my african grey has started plucking his feathers out he is ten years old nothing has changed in his life he has always been a happy talkative bird
Type of Animal: parrot
Age: ten years
Name of Bird: rodney
a warm spray
Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.Greys are very sensitive birds, and physical or mental problems can initiate feather damage.It can be a real challenge to sort it all out, and an even bigger challenge to fix. He should have a thorough health check, proper nutrition and plenty of sleep. He may be mature enough now that sexual hormones are causing immune problems. There may be air quality issues or other fumes.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. 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 him, and run some tests. If he 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.First the bird needs to have a complete check up and health screen. There may actually be a real physical reason for feather damaging.Then strict 12-14 hours DARK QUIET UNINTERRUPTED SLEEP AT NIGHT. Sleep deprivation leads to bad behavior, anxiety and physical problems. The bird needs proper diet.He needs something to do with his mind. You can read children's books to him, point out the pictures, show him garden catalogs, teach him to count, anything to make him educated. He needs to learn to play by himself with the assurance that he has not been left out or left behind.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.eaavonline.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4&Itemid=10 http://www.parrotpassionsuk.com/Advice/Uk_Avian_Vets.htmhttp://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/index.php/Avian_Vets/28 http://www.avianveterinaryservices.co.uk/http://www.birdvet.co.uk/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.http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/products/harrisons.html http://www.hbf-uk.co.uk/http://www.mah-shop.com/TOPhttp://totallyorganics.com/t-pellets.php Hagenhttp://www.hagen.com/uk/birds/addinfo/tropican.cfm or in Europe, try this distributor:http://www.vetafarm.com.au/categories/BIRDS/FOODS/, in Europe, http://www.st-laurent.fr/content/pop/dry_food/birds.html 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. Daily Maintenance 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. 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
Hi sandra,I'm just following up on our conversation about rodney. How is everything going?Dr. Pat