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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30408
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I have two Indian ringnecks about 6 months old. One is fine

Customer Question

I have two Indian ringnecks about 6 months old. One is fine but the other is losing weight and has ruffled feathers on neck and stomach . Otherwise no changes in personality , eating habits or energy levels - the bird is very interactive .
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner, Jo. We don't have many avian vets on this site.

It's important to note that once a parrot acts ill they're quite ill and in need of the attention of an avian-oriented vet. This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Dancer's symptoms of weight loss and fluffing are important symptoms but they're not pathognomonic (specifically indicative) of any one particular disorder.

An avian-oriented vet might first treat symptomatically and supportively by providing supplemental fluids and electrolytes by needle and tube feeding a "recovery" food. Blood tests and cultures of Dancer's choana - the slit between his oral cavity and nose - and cloaca (vent) may be taken. Whole body X-rays can be quite helpful as well.

Until Dancer can be attended to, please separate him from his mate and heat up his environment to 29.4C by means of a 100W bulb shined into his partially covered cage (not at night when he needs to rest) or by taping a heating pad set on its lowest setting to the sides of his cage. If he appears weakened remove his perches and put his food and water on the bottom of the cage along with him. Add a water soluble avian vitamin such as Oasis brand to his water at half of the recommended dose so as not to make his water distasteful. Add a calcium supplement such as Calcivet or Calciboost to his water. These supplements are available in pet/feed stores. Avoid over the counter antibiotics designed to be placed in his water. They won't be effective if only because an ill bird won't drink enough to medicate itself properly.

Nutritional imbalances are a common cause of illness in our pet birds. What has Dancer's diet consisted of, please? Seeds should compose less than 20% of his diet. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: or here: should be fed as well as hard boiled egg yolk, pancakes and cornbread, the tops of fresh greens, dairy products such as yogurt and cheese, fresh fruits such as apples, pears, melon, kiwi, and berries, vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, beets, asparagus, cabbage, sweet potato, and squash, and even tiny pieces of meat.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The birds are hard to separate as they scream for each other if parted ( hatch mates ) but it seems nature is dealing with it as Bi Bi is pecking at Dancer if she comes close . They are not caged - they do have one but do not use . I went away briefly for 3 days - first I have been away and even though I had a friend checking them , they have been unusually stressed since it settling now . They have claimed the bathroom as THEIR room , it is very hot here and the bathroom is cool with a window and view of trees . It also has a large curtain rail which they perch on either ends .
They are both flying , eyes bright and well , loud , responsive and up to baby parrot tricks - including mass destruction The only evidence is visual and Dancer is picking up . I will go to an Avian vet but there are very few here and it's a long weekend .
Their diet is 20% seed , fresh corn on cob, cooked beans red kidney and chick pea , fruit and vege in season and they are mad on grapes. What worries me is I usedto feed them sprouted chickpeas but they got into the sealed container and ate them after they had been soaked but not fully sprouted . So they were digging in the dirt for a fav food and I read unsprouted beans can make them ill .
It's 34 degrees most days here (celcius) - very warm and Dancer is still flying as much as usual , climbing everything , perching well and engaging in usual parrot mass destruction activities .
I will add these extra things to their diet . Recently they have been eating their own droppings which I read indicates diet deficiencies I've added photos . Dancer has the darker beak
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Thank you! I must admit that Dancer doesn't look like an ill bird to me. I'm not aware of unsprouted chickpeas being a problem. These birds are scavengers and can eat most anything safely. You can continue to "watchful wait". I'd like you to weigh him regularly and chart his weight. You'll need a reasonably accurate gram scale. He might not be thinning to any significant extent!

I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience.