So, right on schedule, we had the annual Extreme Moult Experience.
This is the 3rd year running this has happened. It began when Bezukhov suffered this affliction in October 2015 (click here to read that story). Last year, Bezukhov upped the stakes by introducing compulsory crop-feeding to keep him going (click here to read that story). This year, Bezukhov pulled out all the stops & managed to scare us all.
Not counting the final follow-up visit, we had clocked up 16 vet visits/crop feeds in 14 days. In total, there were 17 vet visits in 17 days which clearly averages as 1 visit a day. Astounding statistics.
On the 19th September, Bezukhov dropped many large feathers, including his remaining tail feather. His smaller, fluffier feathers were also beginning to fall off him. When offered millet, he declined. His poops were also going a dark green colour. It was time to call in the vet. When the vet examined him on the 20th, she said his head was inflamed where pin feathers (not yet noticeable) were about to come through. Instead of sensibly gradually moulting out his feathers, he decided to drop them all at the same time & grow new ones. His body was clearly not able to cope with this, hence his lack of appetite (& subsequent dramatic weight loss) & extreme lethargy.
Overnight feather loss – Bezukhov’s & some of Dalai’s
Knowing the pattern from previous years, although his weight was initially healthy at 50g, the vet began with a crop feed in an attempt to ‘get ahead of the game’. You can see from the table below, that things did not go as well as we had hoped.
The main complication this time was that Bezukhov was repeatedly vomiting. He had a crop wash on the 26th September to rule out reasons other than an extreme moult. This came back clear, but we were still left with the vomiting problem. It was thought it might have been a side affect to the antibiotics, in which case we would have to wait a few days until after the last dose to see if this was the case. His weight continued to fall, despite having crop feeds.
Thursday the 28th September was the worse day of all. He looked terrible & I feared he would not last the night…. but last the night he did & his further loss of 2g, to a critically low (for Bezukhov) 38g, explained his worsening state. It was at this point we increased the crop feeding to twice a day. On the Friday, he thankfully vomited less & from the Saturday all but stopped. This was indeed a good sign & we hoped it would be the turning point, which indeed, it was.
You can see from the table above, that Bezukhov’s last weight was 41g that he had kept stable for a few days. He still needs to put on weight but is now in much better spirits & eating by himself so we are hopeful that he will be his slightly tubby self soon.
Dalai sitting with Bezukhov
Bezukhov at his worst
Bezukhov feeling better