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Hello, everyone!

It's been a long while since I've posted here, mostly because I have not been altogether too involved with pigeons as of lately. However, I have been involved with lots of waterfowl and other poultry this summer, and I must say I have been honing my skills in incubation, if that is anything.

The newest member to our family is a sweet little goose. After Moody (to anyone who is unfamiliar with him - he was a large embden gander who had many digestive and psychological issues that, in the end, we found out was due simply to a genetic predisposition to bad condition as he came from a line of meat birds), I was very nervous about raising another goose. However, I took my chances, knowing full well that I have many new contacts in the waterfowl world, and hatched a beautiful baby pilgrim goose, a breed that is sexually dimorphic due to color, and very gentle and calm by nature. My little "Grim" (so creatively named) has been a wonderful addition to the family. She is so full of personality, so bright, so happy, and loves everyone. Unlike Moody, she has never shown a single moment of aggression with people (although she hates baby ducks). Also, her digestive health is pretty decent, and she is remarkably manageable as compared to Moody. All in all, a completely different experience.

However, we recently put her on a duck/goose pellet and immediately after her switch to the food, she began to display pretty alarming respiratory symptoms. They come in "episodes", like asthma attacks. If she is doing something energetic or getting excited (at bath time, when she comes down in the morning, when we go outside, etc), she will gasp, cough, and get very nervous. I have to sit down with her, pet her, and calm her down. It is terrifying for the both of us, and I had no idea what it could be, as it turned up so, so quickly, about two or three days after we started to feed her pellets.

It then occurred to me, and some friends on a parrot site, that she may be suffering from food allergies. I had a bit of a flashback to her baby years, and remembered that although she was quite inactive as a tot, she did gasp and cough during bath time for no apparent reason. It alarmed me, but after she went off her starter pellet (from the same line as her current pellet), her symptoms went away, completely. I've never been one to like pellets, as I've found they cannot provide all of the nutrients available in fresh, whole foods, but we were worried about her weight. We'd recently had her in the vet's office getting blood tests done for $130 because I was worried about her health. She had been regurgitating some foods, going light, and was drooping her wing. We thought e-coli or the big bad lead poisoning. Blood tests revealed no lead, and after I dosed her with some unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in her water along with probiotics, her wing stopped drooping and she began to molt. It seemed she was putting on some more weight. To supplement her weight gain, we turned to pellets, and then came across these problems.


Now, I do have a vet's appointment for her later tomorrow, regardless, as I don't want to misdiagnose her, but it seems to me that her sudden symptoms could be attributed only to the only change in her life that had occurred - a switch from oats, grass, vegetables and greens to a formulated diet. And at that, not the formulated diet I had in mind, but some local crap that even had "porcine meal" in it.


I have rambled on and on, but I wanted to know whether any of you experts had any knowledge about food allergies in birds, or any specifics such as what ingredients in the pelleted diet could be causing such allergic reactions. I am concerned, because I wanted to order her a very high-quality diet to have shipped to us, but now that she has shown a reaction to the pellets here, and all pellets are fairly similar, I don't know whether she will have the same reaction from these other pellets.


Any help, or comments, are greatly appreciated.

And by the way, some pictures of her, from birth to present:




 

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Hi Vasp, glad to see you have another goose. Pilgrims are great all-around geese. I never had a goose with allergies so I can't give advice about that, but I do know from raising the heavy breeds, they do have some difficulty in breathing when they over exert themselves. Usually I only feed duck pellets if grass is not available like in the winter or if grass is of poor quality like during a drought. Plain old grass is basically their main diet. A Pilgrim goose is a medium weight goose and should weigh between 10 and 13 pounds. If you are feeding oats, corn, bread etc. it makes them overweight which could be why she has trouble breathing. If she has good ventilation, dry bedding and is not exposed to other sick fowl, she should be fine. Geese like to have room to roam, so walking would be the best thing for her to keep her in shape. Be careful as not to change her diet too fast if she has to stay outside for the winter. She will need the extra calories for the cold weather. Too heavy a goose tends to lead to liver problems down the road, so keep her diet simple, and adjust your feed to the time of year, her age and activity level and she should do great. Have you considered getting another goose to keep her company?
 
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