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A Tale of Two CAGs  

It all began when I went to pick-up our new CAG, Opaa, from a breeder in California.  Prior to that, we only had one bird in our family, Choon Choon, a Brown Throat Conure.  I was gone for around a week, since I made the trip from Japan, where we live.  My wife, who is Japanese and stayed in Japan while I was gone, was visiting a local Do-It-Yourself store, which also sells pets.  She was surprised to see a new, young CAG in a very small cage, one you’d normally see Budgies housed in.  She fell in love with him immediately and started going to the store everyday to see him.  The staff at the store were ignorant in the care of parrots, so my wife tried to school them, starting with trying to get them to get the cage off the floor, where the young kids would kick the cage!  Yes!  They were that ignorant!

Of course, once I returned home with Opaa, he took center stage, but we still made pilgrimages to the DIY store to see our other CAG buddy. These pilgrimages included toys and food, plus, me trying to get the staff to take better care of him. Let me backtrack to tell you that they NEVER let him out of the cage; they never gave him any food other than sunflower seeds; they never bothered to give him any toys (only the ones we brought); they never really bothered to clean his cage; they never bothered to do anything but display this poor parrot for sale for $3000. Yup. Three grand is the going rate in Japan for a CAG. It did cross my mind to buy this wonderful guy, but we had our hands full in our apartment with Opaa and Choon Choon. We both hoped he would be purchased from a caring Japanese family; however, that never happened.  As the months rolled on, he started self mutilating.  Eventually, he plucked every feather from his body. Looking like this, there was no way any Japanese family was going to purchase him, so there he stayed until the turning point…

I received the frantic call from my wife while I was at work.  She was hysterical saying our buddy was about to die, and we had to do something.  I told her we’d purchase him when I got home.  When we got to the store, my wife—who normally is non-confrontational—immediately had them get the store manager. Once he arrived, she told him there is absolutely no way anyone is going to buy the parrot in the shape he is in, so he’d better get his head out of his "oshiri" and bring the price down, because we were prepared to purchase him, as long as the price was right.  He agreed with her and cut the price in half.  So, we purchased (or, as Jan Graham says, "Ransomed!") "Wolfy" for $1500.  (Although I was prepared to pay the full $3000 asking price to get him out of that horrific situation.)  He is now a permanent addition to our flock.

The next day we brought him to our vet where he had the gamut of tests done, including a DNA sexing.  All came back negative, and it was confirmed he was a male.  But he had major muscle atrophy—he moved like an old man.  We had our work cut out for us.  I immediately started training him on how to step-up, and Opaa started teaching him how to fly and socialize with another Grey.

That was a little over 3 years ago.  Since the day we brought him home, we put him on a good diet, spoiled him with constant attention, and bought him every toy imaginable to play with.  He has made great progress over the years, but he was never really able to break his depression/feather plucking episodes, no matter what we tried. That was until recently …

A friend of mine told me about a product and that was enough to get him over his depression "hump," because he is now acting like a normal Grey.  What do I mean by that?  Well, he is constantly talking, getting into mischief, climbing off his cage, playing with Opaa, tearing up his toys, hanging upside down and swinging back-and-forth, chewing up the expensive Shoji Screen located next to his cage, flying on top of the pipes of our air conditioner and chewing off the insulation!  It just amazes me how much he is enjoying life right now!

He is still plucking a little bit when he gets upset or nervous, but it is nowhere near as extreme as it once was.  Let me say this, he is a MUCH happier parrot now, which, of course, makes us (and Opaa) happier.  We are so happy that we have Wolfy in our flock; he really is an amazing, wonderful parrot!



Steve with Opaa on head and Wolfy on perch. 
Save water ... bath with a friend or, in this case, two!)

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This page was last updated on 08/17/2012

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