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Super Rough Molts in Ringnecks?

Parutti

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My African Ringneck Cotton has very rough molts in summer. The first year I called around to every vet I could find because I thought he cracked his beak and his sinuses looked like they were going to explode!

He does have a history of respiratory infections with some long term damage to his nares (and has had a relapse in symptoms during his molts) so it was really freaky to see his face turn black before I knew it was a TON of feathers all at once!

Someone I volunteer with said her IRN used to do the same every couple of years, but I haven't met many Asiatic parrot owners yet to know if this is common. Someone on a forum kindly sent me photos of their ARN who looked just as ragged as Cotton midway through which was a big help as I was very worried!

I do end up giving him extra warmth and offering lots of extra protein and calories in general during these. And he's so grumpy!

I thought I'd share some photos and am wondering if any of your birds have molted all at once like mine?

This was Jun 18th in his usual full nudist look - with brown staining still above his nares from his previous Chlamydia infection.

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June 21st

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July 1st

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July 5th

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July 7th

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July 9th - this is where I started to really panic about his sinuses and beak! With the feather loss around his eye to nare, black skin, eyes looking red and swollen, beak looking cracked, blue feathers coming in yellow.... I was so worried the physical stress from molting had let his respiratory issues take hold :arghh:
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July 16th sure he was very sick and not able to get in to a vet until September

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July 20th looking like he has a horrible plague and a beak wound!

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July 30th - he'd removed most of his chest feathers by now even though they're still coming in fast and furious - holy smokes THOSE PINS and I thought his beak was going to crack right off

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August 13th - look at all that healthy green! WHOA?!

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August 19th with an intact beak, even!

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Happy head once again!

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Both years I've had him, after his head and body feathers have all molted, his flight feathers really take off (even though he removes them eventually, you can see how fast they grow in all in a row)

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September 15th after his vet visit where I was reassured he looked physically healthy!

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September 23rd - this seems to be his typical pattern of leaving just the central tail feathers and two flights on each side until chewing those down to skin by mid-December, but it's incredible to me how long his tail grew in such a short time!!! Wing feathers too!

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Pixiebeak

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Such a well documented journey! Holly pins!! It's crazy to see those pictures!!!

So wonderful to see the old respiratory stained feathers ( after treatment, but having to wait to molt out) disappear and healthy birdie no more stains!

Did you say each time he molts it is this extreme?

I definitely want more IRN or ARN folks weigh in with theirs. But I remember you saying your local expert had similar experiences.

His long tail feathers are so amazing!

If only feather destruction was easily treated. But he is beautiful as is! Living his best life! You provide so excellent for him , he has a huge perch highway !!! A very wide kingdom to preside over!
 
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Xoetix

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Holy crap :wideyed:

I have to say, good on you for having a sense of humor about it!
 

Lo_

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My IRN does not molt like this and it would definitely scare me the first time it happened! He seems like a happy bird :) The “black skin” pinfeather situation reminds me of when my green budgie Percy would molt and his head would become full of black pinfeathers. Scared me the first time I saw it :lol:
 

Parutti

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Did you say each time he molts it is this extreme?
So far, yes! This year my vet had him on pain medication to see if it made a difference to his chewing, and also he had respiratory symptoms again so was on antibiotics.

His feathers' growth pattern was the same again though - everything growing in at once, even flight feathers, all in a row! If I wouldn't have seen photos of another (fully feathered) ARN looking the same I would have assumed this happened because he's a nakey boy. If this is common in ARN, rather than molting a few at a time throughout the year, my (totally uneducated) guess is that it occurs during mid summer so that they have better leaf cover to hide more until they can fly well again, and when predators have abundant other sources of food so might be less likely to hunt small green birdies.

Here's this July 5th:

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Mizzely

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I have no advice but wanted to comment on how freaking gigantic his tail looks in that last photo! Maybe he's part peacock?? :lol: But really it's lovely! :heart:
 

Pixiebeak

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I have no advice but wanted to comment on how freaking gigantic his tail looks in that last photo! Maybe he's part peacock?? :lol: But really it's lovely! :heart:
Right! Even without other feathers I think this is freakishly long! So cool!
 

