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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone. I have an 11 year old male that I took in as a rescue. A couple of weeks ago I took him to the vet as he wasn't himself. To my complete surprise the vet found that he was severely underweight. He probably wouldn't have lasted much longer. He had always had a fabulous appetite but the vet said he probably spent more time playing in the food rather than eating. Anyways, that's a whole other story that includes his past.

I've been hand feeding three times a day. At about the ten day mark I tried to start weaning him off the formula but I'm not having any luck getting his appetite back. He will nibble at his seeds/pellets, at millet and at lettuce etc but no real interest in having a good meal. I've ordered some various soak and feeds (will be here tomorrow) so hopefully there's a flavour that he won't resist but short of that I'm not sure what else to try. He goes back on the 6th for a follow up. Or the 9th. Can't remember which day (I see the doctor on one of these days too.)

The vet did not feel an enlarged liver. Temp was normal as was everything else. It's quite possible in my opinion that there could be something going on that's underlying.

I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas to get him eating on his own? Anything to stimulate his appetite?
 

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Are you crop feeding him? My experience has been that when a bird needs to be crop fed, that's stressful enough that they won't want to eat on their own. If his weight is stable enough, you might try completely stopping the hand feeds for a day or two to see if he'll resume eating on his own. I haven't had great luck with gradually weaning off crop feeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Crop feeding is when food is fed directly into the crop right? I'm feeding his formula with a syringe but I only put it in his beak a little bit. He likes the formula fairly thick and prefers when I put a bit in his beak and then he'll swallow it. He's a good eater for this. He actually ate a bit of dinner tonight. I put some seed mix in his coconut toy and he really liked that and started eating. I hung a millet in a different spot too. So by changing things up he started eating a bit again!
 

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Correct, what you're doing is not crop feeding. It's possible that it's still stressful for him, but honestly I would share your concern about possible underlying conditions if he has not regained a normal appetite at this point. What tests were done at the vet?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We just did an exam, no real tests yet. He probably wouldn't have survived the stress of them given how underweight he was. He are a fair bit last night. I heard him nibbling on millet throughout the night and he just had some breakfast. Yay :)

Before I got him he was with four conures. The vet figures he was probably bullied or maybe just felt threatened so he probably didn't get his share of food. He paired up with my small green cheek when I got him. I had always seen him eating but the vet says he was likely just playing in his food and eating the bare minimum. I was shocked, saddened, sickened. I'm determined to get him better.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Poops are totally normal and yes! He's done really well gaining weight.
 

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Well, those are two good signs. Honestly though, if he were my bird I'd want at least a gram stain and possibly also bloodwork to rule out common underlying conditions. It's unusual for a bird to just stop eating.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Those will be our next steps if the vet feels it's necessary. :)
When I first took him he was far too weak. It would not have been wise to put him through the stress of getting blood.

So the good news is that I weighed him tonight and he's at 83 grams! He's only had periodic hand feedings for about 5 or 6 days now so this weight is from his own eating! My order came today so I've started him on a weight gain supplement and I bought him some soak and feeds which he'll have for breakfast tomorrow. I cooked a scrambled egg for everyone for dinner tonight and he actually tried it! :)
 
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