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Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
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parrot: is losing his coloured feathers around his neck and shoulders

Customer Question

my 28 parrot is losing his coloured feathers around his neck and shoulders. It's mate is keeping his plumage. The bird is about 3 years old. He seems in fine form and humour, is active and happy. I'm just worrying that the grey fluffy feathers won't keep out the cold. He/she is in an aviary and not a tame bird.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  replied 8 years ago.
It is possible that the mate is doing it, and you may see that behavior.

Check the aviary for external parasites (throw a white sheet over part of it, if you see red or black crawly things that look like moving pepper, collect some)--it may be red poulty mites. That is doubtful but is easy to find them.

All birds should be on a high quality pelleted diet and fresh veg, so good plumage can develop and be strong. Especially if stressed by cold weather or other issues.

You can place heavy plastic sheeting over the aviary on the side with prevailing winds and set up a portable (safe!) heating system. An indoor-outdoor space heater that the birds cannot touch is one idea. Beware of heat lamps, as some are coated with teflon and can become very hot.

BotXXXXX XXXXXne you may need to take both of them in to an avian veterinarian to assess and diagnose problems, and to set up a proper treatment plan.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Thank you for the information. Though not sure we have the answer. The bird's 'mate' does not 'mate' with it. In fact, it basically has nothing to do with it. There are other birds in the aviary, some weiros and a pink and grey gallah. The birds get fresh vegies such as tomatoes, peas, corn, broccoli, capsicum, lettuce as well as toast or bread.


The aviary is in the open with areas covered and protected from rain and wind, though often they sit on the swing in the rain. They eat sunflower seed and mixed budgie seed but don't have pellets. I have pellets when the weiros have young ones and give them to the mums to feed their babies and also for me to take over the hand rearing/taming.


I'll try the plastic sheeting, test for mites and get some pellets. What if there are mites? How do I get rid of them.? Though I am still wondering why only one bird is affected and losing it's coloured feathers.


These birds (the 28's) aren't the tame ones so it will be difficult to get them to a vet, but not to say I won't try. Thank you for your information.



Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 8 years ago.
Probably not mites if just the one. Feather problems are so difficult. Good luck.