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Patagonian Conure Questions

Sitruceel

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Hello everyone, I’m fairly new here! Several months ago, I was looking to adopt an older parrot and had given up my search untilan elderly woman emailed me wanting to know if I’d take her 6-8 year old Patagonian conure in June. I drove two hours to go meet him and saw my first patty in real life, and fell in love! I knew what I was getting into noise-wise and he bonded with me in days. Sadly, he was neglected for the past few years as the woman’s health had deteriorated and she couldn’t care for him in the way she used to. He was fed a diet of wild bird seed but only ate out the peanuts and sun and safflower seeds. She claimed he wouldn’t eat anything else but as soon as I got home he was willing to try anything I was eating, including veggies. Anyways, I have questions regarding flight, diet, feather care, and was wondering if anyone could tell me his subspecies? I checked his band and he’s actually 10yrs old, he’d been in a cockatiel cage for 6 years and has atrophied flight muscles. I would love to be able to have him free fly and have been working on recall (climbing down from trees and on the ground at this point). He is not confident in flying now and really only does it if it’s an “emergency”. I was wondering if anyone knew any ways to help him gain confidence in flight? His current diet is Hagen Tropimix as I’d prefer he start transitioning to pellets. He also gets fresh chop daily and Featheriffic on his mix. Is this a decent diet for a Patagonian? There’s almost no frame of reference with patty’s because next to no one has them and it’s so frustrating trying to find information on individual subspecies and such. As far as feathers go, he barbers his chest feathers, just below his neck. He also chews out pinfeathers on his shoulders and under his wings. His feather quality has become way better since living with me as he gets regular baths and showers, but his barbering has worsened and he’s now molting and chewing off the tips of his pinfeathers. I feel as though it’s stress from the move and diet change, but he’s living a better life. Anything I can or should do to help him? Lastly, I know he’s not a Greater or Lesser as he doesn’t have bright yellow or red on his belly. He also doesn’t have any white collar feathers. I’ll try to post pictures, but to me he looks like p. andinus (which there are very few informational articles or images of on the internet). I feel it’d be odd for a captive bred bird to be that uncommon of subspecies but he definitely is captive bred. Anybody have Andean patties or information on them? Thank you so much for reading and I apologize for the lengthy post, but so few people have them that I have no idea where to ask questions or start!
 

sunnysmom

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I don't have conure experience but wanted to say welcome to the forum! It sounds like you're giving this bird a great new life. :)

@webchirp ?
 

LSA

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I, like many members, believe strongly in adoption.
If you PM me, I'll get you in touch with a couple with a 34yo Patty.
The subspecies of which you speak of is rather rate. To find current information, you'll need to google PATAGONIAN PARAKEET.
I adopted a rescued (which is most likely the case you're in) Patty years ago. They're rare but have been removed from the endangered list and in most cases are allowed interstate travel.
Most conures adapt to fresh stuff quickly.
Before continuing, is this your first bird or conure experience?
 

webchirp

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I have nada on patty's but I do know many that I have seen, pluck or barber the chest. I almost adopted one wayyyy back when...before the time of cheekies. A good vet check with gram stains and bloodwork is extra important given his previous diet/care. You'll want to work on any deficiencies and possible organ trauma (liver) as soon as possible. A vet will help you address the pinfeather problem. That is more concerning than the chest/tummy...sometimes metal toxicity can reflect in shoulder picking (Dr. Orosz comment). Those pinnies could also be itchy which can be addressed by your vet as well.
 

LSA

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A good vet check with gram stains and bloodwork is e7xtra important given his previous diet/care. You'll want to work on any deficiencies and possible organ trauma (liver) as soon as possible.
Thanks and I agree with that!
Most likely the AV will call to give you the outside lab results. Make sure and ask about BeneBac. (As some may know I keep it on hand for all my rescues.) It can be ordered online and works well for quick switches to fresh stuff for conures. Often, gram stains following produce additions will show minor negative and that helps their GI tract recover quickly from light or diarrheic droppings.
 

LSA

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Plucking and poor feather condition including pins is often a sign of heavy metal toxicity.

At his age, the best you should do is allow him to build his confidence and muscules on his own. Place treats is the fastest and most productive way to help.

I have resorted to the following though I DO NOT recommend it as it can hender his trust for you. Make flying a game. This takes a long time!
First, practice extending the wings.
The next step is to force flapping by letting him sit on your hand up high then drop your hand. Start slowly at first then get faster over time.
Next, hold him and gently toss him onto a fluffy comforter on the bed.
Graduate to a soft couch.
As I said, this isn't recommended! It's generally only used with much younger or unfledged birds!




 

LSA

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Re pellets: Drs. Harrison and Lefaber generally recommend that a conure diet change to pellets takes 2 weeks to 3 months. I offer a mix of pellets to conures. MY mix is ~50% Harrison's with ~25% ZuPreem Natural and ~25% Roudybush. I offer Nutriberries, blueberries or almonds as treats. This is a personal choice that only you and hopefully your AV should decide.

