By Kim Reader
This is the moment a parrot who battled depression with PROZAC celebrated overcoming her condition by surfing down the bannister.
Roxxi, a 10-year-old Congo African Grey, was a real ‘livewire’ until three years ago when she developed bad anxiety ‘overnight’ – and had to spend eight months on the antidepressants.
Owner Margy Newton watched in distress as Roxxi, who used to love bombing around the aviary and sliding down the bannister, became so blue that some mornings she didn’t want to leave her cage and pulled out all of her feathers.
But now back to her old self, Margy captured the moment the parrot whizzed down the bannister for the first time in years while audibly ‘laughing’ to herself.
Lifeguard and gymnastics coach Margy, who looks after 12 other birds, said it is such a relief to see her beautiful grey and red feathered bird playing like she used to.
Margy, of West Kirby, Merseyside, said: “Roxxi was always such a livewire. She bonded so well with our other African Grey Harley and they were both happy as Larry.
“The pair of them used to love tearing around the flight and aviary in the garden, playing games with their hoop and we’ve always let them in the house as well.
“One of Roxxi’s favourite things to do from the first time she ever discovered the stairs is to climb up the bannister and slide back down it. Harley has always tried to copy her but he can’t quite get it.
“But they love it and they both laugh away as they whizz down and then climb back up again for another go.
“Then overnight, Roxxi started pulling out her feathers. We came down one morning and they were all in a circle around – she’d pulled out everything from the chin down – her so we went straight to the vets.
“We were told that it might be because of hormones but Roxxi had developed bad anxiety. Feather pulling is a nervous thing so she had to be put on pain killers and Prozac for eight months.
“It was terrible. It was so distressing for us to watch her go through it. Some mornings she was so low, she didn’t even want to come out of her cage and the Prozac.
“And the Prozac made her a bit too relaxed, it was like she was high. But gradually she’s got better and she’s letting her feathers grow back so we’ve weaned her off the Prozac.
“She’s doing so well. Some mornings now she comes flying out her cage the moment you open the door and the other day she was back to whizzing down the bannister and laughing away.
“It is so nice to see her getting back to normal. It’s hard to believe how much better she is compared to six or even just three months ago.
“She is such a good girl and she is so clever. Fingers crossed she is coming out of the worst now.”
Despite being ‘terrified’ of birds up until 11 years ago, Margy was talked into bringing home two Galahs by her husband and quickly warmed to the feathered critters.
Soon after, the couple brought home their Congo African greys Roxxi and Harley and have found it ‘very difficult’ to resist rescuing every bird found abandoned in the area since.
Margy has not just been converted into a bird lover but also now uses any spare time she has to do home checks and fundraising for a local bird charity Problem Parrots.
Margy said: “My husband grew up with birds and managed to talk me into getting two but I was actually terrified of them at first and couldn’t go near them.
“But I have really warmed to them which is why we now have 12. A few years ago I said ‘Absolutely no more’ but then people get in touch and tell us they’ve found abandoned or lost birds.
“It is very difficult not to take them all in and our latest addition was only rescued a few months ago but now definitely no more.
“We’ve got a lovely big flight and aviary for them but I think we’re at full capacity now and we’ve got to think about the neighbours as well.”