We lose two friends

Last week we lost two of our pied butcherbird friends. Gerry started getting sick first, with what looked like the same problem we successfully cures his relative Butch from last year. His eyes crusted up and it became hard for him to see. Unlike Butch though, Gerry wasn't at all interested in getting caught and taken to the vet etc. So we had to feed him antibiotic-soaked bread as the only way to get some medicine in him.

Despite our best efforts, last week he never returned. Meanwhile, one of the 'new gang' of butcherbirds also started looking bad. As the new gang are more uncertain of us than even Gerry, there was no hope of getting poor Teddles into the cage for the trip to the vet. It was only a short time before Teddles vanished.

We are not sure whether this problem is a bacterial infection that can be treated by antibiotics or a viral infection like bird flu. We have found that vets are only marginally helpful. They will offer to treat a wild bird for free if you bring it in to them—but we are happy to pay anyway. On the other hand, unless they "see the bird" they will not offer any help, any medicine, not even an educated guess at the problem. That's really useful if you can't persuade a wild animal to trust you with its freedom!

What really angers me about this situation is that they tell us stuff about laws against distributing medicine without sighting the patient. We are talking about a few grams of antibiotic here. And yet animal feedlots chuck tons of antibiotics into the feed to promote growth, and which escape into the environment. Many of the best antibiotics are losing their usefulness (which will lead to human deaths) because of this. It seems you can do what you please with antibiotics if you are harming animals, but not if you are benefiting them.

We are now worried about our beautiful Vicky Magpie. The last few days she has had some eye trouble, so we offered to take her to the vet. She refused, so we are having to do the best we can to get her back in top form without any expert help, because of these foolish policies.

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I am so sorry about your two friends. I do hope that Vicky Magpie gets back in top shape as soon as possible. I love birds. I remember the time when I was still a kid....I play with my uncle's Black Myna. I was also and up to now, very fond of pigeons and eagles. For now, I decided to help save a dog or two from http://apps.facebook.com/save-a-dog/

Hi Eric, Thanks so much. Vicky is looking reasonable today. We are giving her antibiotic in case it is bacterial, and oat straw for resilience and general health. We'll just have to watch. It could be quite a while before we know one way or the other.

I've been seaching this forum for some info on baby butcherbirds.
I was wondering if you could share some of your knowledge about them.
I have orphaned 2 young chicks who fell from their nest,but I am just a novice when it comes to birds.
I am mainly a reptile man.(Blue tongues,beardies)Anything on feeding,warmth,ect would greatly be apreciated.
Thanks to those who reply.



Luckily for us, our baby butcherbirds have all had their parents to feed them. You have to be careful that they chicks really are orphaned, because except for really young chicks, the parents can feed them on the ground. They can fly long before they can feed themselves. For some weeks after leaving the nest (they hop around on the branches for a while) they have to have food put into their mouths by mum or dad. They are insectivores, and when we had to take care of one of our adult butcherbirds for ten days, we fed her mealworms, available at certain pet shops. Temporarily, a bit of grated cheese will do a bit of good. You could try putting it in with tweezers to simulate the parent's beak.

Try calling out for the parents - they seem to know when they are being talked to and can distinguish it from talk amongst ourselves or simply making noises.

I'll send your question to an expert I know to see if he can add anything.



Sorry to hear the bad news, even though I can see this happened a few months ago now.

Its such a big loss, to lose an intelligent and emotional bird friend like a Pied butcherbird Even wild, they are like pets in the way they embrace us and endear our hearts, so I understand the pain you feel.

I had a bit more luck with recieving advice for helping my wild bird friends when i called a wild-life carers agency in my state. Eventually I was put onto experts, and I learned a lot from one or two ladies who specialized in Australian birds.

One thing you can do to help your birds is to put Apple cidar vinegar into the drinking water there. It helps their immune system, works as an anti-bacterial and anti- fungal for their crops, and it keeps the water free of disease which can be spread when bird do dropping in the water. I've had a lot less sick wild birds in my area since I started doing that.