Week 21 – Medication

This week I thought I would write about how we medicate the birds. With nearly 500 animals under our care we regularly have to treat birds who are unwell or injured.
We have to deal with a variety of ailments, which can be anything from a pulled claw up to blood clots. The most common problem we experience are injuries to the birds. These can include pulled claws, damaged feathers or problems around the face. These will usually be caused by aggression amongst the birds (examples include male pheasants hassling females, or when birds are defending their nest sites)
Feet 2 200x300 - Week 21 - Medication
Bumblefoot on a flamingo
Pelican being cleaned 004 300x225 - Week 21 - Medication
Giving a Pelican a health check
Illnesses are harder to spot but with the keepers having their set sections, they are able to spot if a bird is not quite right. We currently have a Emerald Dove whose breathing is a little laboured, indicating a respiratory problem. If a bird is looking ruffled, or its wings are drooped then there is usually something wrong. Limping is also an obvious sign but could be through injury or infection.
A lot of the treatments are straight forward and can be carried out by the keepers. Where possible we give medication orally so we can ensure that the medicine has been received and this is less stressful than treatment by injection as we don’t have to catch the bird. For birds such as the penguins we hide tablets in the fish, just as we would do with vitamin tablets. We can also inject medicine into the fish for the penguins.
For smaller birds, tablets will be crushed and sprinkled over the food, or in some cases mixed in the drinking water.
For infections we will usually have to inject medicine to ensure direct treatment. We have to work out dosages based on the weight of the bird and will inject in the breast muscle, alternating which side every day.
For major problems we will use the vet. We use Chipping Norton vets who can come to us or we can take a sick animal to them depending on the severity.
If needs be we can isolate the bird, either in its aviary, in our quarantine or in our hospital. This room isn’t as dramatic as it sounds, no operations are carried out here, it’s just a small room to isolate and monitor. Providing heat is always good to perk a bird up so we have heat lights that can be regulated to the birds requirements.
In other news this week
We have taken delivery of a 2 week old Chaco Owl, this will be hand reared by Helen and be part of our Display Team
IMAG0399 200x300 - Week 21 - Medication
We have had eggs from the Snowy Owls, Roul Roul Partridges, Tawny Frogmouths, Sacred & Waldrapp Ibis & the Bartlett’s Dove. We also had a first ever egg from the Buffons Touraco, unfortunately she has no mate.
IMAG0398 300x200 - Week 21 - Medication
The male Rhea is now sat tight on his nest with 6 eggs
Rhea 6 300x200 - Week 21 - Medication
The Yellow Shouldered Amazons have 4 eggs in the nest
The Kookaburras have been in the nest box most of the week, no eggs as yet
Humboldts Hagrid & Luna have been busy investigating nest sites but haven’t settled on one yet
Wildlife wise we have been seeing more Pied Wagtails than normal, we usually see Greys but this time the Pieds seem to be more common
The Mistle Thrush have been extremely vocal
That’s it for this week, thanks for reading

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