Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds exclusively for many years.
You are correct--this is inadequate diet especially for an aging parrot. I know it can be difficult but it is absolutely essential that he be on a good diet. If he is stubborn, possibly elderly, and possibly ill, the best course of action would be to have a really experienced bird doctor board him for about a week. Tests could be done, treatment initiated and very controlled dietary management (often much easier to switch the diet under these circumstances). Very often there are other birds there that can serve as personal trainers/instructors in proper eating.
He is at a dangerous age and may be showing signs of liver disease (the most common problem in amazons on seed) and severe nutritional deficiency. However, there are many reasons for changes in poop--and he needs some basic testing to sort through the possibilities and to start an intelligent treatment plan.
Can you tell me more about the bird?
How long has this been going on?
How long have you had him?
Where is he from?
Any accidents or trauma?
Interactions with other birds/pets/children/guests?
Baby-sitted or boarded recently?
What is the usual diet? has it changed recently? New seed, new nuts?
Has the bird gotten into anything?
What is your geographic location and local weather?
These signs are of a very sick bird, and not specific to any one disease. And that means it is not fair to you or the bird to guess, there are so many possibilities.You are going to need local help on this, and a scientific and solid diagnosis to find safe and effective treatment.
The challenge is to find out exactly what is going on, since treatment will depend on careful and accurate diagnosis.
IMPORTANT Check the website for the feed you give, there have been many recalls; or check this link:
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 eyes, nostrils, 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 (eggs, if female or unknown). Check all the joints for swelling, pain, and mobility. The feathers should be parted to view the skin, muscles and skeleton below; this can be done using a q-tip with isopropyl alcohol or KY gel. Look for bruising, lacerations, injured feathers.
Your job is to keep the bird warm, safe, quiet, and confined; and to provide adequate hydration and calories.
Move the bird to a box or carrier with soft towels in the bottom, no perch, and food and water in low bowls that can be reached easily. Put the whole thing on a heating pad on low or medium. Check it frequently, no overheating allowed! Keep the unit partially covered, warm and quiet. White paper towels or white cloth towels will show the true color of the droppings. Small animal/reptile boxes are great for this purpose.
The bird, bowls and unit must be kept very clean.
Here are some helpful links:
Do not try to force food or water. Pedialyte or electrolyte replacer can help but many birds do not like them; when in doubt, plain warm water is best. They can hydrate from oral fluids almost as quickly as IV if the GI is functioning properly. You can offer warm cooked rice, pancakes, cornbread, grapes, melon, greens in addition to normal food.
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. Homeopathy and natureopathic techniques do not work in avians and can actually be very dangerous.
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.
I really must stress that you need a bird-experienced person, and not just a vet who advertises that they care for birds.
You need to take your bird to see an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Check
https://aav.site-ym.com/?page=basiccare click on "find a vet"
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. Unfortunately, this list does not rate competency or experience, but is only a starting place; the vets at least take the avian medicine journal and hopefully see a bird or two a year. The best referrals are word-of-mouth, so check with several non-bird vets, the humane society, parrot rescue groups, bird clubs, etc. for their input. As you might guess there may be controversy and varying opinions even with this. Even board-certified avian specialists may not have a lot of practical bird experience. Unfortunately there are few resources available to refer you to really good, clinically-experienced bird vets.
If this were my patient, and money no object, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, stained with Sedi-stain and unstained for multiple parasites, fungi, spirals; direct smear stained with Sedi-stain and unstained of the oral cavity; 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. There are MANY DNA/RNA tests for bird diseases. Ultrasound is often more informative than radiographs and does not require anesthesia (ask your vet about this option). Generally I start them out on medications as indicated by the tests.
AAV recommended lab work
Your bird may need injectable fluids, calcium, antibiotics and many other medications. Act quickly and good luck.
Here are a few suggestions that I give everyone: important!
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.
great resource link:
Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison's
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.
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.
Dietary Notes: You really mean no seeds?
Seeds as a sole diet are deficient in essential amino acids, calcium and vitamins. Reduced levels of vitamin A, a common problem with all-seed diets, alter the immune system and make a bird susceptible to severe bacterial, viral or fungal infections. Remember: seeds are the storage units for baby plants. Plants make their own nutrients. Seeds are very high in fat and low in almost every other nutrient. Think of seeds as rocket fuel: in the wild, extra fat has positive survival value.
To alleviate the problem, you can feed your companion bird vegetables and pellets. Vegetables high in vitamin A include carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, dark leafy greens, and winter squash.
A quick note about dietary protein: most pet birds are herbivores or granivores. Their digestive system is very efficient at extracting amino acids and proteins from plant material. Their liver and kidneys use a different method of processing proteinaceous material than the mammalian system. Animal proteins are especially harmful (egg, meat, fish products).Overloading with protein, especially animal protein, will lead to severe kidney dysfunction, gout, calcium/phosphorus imbalance, reproductive disorders, feather-picking, and death. Pet birds should be offered a minimum amount of legumes (never give tofu), sprouts, or other high-protein plant material.
Dietary conversion is a very stressful time. It is up caretakers to observe EVERY bird and make sure there is poop and food consumption. No poop = no food intake. It may take 2 days or 2 months. It can be very frustrating and stressful for all concerned; however, I have never failed to see a psittacine convert to pellets. Amazons love food and usually switch pretty quick.
YAM BREAD (cornbread mix+cooked yam)
1' cube per bird 2-4 x daily
RICE MIX (cooked short-grain brown rice plus fresh veg)
1/4 cup per bird daily
PELLETS (recommend Harrison's and T.O.P.)
Entire leaves of greens poked through the cage wires or on br