I got a grey, conure and parakeet loosing feathers; what do i need to do? They all have their own diets and cages. They seem happy.
Age: 20-30 yrs
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.It is a possibility depending on your geographical location and local climate that they may be experiencing a severe but normal molt. There are many things that influence this: diet (see below), greater than 12 hours awake time, warm temperatures overnight, etc. See the guidelines below for suggestions. And unusual seasonal changes can certainly make it worse.They do not have mites. Get rid of any mite stuff. That is an old myth and the mite protectors will kill your bird--read the ingredients, it's mothballs--and even if there WERE mites it doesn't work.Feather issues can be caused by a multitude of things, including bacterial skin infection, viruses, fungal infections, allergies, metal poisoning, hormonal flux, psychological or combination of these factors. The difficulty is diagnosing the problems and assigning an intelligent treatment plan. Your vet will want to run a number of tests so that appropriate medications can be prescribed. The problem you have here is to find out what exactly is the cause. There is nothing specific in what you describe, quite literally 100 different diseases can have the same presentation. Inflammatory skin/follicle disease is common. The causes can include local infection, metabolic problems, or even intestinal parasites. It can also be a prime area for even more serious problems like skin cancer. An avian-experienced vet should take a look at them, and run some tests. If they were my patient, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feces, skin, feather pulp, 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 injectable antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen.There are group infections or conditions that may affect multiple birds in a house. Sometimes samples of droppings can be combined for certain tests to save money.If you feel comfortable with it, examine each 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. Look for new quills/pinfeathers and patches of lost feathers. Naturally molted feathers have a complete "root" and chewed ones ("itchy bird") have stubble left in the skin.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 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'shttp://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/products/harrisons.html TOPhttp://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.
25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds