I have owned zebra finches for the past 5 years but this is my first post on this forum. The reason I'm posting now is because last night one of my eldest zebra finches (Jimmy), took a turn for the worst after what was a few days of constant sleeping and inactivity yet still having a normal appetite. He had previously lost quite a few feathers too which I read could be down to self plucking or by his partner but this had never caused any problems that I was aware of.
I looked at various websites suggesting what it could be ranging from vitamin/ iodine difficiency to air-sac mites with the latter being fairly uncommon in zebra finches. So I brought them all an iodine block, vitamin fortified cuttlefish bone and vitamin drops for their water hoping it was just a difficiency of some kind and was going to see if there was any improvement after a week or so. Unfortunately they are a bit wary of new things and take a while to get brave enough to try them.
Last night I noticed that Jimmy was struggling to fly after coming to the seed trough and appeared to be very week, I kept an eye on him but he stayed on the bottom of the cage for a while so I picked him up (which he normally doesn't let me do) and held him in my hands to try and keep him warm. This was when it hit me how unwell he was.
His heart was beating unusually slowly, with his eyes barely ever opening. Then he began clicking his beak on every breath, every so often shaking his head, throwing a watery colourless liquid everywhere which I presume came from his nostrils. I made a hospital cage for him from a smallish box with holes in with cotton wool on the bottom for him to lay on and seed and water. Barely ever moving but to breathe or shake his head now and again, he stayed in the box for what was half an hour until what seemed like a final struggle where a spot of blood appeared on the cotton wool near to his mouth. He then stretched his neck forward a couple of times and then up which seemed like he was taking a final look at me before he passed away not long before midnight New Year's Eve.
Obviously im totally devistated as you get so attached to them but the worst thing is not knowing what it was that took him or knowing what I could do to help him. I have 3 other finches that shared a cage with him and all appear fine but if there is something that I can do to prevent this happening to them then I'd love to know what advice or experiences you have.
Sorry for the long post, I look forward to hearing what this condition could have been