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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7938
Experience:  35 years in general practice, including avian.
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my bird is losing his feathers on his head and it looks scabby

Resolved Question:

my bird is losing his feathers on his head and it looks scabby i noticed he is losing feathers on his body now he isnt picking have treated him for mites dont seem to have them the bird with him is fine feel bad for him
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 5 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.
I'm sorry to read of your bird's problem.
Has he been exposed to any new or different birds in the past several months?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
no he hasnt been exposed to any other birds his toenails are also disfigured really dont knoow where to take him he doesnt act like he is sick
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 5 years ago.
Okay, thank you.
Many skin conditions may be brought on or worsened, by dietary deficiencies, what are you feeding him?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
i cant rember the name i put the food in a container dont have the bag its parakeet food from walmart says it has vitamins in it thats all i give them the other bird is fine
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.
Have you ever seen him molt, could the scabs be new feathers coming in?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
no he is not molting the feathers on his face are about gone he bites so i cant hold him or get pictures his nails crooked
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.
Many times illnesses or genetic conditions are made worse by a lack of nutrients in the diet. This problem is so widespread that 90-95% of bird health conditions are diet-related.
Judging from your description of his diet, I think at least part of the problem may lie there.
Compare what you're feeding your birds to the ideal diet for parakeets: 70% high quality pelleted budgie or parakeet food, such as those made by Harrison's, Lafeber, or other manufacturers, 20% dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, cilantro, collard, turnip or beet greens, cooked sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, carrots with the tops attached, dried chili pepper, yellow, green and red fresh peppers, and only 10% seeds and nut foods. Lettuce is practically all water and is of no food value in the diet, and shouldn't be fed to parakeets
Most pet birds' diets consist of far too many seeds and nuts, which are out of balance in calcium and phosphorus, too high in fat, and low in iodine.
Beside all this, pet bird food is usually not shelf dated, and is often more than a year old when purchased. Most or all of the perishable nutrients are gone by the time the birds actually eat it. Proper nutrients in balance with one another help prevent skin and organ problems and will help Bertie live a longer healthier life.
Diets high in seed and nut foods promote the synthesis of sexual hormones which can lead to frustration and bad behavior like feather plucking and self mutilation. Dietary deficiencies and imbalances also often lead to decreased resistance to all kinds of diseases, including skin diseases.
It can be a challenge to get an older bird to switch to a better diet, and you can read an excellent article about how to get birds to eat more properly online here: switching.htm
Be sure your birds get adequate rest: 12 to 14 hours nightly, under a dark cover in a quiet part of the house, away from television, radio or other noises.
New toys, changed frequently to combat boredom, may be helpful, and you may want to consider placing natural tree branches in your bird's cage for the interest, and chewing exercise. Be sure to use non-toxic branches only, a list can be found here:
A recent study in cockatiels found them to live an average of seven years as pets in the average home. Professionally managed aviaries often have cockatiels live thirty five years. The difference is mainly due to diet. The statistics would be similar for budgies as well.
As birds get older, dietary deficiencies are ever more likely to cause problems for them, and some birds seem to show signs sooner than others. The reason possibly being that they're carrying an infectious or genetic disorder that is brought out by poor nutrition.
Correction of his diet may be all that is needed to help your bird's condition, and will ensure a longer, healthier life for him and your other bird.
If your bird doesn't seem to be improving after a couple of weeks on the improved diet, or seems to be getting worse in the meantime, your best option would be to have him checked out by an avian veterinarian. You can locate the avian veterinarians closest to you by going here: and clicking on the binoculars.
A viral disease called psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) can show symptoms similar to those being shown by your bird. This disease can lay dormant for years before manifesting itself. You can see picture of affected birds by googling "PBFD in budgies".
If you should have further questions, please let me know.
Dr. Bob
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