hi . we rescued a galah from a fallen tree 18 months ago .it was very young . we nursed it back to health . it adopted us and became part of the family .It would have the run of the place and loved everyone . about 3 months ago it took an instant hatred to all members of the house for no apparent reason . we have tried to bring the bird around but the poor thing is very distressed . any ideas please
Type of Animal: galah
Name of Bird: ginny
familiar things that she used to like and talking softly and trying to get her to respond but she just seems distressed
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.I'm sorry to read of Ginny's personality change. Having raised four children I recognize the symptoms of puberty.She's becoming hormonal and your sweet reasonable bird has become a teenage harpie.Diet is often a part of the severity of this situation, what do you feed her?
Wild bird mix with extra sunflower seed. She also enjoys the odd almond and bottlebrush branch. We went on holidays a while back and left her in the care of a friend, she seems petrified ever since. She appears to live a life of fear and we are not sure what is best for her.
Thank you for your help in this matter.
Hello again Mick. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, time zone differences can be inconvenient!I suspect that the combination of the hormonal changes and the stress of your leaving has had a very disruptive emotional effect on her.Diet, proper rest and environmental conditions all affect how they react to stress.Compare what you're feeding Ginny to what professional aviary keepers feed their parrots: 70% high quality pelleted parrot food, such as those made by Kaytee, Zupreem, Harrison's, Lafeber, or other reputable manufacturers (these may be purchased online), 20% dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, cilantro, collard, turnip or beet greens, cooked sweet potato, squash, or pumpkin, carrots with the tops attached, dried chili pepper, yellow, green and red fresh peppers, and only 10% seeds and nut foods. Lettuce is practically all water,is of no food value in the diet, and shouldn't be fed to birds. Fruit is okay as an occasional treat, but also contains 90% water and fills the bird up without providing many nutrients by weight. Grit is no longer considered necessary to the healthy upkeep of pet birds, and grit impactions can be fatal. Most pet birds' diets consist of too high a proportion of seeds and nuts, which are out of balance in calcium and phosphorus, too high in fat, and low in iodine and this imbalance eventually catches up with them. Sunflower seeds are especially high in fat content. Beside all this, bird food is usually not shelf dated, and is often more than a year old when purchased. Most of the perishable nutrients are often gone by the time the birds actually eat it. Seeds and nuts tend to go rancid in time, and if the birds don't refuse to eat them, oil soluble vitamin deficiencies may result. Check your bird food package to see if there is a "Best by" date printed on the label. You can tell a lot about the manufacturer by whether or not they date their product, in spite of what they say about themselves in advertising or on the package. Proper nutrients in balance with one another help prevent digestive, respiratory, nerve, skin, feather plucking and organ problems, as well as behavior problems like self mutilation, excessive vocalization, aggression and excessive egg laying by females. One of the major reasons for this is that diets high in seed and nut foods tend to cause the liver to become sick, as fat tissue replaces healthy liver tissue. Excessive fats in seed-rich diets encourage the overproduction of sexual hormones causing moodiness, and unwanted sexual behavior as well as other side-effects. Although it may not be easy to switch to a better diet, you can read an excellent article about how to get her to eat more properly online here: http://www.cockatielcottage.net/finicky.htmlCockatiels kept as pets in the average home live an average of seven years, while those kept in professionally maintained aviaries routinely live as long as 35 years, the difference is primarily dietary. The statistics would be proportionately similar for Ginny.Another consideration is proper rest. Birds should be allowed 12-14 hours of sleep under a dark cover in a quiet part of the house, away from T.V. radio or conversational noises. Environment also plays a part to help build them up emotionally, and improvements help them to deal with stress more effectively. New toys, changed frequently to combat boredom, can be helpful, and you may want to consider placing natural tree branches in his cage for the distraction, interest, and safe chewing exercise. Be sure to use non-toxic branches only, a list can be found here: www.mdvaden.com/bird_page.shtml This is called "environmental enrichment" and is often helpful in stimulating, entertaining, and distracting them from bad habits and moods, which in turn, is good for their overall health. a product available from health food stores and online called "Rescue Remedy" could be helpful in relieving her anxiety. Hopefully with the changes I've suggested, and about four to six weeks of patience on your part you'll see, if not the old Ginny, at least a more friendly and happy teenager version.If you should have further questions, please let me know. Kindest regards,Dr. Bob
35 years in general practice, including avian.