In the past few days I have been experimenting extensively with foods to see what he'll eat. Counting on him to eat his pellets himself has been futile. He may nibble on them a little bit but he hardly gets any meaningful amount into his crop though. Normally if I stick a pellet in his beak, he'll at least chew and swallow it but not now. He just spits his pellets right back out. The first time I tried to feed him oatmeal he would not eat it. Later I learned that if I force the oatmeal into his beak, then he'll swallow it but only then. He has made very little independent effort to eat food since Sunday.
With my intervention, luckily his weight has remained fairly stable in the 305-315g range. He is no longer losing any more but it's been a tough fight to get enough food into him to keep him in this weight range. Normally he drinks a lot of water and in the week prior he drank profusely. However, since the medication change he barely drinks a few sips of water a day. And I know exactly how much he drinks because I do not leave water for him in his tub. The last time I did, he knocked it over and the whole tub was flooded. Since then, I just offer him water in a dish every few hours.
Surprisingly, Truman exhibits some interest towards vegetables. I don't know if he's just playing with them as a chew toy or actually ingesting them but I do see them fairly torn up when I offer them to him. While he rejected apple sauce (human baby food) and Lafeber's, he still has a taste for nuts. I've been giving him an entire walnut (partially cracked) and several almonds every day. He's too "tired" to eat his pellets but he can work at those nuts for hours on end.
I believe that I've noticed some improvement with his bad leg. He seems to stand on both legs a bit more of the time rather than on just one alone. He has a stronger grip and I can feel more weight in the bad leg when he is standing on my hand. However, I'm not certain if perhaps this is merely because his good leg is tired so he's just balancing out the pain between the two. When I leave him alone, he squats very low, almost on his belly. He leans over on one leg and a wing. It almost looks as though he is nesting. He used to sit up higher before the medication switch so I'm not sure if this is in any way indicative of his condition or if he has just learned over time the most comfortable way to sit.
For the last few days Truman has been very flighty. He has had at least 5 flights yesterday and about as many today. A week ago I could trust him not to fly but now he takes every opportunity to fly away when I'm not looking. Just yesterday I had Kili and Truman out. I was trying to have Kili fly a recall. She wouldn't come but suddenly I felt something land on my hand as Truman flew from behind me and came to me instead. Behaviorally, Truman has shown some significant improvement in recent days but his appetite seems to have taken more of a dip. I find it strange how he can be so energetic on so little food.
I finally got in contact with Truman's breeder and she gave me recommendations about hand feeding him. I would not have a chance to get to a bird store that would sell hand feeding formula so I had it overnighted to me instead. That cost a good buck but considering how much I've put out on vet care already, this was not so extreme. I wanted to have it on hand as soon as possible in case Truman is eating poorly. If Truman's weight continues dropping, I will have to bring him back to the vet, but with my continuing efforts we have been able to avoid this for now.
The breeder instructed me to mix the formula in a cup with 2 parts water for every 1 part powder. She also suggested throwing a bit of peanut butter and Lafeber's into the mix. I have not had a chance to grab the peanut butter yet but I did add the Lafeber's for some extra nutrition. She explained to me the importance of exact temperature control so I ordered a thermometer along with syringes in that overnight package.
To make the formula, I begin by boiling water and then letting it cool for a little while. Then I pour the water into a mug and mix the powder in until it gets a muckier consistency. I keep mixing with a spoon and begin monitoring the temperature. I wait until the temperature begins dropping below 115 degrees Fahrenheit and then proceed to prepare to feed. By the time it reaches 110F, I suck it up into the syringe and offer it to Truman. Earlier today he had a really big hand fed meal but in the evening he ate much less. Most of it he shook off and it ended up on the floor and on me.
Likewise he's been annoying about taking his medication as well. He used to take it pretty eagerly but now he closes his beak, resists, and then shakes it off or spits it out. Not only does he not eat on his own but he sure makes it difficult to get stuff into him as well. Luckily (for the most part), what I can sneak into his beak, he will consume.
Here is a video of how I prepare the formula, give medication, and then handfeed the baby formula to Truman. Please do not use this video as a reference for hand feeding baby parrots and don't ask me how to. I know next to nothing about hand feeding and this is just the second time I did it on an already weened parrot.