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Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 2474
Experience:  DVM from Iowa State University in 1994; actively engaged in private regular and emergency practice since that time, with a heavy emphasis on avian medicine.
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My African grey is displaying very odd behavior. He has become very sk

Customer Question

My African grey is displaying very odd behavior. He has become very skiddish, grawles at me, which he never did before. He freaks out when I try to take him out of his cage. He screams randomly. He paces on his perch and seems very insecure. I've had him for 16 years and he has never, never acted this way. We have moved several times through out the years, changed cages and had various people live with us throughout the years (7 kids) and he has never been bothered by change. We have not had any changes during this period, either. He acts like he doesn't know me at all. This has been going on for weeks and I don't know what to do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hello,I'm Dr. Jo and I'm here to help you with your question about Buddy. I'm so sorry he's showing this disturbing behavior, but glad you're looking for the information you need.You may join the conversation at any time by typing in what you want to say then clicking REPLY. That way we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided and are happy to give me a positive rating.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
I can completely understand why you're concerned about this behavior, especially since there doesn't seem to be any apparent reason for the change. If Buddy were three or four years old, I'd be inclined to say that this was all due to his reaching sexual maturity. After all, none of the things you're describing him doing are *abnormal* for an African Grey in captivity (even a hand-raised one), but he's a little too old for us to blame this on that.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
So, while this still *could* be a normal change in behavior for Buddy, I'm worried about the possibility he's doing this due to some underlying medical problem or issue. Birds are very tricky and can be really good at hiding signs of illness or injury. That's why I always take any change in behavior seriously.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
I know you've been wracking your brain trying to figure out why he's doing this and what you can do to fix it, but I'm worried the real problem may actually be some kind of underlying illness. Because of that, if Buddy were my patient and you were asking me about this, I'd advise a thorough physical examination including blood work and x-rays before deciding what to do next. I'm a big believer about being aggressive and proactive when working up sick birds because they can easily fool us. We need the benefit of diagnostic testing to rule in or out a variety of diseases.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
While this type of behavior does NOT indicate any specific type of disease, it could be associated with anything affecting Buddy. That's another reason why the full workup is so important.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
If the medical workup reveals a problem, then you can address that directly. Then, not only will Buddy be healthier, it's reasonable to expect the behavior to change. If the medical workup rules out all potential problems, then you can address this from a behavioral standpoint. There are a variety of ways you can do this:Work with a behavioristDo your own research into plans for how to help Buddy forage for food and other types of environmental and social enrichment. Consult a pet psychic. Yes, I know that to some people this sounds ridiculous, but I've had a lot of people turn to one I know and work with out of desperation and being shocked and surprised at how beneficial it was. If you're interested in learning more, let me know.
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
It appears you are still offline. I'm sorry you've had to wait such a long time for a response. Bird behavior questions are especially difficult, and there aren't a lot of experts with the necessary training and experience. Please remember I am here for you and am happy to discuss your question until you are satisfied with the answer I've provided. You may return to this page at any time to review this information and/or post more. You may do so even after you've ACCEPTED my answer and rated my response. I'll be notified of your response via email and will do my best to help you. If you are satisfied with the information I've provided, please take a moment to ACCEPT my answer and rate my response. I've done my best to provide you with the most accurate, thorough and up-to-date information that is available, and your positive feedback is important to me. Without it, I receive no compensation for helping you. If you are not satisfied, please let me know how else I may be of assistance. Thank you for using our website.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response, Dr. Jo. I was having issues accessing my e-mail on my smartphone (storage issues) so I had to wait until I had pc access. I was afraid there would be no easy answer. It's almost as if he has some kind of memory loss and he doesn't know me. It's been heartbreaking. I will reach out to my vet and take it from there.
Thank you,
Teresa
Expert:  Dr. Jo replied 1 year ago.
Hello Teresa,
Thank you for taking the time to reply to me.
Yes, there is no easy answer. I'm sorry. Feather loss is the bane of the existence of bird owners and veterinarians everywhere. It's the most common and challenging problem we face. I'm sure it's awful to see this beautiful creature you've loved for so long facing all of these changes.
I'm glad you'll be able to take him to the vet. That's the best path to finding out if something can be done to help him. Just yesterday I happened to see a 20 year old blue-fronted Amazon who was losing feathers. Turned out to be a liver issue and he's now receiving the medication he needs. I'll be hopeful it's something with a simple solution for your bird.
Please remember you can return to this page at any time to review this information and/or post more. I'll be notified of your reply via email and will do my best to help. I want to be as helpful as possible because your positive rating is very important to me; without it, the website keeps your entire fee and I receive no compensation for helping you.
Please take a moment to ACCEPT my answer and rate my response. Meanwhile, I'll watch for an update on Buddy.
Thank you for using our website.

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