A baby magpie goose was found by a member of the public who had used Google to identify him including his diet. Unfortunately for the baby goose, Google is often wrong as it was in this scenario. They had been feeding him on chick-starter, which in the short term is an excellent approach, BUT is NOT a total, nutritious diet.
On the 12th Feb, at 4-5 weeks old, Sarah collected him from JCU where he had finally been surrendered. He seemed healthy, though had flaky skin on his feet. His diet was immediately changed to ensure he was on proper nutrition. Four days later, a small lesion began developing on his foot (as seen in the photo) which looked very similar to bumble foot. A slight limp soon developed, after which Sarah decided to take him to see Wendy at JCU.
After a checkover, it was concluded that the foot tissue damage was caused by incorrect housing and improper nutrition. For example, if he was housed in a cage or on a hard surface, it could have possibly caused the damage to his foot. He was put on antibiotics with his new diet to continue.
Unfortunately, as time pursued, so did his health issues, with his foot and leg problems worsening. His leg was splaying due to an issue in his ankle joint. On the 28th Feb, he was taken back to the vet.
After an x-ray, a final conclusion was reached. His health issues were based on his incomplete diet (solely chick starter) as a very young chick. He now has one leg splinted for a week and will then be reassessed. For the baby goose, there is no guarantee that the problem will ever be able to fixed or treated completely.
The lessons from this story:
1. When a bird is found, especially a young chick, it is vital that it is handed in ASAP. They have dietary needs including essential nutrients and vitamins just like humans. As they develop quickly, it is vital that they are on proper nutrition from the start. Googling and trying to raise a bird yourself can be extremely detrimental to the bird's health. PLEASE DON'T DO THIS!
2. Carers ARE available and have the knowledge, skills and training to provide to the birds' needs and species coordinators are available to provide further advice or help if need be.
3. If in doubt, ASK.
Let's now all hope for the best possible recovery for this baby goose and that his story helps others like him.