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Chicken – from rescue to release

Bijgewerkt op: 19 dec. 2019

After getting in touch with David Jones – a Turaco Specialist from the UK – I was asked to write a story about Chicken for the International Turaco Society…and this is that story.

International Turaco Society Magazine Summer 2019 no 51

It is 2019 and although I have rehabilitated a variety of species this year I was able to learn all about raising a Schalow’s Turaco chick. The Turaco chick arrived in the morning of the 20th of February 2019. It was 7:50 AM and we were in the middle of filming a series, the entire film crew was super excited to hear about a young bird coming in. The gentlemen who brought the bird to the centre reported that his cat caught the little friend as a ‘present’ for him. He didn’t know where the bird came from and wanted to make sure the bird didn’t sustain any injuries so he wisely decided to bring the bird to us for care.

The chick was clearly stressed when I had him on my lap. He was breathing heavily and his mouth was wide open looking around. The physical exam showed nothing and we tried to do everything as quick and gently as possible. When cats have had birds in their mouth you can never be sure everything is alright. We decided to provide full medical support, those cat puncture wounds are very difficult to see with the naked eye. Pain relief, fluids, vitamins, calcium, antibiotics and a calm, warm and quiet place for an hour before we would start to feed the bird for the first time was our first step.

A first feed

Day 1 - Feeding becomes messy

The first feeding turned into a mess. The slurry I made was obviously not appreciated by him. He kept asking for food and shook his head whenever he received some. His basket which he was placed in temporarily, turned quickly in one big disaster. On top of that he kept walking around in the basket in the slurry and soon he was covered in food. This one is going to be interesting!

A second feed

A Turaco in his blanket after intake
Chicken resting in his blanket

The second feed wasn’t much better and we had to force-feed him to make sure he would get enough food for the day. Luckily he took this very well and later on he settled well in his new enclosure for the night. He snuggled up in his blanket that was placed as a little nest. When I left him for the night I had my fingers crossed: young birds, the amount of stress he received, when you do this kind of work you need to be prepared for the worst.

Did he make it?

The following day early in the morning I could hear him squeeking once I entered the building, a rush of excitement went through me when I heard him: he is still with us! Clearly he was bright enough and I couldn’t resist thinking that his vocalizations are super cute. We tried a different approach where we offered different sizes of fruit pieces thanks to the input from David Jones. After sending the weight, 120 grams and a picture David advised me that this Turaco wasn’t super young anymore, so no need for the slurry! The bird actually looked a bit like a small black chicken to most o