Zazu is a Congo African Grey who came to be our forever companion at only 4 weeks of age. He has severe deformity to both legs and the breeder who introduced us the world of being bird owned asked if we would be interested in raising this precious baby. We had previously adopted a Blue Crown Conure with one bad leg from them and he has become one of the most special creatures we have had the pleasure of living with.
Even though we were somewhat experienced with a handicapped bird, we were told that "He is really bad". We saw pictures but until you see it in person we didn't realize what "bad" really meant. We made the 5hr drive to see this baby and immediately knew he was for us. On the 5hr drive home, my wife held him the whole trip and we stopped twice to feed him in the car.
We had already prepared the "nursery" for him with a heating pad, cleanfresh bedding and a plastic container with a grate on the top to hold in the heat. He settled right in and we began the rounds of 4hr feedings. He was a very good eater and feedings took less than 15 minutes including the mixing.
Over the next few days after bringing him home, we agonized on what to do for him. Do we go to a vet or just let nature take it's course. We decided to try a well known avian and exotics vet in our area, unfortunately there are no avian only vets in this area. A 20 minute visit with this vet and his suggestion was to put him down. We were both shocked and at least asked if he thought the baby was in pain. He said no, that he doesn't appear to be in pain. So we paid our bill and left.
My wife immediately broke into tears at the office when he said this. Me being a male took a little while but broke down before we made it home. We looked at each other and decided right then that we would not take the easy way out. We proceeded to contact the only other avian vet in this area but they required sedation. We initially made the appointment but later cancelled for fear that the baby would not make it being sedated. It was at that point we decided that we would not intervene medically and will allow God and nature to decide the outcome.
Over the past 5 weeks since we have had the pleasure of raising Zazu, he has grown a lot in size and is filling in nicely with feathers. We have been working with his feet and legs but amazingly, he has moved his legs in ways that we didn't want to for fear of hurting him. He is always very alert and attentive and just loves interacting with us. Our other conures who are housed in the same room have stopped by to say "hey" and he isn't intimidated one bit. He allows us to manipulate his legs and feet and loves to have them rubbed.
He is bringing us more joy than we could have ever imagined. His personality grows with each day and has lately inspired me when I feel a little down. This is just the beginning of this wonderful journey and we are looking forward to growing up together. Here are a few pictures we have taken so far: