Bird

Ask a bird specialist.

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

I have 4 baby budgies. We had decided to hand feed them at 3…

Customer Question
Hello, I have 4 baby...
Hello, I have 4 baby budgies. We had decided to hand feed them at 3 weeks. We moved them to a nurse cage and are spoon feeding every 4 hours. After one day the youngest has picked the feathers off of the three older sibling at their chin/neck where food may have been dried. I had been cleaning the formula off but only with a dry cloth. I'm sure there was residue that interested the little one. I now use a wet warm cloth and a gentle clean. I have been watching them closely. The youngest still continues to do this.For all four birds, Droppings are normal, exploring the cage and nibbling at new foods here and there, crop fills and empties normally.My questions are: Will these feathers grow back? Is this a bad habit now and does the youngest need to be separated from the group to end this feather plucking? Is it possible something else is going on?
Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Bird
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Bird Question
Answered in 9 hours by:
12/19/2017
Bird Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 5 months ago
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 33,761
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
Verified

You're speaking with Dr. Michael Salkin. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm currently typing up my reply. Please be patient. This may take a few minutes.

Ask Your Own Bird Question
Bird Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. To answer you directly, yes, feathers will regrow as long as there's adequate building blocks for feather growth - protein, calcium, and vitamin D3, mainly. Yes, this behavior can become habitual and, yes, something else going on is likely. Please see the following for more...

You've described cannibalism which is defined as the pecking and killing of birds by their cagemates. This is a behavioral problem that often develops into a vice. It becomes a pattern of behavior that usually continues within the flock even though all known causal environmental, nutritional, and husbandry conditions have been corrected.

Cannibalism often starts as feather picking while the birds are but a few weeks old. Any combination of stressors serve as the trigger leading to serious feather picking and cannibalism. The stressors include crowding, bright light intensity, high room temperature, poor ventilation, high humidity, low salt, trace nutrient deficiency, insufficient feeding and drinking space, nervous and excitable birds (hereditary), external parasites, access to sick or injured birds, stress from moving, and boredom or idleness.

In young birds, crowding within the cage or at the feeder and drinking source is often the problem. There should be enough feeder space so that all birds can feed at the same time. When all stressor conditions are corrected, other procedures to stop cannibalism include correcting the diet**, darkening of the room, and removing the aggressor(s).

**This is a good time to wean them on to well-balanced diet. Seeds should compose less than 20% of their diet. A diet of mainly seed and nuts has excessive fat, carbohydrates, and phosphorus; marginal protein; adequate vitamin E, and are deficient in amino acids, calcium, available phosphorus, sodium, manganese, zinc, iron, vitamins A, D3 (necessary for efficient absorption of calcium), K, and B12, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, choline, and available niacin. Ideally, a balanced pelleted diet such as can be found here: www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com or here: www.lafeber.com/pet-birds 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.

Ask Your Own Bird Question
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Thank you for responding. I had been combing the internet for evan a picture of another bird with this issue for comparison and couldn't find even one. I'm glad I found this website. I'm sure it is the move stress and added action around the birds that has caused the little one to do this. I have few more questions.
1. Why do the slightly older birds just sit and allow the little one to do this? I would think they would be trying to get away or at least squawking in defense. At first I thought the little one was trying to preen them.
2. What is the average age for a parakeet to wean itself? Sounds like your recommending abundance weaning? I feel that would be a route I would choose.
3. Once I correct this problem, if it is cannibalism, I'll separate them until after weaned, when I return them together will it start again?We were not planning on breeding. Long story short, we have seven parakeets and a toy provoked this. I thought it was a chew log only to reread the package later in the store to find it was a nesting item. Good Grief! We will only be keeping two of the four baby birds. Two already have homes at eight weeks of age. I wanted to see if we could get them tame quickly. Nothing like a crash course in breeding at Christmas time.
Bird Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

1. They haven't developed defense mechanisms at such a young age. Instead, the young one's behavior might be construed as normal preening by mom.

