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I can't understand what is that and how to treat

Zuma Dandy

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Hello dear lovebird lovers.

My guy Rio has a problem. But we don't understand what it this, what caused this or what to do. As seen in the pictures, there is a molted/sparsed/feather-lost area above his wings/shoulders. It started around 6-7 months ago. At first, we thought it was seasonal molting. Then it slowly getting covered up bigger area. And no avian vet in my city.

So, what is that exactly? What to do?

For dear friends who interested, let me give you more details;

We adopted Rio from a family a year ago. He was 6 month old. So now around 1.5 years old. He lives alone. He has a mountain view cage. Minimum twice a day, he flies in the room cage-free, hang out with me and my wife, playful and all. Same and quality complete bird food since day one. Occasionally, vitamin support to his water. He used to close his eyes and singing as the vet called "happy sleep". But he doesn't do that anymore. As in the same time as his feathers start to be like that, he also started to squawking louder and more often. we had to start to cover his cage up for him to be silent during my wife's online lessons. There is nothing else different about his behave and act. Oh, and he never sleeps on the roost/branch at night, he always sleep at the same bottom corner of the cage, since day one.

I'll be grateful if anyone help me about it.
 

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Zuma Dandy

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Welcome to the Avenue :)


Is there a vet in another city?
Thank you^_^

before i travel 800km with my bird in a pandemi and looking for an avian pet in my 3th world country, i'd like to try my chance at least a hope of a friendly birdlover around the world could help me:/
 

macawpower58

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That almost looks to me like over preening.
His head and beak line up perfectly if he's reaching around and behind, to where the feather loss line is.
Though the loss of color is odd. I'm not sure if color can be preened off. :what:
Maybe we're seeing the underneath downy feathers?
 
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tka

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That looks like feather destruction to me. He's snipping off the coloured part of the feather, leaving the grey downy part of the feather.

Feather destructive behaviour has lots of causes, some physical and some mental. The first step should be blood tests to check whether he is deficient in any nutrients, that his organs are working properly and that he hasn't ingested heavy metals. He should have a full medical exam to check that he isn't in pain.

If these come back clear, then you have to look at his mental health. This is much more challenging. The behaviour can become a habit that is very hard to break. Can you tell us more about his cage, his environment, his diet and his interactions with you?
 

Zuma Dandy

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That looks like feather destruction to me. He's snipping off the coloured part of the feather, leaving the grey downy part of the feather.

Feather destructive behaviour has lots of causes, some physical and some mental. The first step should be blood tests to check whether he is deficient in any nutrients, that his organs are working properly and that he hasn't ingested heavy metals. He should have a full medical exam to check that he isn't in pain.

If these come back clear, then you have to look at his mental health. This is much more challenging. The behaviour can become a habit that is very hard to break. Can you tell us more about his cage, his environment, his diet and his interactions with you?
Thank you for the information. For now, it's not an option to take him to an avian vet, but i will take him to a regular vet for the blood test as soon as lockdown finish in two weeks.

Well his cage is 35x50cm, 3 different toys with bell on them, he always plays with them, loves them. We live in a kind of suburbs very close to city center, last house complex closest to the mountain near. He is in saloon, 12 hours day light (not direct sunlight). He eats Gold Wings premium for parakeets. Sometimes lettuce from the dinner table (after we wash out the oil, salt ect). His interaction with us looks good. Always lands on wife's hair, spend time near us ect. I pet him a lot, he likes that. So, that's the general.
 

Feathered

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Something similar popped up recently. I think he needs some more shredding and chew toys
 

Zuma Dandy

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Something similar popped up recently. I think he needs some more shredding and chew toys
That's his cage by the way.
He has beak stone, stoned roosts and occasionally squid bone. But when you mean shredding and chewing you mean like paper and chewable toys? He will stop biting his feathers?
 

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Feathered

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In the wild parrots chew alot, it's part of their nature. When you don't provide enough of these toys they get stressed and destroy their feathers. If you're like I can do a few posts on diy toys that are easy and your bird can enjoy. And yes the cage is too small, I recommend the yehatech cage.
 

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Feathered

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And take out that mirror, that can cause serious behavior problems
 

Zuma Dandy

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In the wild parrots chew alot, it's part of their nature. When you don't provide enough of these toys they get stressed and destroy their feathers. If you're like I can do a few posts on diy toys that are easy and your bird can enjoy. And yes the cage is too small, I recommend the yehatech cage.
Thank you. I will definitely do and buy chewing toys. And i put the mirror just yesterday, in the hope of maybe her mood will change. I will take it out then.
 

Feathered

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Don't worry I think we all begin doing the same mistakes just make sure to do some research
 

Zuma Dandy

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Oh my holy god! I was approaching to the cage just to take another picture, and i saw egg!!! Egg!!!!! More than one year, we thought it was a he. But now it's a SHE!!!! :wideyed::wideyed::heart:

I just called my friend who is expert in another kind of bird, said that the egg is empty. It's like the first heat egg of her...

I still can't believe i'm calling it HER!!:)))

So, it explains anything about the feathers??
 

tka

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I think you have a lot of work to do on your bird's environment. It's clear that you love her but I think she needs more space and more activities to keep her occupied.

That cage is far too small. The absolute minimum for a lovebird should be 45x45cm - see here for more: Wingspan Info | Natural Inspirations Parrot cages
A bigger cage will also give you more scope to create an interesting layout for her, with a variety of perches, toys and foraging opportunities. I can see that @Feathered has posted a nice example - you can also look in this part of the forum for inspiration: Feathered Estates

I also think your bird needs more toys she can play with. The toys you've got look like they're made out of hard wood. A smaller bird can't really do much with them because they're too hard to chew - even my much larger bird ignores hardwood. I think she'd appreciate toys made of softer materials - balsa wood, cardboard, paper, loofah and so on. It can be as simple as folding some paper and weaving it through the cage bars.

