It is with a sad heart that i post here to tell you that i lost my beautiful Moose at the beginning of the week.
I had Moosie for about 6 months. He was the adult that i adopted from the breeder when i went to get my baby English, Puffin.
He was a bit socially awkward, but sweet as sweet can be. I was told that he never really bonded with any of the birds he lived with- was kind of a loner... and didn't make it as a breeder.
He was WAY overweight when i got him, and couldn't fly even though he was not clipped. I think it was a combination of being so heavy (he was pretty much on a seed diet his whole life) and not having the opportunity to fly on a regular basis.
But he was gorgeous and docile.... and i loved him.
It took a little while, but once he joined my flock he soon learned from the others about eating healthy fresh food, and with patience and practice he made his first successful flight about a month ago!
I am so happy that he was able to experience living a life free and with flight, and even forge bonds and friendships within a flock.
Moose truly had a place in my little family of budgies. They accepted him in, and he didn't have to be a loner anymore. Mutual feeding and preening.... flirting and playing with the others.... i know he wasn't lonely here.
Last weekend he seemed a little quiet and subdued, but that wasn't unusual or out-of-character for him. I saw him "eating" at the food dish, so i wasn't too concerned.
On Monday morning when i was going through my usual morning routine with the birds, Moose stayed with his head tucked behind his wing and i knew that something was not right. He let me just pick him up and cradle him in my hands.
As i held him, some of my other birds came flying over landing on my arms and hands.... and Kitty even came over and started to preen Moose while i held him.
I had a bad feeling about it and decided to take Moose in to work with me. I made up a hospital cage, and when i got to work he was still perching up high on the highest perch, though he was very lethargic. I had some millet hung by that perch and i saw him picking at it.
I set an appointment with my avian vet for later in the day, but a couple hours after i got to work Moose was sitting on the cage floor puffed up and eyes closed.
He let me pick him up and hold him snuggled against my chest, and i called my vet again and they told me to bring him in right away since he had deteriorated so quickly... but within 20 minutes he was gone.
I went ahead and took his body in for a necropsy. Everything happened so quickly, i had to know what happened. I was also worried about my other budgies, and had to be sure that they were not in any danger.
My vet found ulcers in Moose's lower small intestine and upper large intestine. He said that there was clotted blood in his digestive system and a bacterial infection. Also, it appears that Moose hadn't eaten in at least 2 days.
My vet told me that even though Moose was picking at the food bowl and millet, he probably wasn't actually swallowing. It's hard to know if he stopped eating because of an infection.... or if the lack of eating created the ulcers after dehydration... but either way he ultimately died because his system became septic from the infection.
He also said that based upon his findings, it's unlikely any of the rest of my flock is infected. I'll never know exactly why Moose got sick. It's been almost a week since Moose died, and everyone is still active and healthy *knock on wood*.
But i'm keeping a closer eye on stools and activity, and gave everything a thorough cleaning just in case.
At first i was feeling extremely guilty that i hadn't noticed something amiss sooner, but after speaking to my vet and the small amount of time i've had to grieve, i've come to accept that there probably wasn't much i could have done.
And i am just grateful that Moose was able to live out the last months of his life so very much loved- and that he didn't suffer long.
Fly Free Moosie baby. Spread those wings and fly. I will miss you...