2. 5 - 6 weeks or earlier when other foods are readily available. Yes, I encourage pelleted rations as early as possible. Establishing bad eating habits early in parakeets is all too common and nigh impossible to correct when they're older.

3. Not necessarily. The older birds aren't likely to sit for the abuse when they mature. One peck back at the younger one can correct that behavior quickly.

That's funny. Many caretakers can't get their pairs to breed come hell or high water and you were successful serendipitously! Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Ask Your Own Bird Question
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
No kidding, I really didn't think those eggs would amount to anything. Surprise!
Thank you for your advice.
Bird Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 5 months ago

You're quite welcome. 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. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Ask Your Own Bird Question
Bird Specialist: Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian replied 5 months ago
Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

DrMichaelSalkin
Ask Your Own Bird Question
Was this answer helpful?
Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 33,761
33,761 Satisfied Customers
Experience: University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience

Dr. Michael Salkin is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Thank you so much!!! I love this service. It has given me peace of mind and extremely valuable information at an affordable price 24/7 to care for my beloved pets. THANK YOU

LindaCenterreach, NY

I found my experience with you to be very positive. Not only did the vet answer my question thoroughly, he left me with a better knowledge to follow up with my vet.

MarilouEast Taunton, MA

I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there.

Alice H.Jacksonville, Fl.

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

August Abbott, CAS

August Abbott, CAS

Certified Avian Specialist

2,654 satisfied customers

Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author

Anna

Anna

Bird Expert, Biologist

1,338 satisfied customers

Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.

Dr. Pat

Dr. Pat

Avian Veterinarian

621 satisfied customers

25 years as avian-only veterinarian

Joan

Joan

Vet. Tech.

97 satisfied customers

Vet Tech

Dr. Angela

Dr. Angela

Bird Veterinarian

77 satisfied customers

Member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians. Extensive avian clinical experience.