She could also do with more variety in her perches. Smooth dowel means that they can't exercise their feet and are always putting pressure on the same parts of their foot. Over time, this can lead to issues like sores at the bottom of the foot (known as bumblefoot) and arthritis. I can see that you've got some sandpaper over the perches - please remove these because they're very hard on birds' feet. Ideally you should provide perches that are natural branches from bird-safe trees. Here's a list of safe and unsafe species: Bird; Birds: Safe, Toxic Trees, Woods. Safe Tree Wood. Parrots. Parrot cages.

An all-seed diet will be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Cuttlefish bones do contain calcium, but it's difficult for birds to absorb this calcium so it's not recommended as the bird's only source of calcium. If she's laying eggs, it's even more important that she's getting a good healthy diet that gives her the nutrients she needs. Are there any pellets available in your country? Good brands are Harrisons and Roudybush. If you can't get these, then Zupreem and Versele Laga pellets are okay. Lettuce from the dinner table is not good - lettuce isn't vey nutritious and it's hard to make sure that there's not salt or oil left on the leaves. Instead, try feeding a greater variety of vegetables and some fruit - there's lots of ideas here: Feathered Food Court
Peppers, peas, carrot, broccoli, butternut squash and sweet potato are good places to start.

Hormones can influence feather destructive behaviour. You may need to limit the number of daylight hours she gets by covering the cage - 12 hours of daylight and 12 of dark is what's usually suggested for a non-hormonal bird, but you can reduce daylight hours to persuade her to stop laying eggs. Giving her a bigger cage with more to do should channel her into more appropriate activities.
 

Feathered

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I don't think so unless there is another male for her to mate with. She'll know whether it's just an egg or an egg with an chick in it because the male would have fertalized it.
 

Zara

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Tka left some great advice there.

My little ones have really been into cork recently. Not like the rounded ones for eg in bottles but the rough natural cork bark.
Maybe she would like that. The other benefit of cork is it can't be used as nesting material, perfect :)

I use Hagen Tropican pellets. I'm happy with them. My vet agrees they're good.


She'll know whether it's just an egg or an egg with an chick in it
Not quite. Otherwise they wouldn't sit on a dummy egg - which they do.
But yes, no male means the egg is infertile. Females will lay eggs regardless of males or mating. Leave them where they are for up to but no more than 3 weeks or you can remove earlier if the bird stops tending to it/to them.

It's important your bird gets a good supply of calcium right now.
 

Zuma Dandy

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I think you have a lot of work to do on your bird's environment. It's clear that you love her but I think she needs more space and more activities to keep her occupied.

That cage is far too small. The absolute minimum for a lovebird should be 45x45cm - see here for more: Wingspan Info | Natural Inspirations Parrot cages
A bigger cage will also give you more scope to create an interesting layout for her, with a variety of perches, toys and foraging opportunities. I can see that @Feathered has posted a nice example - you can also look in this part of the forum for inspiration: Feathered Estates

I also think your bird needs more toys she can play with. The toys you've got look like they're made out of hard wood. A smaller bird can't really do much with them because they're too hard to chew - even my much larger bird ignores hardwood. I think she'd appreciate toys made of softer materials - balsa wood, cardboard, paper, loofah and so on. It can be as simple as folding some paper and weaving it through the cage bars.

She could also do with more variety in her perches. Smooth dowel means that they can't exercise their feet and are always putting pressure on the same parts of their foot. Over time, this can lead to issues like sores at the bottom of the foot (known as bumblefoot) and arthritis. I can see that you've got some sandpaper over the perches - please remove these because they're very hard on birds' feet. Ideally you should provide perches that are natural branches from bird-safe trees. Here's a list of safe and unsafe species: Bird; Birds: Safe, Toxic Trees, Woods. Safe Tree Wood. Parrots. Parrot cages.

An all-seed diet will be lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Cuttlefish bones do contain calcium, but it's difficult for birds to absorb this calcium so it's not recommended as the bird's only source of calcium. If she's laying eggs, it's even more important that she's getting a good healthy diet that gives her the nutrients she needs. Are there any pellets available in your country? Good brands are Harrisons and Roudybush. If you can't get these, then Zupreem and Versele Laga pellets are okay. Lettuce from the dinner table is not good - lettuce isn't vey nutritious and it's hard to make sure that there's not salt or oil left on the leaves. Instead, try feeding a greater variety of vegetables and some fruit - there's lots of ideas here: Feathered Food Court
Peppers, peas, carrot, broccoli, butternut squash and sweet potato are good places to start.

Hormones can influence feather destructive behaviour. You may need to limit the number of daylight hours she gets by covering the cage - 12 hours of daylight and 12 of dark is what's usually suggested for a non-hormonal bird, but you can reduce daylight hours to persuade her to stop laying eggs. Giving her a bigger cage with more to do should channel her into more appropriate activities.
Your message made me glad that i joined to this group. Thank you so much for all the informations. I will do ALL. (Need to wait for my next paycheck for many of them though, but anything for her:)

I will inform about the progress and the resulst with pictures as soon as possible. Thank you again.
 

tka

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I'm glad to hear it's helpful :)

Sadly, feather picking and other feather destructive behaviour can be difficult to stop. I hope the changes that i've suggested help. Even if she doesn't stop feather picking completely, she'll still have more opportunities for play, a better diet and a better cage set-up. These will all enrich her life and keep her healthier.
 
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