We are heartbroken - "Mum" maggie has been euthanased

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Brumby
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We are heartbroken - "Mum" maggie has been euthanased

We have had a pair of magpies visit us regularly for 6 years or so and we have taken great comfort in having earned their trust to the point we can hand feed them.  We take care to not make them dependent and ensure what we offer is appropriate.  We have had the joy of seeing some of their offspring (including triplets one year) for a time before they find their own way - but Mum and Dad (as we call them) have been our wild companions.  We also have a handful of other native species visit as well as the Indian Mynah - which do NOT get the welcome mat.

From the food being taken away, it is clear they currently have a nest with young mouths - our guess is at least two.

Several days ago we started noticing Mum wasn't her usual self, becoming a bit lethargic and hanging around our yard for long periods. Dad was doing the food runs back to the nest. Mum started getting crusy around one eye and we became concerned. We contacted WIRES and, in consultation with them, eventually caught Mum.  Up until this point, she had never been touched by anyone, but was now wrapped up in a towel in my arms. After a couple of minutes of playing possum, she stirred, but wasn't aggressive. I was speaking softly and stroking her back gently through the towel.

WIRES was contacted and we were given a vet to take her to, which we did.  Mum was quiet during all this until she was handed over to the vet.  She then objected very vocally to being handled by this stranger. This was the last time she was seen.

Later that day, the vet was called to find out how she was, but the staff were very abrupt. We did get some information that apparently they didn't have the right avian antibiotic, but would give her a general one. We were not pleased to hear that.

The next morning we called once again and, again abrupt, the staff told us she had "taken a turn for the worse" and had been put to sleep the previous night.  We were devastated.

After getting over the initial shock, we started wondering how things could deteriorate so quickly.  Before we caught mum she was still able to eat, drink and fly. She would go off to roost at night and we have seen her in a nearby paddock. Yes, she wasn't 100%, but she did not seem to be anywhere near death's door.

We were concerned that the vet didn't have appropriate medication and the attitude of the staff was confronting. Then we discovered some reviews of this vet which had a mix of positive and negative.  The negatives were scathing and had two things in common - high prices and poor treatment.  One even used the word "slaughterhouse".  For our maggie, the "free treatment" offered suddenly brought the whole exercise into a sinister light. We became angry.

Mum maggie had put her trust in us and we had betrayed that trust by handing her over to a practice that seemed to only care for profit. I can't help but think that euthanasia would be the most cost-effective "free treatment".

WIRES was contacted once again and our experience and concerns were shared with them.  We were informed the vet will be investigated.  While this is good - the price was too high.

Dad maggie spent nearly all of the first day without Mum calling and flying around, no doubt looking for her. He did not show until mid afternoon, only having a small amount to eat and very little taken away.  Today is day two and Dad has been busy again, taking food back to the nest. We know we are probably over-supplying at the moment, but we will cut back a little futher down the track.

However, on his last trip for the night, Dad had a couple of mouthfuls ... then called. We just knew he was calling for Mum - and it ripped our hearts apart.

dwatsonbb
dwatsonbb's picture

Oh I am sorry for your loss. Having been involved in wildlife rescue, I know that small critters can deteriorate very quickly. Even just the stress of being somewhere with domestic animals can cause stress, which can have dire consequences.

Hopefully dad will successfully raise his young, and the circle of life goes on.

Thank you for having a kind heart and trying to look out for mumma maggie.

I know it is hard, but please reassure yourself you did everything right, she may have passed with or without the Vets intervention.

Dale Huonville, Tasmania

sue818
sue818's picture

How sad. I agree with all of Dale's  comments.

My daughter is a wildlife carer and we have had numerous critters rescued over the years and cared for at our home. Many were challenging and you get to know the best vet for each type but they can spiral down quickly. At least you tried.

Dad will find another mate next season as we have seen happen with our local Magpies over the years. Life will go on and you will find joy in the following generations.

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