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Lovebird feather loss problem - advice?

Discussion in 'Lovebird Lane' started by RobertnMango, 6/11/19 at 9:29 PM.

  1. RobertnMango

    RobertnMango Moving in

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    Hi all,


    I have a blue masked lovebird that has been suffering from a feather loss problem in the last 8 months I'd say, and is bald in specific areas - the legs (gradually extending to wings), the tail and a very small patch on his head. He also sometimes bleeds from his tail feathers as he has a blood feather there (I've attached a picture). I've also noticed in the past week he's been sleeping more often than usual, and I'm quite worried.


    His diet mainly consists of seeds (he prefers the millet ones though), cuttlefish bone, leafy greens, multivitamin in the water and recently have been feeding him corn. Sometimes we also feed him dried pineapple. I'm not sure if it's a diet problem, but I don't think this is the problem for his feather loss.


    Moreover, his mate (a lime fischer) does not appear to have any feather loss problems. So, I'm assuming that his problem isn't contagious, or that she is resistant to whatever he has.


    The bald areas on his body doesn't seem to be inflamed, only a bit scaly. (I've also attached a picture of this).


    I googled some common feather problems and I think the one that his symptoms most closely matches could be ringworm.


    Does anyone have any experience of this with their birds? We were trying to help him without bringing him to the vet, mainly because of the expenses. We are willing to bring him to the vet if we have tried other options first though.


    Thanks!
    (Also don't worry, I'm very gentle with him in this first picture even though it looks a bit mean!)

    007.JPG 068.JPG IMG_1118.jpg
     
  2. Shezbug

    Shezbug ASK ME FOR PICTURES OF MY MACAW! Moderator Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting!

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    @Zara may be able to help?
     
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  3. LunaLovebird

    LunaLovebird Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Shutterbugs' Best

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    The diet isn’t very good (ditch the dried pineapple and mix the seeds 80:20 with some pellets; seeds should only be a minor part of the diet), but this isn’t something that you can diagnose easily. You need to get to an avian vet. Besides diet or some sort of infection, it could also be that the other bird is over preening. That said, those legs don’t look great. Have you noticed any plucking from the other bird?
     
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  4. Zara

    Zara Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! POSTAHOLIC

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    Welcome to the Avenue,


    I know it may seem like an expense, but it really is the wise thing to do. You bird would benefit greatly from a vet diagnosing him rather than a bunch of folk on the internet giving suggestions of what it could be, because it could be many things.

    I agree with @LunaLovebird , the diet stuck out at me when I read your post.
    Cuttlebone is a grooming tool, not diet, so you could skip these and put the money towards something else. Leafy greens is great though.

    It is important to get each bird checked out, especially when you have more than one bird. It is good to know they are not carrying any diseases etc.

    Also, you called the Fischer´s his ¨mate¨? Be sure they don´t successfully breed as they are different species. You don´t have to split them up, just boil any eggs, allow to cool and replace. Right now, I would recommend this even if these birds were the same species until you have them both vet checked.

    I´m sorry that we can´t help tell you exactly what is wrong, only a vet can do that. It will be worth the money I assure you. Please don´t try medicating him for conditions that you think it may be. He needs a vet to diagnose him. Take both birds. Please do it before this gets any worse. If he plucks and causes any lesions and they get infected he will need antibiotics (from the vet).
     
  5. Ripshod

    Ripshod Rollerblading along the road

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    This little one really does need to see a vet as it looks like some kind of infection. @Zara, that 'blood feather' in the first pic. Could that be the wick feather for the preen gland? Blood would mean a serious problem yes?
     
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  6. RobertnMango

    RobertnMango Moving in

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    @LunaLovebird @Zara Could you recommend me any pellets that we should buy? We've been buying the small parrot seeds from coles and mixing them with budgie seeds, mainly because they liked the smaller seeds and usually don't really eat the other ones... I didn't realise that this wasn't good for the birds. Also, he does like to eat sunflower seeds in particular, but they're pretty picky with their food, its difficult. I don't notice the other bird really preening his legs or anything, only the neck and head area.

    @Ripshod I think it is a blood feather, I thought it would fall out by itself.

    Thanks for your responses also! It's very helpful, it seems the best idea would be to bring him to the vet. I will need to discuss with my mum first.
     
  7. RobertnMango

    RobertnMango Moving in

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    @LunaLovebird @Zara Sorry just to clarify, coles is a supermarket (I'm from Australia)
     
  8. Shezbug

    Shezbug ASK ME FOR PICTURES OF MY MACAW! Moderator Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting!

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    It does look like the preening gland feather to me but I am no expert.

    I buy my pellets online as not all pet stores have a good variety of them if they have them at all.
    There are a few good small online stores that I trust so they are who I get my pellets from.
    Coles won’t have the variety or best quality bird foods they only really have Trill and a lot of cheaper quality brands.
    I have not yet been able to get a decent amount of seed to sprout from any supermarket mix I have tried.

    The parrot rescue shop puts money back into bird rescue, my parrot shop is another one I really like for nice fresh nuts and sprouts. I get pellets from either of these online stores too.
     
  9. LunaLovebird

    LunaLovebird Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Shutterbugs' Best

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    I’m also in Aus. Weaning off seeds is tricky, but doable. Go slow, and practice portion control. I have found the best way is to start with a little bit of pellets with just as much seed as they’d normally eat in a day, and to increase the proportion gradually as you see them eating the pellets. I save sunflower seeds for training, so you might like to do that.

    You can get Vetafarm pellets from Coles or pet stores I think, but I prefer Harrison’s myself (I get life time fine). You can buy it from pet shop direct online or in store. They actually sell a variety of pellets you can try. Another good one is Roudybush, which you can get there or through Parrot Rescue Centre in big lots, but RB isn’t getting imported anymore so probably best to stick to others. PRC is also great for toys and natural perches / swings. I mix it with a variety of seeds I buy in bulk, mainly millet, hemp, and milk thistle. Pellets are a little pricey, but if you buy the big bags and practice portion control they do last for a few months, so it works out fine (try to keep it in the freezer to avoid pantry moths).
     
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  10. Zara

    Zara Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting! POSTAHOLIC

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    I recently bought Hagen Tropican pellets. My vet recommends these or Harrisons. I´m not sure what other vets recommend. Even my picky eater has been tucking in.
    I also use a complete seed mix for lovebirds and cockatiels.
    And then they have a fresh breakfast. Breakfast is when a bird is hungriest and most open to eating new foods.

    Improving diet will improve the quality of your birds life, but won´t fix the issue with feathers.

    @Ripshod Yes, blood would be a problem, but keep in mind, if this bird plucks a tail feather it could bleed and stop on it´s own or with cornstarch. The problem with that is IF an infection develops afterwards. Again reiterating the importance of getting this checked now sooner rather than later before something like that happens.

    Something else to think about is that leg - maybe the bird is in pain, but again, I don´t know, I´m not a vet.

    Does you mum know what is happening to this bird? Make sure she knows. Maybe you could show your mum this thread?
    Maybe you could offer to do some housework to pay back the vet fee to your mum.

    I hope you can get to the vet soon, and I really hope it is something relatively minor than can be fixed ❤️
     
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  11. Shezbug

    Shezbug ASK ME FOR PICTURES OF MY MACAW! Moderator Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting!

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    I believe rowdy bush was also being made here somewhere in QLD? image.jpg
     
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  12. LunaLovebird

    LunaLovebird Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Shutterbugs' Best

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    Yes sorry you’re right. I checked the post my vet made and it turns out the manufacturer is retiring, so there won’t be any more of it soon.

