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Need ratty tail feather advice

achill638

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Amanda
Hey all! I have a 12yo BFA that I acquired almost a year ago. She has been an absolutely awesome bird, she’s super nice to everyone, and while loud, it’s alllll singing and talking, not screaming. Very operatic. We named her Peggy as she didn’t come with a name.

Peggy arrived in a small cage with a single concrete perch, one completely destroyed toy, and on parrot seed diet from Tractor Supply. Her nails were worn down almost to the toe tips, and she had a difficult time hanging onto anything that wasn’t that concrete perch. She had 2 tail feathers, ostensibly from the small cage she was in.

She was amazingly easy to switch over to ZuPreem Natural pellets, Nutriberries, and fresh chop. The pellets took the longest, probably around 3 months. She had no problem adjusting to a large cage with different perches and toys, but was very clumsy for a while until she got some strength back in her feet. She’s still a little clumsy, but it’s much much better now.

However, she can’t seem to keep tail feathers. I’ve seen plenty very long pin feathers growing in, but she never has more than 4 mature feathers at a time. Any ideas? Pics attached, including the cage that she arrived in.
 

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Shezbug

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When you say she can't seem to keep tail feathers how do you mean? Is she pulling/plucking them out or are they breaking or just falling out? Has she had a vet check and complete health work up?
 

achill638

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I don’t think she’s pulling them, but I’m not completely sure. She doesn’t preen much at all. Her CBC came back mostly normal with slightly low protein, so vet guessed either run-of-the-mill malnutrition or an organ problem such as fatty liver based on her diet history, which wouldn’t surprise me. We’ll repeat at 1 year. Fecal was fine, no parasites.
 

Shezbug

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Share a pic of the next dropped one you find- some members here can tell you if they have been pulled out or naturally dropped out but from what you are saying it sounds to me like she never grows more than four tail feathers or the new pins are not making it to a mature functioning feather. Sometimes the already missing feathers are the cause of new pins not making it out of the sheath as the already grown feathers help to protect the new growing feathers from breakage.


Is it the exact same 4 feathers she has all the time?
 

Clueless

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Does she get showers? I mist Secret (from above so it gently falls on her) and the vet told me I should do that twice a week.
 

achill638

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Yes, weekly, but she is terrified of it, so we keep those sessions really short. She keeps her feathers slicked down so she never gets soaked like she should. We hold the mister below her level and spray up so it falls down on her. Any other rechnique suggestions are welcome!
 

Clueless

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I put Secret in a crock bowl that has a wide rim (water shallow in the bowl). I mist from standing above. Birds are different. MC preferred to stand in a shower perch and threw his wings wide and got into it!
 

Clueless

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Yes, weekly, but she is terrified of it, so we keep those sessions really short. She keeps her feathers slicked down so she never gets soaked like she should. We hold the mister below her level and spray up so it falls down on her. Any other rechnique suggestions are welcome!
Pictures are worth 1,000 words

I think this crock may be a dog bowl.... not sure.

20211001_141343.jpg 20211001_141314.jpg 20211001_141246.jpg

I also put the shower on when Secret is taking a bath. The shower doesn't fall on the bird but it puts humidity in the air and the noise seems to help.
 

melissasparrots

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Does she spend a lot of time hanging upside down with her tail feathers poking through the cage bars? Some young amazons will play hard with their toys like that and fray the tail tips. I doubt that is what is going on here there.
It looks to me like she might have some follicle damage. Maybe something in her past where the tail feathers kept getting pulled out or damaged so that they now grow in with malformed follicles and don't stay in like they should. If that is the case, she may never have a nice tail. Some feathers might not be growing in at all.
Start keeping her feathers that fall out. You can tell if it's the same ones each time by looking at the position of the vein. The two middle tail feathers have a very centrally placed vein. As you work your way either to the far right or far left tail feather, the vein becomes more displaced to the side. It's harder to tell with amazon tails since they are so short.
 

achill638

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Does she spend a lot of time hanging upside down with her tail feathers poking through the cage bars? Some young amazons will play hard with their toys like that and fray the tail tips. I doubt that is what is going on here there.
It looks to me like she might have some follicle damage. Maybe something in her past where the tail feathers kept getting pulled out or damaged so that they now grow in with malformed follicles and don't stay in like they should. If that is the case, she may never have a nice tail. Some feathers might not be growing in at all.
Start keeping her feathers that fall out. You can tell if it's the same ones each time by looking at the position of the vein. The two middle tail feathers have a very centrally placed vein. As you work your way either to the far right or far left tail feather, the vein becomes more displaced to the side. It's harder to tell with amazon tails since they are so short.
Thanks so much, that’s really helpful! Yeah, she’s not acrobatic at all, she was in a small cage with a single concrete perch when we got her, so she’s had a terrible grip. It’s since gotten much better, but she’s still not graceful; she puts her weight backwards, almost sitting on her butt. I bet you’re right that it’s follicle damage.
 
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