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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Stargazing in shama bird

Last breeding season, I encountered a disease call "stargazing" in one of the female shama chick.  This year, I also encounter this kind of disease to one of the three chicks in second batch.  This chick does seem a little nervous or shy from the beginning right after leaving the nest box but I always thought that nervousness is its nature (as some bird is more bold than others).  Today, after about two hours since regular morning feed, I saw this chick has trouble of flying and standing, head till upward like looking at the sky.  I immediately recognize these sign as "stargazing" disease and process to catch this bird out.  From numerous articles on the internet, deficiency in vitamin B12 (or vitamin B1, aka Thiamine per suggestion by Merck veterinary manual) is one of the main cause, and from high metabolize requirement of vitamin B12 in white-rumped shama bird to assist in digestion of large protein intake from insects, there is no doubt that not enough of vitamin B12 is the cause for this young chick.  Another main cause is lack of calcium which explain in the second link below.  Just like last year (which I successfully treat one of the chick), I give this chick few drops of pure concentrate vitamin B complex, follow with a few drops of water, and let the bird rest in quite warm place.  About an hour later, the chick acts normal (still little weak) but able to stand and fly as normal.  He also eats few crickets by himself. (btw, as of 05/25 I start to think this chick is a female instead of a male as the color of feathers is just dark enough to think it's a male if see the bird alone, but compare with other two male chicks of the same batch, this one has lighter color)
The female chick from last year, as of today (one year later) has not show any sign of this "stargazing" disease and has not given any extra vitamin B12 more than other shama birds since.  Hopefully, this year chick will does the same and become healthy adult.

Additional materials to read about this disease:

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