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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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I have a quaker parrot. Recently his beak is getting longer

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I have a quaker parrot. Recently his beak is getting longer and it seams to me that he is not using his cuttle bone as much as in the past. What should I do? He is eating parrot food that I buy at the pet store which is for parrots, cockateils and other small parrots.
Should I file his beak down? Or should I just make him use his cuttle bone more often?

Please help.
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.

Overgrown beaks can indicate metabolic dysfunction, so you should have a good, bird-experienced vet take a look at him. Beak trims can be very painful and bleed if not done properly, so again, a job for your vet.

Quakers are prone to obesity on a seed diet, which can contribute to liver disease and other problems, and what you will see is a long beak. So it is very important to have the entire bird checked over.

If you feel comfortable with it, examine the bird thoroughly, using gentle restraint via washcloth or hand towel: do not restrict the chest or hold around the body. Check the mouth and beak if possible, having a good look in there for mucus, redness, masses or anything else unusual. Palpate the tummy for pain, fluid, lumps or anything else. Check all the joints for swelling, pain, and mobility.

Pet/feed store medications and home remedies are harmful, ineffective, immuno-suppressive, and make them much worse and may interfere with the veterinarian's diagnosis and treatment. Do not use them.

I know it is expensive, but you may not have many home options, because the first thing you need a vet for is to find out what is going on. Treatment is only as good as the diagnosis. If you call around, you may find a vet to work within your means. We certainly try to do our best in my clinic.

You need to to take your bird to see an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check
http://www.aav.org/association/index.php?content=activeMembersList
for members of AAV in your area or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot.

If this were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, for multiple parasites; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues. Generally I start them out on antibiotics as indicated by the tests. I use a power tool to trim and shape the beak.

Your bird may need injectable fluids, calcium, antibiotics and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.



The following guidelines help with basic issues such as nutrition, obesity, good immune status. Surprising how the following can make a bird healthy, and how infrequently birds are ill if they are on the following regimen. No amount of medicine is going to work if the birds' basic needs are not met.


Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison's
http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/products/harrisons.html

TOP-quakers generally prefer this one
http://totallyorganics.com/t-pellets.php


In addition, they should be offered dark leafy greens, cooked sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkin; entire (tops and bottoms) fresh carrots and so forth. No seeds (and that means a mix, or millet, or sprays, etc. etc.) and only healthy, low-fat high fiber people food. A dietary change should be closely monitored and supervised by your avian vet.


Birds should get 12-14 hours dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night. Any less and they can suffer from sleep deprivation and associated illnesses. They should be covered or their cage placed in a dark room that is not used after they go to bed.

The cage material should be cleaned everyday, and twice a day if the bird is really messy. Paper towels, newspaper, bath towels are ok. Never use corn cob, sawdust, wood chips, or walnut shell.

Daily Maintenance
Food and water dishes should be cleaned and changed daily. Keep one set cleaned while the other is in use.

Fresh, perishable food should be placed in separate food bowls. Remove fresh food from the cage after a couple of hours to avoid spoilage.

Change cage papers daily, and clean the grate and tray weekly.

Clean food debris or droppings from toys and perches as needed (which can be as often as once a day).

Grit is not necessary for birds, and will cause digestive problems and death. The best sources of minerals (and vitamins) are leafy greens. Never give grit, gravel sandpaper or cement perches. A bird will eat those to excess when it is not feeling well or if there is a nutritional deficiency. They do not need it at all (an old myth from the poultry days, even poultry do not need it). It can cause an impaction and lead to serious or fatal consequences.
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