I have a 5 year-old Eclectic Parrot. She has lost all feathers on her underside; not from plucking. She now seems

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Customer: Hi
JA: Hi there. What type of bird are we talking about?
Customer: I have a 5 year-old Eclectic Parrot. She has lost all feathers on her underside; not from plucking. She now seems despondent and just hiding in the back corner of the cage on the bottom. She has come up to see what's I put in food bowl. I did some research; thought she might need more veggies and those high in Vit-A but loss of feather continues
JA: I'll do all I can to help. When did you first notice the parrot was losing her feathers?
Customer: It started looking like she was just molting - maybe two months ago?
JA: Is her skin bumpy or itchy as well?
Customer: No
JA: What's the parrot's name and age?
Customer: Valentine and 5 years as I noted above.
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: We moved about 1.5 years ago. I don't think she likes where she is now despite efforts to keep distractions minimized. She's easily startled and screams. We have another bird who is 30 years old next to her.
Answered by The1Caretaker in 15 hours 1 year ago
Pet Specialist

14,668 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Bird Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Avian Medicine, Poultry Veterinary Medicine

August Abbott Cert.Avian Specialist; Experts don't know when you posted. This is the 1st I've seen this. Typing up now (I can't do phone svc).

I want to hope that she's self mutilating perhaps at night or other times when you aren't seeing her do it.  Otherwise I'm afraid that the possibilities of causations are pretty serious.


A genetic/DNA test for Avian Polyomavirus; PBFD/Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease; Pacheco’s Disease (and in some circumstances, Chlamydophila/Psittacosis) would be strongly suggested


Her behavior, despondency, going to cage bottom, etc. absolutely indicate that an 'urgent' vet visit be made.  That is, within 24 hours if at all possible.

To screen for these problems as well as knowing for sure what sex your bird is, it’s just a matter of a couple drops of blood that is obtained by clipping a toenail just close enough to produce it
Quite often these symptoms are just part of a larger problem, including liver disease, all the result of severe vitamin A deficiency which results from seed diets.  Of course they can be found in birds on good diets too, but less often

Because the condition is likely more complicated than just feather loss and lethargy - there is no way to treat at home.
Other possible causation is vitamin D deficiency, which leads to calcium problems.  In order to have all your birds’ systems working in top notch order, aside from good nutrition you need to double check lighting.

Birds need the ‘sunshine vitamin’ - vitamin D in order to properly process calcium and maintain a good, healthy balance overall; the vitamin is absorbed through the skin and delivered by regular sunlight.

When sunlight exposure isn’t possible or may need supplementation, a full spectrum light set up is a good idea.   Some modern windows have protective coatings that block up to 100% of all UV rays, so even if a bird seems to be enjoying sunlight, they may not be getting any vitamin D benefit.


The best idea is to feed a bird a predominantly pelleted diet which these days has a remarkably good balance of nutrition.  About 15-20% of the bird’s diet should be a quality seed mix (no sunflower seeds) and of course all the fresh foods they want or you can convince them to try.


There is more information about using fluorescent lighting, UV and UV-B here:



It’s important to avoid the lighting with magnetic ballast and choose electronic ballast for less flickering and better UV-A, UV-B balance.

With magnetic ballast fluorescents a bird can see the rapid flickering that we can’t and it can stress them out much more than the benefit of the ultraviolet provided.  Of course electronic ballast fluorescents are usually more expensive, but considering the savings in overall vet bills – very worth it.

The information about ballast should be on the packaging.

At least 1-2 hours of full spectrum lighting is suggested with up to 12 hours acceptable when the best quality bulbs are used.

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.

I know this is a lot to take in, but being fully informed is always the best for the bird.  Let me know how it goes?

Hi August,
Hi August,Thank you for all the great info; I very much appreciate your thoroughness!

You're quite welcome -  you got this!

I just posted this yesterday. This is a 5 year old Eclectus female parrot. She has a pretty good diet - pellet with added veggies, fruit & nuts. I had research the feather loss a couple months back and saw Vit-A important so I added more fresh carrots, sweet potatoes and dried mango. I also add vits to water and powder to food. I did not know about the natural Vit-D though. We moved a year ago and she constantly screams when someone walks by so I was shutting the curtain thinking she was freaked out. She also laid an egg today so hence why I think she's been at the bottom of the cage. She has a male Amazon in a cage right next to her. She has been up to check out her bowl.

Leave the egg with her, let her 'brood' until she abandons it.  This way she won't try replacing it and risk becoming egg bound or calcium drained or any number of other complications.

Go ahead and put a bowl of food and water near her at the bottom.  With an egg, being being bottom bound isn't the serious warning sign it is with a non broody bird.


I love-love-love what you're feeding!  This is a very, very lucky bird.

Thanks August! I had also read that Eclectus need higher carbs so I do add some of the ZuPreem pasta blend. I ordered one of the lights recommended in the article and some more fruit/veggie mineral/calcium blocks.
Thanks for input on egg. I was not quite certain what to do with it. I think she had been sitting on it and hence why she was staying in that corner. She had pulled part of the cloth of the bird cover in as well. When I saw the egg yesterday, it was across the cage and looked like she might have pecked at it as cracked so I removed. She is coming up for food and water but then goes back to that corner looking like she is going to lay another egg.

Here's a reliable source for nutrition on Eclectus (actual animal hospital) -  one misnomer I've uncovered is that they need more FAT because they're more active.  Oh soooo wrong!  What's missing is that this "may" apply to young birds in the WILD where as youngsters, like any youngsters (human included) - they are more active and thereby burn off this fuel quickly.



Caged birds are not wild birds.  So people take a bit of true information, but that doesn't apply for their own birds and apply it!  All sorts of health complications result in a shorter lifespan, increased health issues and a miserable existence.  So you are RIGHT in asking

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