solve her problem, we agreed with the vet, that this was probably the best solution for her!

After she got this injection (on June 26, 2002) she only laid a few very tiny eggs.
The injection had prevented the eggs to develop. At the end they were even not larger than a small bean! They were even so brittle that, when I took them up very gentle they fell apart in miniscule pieces and pulverized in my hand.
'I have kept a few of these last 'potential offsprings' as a souvenir. 
I keep them in a small old wooden chest, 
together with all what once belonged to Pipke.'

One of her last under developed eggs with a soft shell.

 A few of her last 'potential offsprings'.

For me this is now my treasure box of invaluable value.

(If my house would catch fire then I would enter my house and risk my own life to save this treasure from the fire.)

She laid her very last egg on August 28 of that year.

At that time we had consulted the vet already 105 times.
The vet's practice.
Would the injection stop the number of visits?
We wondered whether this would turn out in her favor.

If you want to know the answer to these questions, then I invite you to come again later for the continuation.

Bye, bye and thanks for reading !
Hope to see you again,
then I will take you for a ride 
'On the Roller- Coaster'.


  1. what a mystery! :o How horrible to not know what is happening, yet knowing all the time that it must be something bad. The soft eggshells seem as if there is a problem in the calcium-content of the eggs, but of course the vet would have suspected that, had it really been an issue. Again, thank you for posting, and I look forward to further installments!

    1. The vet gave Pipke all the vitamin supplements she needed, but of course, laying so many eggs was a real depletion of her calcium stock. The underdeveloped eggs were the proof of it. And yes the uncertainty was sometimes unbearable Ter-o-fla. The fear of losing her predominated. I couldn't enjoy life. Especially at those moments, I realized how much she meant to me. The experience of those illness periods made I went to love her more than ever before. Thanks for your comment!:)