(Excerpt from the Essentialbird yahoo group)

Tuesday evening I came home to find one of my 2 month old juvenile Gouldians on the floor of the aviary. He could fly, but was barely able to perch – very wobbly and drunk-like. I caught him, thinking perhaps he had injured a leg or something, and he was VERY skinny.

In the Gouldian world this is described as “Failure to Thrive” and is apparently very common with recently weaned birds who, for whatever reason – illness or otherwise, simply seem to wither away and basically starve to death or die of dehydration. The two other times I’ve had birds fall victim to this, they were dead before I even knew anything was wrong. This was the first case of catching a bird near death from this ambiguous problem. I had no idea what I should do – but I separated him out into a hospital cage while I read some articles on the subject.

When I decided I would try something, he was puffy and would barely move. As a result of being dehydrated and basically starved (he just wasn’t eating for some reason, all the other birds in the flight are vigorous and healthy), his droppings were small and tacky, and because he could barely move, they were caked to his bottom. I noticed his vent was bright red, swollen and irritated looking – I imagine from being constipated/dehydrated.

I really thought I would wake up Wednesday to find him dead. I did the only thing I could do at the time, which was to crop feed him a slurry solution of warm water and electrolytes (Morning Bird’s Thrive). It seemed to bring him back up, but temporarily, and I felt like at any moment he could crash again and die within a few hours. My next thought was that I needed to get some food into him, so when he was still alive the following morning – I decided I’d experiment with something else, and I mixed a very runny solution of Lafeber’s Hand Feeding formula with the Thrive and some Medistatin (in case there was a yeast problem), and again – he seemed to perk back up, but only temporarily. It seemed as though he would only live on force feedings. I contacted Lainey, because she has never failed me before, and I knew she’d have some suggestions that may help with him. She recommended I contact Whole Foods to find out what brand of Oil of Oregano they carried. We decided to go with North American Herb & Spice which is Oil of Oregano in a base of Olive Oil. Not knowing for sure what the concentrations were, Lainey called the company. Through trial and error (tasting and basing off of the Oil of O she uses), we decided the appropriate dilution was 1 drop of Oregano to 35 drops of Organic EV Olive Oil. In order to be able to crop dose him – I mixed roughly .5ml of the runny baby bird food with 1 drop of the Olive Oil/Oregano mixture. I also placed 5 drops of the full strength oregano oil onto a kleenex and attached it to the side of the hospital cage while I was prepping the medicinal treatment. I noticed within an hour after treating him with the O of O and baby food he seemed more perky, and was becomming more active. Before, he would mostly just sit in the same spot. I treated him once at around 5pm, and again with the same dosage at 8pm. By this point – he was moving around a lot more in the cage. So much so that my boyfriend even commented on him. This is a bird that I would have gambled my savings on Tuesday night to be dead first thing Wednesday AM. In lieu of a late night crop treatment, I added 3 more drops of the oregano and went to bed around 2:30am after feeling confident that he would be fine through the night. I woke up this morning around 7:30 to check on him – and he was even more active.. pacing, almost. I changed the towel in his case last night – and there were hulls everywhere in the morning which meant he was eating, and eating a lot more than he had been.

He appears to be drinking more, as his droppings have returned to normal consistency and his bottom is no longer inflamed or red. I added some more drops of O of Oregano to the kleenex, and have just been keeping a close watch on him since then. Unfortunately – I didn’t think to take any photos of him when he was really ill simply because I was more panicked and trying to save him. But attached are a couple of photos from yesterday morning before the Oregano treatment was started. It may take a more trained eye – but it would also help to probably know he stayed in this exact same spot for about 3 hours – not moving, just sitting there. There are two before pictures, and one after taken about 15 mins ago (named as such). Also – here is a link to a video I took of him when I took this photo. He clearly has ants in his pants and wants OUT.. tuesday night he was a sleepy eyed, puffy, extremely sick bird on his death bed.

I just can’t get over how fast he has turned around. I may be wishful thinking, and I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch, but I am optimistic that he may pull through this, after all – and I have Lainey to thank for that!

— Tiffany Park

NOTE: This baby did make a full recovery.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, or by any veterinarian. All information, including any product or technique mentioned, is for educational purposes only. None of the information is intended to diagnose or treat any disease.