I live across the street from a Dairy Barn, on a busy intersection. Most people in the neighborhood know that we have many birds and stop by to visit when they are outside during the warmer months. One woman knowing this, came to my husband, crying that she had adopted this bird, but could no longer cope with his self mutilation. She had owned Coco for about 9 months and all the one on one attention was not healing his wound. He was determined to gouge out his chest on a daily basis. When the bird club that she had adopted him from, refused to return her frantic calls, she turned to my husband for assistance.

After the initial shock wore off, reality and my nursing skills set in. I cleansed the wound with betadine, peroxide, applied bacitracin and a gauze pad, wrapped with kerlix. It was hard holding him down, but I managed and thought, that should do it. Ha! Lasted a few minutes. All the tape in the world was not going to stop this bird. After a while, my husband came up with the idea of using duct tape. I thought. Why not. What could it hurt? I encompassed his chest in tape, which slid down, so I made a pair of suspenders, then rewrapped with the duct tape. This worked great. I didn’t want to traumatize this bird any more than he had already been, so I left the bandage on.

Meanwhile I spoke to the owner, who said that she had picked up this bird at a pet shop, not knowing that he was a mutilator. She had been told that he had fallen and had a small cut. So much for the adoption chairperson giving this person the whole truth. Knowing that Coco had a serious problem, I did make many calls trying to find a person who dealt with mutilators. I found a few possible homes in which others had dealt with this specific problem specifically. Meanwhile, I had him cultured and examined by a vet and he free of any internal infections.

His owner very obviously loved him and did not want to give him up. So she took him home and I agreed to bandage him when necessary. He continued to pull off the bandage, even though he was healing. I took him back again. Within two weeks, I removed the bandage and was very happy to discover that he had completely healed. There was scarring, but it was amazing to see the wound closed. I kept the bandage on, just in case and returned him to his owner. When she finally took the bandage off, he resumed his mutilation. By this time he had gone back and forth many times, and she was unable to cope with the problem.

So Coco had become attached at the hip, to my moluccan. We figured it was meant to be and Coco would stay with me until other arrangements could be made.. Meanwhile, since he was adopted and a contract had been signed, he could not be readopted out, as was threatened by the adoption chairperson of the other club. The owner had been threatened with legal action if she placed Coco. I found this to be a horrific situation, knowing that her calls had gone unreturned for almost a year and now she was being threatened. It seems Coco would remain in the Parrot Haven indefinitely. Meanwhile, I discovered Noni Juice. It is a berry that has natural healing qualities and has been proven to aid in cases of feather plucking. The cost was expensive $40 a quart, but I figured what could it hurt. It was a concentrate and I would add it to Coco’s formula each night. Oh yeah, though Coco eats a variety of foods, he loves his 100 cc’s a night of Kaytee handfeeding formula. The vendor gave me a $10 discount when I explained the situation. Things were going well. He plucked a little here and there, so I just kept the duct tape bandage on. And let me stress that the duct tape was applied over webril, a cotton like gauge, used in the application of casts, so it was not directly on Coco’s skin.

I ran out of the NONI juice and was unable to find anywhere to buy it, so I let it go. Then I noticed that Coco was back to severely mutilating himself and his companion, Fred, the moluccan. Fred was almost bare within a few days. It seems Coco had this insatiable appetite to chew, and decided to pick on Fred, Just biting the feathers in half, not pulling them out, but what a sorry site these two birds were. Coco had also picked his wing feathers almost bare.

In the meantime I had discovered Coco to be a very loving bird, more friendly to woman, as shown when I took him to a local event one day. He thrived on being outdoors and schoozing with the public. Everyone feels sorry for him and is sympathetic. He has bought awareness to the public that there are problem birds that do need specific treatment and there are many sanctuaries available to take in the injured and homeless birds. I eventually discovered a site on the internet that sells the NONI juice for $20 a bottle, so at present he is back in treatment. It’s only been a few days, but I notice that Fred’s feathers are growing back in, and Coco hasn’t ripped his "suit of armor" off in a few days. He still can’t be placed because of the legal issues, but then I guess I’ll just have to keep him because of his and Fred’s attachment.

He’s a wonderful, loving bird and this is the best situation possible at the present time. Many people have offered to take him, but sometimes, shipping a bird to a strange place, with strange people is not always in the birds’ best interest.

Update 09-16-01
Coco had been a guest at a few PFC meetings and one of the members took a liking to Coco. Jill asked if Coco could come home for a sleepover about 4 months ago and she's remained there. Jill fell in love with Coco. I stopped by to pick Coco up after her sleepover, but was so impressed with the good job that Jill was doing, that I decided to extend the sleepover indefinitely. Coco will be continued to be fostered by Jill who has given such exceptional care to her that Coco no longer needs to be bandaged. Jill has used some holistic and natural remedies that seem to be working well with Coco. Coco has made several appearances at the meetings and she's just as lovable as ever.

Update 6/3/02
Coco continues his habit of self mutilation, though the mutilation is not as severe as it was. Jill continues to help Coco thrive. Thank God for people like her.