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FINALLY... 7 Years of Plucking, No More!


Walking the driveway
Avenue Veteran
I really can't stress the importance of a healthy diet!! Most here will say "I am feeding my bird a very nutritious diet." But I can now argue, that most likely what you think is healthy, is far from accurate. I was one of those people, until over a month back.

Let me start off by saying I have a 21 year old, male blue fronted amazon. I'm the 3rd owner, and based on what was told to me, the previous owner had him for 4 years until declined health made it where he was relinquished to a rescue. He also was a "seed junky," with a plucking problem.

About 2 years back he finally started to eat a lot more healthy. Still gave him seeds, but only later in the day, after he'd eaten his chop; vegies, and fruit, with a few nuts.

I made sure he had toys to play with, full spectrum light, continued showers, etc. Occasionally he would have issues with his liver, so I'd give him milk thistle, which at the time seemed to help. I knew this as a problem, because about 4 years back he had an episode where he almost looked like he was having seizures (which they weren't). After doing a blood panel, found out his liver enzymes where too high, and the toxins were causing this behavior. Got him under control, but as mentioned occasionally he would have problems, which milk thistle cleared it up.

Took him to the vet on multiple occasions, because he was always nasally and stuffed up, as always having puffed up cheeks. The doctor (mind you I will never fo back to this vet) acted like everything was ok

So fast forward to around a month back... Sydney (my bird) started doing this seizure like behavior, angrily tearing at his back, chest, and thigh feathers. I then started him onhis milk thistle regiment. Two days later he wasn't getting better. I tried to wait it out, due to the fact I was hurt badly in an accident, I'm unable to work, and have medical bill's through the roof. So, I simply had no money to take him to the vet. I finally knew this "milk thistle " therapy wasn't working; taking him to a new vet, whom is well known for specializing in exotics. She was an hour away, but I wouldn't take him back to the original local vet!

Long story short, my beloved baby, is a very, very sick bird. He has been diagnosed with Atherostlerosis (enlarged heart) arteries are full of plaque, enlarged kidneys, and some apparent (old) trauma to the neck region. can I just tell you, I cried like a big fat baby!

Now this brings me to the whole "diet" discussion! Birds like Sydney fly an average of 70 miles per day, so all the fruits, and nuts, and other items are good, but that's if they are flying many miles each day. Even those most loved and spoiled birds aren't getting the needed exercise, so even those healthy nuts, such-as walnuts, pine nuts, etc. Are terrible for them, and should only be given as a treat. I was giving Sydney heart healthy berries, like - blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries. But was told "absolutely not!" Fruit is to be given once weekly, and a very little amount. He is now off seed completely and on a very, very strict diet.

So what I'm really hoping is that I can some how influence others to really take a look at what they are feeding a "non-flighted bird? And I mean non-flighted to all over birds that arent flying miles per day.

I had no idea about "atherostlerosis," and HOW COMMON it is in parrots. Especially Amazon's, and African Grays. This is generally a disease that kills birds instantly, and you dont ever know it's a problem until you find your bird dead.

I have a diet plan set in place if any of you are interested, but please go research "atherostlerosis'" as it goes into details about the importance of diet and what kinds of foods to feed them, as-well as what kinds of foods not to feed them.

Sydney is currently on tramadol, and gabapentin. And I've been rubbing coconut oil onto his bare skin... and HE IS NO LONGER PLUCKING! So if you have a bird that plucks, I'd guess to say most likely it is a symptom to a far greater problem. But, for some pluckers, I do know can be a mental thing.

PLEASE TAKE THE FEATHER PLUCKING SERIOUSLY! I am one of the very lucky few that still has a living bird. As mentioned, you usually dont know there is a problem, until it's too late.
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Ripping up the road
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Mary Lynn Skinner
You haven't been reading my threads. I constantly bring up Jasper's Congestive Heart Disease and severe Atherosclerosis and discuss it's history and treatment.

I have told the people on this forum, numerous times, how heart disease develops and how it is treated. I guess not many pay any attention.

You need to keep your bird on Milk Thistle for the rest of his life he is not getting adequate oxygen to his organs for them to work properly and you also need to get him put on an Ace Inhibitor such as Enalapril or Benazepril or Slidenifil and supplement with pure garlic. Exercise is important to every bird and should be consistent, like Jasper's is. An Oxygen supplement would also help your bird. Her diet has been closely controlled for the past 18 years. His blood pressure should be checked and addressed if it is as high as most birds with heart disease and atherosclerosis. I've dealt with it for 18 years.

Good luck - Jasper has been alive for 18 years now since her diagnosis at 6 1/2 years of age.