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Maggie, adopted on 05/25/08, † 09/12/10
Maggie once used to live at a place where her owner didn't take much care of her or think about her needs. Together with her former fellow called Balduin she raised a chick, but not in a nesting box as every bird lover would think. The owner let his birds raise the offspring on the bare floor of the cage. Against great odds, the chick survived, and the owner got a partner for this bird as well. But for a budgie, having a partner isn't quite all you need to be happy and healthy. Their owner did not care much about the physical needs of his birds and didn't give them much attention. One day, he had enough and decided to get rid of the animals. His daughter told her cousin about the budgies - she also told her that her father had tried to let the birds die from starvation, what fortunately went wrong. The girl who heard about the poor birds was shocked by the story her cousin told her. She contacted a young bird lover who also was horrified. Back from school, this young lady told her mother Barbara what she had learned about the birds. Although Barbara could not adopt these budgies herself, she immediately went to the bird owner and took the four budgies home where they were safe and sound. In fact, it's not sure whether the man really tried to kill the birds or not. But even thinking about such a horrible deed makes real animal lovers feel sick.
After Barbara had rescued the four birds, she brought them to a vet. The good news was that the birds were quite healthy. But it was easy to see that something was completely wrong with Maggie's plumage. It looked somehow tattered and dull, some feathers were missing. At first, Barbara thought that the bad circumstances under which the birds had been living so far were responsible for the plumage defects. Since she wasn't able to keep the birds herself - she had so many other budgies and there was no room for four new ones - she tried to find a fond home for the animals via the internet. It didn't take her long to find someone who would be willing to give Maggie and Balduin a new home. In October 2007 they moved to my friend Petra. Nobody could tell how old Maggie was when she arrived at Petra's place. Anyway, the most important thing was that the green budgie felt fine and quickly settled in. To be on the safe side concerning Maggie's scrubby plumage, Petra went to an avian vet and let him take a test for viral plumage diseases. The results were clear: Maggie suffers from a disease which is called the French moult. Therefore her tail feathers never grew back. But the bird was lucky because the primaries (the long wing feathers) were not missing, so Maggie was always able to fly.
Since she felt so fine in her new home and because the presence of more than 30 other budgies did her so well, Maggie soon wanted to breed again. But Petra didn't want her to raise chicks that shortly after her rescue. Producing eggs would most probably be too much for her exhausted body, my friend claimed. If a bird gets an unbalanced died with too little amounts of nutriments, it can take months or even years until the organism recovers from this period of malnutrition. The vet also stated that Maggie's body was too weak to produce eggs. But the bird had her mind of her own. In December 2007 a few days before Christmas an egg grew inside her body, and Maggie soon became eggbound. Her life was in danger, so the vet left his company Christmas party and immediately started an emergency surgery. To make sure that Maggie would never become eggbound again, he desexed her during the surgery. That means he excised the so-called oviduct. This is the organ in which the eggs are built in a female bird's body. Only experienced vets should carry out this kind of surgery. In general, desexing a bird won't result in negative things such as behaviour modifications or aggressions.
After the complicated surgery Maggie was ill for weeks. She felt so weak that she even didn't want to leave her recovery cage. For about four weeks she behaved very calm and no chirping or other sounds could be heard from her. Later on, physically she was ok, but she wasn't interested in joining her fellows who were playing in their bird room. It was no wonder that Petra was anxious about her, but she knew that maybe Maggie would just need some more time to become herself again. And then finally it happened: Maggie went back to normal. Her lust for life returned and she often called her feathered friends with her strong voice. Regrettably, Balduin has passed away in the meantime and she was single - but not for long. A new love stepped into her life: Her beloved mate Torben, see photo. He was a very nice guy who caresses her the whole day long - regrettably he died in November 2009. But let's return to Maggie's story. When she was still at Petra's place, she minded her own business which was kind of strange: In the bird room there was a carpet square on which she sat down plucking it and she also threw with clothespins for hours and hours.
Even though Petra loved each and every bird she owned, in spring 2008 she had to take a hard decision. A change in her life forced her to give away some of her birds. Since Maggie's partner Torben once was a member of my flock, Petra asked me if I could adopt him and his wife again. Of course I agreed and on 05/25/2008 they both moved into my bird room. Since then, Maggie hovered through the air like a fearless fighter pilot. We also brought her a carpet square here, but she didn't take any notice of it since she arrived here. Also her clothespins were deserted and not touched by her. But she found another thing to do: One day, I forgot a towel in the bird room, and she conquered it within just a few minutes. It was hers after it and she plucked and pulled at it four hours - just like she used to do with the carpet square. To be honest, this is far from being normal, but who wants to be ordinary? Maggie didn't, and that's what I loved her so much for. And there was someone else who loved her after she had lost her former mate: Tamlin, her husband. He became her new mate after Torben had died.
In September 2010, Maggie suddenly became seriously ill. From one day to another, the cheerful bird turned into a shadow of her former self. At first it looked as if she suffered from an infection of her bowels. But shortly after we hav visited the avian vet, a new symptom shoed up: chalky stones near her joints. Gout is one of the most terrible diseases a bird can suffer from. There is no way one can heal it, and since Maggie felt so bad and suffered from terrible pain I decided to put her down. On 09/12/2010, just four days after she became so terribly ill, my dear little friend passed away - it was the last labour of love I could show her.
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