My green cheek just started scratching his head and plucking the feathers from it off. The area seems a little oily and Im not sure what's going on? ?Worried a lot:(
Type of Animal: green cheek conure
Nothing yet it just started
-- Tell me a bit more. How old is your companion and what is his name? How long has he been with you? What does he eat? Not the brand so much as the type of food, like a seed blend or pellets? How about fresh foods? Specifically. --- Are you seeing actual bald spots or just seeing lots of feathers coming out?
ummm i think hes about 1.5 gears, his name is XXXXX XXXXX with us for about a year now, eats a blnd of pellet seed and dried fruit, we feed him apples sometimes and raisins.and itsa bald spot now when he frills up his feathers
Nutritional problems are really the number 1 reason for feather plucking in the vast majority of cases. Sometimes nutritional problems lend to liver problems and that by itself is a cause of feather plucking. --- Nutritional issues accounts for up to 90% of feather plucking problems according to some published veterinary medical studies and research. Some may end up a ‘habit’ – and once it’s a behavioral issue, it’s even more difficult to stop. --- When feather loss is noticed at the top of the head and around the neck area, it would be important to find an actual board certified avian vet, even if you have to travel some distance. Feather loss in these areas may indicate something more serious and in need of immediate intervention. While some diseases are not curable, knowing about them early and treating them symptomatically may help prolong the bird’s quantity and quality of life. --- Once organic/physical cause is as ruled out as it can be, you can try to modify the behavior with various environmental changes. Sometimes it's as simple as the lighting. Try replacing fluorescent bulbs with full spectrum bulbs or at least try a different (newer) brand of fluorescent. Birds see at different wavelengths than humans and there may be 'flickering' perceived from a fluorescent bulb that drives them to frustration - which leads them to plucking.--- It will also help to distract your bird when they begin over-preening. Get them engaged in learning something new, even simple things like shaking ‘hands’ or introducing themselves. --- You don’t want to stress your companion though, so don’t push the learning if they aren’t up to it. Just take them out of the cage and spend time with them. Talk or watch t.v. – all that matters is that they are not getting carried away with the preening. --- It will take several weeks to see the difference (about 2 ½ to 3 months), but since that time will pass anyway, it’s worth making the effort. --- For more about the right nutrition for healthy feather and an overall happy bird take a look here www.4Animalcare.org/birds--- Sleep deprivation may also contribute to this (and sometimes increased screaming and nipping). You may want to try establishing a separate sleep cage in a room that’s quiet with dim lighting - or offer the bird an opaque cover in their present cage, keeping the sounds and activity down in the house while it’s in sleep time. --- Birds need 12 hours of sleep time, preferably the same hours every day. For example, if you tend to get up at 7 a.m. every morning, try to put the bird to bed at 7 p.m. every night and make it your priority when you get up (don’t leave them covered/in sleep cages while they can hear you up and about or it will only lend to their frustration and possibly stress levels). --- Regular 12 hour sleep hours also help curb mating behavior, including egg laying (in females) and aggression in both sexes. ********************************************A full spectrum light bulb in the area of your bird for at least two hours a day is a good idea. Not all full spectrum lightbulbs are necessarily the same. It’s best to buy one made specifically for birds and keep in mind that though the light might come on, after many months the efficiency may be down. --- I replace them once a year. If you consider it a lightbulb, it’s expensive; but, if you remind yourself it’s a piece of the sun and a health product for your bird - it’s a bargain. --- You can see more about Calcium, D, and more here http://www.birdsnways.com/wisdom/ww22eii.htm ******************************************Cage bound and unchallenged birds will self-mutilate. Does it have enough real wood to chew and shred? Enough room in the cage to fully turn around, side to side and upside down without (what would be his/her) tail feathers touching any side? Does the bird have three different sized perches of different materials? Rope perch, natural wood perch and 'rough' perch for nail and beak grooming. Make sure the perch near food dishes and higher up are the most comfortable ones since they will be using it more. --- We have our rope and natural wood perches on the same level with the rough perch just a tad down from them.--- Does your bird get to spend at least two hours out of cage every day? The average bird owner has their companions out on average for four hours (we found this very refreshing). Ours are out for at least 7 hours. *************************************Have your vet perform a blood serum test for zinc levels (just in case your vet isn’t an avian vet, zinc levels over 2 ppm are positive for zinc toxicity). There will also likely be elevated WBC’s (white blood count). --- Zinc can be ingested slowly over time when toys, clasps, chains, links or even cages are chewed on or played with. Other poisonings occur when the bird actually swallows a toy, link or piece of one. Watch out for bell clappers for instance. --- Metal toxicity (lead, zinc being most commonly found). Quick links, cage bars, even professionally supplied toys, depending on where they're manufactured, may contain lead and/or zinc. It's frightening to learn how many sources of zinc there are in any household. If anything in your bird's environment is magnetic, it may be a toxic metal. **************************************** Back to the subject of food: A rule of thumb among avian veterinarians & nutritional specialists such as me, is a predominantly pellet diet with nuts, fresh fruits/vegetables/legumes and grains supplemented daily. We give them whole multi-grain oatmeal with cut up apple and/or banana in it for breakfast every day (just add warm water to the oatmeal, no need to fully 'cook' it) and their mid-day meal of whole wheat couscous and whatever veggie in season (choose the darkest greens like kale, collards, broccoli, etc). www.spca.bc.ca/AnimalCare/birdcare.asp and www.thebirdbrain.com/html/foodforus.cfm?category_id=4&subcategory_id=22 provide more information and professional nutrition ideas. --- Cuttlebone and mineral block are also essential, not just for the calcium, but for the outlet to bite and scrape their beaks. --- Keeping the bird misted every few days with warm water (out of drafts of course) is also something that may help. Many birds enjoy sharing the shower with their people :) We'd just recommend that you use only baby safe products on yourself for this shower to reduce any possibility that the bird is harmed from regular soap/shampoo. ************************* All this said, chances are you're seeing a typical heavy molt, but knowing the rest of this, just in case it doesn't seem to end and new feathers begin to replace those spots in the next week or three, you'll have ideas about what to do next. --- So, starting out with a truly necessary vet visit and evaluation is your first step. See more about bird needs and options here http://www.4animalcare.org/birds---
Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
Hi jeff,I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?S. August Abbott, CAS