This is Marley’s story, of how against all odds he defeated illness after illness. I never gave up on him, it was hard at times, and I cried a lot but in the end it was worth everything. I have a lifetime companion who is the sweetest, cuddliest, little bird I know. I hope our story can encourage others never to give up, fight for them and they’ll fight back. Allow other people to help, humans can be amazing.
I live in Mexico and have lived here for some time now. I’ve always owned birds, just smaller ones budgies, lovebirds, conures. One day while walking through a fruit market with my family I noticed a woman with a box and a large crowd of people around her, I couldn’t help but nosey myself. I peeked over the crowd and could hear a small honking noise, upon closer inspection I realized it was a baby parrot. My heart practically leapt from my chest. I waited for the crowd to clear out and I started negotiating with the woman. I had to have him, I had to save him from what was his inevitable future. Finally after some negotiating on prices I convinced my husband and we took him home. The first 24 hours were wonderful I was over joyed and filled with excitement. This was my first parrot, something I had dreamed about for years. My excitement was short lived when I woke up the next morning and noticed something didn’t seem quite right. I took him to a self-proclaimed bird expert, I had no other option there are not avian vets where I am, and I was hoping he knew what he was doing. He quickly looked him over and told me he had been malnourished and I needed to get him on some vitamins. I bought vitamins and some baby bird formula and I went home eager to watch YouTube videos on hand feedings. I immediately was questioning if he knew what he was talking about or not, and started researching more myself. By the next 24 hours I hadn’t seen ANY improvement, it was actually getting worse, and he was being very quiet and spent most of the day sleeping. I went to bed that night worried after spending hours on Google trying to figure out what was wrong.
The next day when I woke up I was horrified to find him slumped in the corner of his box, no interest in opening his eyes let alone eating. I panicked, I was so afraid. I had been entrusted with this beautiful life and it was my responsibility to take care of him, make him feel better. So I took to the internet I posted in a group on Facebook called Amazon Parrots pleading for help or anyone who may know a vet in the Mexico area. Within minutes I was contacted by a woman named Claire Henning, she seemed eager to help and her words encouraged me I could help him, I could make him better. She told me she was going to contact a friend of hers who is an Avian Vet, and she would explain what was going on. Another extremely long 24 hours passed, when I received a private message from a man named Tony Silva he already knew a lot because he had spoken with Claire. He insisted I go to the pharmacy and buy baytril, fluconazole and doxyciclina, as he suspected the baby had a bacterial and fungal infection. I was instructed to mix this into a 2 liter bottle and put this medicated water into all of his feedings. 5ml feedings as often as I could (whenever his crop would go down) the first 24 hours of this were very scary. Tony was honest with me he said he might not make it through the night. I spent that first night praying and crying so hard I barely slept. The next morning I was relieved to see he had indeed made it through the night, but was not in any better condition that he was the day before. His crop wasn’t emptying, I contacted Tony and we made a last ditch effort in giving him nothing but fluids and medicine for 24 hours to flush his system. Every 3 hours I gave him his 10ml of medicine and between those pedilyte to keep him hydrated. Finally he began to throw up all the food that had been in his crop and not emptying properly. After speaking again with Tony and I knew the next 24 hours were critical as well, so I set my alarm and every 2 hours that night i was up with him giving pedilyte or just praying with him allowing him to feel my love.
The next morning Tony said it was time to get some food into his system, but we had to start small so we started with 5ml feedings mixed with medicine as often as his crop emptied. (Usually about every 2 hours) this was my schedule for 3 days, Every 2 hours no matter what I was up feeding him small amounts of food to keep him alive. By day 4 Tony agreed to take feedings up to 10-15 ml a feeding and feed whenever his crop emptied. This was our schedule for about a week. I sent pictures to Tony everyday as we discussed his improvement and things we could do for him, by day 8 Tony had a new concern his neck was abnormally turned and his head lay to the side. To my horror he needed more medicine, he had a bacterial infection that had penetrated the brain and Tony insisted I find injectable claforan to pennetrate the brain barrier and I would have to be giving 2 injections to him twice a day for a week on top of his medicine water I mixed in his formula. This was really scary for me, I’m not a vet how do I know what I’m doing? What if I mess it up? The fears were never ending I decided to speak with Claire about this, she has tons of experience and I knew she would be able to help. She used her own parrots as a demonstration and showed me step by step videos of how to locate the keel bone and where to inject. I felt about as prepared as one could, and went for it. The first injection was the scariest no doubt, but after a few days I started to really get the hang of it, and every day at 9am and 9 pm we did the shots. Everyday sending pictures and communicating with Tony on his improvements.
This went on like this for about another week when Tony suggested putting Marley into a neck brace. After speaking with Claire and getting her opinions on what would be best to use for a neck brace, we put Marley is the neck brace. He hated it to say the least, would give me this look every time I would take it off for a feeding, and give me a face every time I would put it back on afterwards. For about 10 days he wore this neck brace all the time. After the 10 days we were all in agreement it was hard for him to thrive or be able to be a parrot with the neck brace, and although his neck wasn’t perfect we had made such a big improvement we decided it was time to let him be a parrot. Nobody could believe we had done it, we saved his life, despite all the odds being against us we beat them. God was watching out for us, he heard my cries and pleads for help. Along the way I never gave up hope, I believed in my heart if God gave him to me he would save him for me, and he did. I want Marley’s story to help others who face hard times, or a struggle. Don’t give up hope, believe in yourself, you too might be able to save the life of a bird you love. I will never forget what Claire and Tony did for Marley and I, and the expierence changed me. Follow your heart, trust your instincts, don't be afraid to ask for help. Together we can save birds lives.