So Tweetie spent much of yesterday twisting her head around until her beak could reach the collar. You can't see it from the photo, but she shredded the gauze and tape pretty solidly. But she couldn't reach the joining, because I accidentally taped that to her back feathers. It's locked in place until the vet releases it with a special wash.
When she realized that tactic wouldn't work, she started climbing around the cage. At first, I couldn't figure out why she was hanging upside down from the cage top, not until I glanced over and saw the collar hanging from her head. She used gravity and wriggling to get it off, which sounds like some decently sophisticated engineering to me. Not bad for 38 grams of feathered fluff.
As far as I was concerned, that move was a declaration of war. Granted, she'd probably decided the same thing of me a day or two ago. I had to grab her, hold her still (not easy), and slide the collar back over her head (harder) without yanking out her taped-down feathers (hardest).
After the collar was once more in place, I put her back in the cage while I looked around for an alternative solution. Her answer, of course, was to immediately climb back to the cage top and hang upside down, wriggling. Not good for me. Now the clock's ticking, gravity dragging the collar back off while I scuttle around thinking frantically. I. Will. NOT. Be outwitted by a parakeet.
A cardboard box was the best solution I could find. I punched in air holes, tossed some litter and chopped-up yarn into the bottom for a nest, arranged the water bottle, stuck a millet spray through a hole, put the bird inside, and set a metal grille on the top. Pretty pleased with myself, until I looked over and saw her hanging upside down from the metal grille, scraping the collar against the bottom. Yep, the box wasn't tall enough. Not. Gonna. Surrender.
In retaliation, I stood up the box flaps, taped them in place, and moved the metal grille higher, beyond her reach. Score one for the home team. Now I'd effectively locked her into a prison. She still spent the rest of the evening scratching at the cardboard walls with her beak, looking for either a weak spot or a way to climb to the grille.
My husband's starting to consider this bird demonic. Okay, with some cause.
Her injury is still red, although the swelling is down now that she can't chew on it, and it's forming a nice scab. It gets washed with the weak iodine solution Dr Kiker of the Atascazoo gave me, three times a day, whether Tweet likes it or not. (And she doesn't.) I'm also continuing the Baytril antibiotics and Metacam anti-inflammatory orally, once daily. Her bottle contains a 325mg aspirin dissolved in 250mL of purified water, changed three or four times per day.
Next project is to figure out how to get a feed dish in there that she can use with her tattered fashion statement. She's got a millet spray, but that's hardly the best nutrition.
Oh, yes, and she still screams at me every time I look in on her. Nothing has been forgiven. She'll get me yet.