By Mollie Mansfield
A doting vet has given a bird the ability to fly again after suffering a ‘severe wing time’ – by giving the animal a beautiful prosthetic pair.
After suffering from a severe wing trim, Wei Wei, a twelve-week-old Green Cheeked Conure, was brought into The Unusual Pet Vets in Brisbane, Queensland.
Having surveyed the trim – which left Wei Wei falling to the ground when she tried to fly – Dr Catherine Apuli, 31, decided to give the bird a prosthetic pair of wings, made out of feathers that were donated to the clinic.
Just hours after the procedure, Wei Wei returned to the skies and was flying very well again.
Catherine, a Veterinarian, said: “The bird had a severe wing trim, which means that the flight feathers were cut too short and too many feathers were cut.
“As a result of the wing clip, 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.
“Primary flight feathers – the big feathers at the ends of the wings – which have been traumatized may result in pain, bleeding, unwanted aggressive behaviours 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 feathers were donated to the clinic; each feather was then cleaned, sterilised and dried prior to preparation.
“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 encouraged to fly.
“She flew very well after a few attempts and appeared quite excited that she could suddenly fly!
“Now that Wei Wei has leant how to fly, she can safely land and manoeuvre herself through the air.
“She no longer falls to the ground and so does not hurt herself.”