The Truth of the Pet Trade….in memory of Bailey

After almost a year of research on larger birds (we have budgies) my husband and I decided upon a Conure. I purchased a Blue Crown Conure  from Park Avenue Birds on parrotAugust 22, 2004. We named or dear sweet baby  bird who hatched on May 12, 2004 Bailey. Bailey went for his initial  vet check on August 27, 2004 with our Avian Vet. He was at 116 grams,  severely under weight for his breed, and our vet felt that Bailey was  not healthy. He was constantly fluffed up, listless, and wasting away  before my eyes. Our vet ran a CBC, gram stain, did a crop flush, and  administered subcutaneous fluids because Bailey was severally  dehydrated. Our vet also sent out a sample from the crop wash for a  gram stain.

In the time it took to get these results I contacted Michelle, the owner of Park Avenue Birds, she proceeded to tell me that one of Bailey’s clutch mates had a “touch of yeast” and she could treat him. I  brought my baby Bailey back (September 15, 2004), she administered two  different meds to him, an anti-yeast and an antibiotic. I visited  Bailey while he was there and didn’t see much of a change. In the mean  time, his test results were back from the vet. His white blood count  was elevated, and there were other elevations in his blood work.  Although his gram stains came back okay, our vet suspected MegaBacteria  or PPD.

I e-mailed Michelle several times on September 16th, to see how he was doing, no response, and to inform her on Bailey’s test results yet I  got no response. I visited Bailey on Saturday September the 18th, he  looked worse, Michelle wasn’t there, a young man helped me with Bailey  and I walked around the store and he snuggled up under my chin, it was  such a good feeling to hold and cuddle my baby, he was so cold and felt  even thinner (I can’t imagine as he went in to Park Avenue Birds at 104  grams) he cried in my ear endlessly and I cried as I gave him back to  the young man to continue his medication that Michelle was giving him.  That would be the last time I saw my baby alive. 

I e-mailed Michelle on Sunday September 19th asking how he was doing and if he was still on 3 hand feedings a day, and how his medication was going, and when did she think he could come home. I (dumb me) completely trusted her in treating my baby as I thought she knew what she was doing. I will never forgive myself for allowing my baby to spend his last days away from me. She never sought medical treatment for him and dispensed medication to him for what she “thought” was wrong with him ” a touch of yeast” there had been no definitive diagnosis from our vet, and she medically treated him without consulting a vet. Still (dumb me) trusted her, she said she knew what was wrong and would make him better. I never knew what took his life.

I got a phone call Monday September 20 from Michelle telling me that Bailey had passed away. I was totally devastated, completely and totally devastated. I asked Michelle if I should have a necropsy done and she replied “no, there was just something wrong with him.” So I buried my little Baby Bailey under a miniature rose bush, as that what he was a baby and as sweet as a rose.

Michelle offered me another Blue Crowned Conure from the same clutch I picked up our new Baylee on Tuesday September 21, 2004. It was a bittersweet homecoming for him; I snuggled him, loved him, and made a vet appointment RIGHT A WAY. Baylee went to the vet on September 30, 2004. His weight was 124 grams, low but not as staggering low as Bailey’s weight. We did the usually ” well bird checkup” well he didn’t turn up “well” his gram stain came back positive for MegaBacteria!

I called Michelle to tell her that Baylee had MegaBacteria. Her response was that she never heard of MegaBacteria, and I preceded to ask her if she needed me to send her links with information on MegaBacteria,. She replied no and gave me an Internet address with outdated (7 years old) information on MegaBacteria, which says if no symptoms occur it shouldn’t be treated. Basically telling me “No need to worry, if he isn’t showing symptoms he will be fine” How wrong is that??? A quick google of MegaBacteria and about 50 WebPages later, I realize that if MegaBacteria if left untreated it is lethal. Early detection and treatment is key in survival, but that still doesn’t guarantee a recovery.

Baylee is currently being treated with amphotericin B which is the only show successful treatment for MegaBacteria, but is still touch and go, so birds recover some don’t. That is where we are with Baylee, my sweetie who loves to cuddle close under my chin, sleeps next to his birdy buddy and has learned to say “What” in a very similar tone as me. He is not out of the woods by any means, but Michelle has offered no help in this situation, all her other birds could have this, all research done hasn’t conclusively determined how this is transmitted.

I won’t go into detail about her website ( ), it sickens me to see how she claims ” As they begin to “nibble” they are offered fruits, vegetables, weaning pellets and cooked pasta mixes”. This is CRAP plain and simple, both Bailey and Baylee came home with seed as their diet, when I tried to offer fresh veggies they would not go near it, if they were used to eating veggies, they would continue that and they didn’t even acknowledge them as food items. And NO they don’t feed their birds pellets, they sell them at the store, but none of the birds eat them in the store… NOT ONE, they all eat just seeds.

I would like to do anything I can to help and make sure NO ONE goes through what I did. When all I wanted was to give my love and share a life time with a Conure companion and I am left with the death of one bird, and an uncertain outlook with another.