the Sun Conure, was intended as a
gift for my mother - either a
homecoming from the hospital
or a birthday present.
She didn't live long enough to see
him, and so he became my
distraction from sorrow. He
was true to his names.... he
brought "sun" into my
life and was indeed a clown (Amadan
means clown in Celtic).
Wanting to be a good Conure companion for my little eight-months-old fid, I joined a Conure list online (Kathy Johnson's Conure List which is now on OneList), read every email, asked questions, bought the recommended books, and read the books. I made birdie bread, bought a better cage, looked for the latest toy, and learned to be an informed Poop Inspector. I shared with the List each joy that comes with having one's first fid - the first trick learned, the first show of affection, the first word learned, etc. I also shared the apprehensions of a new owner - the first broken blood feather, the nail and wing trimming, a proper diet, etc. As the days passed, I rapidly learned to love my new companion.
Then I noticed several things which caused a new apprehension; Amadan was not like the other little fids in the emails I was reading daily. At first I discounted some of the reported fid activities as being Proud Momma bragging, but soon I decided that Amanda was indeed different. His patterns of behavior just didn't match those of other fids. He would play - but only for short periods and always followed by periods of rest. He would try a new activity but if it took much energy, he wouldn't repeat it very often - if at all. I asked the List and following their advice, I bought a good digital scale. Amadan weighed 94 grams. The List and I were concerned!
I made an appointment with an avian vet. Amadan was pronounced healthy...and at the low end of normal weight. Relieved, I turned to the List for suggestions on adding weight to one's fid. Time passed - and Amadan stayed the same weight and displayed the same behaviors. I made another appointment with another avian vet - one even more highly recommended than the first. Amadan was pronounced a fine, healthy little fid.... and maybe I should just accept that he is a "lean bird". I took my little fid home again.
Then I weighed Amadan one morning and he was 93 grams. When he dropped to 92 grams, I went to a third vet. After yet another careful exam, Amadan was pronounced fine; this time I listened to my instincts and insisted "something's wrong!!!!!" The vet listened. He decided to do one more simple test....and Amadan was diagnosed with giardia. We started a round of antibiotic, and I reported to the List. I was assured that this was a common infection and the antibiotic (commonly prescribed) would have Amadan fine in no time. I added peanut butter to the birdie bread and gave sun flower seeds liberally. Amadan's weight increased to 93, 94, 95 grams...and I reported each increase to the List with delight. Then the antibiotics were finished. Within a week Amadan began to slowly lose the weight again. I returned to the vet.
Okay.... not to worry. Sometimes a second dose was needed. I added cranberries to Amadan's diet... and extra egg to the birdie bread...and dosed him faithfully with his antibiotic. The weight slowly increased. When he hit 96 grams, the List and I celebrated!
Then his antibiotics were gone....and the weight loss began again. I scheduled another trip to the vet.
Dr. D and I discussed the situation and he suggested that we anesthsize Amadan and x-ray him to see if something else was going on. The anesthetic was the one the List had agreed on another case was safe, so I agreed. Four minutes later Dr. D. returned to the exam room with Amadan in his hand - his little head dangling limply. Amadan had gone to sleep under the anesthetic and just stopped breathing. Through my shock and horror I agreed to an autopsy; I wanted to know what was wrong with my little fid!
The report showed that Amadan had had giardia probably since hatching; it was deeply entrenched and had insidiously weakened him. Dr. D and the List both assured me that only my good care and feeding (all thanks to the List) had kept Amadan alive much longer than otherwise.
He died after living with me for one year and four days. Have your fid tested for giardia.