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Am I Doing Something Wrong


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I feel like I only post when something bad happens with my birds. But last night one of my original and favourite birds - Garlic- died. The story goes that I noticed she was quiet in the aviary and had some hard poo stuck to her bum. I brought her inside, cleaned her up and put her in my little hospital cage. Being a hot summer I didnt put any heat with her as the room was hot and I didnt want to dehydrate her. She seemed fine but still a bit quiet. I was not happy with the amount of food she was eating so yesterday I gave her some hand rearing mix just to support her. Last night she was happily perched for the night. Not puffed up or anything. I had been in bed about 15 minutes when I heard her flap. I went into her room to check on her to find her dead on the floor of the cage. This is the fourth bird I have lost in 12 months. Am I doing something wrong in the hospital cage or is this an average mortality rate for aviary and young birds? Please advise me if I am making a mistake. I only want the best for my little mates!

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Sorry for your loss Pebble. Caked hard poop can be a sign of dehydration caused by illness.

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Hi Pebble,

 

I'm very sorry to hear about your losses. :(

 

I'm not sure it'd be anything you're really doing wrong unfortunately, it could be just a run of bad luck or it could be underlying illnesses coming to the fore. Unfortunately birds being prey animals tend to hide their illness in the early stages, a preservation reflex as birds which are obviously ill are victim both of predators and of other birds. So they will generally only show it in the later stages when the problem is rather critical or the bird is moribund and near death. If you definitely see them unwell, in my experience unless you're an old hand and know how to definitively diagnose the exact issue and treat as a vet and have those supplies on hand, it's time to make a swift trip to the avian specialist vet.

 

Hard poo pasted to the vent could indicate a few things and would ime be more of a symptom of a wider problem than the whole problem itself. It is usually resulting from diarrhea or high excretion of urates but that could be caused by any number of things from stress, change in feeding routines, a bacterial infection, liver or kidney being compromised, some parasites, spoiled foodstuffs etc. It's really hard to say and some of those causes could be quite serious even with vet intervention, while others quite mild and self resolving with minimal home support. Dehydration might have played a factor if the paste was due to Garlic having diarrhea. Giving extra water, electrolyte solutions or sugarless juices/cordials as some people do can be a stop gap but if the bird is dehydrated often they cannot absorb enough through oral means because of how the gut works at this point. A lactated ringer solution may be required. Also by the time most birds are presenting as ill you may be looking at being clinically anorexic... because they are quite small and illness and stress increases the metabolic rate, it can happen quite quickly.

 

While it's not a nice thing to think about, if you have any further budgies pass away it might be an idea to get them to your avian vet for necropsy (birdy autopsy) to see if they can determine the cause of death and shed any light on what might be going on. Your vet would be able to tell you what to do with the bird in that case before bringing it in and they will be able to wrap up your little one respectfully afterwards so they can be safely returned for burial or cremation if you wish as well. Here is hoping that all your other feathered friends all live very long, healthy lives and you never have to worry about this anymore though! It is very hard to loose them I know and the hard part about loving animals.

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Thanks Rachelm. I will be more aware if I see this in future and will force feed some medicated water immediately. Wysiwyg thanks so much for your detailed answer. I really appreciate your perspective. I am just starting a new business so I dont have much money just now. But if I have further problems I might speak to my vet about a necropsy. Your answer has made me think about the aviary. I think I will change the water dispenser to be sure its not getting dirty through the day between water changes. I always remove fresh foods so I dont think its that. If anymore get quiet and I hospital cage them I will hand feed and water first thing to ensure hydration and energy. Thanks once again to both of you. I feel better now as I feel there is more I can do to help. I hate feeling helpless and having them slip away in front of me like that.

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I'm rather new at this compared to some of the breeders here. Birds decline fast though when they are sick because as many people have said before they hide illness so as not to be picked on. When they look ill, they are too tired to hide it anymore and are far gone. You got some pretty good advice here so I'll leave it at that. Sorry about your loss, it is heartbreaking.

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Just as a tip, I have been in the situation you are in with not having lots of money for vet bills but if you have a decent relationship with your vet you can often find ways to work around this. In college I put a small amount into an account with the vet each week whether or not I had anyone seeing them. It built me a healthy little float over time and even when I came in for something I just continued paying that small amount each week till it was paid off, if the float didn't already cover it. Some vets are also willing to do payment plans... I had 3 dogs need emergency care for a week at the same time the other year after a toxin was ingested (someone threw a bag of mouldy McDonalds which blew into our yard...) and of course this was after-hours and on holiday. X_X The bill was hefty as you can imagine. I paid off a good chunk of it from my vet fund float and we were allowed to pay the rest off weekly as they know I'm good for it.

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Your Very lucky if your Vet will make any kind of arrangement with you. All the vets I know can only think of ways to make the bill as big as possible and all want cash right away.

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