On the 29th Dec 2010 (in Egg free at last) I wrote: “George has in fact filled out very nicely in the past month. She feels really chunky and solid, which I’m very happy about since she has always been a bit too slight and thin. I hope she doesn’t loose her “pregnancy” weight!”
Boy do I regret saying that. Georgie stopped eating on that day and for days refused to eat her seed. So I tried popping some peanuts down her throat, however, she simply vomited them up later.
Not wanting to cause her to become even more ill, I decided not to force-feed her anymore. Sometimes, giving food can cause more problems. A vet visit was scheduled, and Georgie lost all that lovely weight she had gained.
Basically, Georgie stopped eating for about 4 days. On the fifth she wolfed down some granary bread and had a go at her seed – but not in her cage! She refused to eat from the seed bowl if it was in her cage – so we put it on the sofa and she had a field day – swishing seed left and right and making an awful mess.
An important message regarding ill birds: Since birds are very good at hiding any illness you often won’t notice anything until it has progressed quite far. So if you suspect anything is wrong with your bird, contact your avian vet immediately, otherwise it may be too late.
Sometimes I forget this. Georgie was acting normal and looking fine except for the simple fact that she wasn’t eating. And when she did start eating, she wouldn’t eat when in her cage. It got very frustrating.
However, after the visit to the avian vet we felt better about Georgie. In fact, on that day Georgie had eaten a lot of seed from her bowl in her cage, but vomited it all up on the journey to the vet due to car sickness. It was nice to see that Georgie had eaten, but upsetting that it had to come all out.
The vet said that Geogie most likely had an eye infection when she was a baby due to mycoplasma bacteria which scarred her eyes (the cloudiness) and distorted her pupils (it’s so nice to finally have an explanation for Georgie’s eye condition). This bacteria is laying dormant in her body until her immune system is compromised, such as when she’s using a lot of energy to produce and lay eggs. So the mycoplasma took the opportunity to attack Georgie’s system which made her lose her appetite. She’s on antibiotics and we also bought some vitamin and mineral supplements to give her on top of the calcium and vitamin D that she already receives (to boost her health).
At the moment Georgie is eating well but she’s still thinner than she should be and feels very light. We’re keeping a close eye if anything changes. I cannot bare to think of what would happen if the worst happened. Georgie has become such an integral part of my family and heart.
It’s always scary when your animal becomes ill. It can be hard to know what to do and when to act, however, a good vet that you can trust is really the best, as well as support and advice from good people in the pigeon rescue field!
Today Georgie was annoying Elmo and Richard so much because she kept walking over to Elmo’s side on the sofa to get some peanuts, however, she wasn’t swallowing any – just pecking at them and throwing them about. It seems they were all the wrong size for her liking! In the end, Richard popped a few into her mouth and she seemed grateful to be given a helping hand. She’d never have come to a decision on her own. (I guess this means I have to go search for smaller sized peanuts.)
Here’s the mess Georgie made on the sofa on the day she decided to eat again: