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Last sync:2023-01-22 05:30
Zeema the keel billed toucan went to the vet to assess her broken leg and missing feathers. She came home with some changes but all she wants to do is play.

*I don't feel like I emphasized enough the disappointment we all felt in hearing that we couldn't improve Zeema's perching strength in her left leg/foot with a surgery to correct the misaligned calcification of the broken bone. However learning that it was so stable was heartening and we're hoping once her feathers come in, the improvement in her balance will offset the strength in her foot.

Zeema's first video:
Second video:

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Hi everyone.  Welcome back to Animal Wonders.  This is Zeema, the keel-billed toucan and we're gonna have some fun today but I also wanted to give you some updates on what's been going on with her.


So yesterday, Zeema went to the vet and we were all prepared to readjust her leg.  What I mean by that was she actually has a previously broken leg that had calcified.  We were going to re-break it and correct it, but plans changed.

Our veterinarian did a full exam on her and checked out her leg, and what she found was the leg was actually very stable, so--that's my mic, silly--so the damage that was done in the original break is most likely permanent, so even if we did re-break her leg, it's highly unlikely that it would change her ability to perch.  Also, would you like to catch it?  Oh, that was a great catch.  Nice.  Double catch!

Also, anesthetizing a bird and doing a lengthy surgery is very risky.  They can stop breathing during surgery so it's not worth it for something that is most likely not going to change anything, but we didn't go to the vet just to address her leg.  We also had other things in mind too, but Zeema is getting a little impatient.  I think she's bored with me talking, so I'm going to let her play while I talk to you a little bit more about that.  Okay, Zeema?  You go there.  Good girl.  Ready, can you catch him?  Get him, nice catch!  Mhmm.  Can you make him squeak?  Yay.  

So while we were at the vet clinic, we needed to deal with all of her missing feathers.  So the previous owners, her home or place that she was at trimmed off all of her flight feathers, so basically all of the primary feathers that they use to fly and then the secondary feathers that make up the rest of their wing were all hacked off, chopped off completely, and she won't regrow those until the follicles fall out.

See, feathers don't just continue to grow like our fingernails or our hair.  They grow out of a follicle and they grow until they're full length and they stay there for about six months to a year, and then they're molted and a new one replaces them.  Zeema's not due to molt her primary feathers or possibly another year.  In the wild, toucans leave the nest and learn how to fly at about three months old.  We think Zeema is about five months old--oh no--so she really needs to learn to fly now rather than wait for a whole year. 

So we wanted to help her along as much as possible and the way to do that is to help her lose her primary feathers at the follicle.  Removing feathers at the follicle, especially primary feathers, is quite painful, so we wanted to make sure that she was asleep while we did that.  Any time you put a bird under anesthesia, it is risky but since it was going to be a very short procedure, we weren't worried.

So we gave her some gas and she fell asleep and then we removed every other primary feather so that she could start growing 'em back, and this happened yesterday.  You can see that she has completely recovered--get it--and she just, she just wants to play.

You might have noticed that she has no tail feathers and that has been an ongoing issue with her because she has poor balance.  She does fall off of her perch and land on her tail and she actually had a tail feather growing in really good and she broke it of--yeah, that's your tail feather, right there--hopefully as her wing feathers start to grow back in, as she starts to fall off a perch, she'll be able to flap and right herself and she won't break off her tail feathers anymore.

Until then, we will keep her perches very low, so if she does fall off of them, she won't hurt herself, and because she's so active and curious and she just wants to do things, we will continue training her for public presentations.  

Zeema really enjoys learning new things.  Do you want this little--you love your little rubber duckie, don't you?  Yeah.  She's just so curious and so playful.  She needs a lot of stimulation and she actually really enjoys public presentations.  We've been to two now and she rides in her crate very well.  She gets to the presentation and she loves the audience.

We are currently training a new behavior of her jumping from arm to arm, which you might have seen earlier, but I think we should practice a little bit more.  


She's getting really good at that.  So, thank you everyone who sent Zeema good wishes for her vet visit and those who have sent her gifts and donations to help us with her care.  She's doing really well and while we still have some hurdles to navigate with her, we're grateful to be doing this with all of your support.  

(?~5:22) step up here.  Good girl.  You can follow Zeema on Instagram.  She has her own page called zeemathetoucan and you can find things that she needs in her everyday life by going to our Amazon Wishlist, and if you'd like to support our channel with a monthly pledge, you can go to and join our community there.

Thanks, and we'll see you next week.