Already you see what a difference every change makes. Keep in mind that every bird is different with individual timelines and abilities. Conures accept change quickly, but rely on your AV!!!

 

LSA

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BTW, I meant PROBLEMS WITH PINS! Pin feathers are simply replacement feathers! It's just one reason birds love scritches. By scratching a bird's head, your are giving itch relief to incoming feathers. HAHA
 

finchly

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@iamwhoiam do you know anything about Patagonians?
 

jmfleish

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There are literally no Greaters in US aviculture at this point. I would guess that your little guy is a Lesser. I’m friends with someone who bred them for years and is very well versed in them. If you have a picture you can post I can have my friend take a look.

For feather destruction, a new diet and frequent showers should help although it sounds like you are doing that. A vet check would be a good idea and there are medical issues you could check for such as guardian and heavy metals. Also, offering toys toy keep him busy could help as well. I had a Patty a while ago and she was absolutely wonderful. I still carry her favorite toy, Petey’s Play Pail. She loved to stick her head in the pail all the time and talk to herself!;)

As for trying to get your guy to learn to fly, take advantage of your bond with him and try to get him to hop from perches to you and slowly make the space between you and the perch to convince him to fly to get to you. Also, any time you can convince him to flap, do so because that will start working his muscles.

Congratulations on bringing him home. They really are special little birds!:)
 

Sitruceel

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I am currently in between avian vets as my go-to has retired. Luckily, I live near WSU and their College of Veterinary Medicine and can schedule an appointment there! Guapo isn’t my first bird by far, I raise and sell greencheeks and other small parrots. As far as heavy metal toxicity goes, the feathers are the only symptom he presents. I still want to get him checked, but I’m wondering if the reason he’s chewing off the tips of his pin feathers is because they irritate him? I have been trick training him for a while and he’s very sensitive about his wigs being handled. @LSA he’s very forgiving with any mistakes I make and my parrot store mentor taught me the forced flapping trick, but instead of flapping, he just sticks his head up and closes his wings tightly and enjoys the ride! He paces and bounces up and down when I ask him to fly to me, he’s just not confinement enough to make a jump to my arm. @jmfleish I’m also almost certain he’s not a lesser as his belly is not yellow and red, but a muddied mix of greenish yellow and red. I’m trying to upload some pictures of him for everyone! 9CD6A9BC-3253-424E-B441-09A8F9CBD7FC.jpeg 508ADDFD-7FFE-4032-8E12-535227032BCA.jpeg
 

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LSA

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I'm sooooo glad to hear your experienced especially with conures! I'm alsoooo glad you know what AV's even are! I told you I didn't recommend the whole flapping-thing and that it only worked with young, unfledged birds! OMG you don't know how relieved I am!
Patties are so sweet and the last thing one deserves is a conure newbie! Enjoy that baby and give him the love he so deserves!
 

iamwhoiam

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Thank you for taking the Patty into your home. Beautiful bird.
Don't know anything about them although I almost purchased one several years ago.
 

jmfleish

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Kevin took a look and agrees you definitely have a Lesser although he hates the name because they are awesome birds! As for the plucking of new growth feathers, the reason I mention you may want to test for heavy metals is that I have a Cockatoo who did the same thing because his zinc levels were slightly elevated...he is now completely bald except for his head. It's something that can cause plucking like that.
 

Monica

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I was wondering if anyone knew any ways to help him gain confidence in flight?
Target training or modified step up training. The step up is essentially....

Start with a step up. Then a step up with a stretch. Step up with a hop. Eventually, a step up with a hop and a flap. - just know that if he doesn't do the behavior, you could be asking too much too soon.

You can also put two kitchen chairs back to back and work on stepping from one to the other, back and forth, and slowly increasing the distance that he must move to get to the other one. Again, if he doesn't perform a behavior, asking too much too soon and go back a step until he's comfortable.


His current diet is Hagen Tropimix as I’d prefer he start transitioning to pellets. He also gets fresh chop daily and Featheriffic on his mix. Is this a decent diet for a Patagonian?
Best way to know is through bloodwork! If you haven't had him for long though, it's hard to say.


As far as feathers go, he barbers his chest feathers, just below his neck. He also chews out pinfeathers on his shoulders and under his wings....Anything I can or should do to help him?
As others have mentioned - start at the vet! Confirm it's not medical in nature. Could be any number of things! Encouraging foraging and training (as you are doing) can help... increased bathing, increased humidity, avian bulb (not Zoomed!) or time spent outside *safely*. (in cage, carrier or harness)


My mitred conure, Charlie, is a first gen captive bred bird. Both his parents were wild caught imports. He's 24 years old this year! I also have a wild caught african ringneck... based on the information I gathered. People automatically assume she must be 26+ years old, due to the ban of wild caught birds in '92.... she was imported May of 2013. Sometimes it's surprising what you can find out about a bird if you are lucky enough. I don't know if you would be able to get any information from the band itself other than year he was born, but maybe you can?
 
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