Already more than a week has gone by and so much has happened for little Hedwig. We have really bonded, she lays on my chest and watches The Crown on Netflix with me and has even gotten to the point where she asks for cuddles and seems to enjoy being close to me. She knows the sound of my voice and will cheep and peep when she hears me talking and always seems to know when I first start to move as I wake up in the middle of the night for one of her feedings. She is also getting so much fluffier! And the down fluff is so incredibly soft.
Well, Hedwig was doing great and getting fluffier and so much bigger so fast, but everything took a drastic turn for the worst on Sunday. On Sunday she ate her noon feeding (rabbit meat from the Maputo butcher) really well and had a big appetite. But then Sunday evening she only ate a small amount and I figured it was just because she ate so much at noon. Monday morning, she was laying on her side and could not right herself at all and refused to eat anything. She then let out a massive very dark and stinky poo which I thought was probably the reason she did not eat. But after the poo she seemed to have crashed even more. She stopped peeping and making noise and could not even hold her head up much less the rest of her body. I spoke to our wildlife vet, but he has more experience with lions than birds. He instructed me to give her a sugar water solution to keep her hydrated. I did that throughout the day and also tried to mash up some meat as finely as I could to see if I could maybe get that through a syringe but did not have much luck. Sometimes having no access to supplies makes simple things very difficult.
Monday evening, Ellery gave me some human calcium tablets since possibly being calcium deficient was the only thing we could think of to cause this. I crushed up the calcium tablet and mixed a diluted form of that in with the sugar solution and continued to keep her warm and hydrated. I honestly had little hope that she would survive the night. I would check on her every few hours expecting to find that she had past, only to be amazed to hear these little “cheep, cheeps” coming from her nest at the sound of my voice. It breaks my heart that she tries so hard to respond to me even though she is extremely weak.
Around 03:30 this morning I finally manged to get some food in her. She ate a small mouse leg and a little bit of squirrel meat, but only 1/4 of what she normally would eat at a meal. Around 06:30 I was able to get her to eat the other mouse hind leg, but that was it. I have continued with the calcium sugar solution throughout the day. She is pooping normally (including ALL over me once today) and is looking a bit perkier, but still cannot hold her own body upright. If I support her upright, she now will hold her head up on her own. Both of her eyes are more open and she seems a bit more aware today than she did yesterday, but her body is still extremely floppy and she will flail her legs around. Ugh. I hate feeling so helpless, I wish I knew how to make things right for her. I have contacted a few raptor and owl centres around the world hoping someone might have seen this before and knows the answers on how we can help this little soul get better.