Dr. Bruce

Dr. Bruce

Veterinarian

49 satisfied customers

15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian

Theresa

Theresa

Veterinary Technician

28 satisfied customers

Several years experience in handling, care, and health of our feathered friends

< Previous | Next >

Related Bird Questions
I just need to know how much hibiclens to mix with distilled
I just need to know how much hibiclens to mix with distilled water for my finch's red butt. … read more
Scott Perry
Scott Perry
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
2,490 satisfied customers
I have adopted two ducklings. They are three weeks old now
Hi. I have adopted two ducklings. They are three weeks old now and they have grown so fas and big. One of them has been having shaking legs for the past 5 days and I am concerned. I need help to fix t… read more
Yankmedic911
Yankmedic911
Wildlife Veterinarian
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and
13 satisfied customers
Why seperate baby finches at 6 wks. old I have 3 males & 5
Why seperate baby finches at 6 wks. old I have 3 males & 5 females & one baby baby is fully feathered & can fly some do I need to remove it from the cage ? It can feed its self but still begs for food… read more
Dr. Leah Hill
Dr. Leah Hill
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary medicine
336 satisfied customers
For the first time since I moved here four years ago pine
For the first time since I moved here four years ago pine Siskin have flocked to my thistle feeder. I am disturbed at finding several of them dead in my yard. They have no apparent injury. What could … read more
Anna
Anna
Bird Expert, Biologist
Bachelor's Degree
1,338 satisfied customers
I have a 16 yr old male sulfur crested cockatoo. It is a
I have a 16 yr old male sulfur crested cockatoo. It is a rehabilitated bird with a broken wing. It is a very fussy eater and always demands attention. This has reached such a point that we are having … read more
Dr. Leah Hill
Dr. Leah Hill
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary medicine
336 satisfied customers
We want to build an 8 foot tall by 4 foot x 4 foot outdoor
We want to build an 8 foot tall by 4 foot x 4 foot outdoor aviary so our cockatoo and African grey can enjoy the nicerdays under our large pecan and oak trees. "Flutter" just loves sitting and climbin… read more
Martin
Martin
Electrical engineer
Bachelor's Degree
486 satisfied customers
I just noticed him lying on the cage floor on his side he's
I just noticed him lying on the cage floor on his side he's letting me pick him up and still tries to peck me since he isn't completely tamed and he keeps closing his eyes and shaking … read more
Dr. Leah Hill
Dr. Leah Hill
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary medicine
336 satisfied customers
Hi, we have just installed our first bird-box camera and would
Hi, we have just installed our first bird-box camera and would like to know if we should leave the infa-red LEDs switched on all the while as we are worried that switching them on and off may spook th… read more
Anna
Anna
Bird Expert, Biologist
Bachelor's Degree
1,338 satisfied customers
Jo ONLY is organic wheat breakfast flakes for human
For Dr jo ONLYHi dr is organic wheat breakfast flakes for human consumption considered as junk food for birds? From the ingredients, it looks all healthy and organic, except that maybe a bit more hone… read more
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo
Veterinarian
BA
2 satisfied customers
Jo ONLY I've noticed a few, perhaps less than 4 tiny black
For Dr jo ONLYHi dr I've noticed a few, perhaps less than 4 tiny black spots on my birds tial feather, I tried to check it unset the magnifier and it looks like just still black stains, but very tiny … read more
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo
Veterinarian
BA
2 satisfied customers
Our terrier got into our bird pen after a big rain about 4-5
Hi doctor, Our terrier got into our bird pen after a big rain about 4-5 weeks ago. She pulled feathers from the front and side of our duck and the area was exposed. We couldn't get a vet because it ha… read more
PitRottMommy
PitRottMommy
Veterinary Nurse
Associate Degree
10,431 satisfied customers
ONLY When does a sun conure reach maturity? 6 months or 2
For Dr Jo ONLYWhen does a sun conure reach sexual maturity? 6 months or 2 years ? Does sexual maturity means adulthood and total physical and mental maturity?… read more
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo
Veterinarian
BA
2 satisfied customers
ONLY what also worries me about my new 304 Stainless steel
For Dr Jo ONLYHi dr what also worries me about my new 304 Stainless steel bird cage is the edge of the stainless steel holder for the removable bottom netting. Its not exactly sharp like a knife but s… read more
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo
Veterinarian
BA
2 satisfied customers
I have a friend in Ontario, Canada, who has had a robin
Hello. I have a friend in Ontario, Canada, who has had a robin build a nest by her back porch light. She is concerned about stressing out the parents by going in and out of the door, and worried that … read more
Dr. Leah Hill
Dr. Leah Hill
Veterinarian
Doctor of Veterinary medicine
336 satisfied customers
ONLY I live in the tropical area and it's like summer
For Dr Jo ONLYHi dr I live in the tropical area and it's like summer throughout the year. The room temperature is around 28 to 32 Celsius in a typical day but as it fluctuares and especially when it's… read more
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo
Veterinarian
BA
2 satisfied customers
ONLY if i sneeze or cough near my bird or their food,.
For Dr Jo ONLYHi dr if i sneeze or cough near my bird or their food,. Drinking water, do the droplets of my saliva contain enough bacteria to cause problems to my bird? What if this happens everyday?… read more
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo
Veterinarian
BA
2 satisfied customers
ONLY I've been confused a lot by what I have learned online
For Dr Jo ONLYHi dr I've been confused a lot by what I have learned online and from vets I met here about how birds feather grow and when to trim them. On one hand I ve learned that feathers once grow… read more
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo
Veterinarian
BA
2 satisfied customers
ONLY What are the body language of a sun conure that I can
For Dr Jo ONLYWhat are the body language of a sun conure that I can watch put for to build a happy relationship with my sun conure? I wiped my birds body with wet tissue and train him to spread wings … read more
Dr. Jo
Dr. Jo
Veterinarian
BA
2 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x