Twelve-week old green-cheeked parakeet Wei Wei was given a second chance to fly when a vet gave her a new set of wings. After having her wings trimmed too short by her previous owner, Wei Wei was having a hard time maintaining her balance, and, whenever she attempted to fly she would fall to the floor, injuring herself.
Heroic vets at The Unusual Pet Vets in Brisbane, Australia gave her a hand-crafted pair of prosthetic wings made from feathers that were donated to the clinic.
Dr Apuli said: ‘Primary flight feathers – the big feathers at the ends of the wings – which have been traumatized may result in pain, bleeding, unwanted aggressive behaviour and self-induced feather plucking. ‘The imping procedure was performed to prevent further physical injury and to regain flight for optimal mental and physical health.’
The practise of wing-cutting is said to protect pet birds from injuring themselves and flying away, however it is controversial as many say it does not protect the birds and in fact, causes them unnecessary suffering.
‘As a result, the bird was sustaining heavy falls to the ground, which has the potential to injure the bird. In Wei Wei’s case, she was falling heavily and the owner noticed she was painful on her feet,’ the vet said. Dr Apuli explained the procedure, saying: ‘The base of the feather was cut to allow the entry of a wooden toothpick where it is secured in place with glue.
‘The bird was then placed under a light anaesthetic to ensure the Wei Wei did not move whilst the feathers were placed correctly and the glue dried for this painless procedure to be performed. ‘Wei Wei was then placed in our heated hospital room for a couple of hours before being encouraged to fly. ‘She flew very well after a few attempts and appeared quite excited that she could suddenly do it.’