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Watching TJ die

TJ was already rather lethargic the day before. When I woke up in the morning, I was afraid that he might already be dead. I came out and couldn’t see TJ on his usual perch. He was standing at the bottom of the cage by the food bowl. For a while, I was a little encouraged thinking he might be hungry and was eating. But he stayed at the bottom of the cage the whole time. And as per usual, I took the birds to the window to look outside. TJ was still so eager to climb on my finger for our morning routine. He even flapped his wings a little.

I quickly got some sweet corn ready and placed the corn on top of the cage. Maxx went for it immediately, but TJ just turned his back and looked away from his favorite corn. I realized then that things are not good. I decided he needed his own space to recuperate and so I set up a hospital cage for TJ. I placed a wooden perch near the bottom of the cage, with food and water. Placed him in there and covered the cage partially with a towel.

But he wasn’t eating or drinking. I gave him the antifungal medicine because it’s supposed to be taken without food. I couldn’t give other meds because he wasn’t eating. I even placed spray millet in the cage but he wasn’t eating.

I started to google and read that I could grind some of the bird pellets and add apple juice and handfeed it to TJ. I ground up some pellets, added water, because I didn’t have apple juice at home, and tried to feed TJ. He refused to eat. I placed him back in the cage and hoped that all he needed was peace and quiet rest.

I had wanted to stay home to write. But I was so worried about TJ that I walked out to the mini-mart to get some apple juice, or Pedialyte or baby food to try and get TJ to eat. The mini-mart only had apple juice so I bought that and some coconut water.

By 6 pm, I tried to give him the antibiotics and antacid. Hardly got any into his beak. Tried to get him to eat the ground pellets with apple juice or even drink the apple juice. No chance. He wasn’t eating. I soaked a cotton wool with apple juice and let him bite it and perhaps get some juice into him. Placed him back into the cage and he was still standing on the perch.

I went to observe him again later and saw him jumped down from the perch and wobbled around, like his legs were too weak to hold him up anymore. It was at that very moment that it hit me that TJ’s end was very near.

I quickly got a cloth, took him out, and held him in my hands. From that moment onwards, I pretty much cried the whole time.

But he didn’t go so quickly.

I held him for quite awhile, even brought him to the windows to look outside like how I would usually do in the morning. After a while, he started to struggle again, so I placed him back in the cage.

It was so painful to watch. He could hardly keep his body upright. He would lie in weird positions in the cage. All this while, he struggled to breathe. At one point, one of his legs straightened out and he was chest down and couldn’t stand up.

I had to go to the bedroom because it was so hard to watch him struggle like that. Finally at around 8:15pm, I found him lying on his back and his two legs horizontally straight. I touched his chest and did not feel any heart beat.

I took the hospital cage to the kitchen without letting Maxx see TJ in the cage. The whole time they were separated, Maxx would climb down his big cage and look at TJ. All the time, always looking for his buddy.

I wasn’t sure of what to do with his body at first. Considered burying him but didn’t know where. Finally, I took a small cardboard box, lined it with paper towels, placed a sprig of spray millet (his favorite treat) and some chew toys, and placed TJ’s body in it. Wrote a goodbye note on the box, tied a string around it, and placed the box in the rubbish chute.

Watching TJ die was agonizing. So much pain and tears.

Today, when I brought Maxx for a much needed shower and there was only one bird in the cage, I cried a little 🙁

And then when I brought out a sweet pea and realized I didn’t need to break it in half and put the 2 halves at different locations in the cage because there was only one bird, I teared a little 🙁 But I still broke the sweet pea in two and put them at the usual locations in the cage out of habit.

And when I brought Maxx to look out the window, and there was only one bird on my hand 🙁

Whenever I look at the cage, and there is only Maxx standing in there 🙁

I miss my cutie-bird TJ so much!