The following text describes the rapid and unexplained decline of a
young magpie that came into my care recently. I'd be grateful if anyone
can shed light on what went wrong.
"Progressive Necrosis syndrome in a Juvenile Australian Magpie. Jan
Jan 4 pm: Bird collected from rescuer. It was penned in an aviary used
at night to house geese. Young, semi-independent bird, which should
still have been in company of parents. Presented with weak (injured?)
wing and not flying. No other weakness or problems noticed. Placed in
small cage, within rescue aviary, to rest.
Jan 5 am: Bird not feeding. Presumed captivity stress. Force-fed with
Pal dog food (compressed "sausage" format).
pm: Force-fed again. Noted right rear toe "slipped". Taped back against
tarsus as per Bird Care and Conservation Soc notes. Used Leucopore tape,
not very tight.
Jan 6 am: Leucopore had come off. Replaced with strapping tape, not too
tight. Bird drinking lots. Copious watery droppings. Placed dish of
"grey gravel'-type kitty litter under perch. Ants invading cage.
Liberally dusted cage floor with pyrethrum powder.
Jan 7 and 8: No change noted.
Jan 9 am: Bird now self-feeding on dog food meat mix and soaked dog
biscuits. Injured foot appeared cramped. All toes stiff and last joint
curled under. Tape removed but no change. Entire foot seemed "wasted".
Bird putting weight on it but not gripping.
Jan 10 am: Cage door opened to allow bird access to small aviary. It
spent much of the day poking its beak through the half-inch square mesh,
looking for a way out. Quietened after I put a mirror on the floor in
there. Never managed to access any of the higher perches. Returned by me
to small cage at night.
Jan 11 am: At least 50% of black outer layer had fallen off upper
mandible, exposing bone-coloured inner part and making upper mandible 5
cm shorter than lower one. Large spots of fresh blood on cage floor but
no bleeding visible on bird. Bird still able to self-feed on larger food
pieces eg soaked dog biscuits. Confined to small cage.
Jan 12: No change noticed.
Jan 13: Bird sloughed off 10 cm of outer layers of lower mandible.
Jan 14 am: Lower mandible had broken off, leaving a jagged, bloody 10 cm
stump. Bird euthanazed.
Atriplex Services (Pronounced A-tree-plex)
Environmental Consultants, Landscaping Contractors,
Native Australian Plant Nursery, Educators.
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