    ADEE6783-3DFC-4F43-A911-B1D526F7A220.jpeg
     
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  13. Shezbug

    Shezbug ASK ME FOR PICTURES OF MY MACAW! Moderator Mayor of the Avenue Avenue Spotlight Award I Can't Stop Posting!

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    Ohh thank you for that.
    I might buy up big and freeze them as I quite like them and so does Burt. Lol. Actually the budgies seem to like them also!
    I fear the transition to find another pellet Burt will like could be a bummer so I’m glad I had already thought about that in the past..... I’m pretty sure we’ve tried them all and I’ve found four he likes so I buy them all and mix them up equally.
    I will continue to try him on new ones in the mix but I’m glad I have a bird who is used to three other brands already.
    Thanks for the heads up :)
     
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  14. RobertnMango

    RobertnMango Moving in

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    @LunaLovebird would you say that the most important thing to get into their diets would be the pellets? I'm just kind of confused what I should put into their food.
    @Zara I think my mum is willing to pay to bring them to the vet, though we're still doing a bit of research right now. I'm also in my exams in uni right now so I don't have that much time to research for vets, but once I'm done (about 2 weeks) I'm going to fix this problem asap. Thanks, I hope its minor and he will heal quickly!
     
  15. LunaLovebird

    LunaLovebird Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Shutterbugs' Best

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    I don’t know what avian vets you have down there, but I can ask mine if he has a recommendation for you?

    Food wise, mine get the following:

    Dry mix available all day, which is 80-90% pellets (currently a mix of Harrison’s fine and Roudybush crumbles) and 10-20% seed. Mine have 2 food bowls available each (they’re separated during the day unless I’m around) with dry food with about a table spoon in each bowl. This gets replaced or topped up every day (or second day if one is untouched). Sunflower seeds I only use as treats or for training. They then get a vegetable mix in the morning, which is usually some combination of capsicum, chillies, spinach, silver beet, broccoli, a little corn (not heaps), green beans or snow / sugar snap peaks, zucchini, kale (mine like the kalette things you sometimes get at Coles), carrot and pomegranate. They also sometimes get a slice of squash and broccoli on a skewer. I also sometimes make a special birdie bread (there are recipes on this forum if you’re interested).

    If you get to an avian vet they can help with diet recommendations.
     
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  16. LunaLovebird

    LunaLovebird Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Shutterbugs' Best

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    To add: pellets are very important because they offer a more balanced nutrition. Seeds are ok, but very high in fat and severely lacking in some nutrients. Birds that live off these often get fatty liver disease among other things. You can achieve a balanced diet with sprouts, seeds and vege, but it requires special planning and birds are often so picky that they won’t actually eat every vege they need to in order to be completely healthy. So, pellets are a much easier option.
     
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  17. RobertnMango

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    @LunaLovebird Great! Thankyou so much for the tips, I'll get my hands on some pellets as soon as I can then!
     
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  18. DoubleTake

    DoubleTake Jogging around the block

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    I definitely try sprouting some seeds as LunaLovebird and Shezbug has suggested. Most birds will eventually at least try it. Only downside is the shelf life isn't very long. I don't really have pellets as a main staple for my birds but I do add Tops pellets in their mixes for them to have if they so choose. They get fresh fruits and veggies everyday, even if they don't eat them sometimes and sprouted seeds 3-4 days a week. As others have mentioned vet check would be advisable
     
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  19. LunaLovebird

    LunaLovebird Rollerblading along the road Avenue Spotlight Award Shutterbugs' Best

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    I think for the OP that pellets are a better option. The problem with only fresh for most captive birds is you have to rely on them eating everything of a carefully planned mix to ensure they are getting all their daily needs. The other issue is that Tops, while a nice option, is not as nutritionally complete as other pellets (last I checked), and it’s not available in Australia.
     
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  20. DoubleTake

    DoubleTake Jogging around the block

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    Pellets may are the better option for this situation. There are just too many unknown, in any case I hope this little bird turns it around.
     
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