I first met "Barrabbas" a young green cheeked conure,back in october 1993.For us both it was "love at fist sight" as he claimed me as his territory by walking up my arm,and tucking his little body under my chin. Luckily then, I had a spare one hundred and fifty pounds to take my new lover back home with me.
Right from the start, he made it pretty clear that in his eyes, I was number one in the household, with Tony my husband being on the lowest branch of the "Pecking Order" tree. Barrabas has two loves in his life, One is food,and the other is his love for me. Now with food, I am not just talking about plain old parrot food, but anything that comes into the category of food, then Barrabbas will give it a try, and so far will probally like it!. For him, these two loves, were later on going to save his little life.
Now there is always another side to his personality, one which makes him loose all common sense and reason,one which could have killed him, that evil monster, the "Green eye" of jealousy.
Despite all the love and affection he had given to him, it never was quite enough. With all the new birds coming into the rescue almost daily, I still made sure that I gave Barrabbas that extra minute of my attention. We had a daily exchange of banter which consited of "Kissey Kissey" and "Crazy Barrabbas" where we both end up laughing in stereo. He copied every movement of my head and body, as though he was my mirror image, as though he had some invisable connection with my bodily movements.
Now with his problem of Jealousy, I soon learnt that like humans, Jealosy can cause serious problems, and that all reason and common sense is thrown out of the window.
By March 1994, Barrabbas had made friends with "wobbly" our first rescued bird. For the first time in Wobbly's life, she had allowed another bird, namely Barrabbas to preen the back of her head. They had formed quite a close mutual preening relationship, until "new boy" Snooker arrived on the scene. Snooker is a big, good looking male senegal, and at first he seemed to accept Wobbly's other friend, and EVEN Barrabbas seemed at last to accept that I could show some interest in another bird's affairs, all was well until the dreaded April fool's day arrived.
April the 1st, and a Good friday 1994. Tony was out working, but I remained at home and as usual if I were in, then I let the birds out for their social "get together". All were chatting happily as I watched the T.V until that was, I heard Barrabbas Screech. I rushed over to the cage, but it was too late! all I remeber seeing was a blood stained Barrabbas, Snooker pacing around, screeming loudily with blood dripping from his beak,and looking down at the floor, where I saw Barrabbas's top beak.I know that I panicked, but somehow I managed to get to the vets, to get Barrabbas some treatment, but what treatment?
I nearly fell into the vets arms, as I saw him as my "Knight in shinning armour" the "Hero" of the day out to save my lovers life. He placed Barrabbas in his hand, Quartirised his beak to stop the bleeding, followed by an injection of antibiotics and a gentle clean up of his face. He then placed Barrabbas in his carrying box, sat down and looked at me and said "if you can get this bird to eat,then we will rear him,as he will learn to adapt,but first you must calm down, as I am more worried about you than the bird". He paused then continued "I understand and can feel that you are very fond of this bird, and he is very fond of you,but to save him, you must think positive,and you must remain calm, then somehow you will both pull through".
We did calm down,and as a team, Tony,myself and the vet David,thought of ways to make Barrabbas eat,he could not eat seed,so what could he eat?.
That first evening Tony and I,were mushing up food in our mouths, Peanuts, crisps,bread so that Barrabbas could get something to eat, we did not care for that first night on vitamins/minerals content as long as he was eating. We then thought of Barrabbas and his like for fruit flavored things and so of all things he had Jelly spiked with Vitamin powder! we moved onto Peanut butter mixed in with Milupa Baby food, we used sunshine orange flavour.He soon learned how to lick up his food,and slowly got faster,and faster,and started putting on the weight.
I will always look back and remember the vet's eyes popping out,as he read Barrabbas's weight 80g, and saying "What are you feeding this bird on, rocket fuel?" We decided to remove the peanut butter out of the milupa mix, and assess his weight on a regular basis.
Today Barrabbas can eat seed, a lot slower than most of his parrot friends,so he still needs soft food to supplement his diet. He has a little scoop on his bottom beak, which needs to be kept to a regular length, so he can scoop and lick his food, and with the small amout left on his top beak,he now uses to eat Hard seed. He still must be first in when food is about, and I admire his determination to eat it, aided with a little encouragement from me, but he is still "Crazy Barrabbas" and will still try and pick fights with bigger birds.I have to be extra protective of him, some may say too much? but I know that Barrabbas has only one problem, that is his love for me, and without that he will loose his zest for living, and for fighting. We were meant to be,he choose me,and I choose him, and his name, which has turned out to be lucky? because if you look back in history another "Barrabbas" was set free from a horrible death all those years ago.
It is not only me Barrabbas that loves you, someone up in that big sky does too!!

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