Is my parakeet brain damaged?
We brought home a parakeet last December, and her behavior seemed to be pretty normal. She skittered around the cage, trying to get out, squawking and doing all the things a new bird would normally do. It took her a couple days to get used to being here, and then for a while she seemed okay but I sensed she was really on edge (we maintain a fairly peaceful house, no other pets, very safe).
Then, one day she let out an incredible screech and has never been normal since. She's very, very quiet, only chirping occasionally and rarely moves or plays. She's friendly enough. She'll "step up," and will sit on our shoulders. We took her to our vet, who said that she might be "slow." She eats, sleeps, drinks, and poops, but she won't bathe on her own. Her vent always looks dirty, sometimes with poop stuck in clumps to her feathers. We took her to the vet to be checked out and the vet found nothing wrong (other than the "slow" diagnosis). We have to put her in the shower, or she'd stay dirty.
The man we bought her from apparently clipped her wings WAY too short because she can't glide at all. If she jumps down, she falls like a rock (we now place pillows under all of her perches). She shows no signs of molting or growing new flight feathers. When she walks around the house, she uses these little hops and her wings stay close to her sides. She won't even use her wings to help balance herself. We've had to set up a series of ramps and ladders for her to get around, almost like a handicapped setup.
We bought another parakeet to keep her company and to, hopefully, model normal parakeet behavior. He's very friendly, noisy and fun, and is a wonderful companion to her and she did perk up a little. They're obviously very fond of each other. But she still won't do much more than eat, sleep and poop. Her feathers still aren't growing in, even though he's already grown a new set of flight feathers after only a couple months.
He has taken to grooming her because she won't/can't do it herself. Problem is, he seems lately to be getting a little domineering about it. He puts his foot on her all the time when he stands next to her, as if to hold her down. This morning I saw him biting at her toenails, pulling on her foot, several times. I don't want to project human emotions on the birds ... maybe this is normal bird behavior. But I really don't understand what's going on here. I don't know who else to ask, so I hope you can help me.
Thanks in advance, and my birds thank you as well!