Parutti

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The piece he snapped off last year was a foot long! It was sticking out of his cage all the time. This year it was just as long but he bit it into multiple pieces first - because he has so few feathers, it looks so funny when he has to grab his tail and move it out of the way when he turns around :laugh:

I've read the ARN tail is longer than IRN while their bodies are a bit shorter, so peacock indeed!!
 

Pixiebeak

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I hope you saved them!!
 

MnGuy

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I adopted an IRN a year ago and his previous owner warned me that he had rough molts where he looked really ragged. Well, that turned out to be true. He looks downy in parts when he molts and looks so rough compared to my CAG and a Meyer's I had for many years.

However, he looks about 1/3 as rough as your bird in those pics. He. never gets that downy and he doesn't have beak or nare issues during his molt.

I've only been through one molt with him, though.
 

fashionfobie

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Rapid and crazy moults can be common in Asiatic species. Pi also seems to go poof all feathers instantly go to chaos! However I worry that there is more to the story with Cotton. It looks a-typical with so much down being exposed. How is the bathing schedule? You can try offering Cotton a bath everyday, maybe even multiple times a day during this moult. It may help sooth him so he picks at the discomfort less. I also feed raw hemp seeds during Pi's moult to help him out.
 

Parutti

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Oops - I should have clarified better - he *is* a plucker. He came to me completely naked from the neck down.

He now leaves most of his downy fluff year-round but still snips off + nibbles out the rest of his feathers. His two wing feathers and two central tail feathers are the only ones he leaves longer.

It's been an ongoing process with his vet and trainer, slowly making changes to his environment, nutrition, and routine to see if anything will disrupt the destruction pattern.

This year his beak looked normal but his face went full porcupine again! He also had the same growth pattern of all his flight feathers coming in at once all along the wing and tail, rather than one set at a time like my other birds.
 

fashionfobie

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Oops - I should have clarified better - he *is* a plucker. He came to me completely naked from the neck down.

He now leaves most of his downy fluff year-round but still snips off + nibbles out the rest of his feathers. His two wing feathers and two central tail feathers are the only ones he leaves longer.

It's been an ongoing process with his vet and trainer, slowly making changes to his environment, nutrition, and routine to see if anything will disrupt the destruction pattern.

This year his beak looked normal but his face went full porcupine again! He also had the same growth pattern of all his flight feathers coming in at once all along the wing and tail, rather than one set at a time like my other birds.
Thank you for that clarification! It helps a lot.

And yes 'the porcupine' ( :lol: )is a common phase of Asiatic moulting. If you are in MN I imagine it is getting colder this time of year, and likely drier in the house. I may set up a humidifier near Cotton. Obviously do your research and get a safe one. Higher humidity and frequent baths can help :) There is nothing wrong with pins, but it can be very uncomfortable and Cotton may be a little more grumpy.
 

Parutti

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Thank you! I use an evaporative humidifier all winter. I think it works better than a mist type in my room and I don't have to use distilled water which is great since I go through five gallons a day in January/February!

He definitely is grumpy when he has hundreds of pins all trying to poke through at the same time! I can't stand that feeling after shaving my legs and can't imagine it all over my body!!!
 

Phocyn

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My Jade had several rough molts til
Recently. I switched up foods to a primary chop base with topping of pellets or seeds. I use a lot of rice in my chop and add in veggies, eggs, lean meats, and even fish. I also give him fruits as I’ve read wild asiatic parrots like nectar. Look into the diet… and a reptile owner said to me more humidity.
 

Pixiebeak

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I know @Parutti feeds excellent stuff, veggies, pellets, fish and nuts fur training.
 

Parutti

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@Phocyn I wish I could do even higher humidity but above 50-55% in winter isn't recommended with my type of house.

Diet is always an ongoing improvement process. Cotton will try almost anything if it's chopped small but his overall diet has been a constant conversation with my vet. He hates egg but will take a bit of fish here and there, ha. He LOVES blackberries and black raspberries and it's so fun listening to him pop each individual little bubble piece :laugh:

He does have a behavioral component to his feather destruction - he genuinely doesn't know how to preen properly and ends up nibbling or pulling slightly too rough, and eventually damages the feathers. He looks like a cat grooming itself. Little man had a rough start to life and hasn't had much choice in life until now, where he still faces limits due to his lack of flight.

If he'd had all his feathers I don't think I would have noticed that his wing and tail grows in all at the same time and I find that so fascinating.

In general I'm lucky that I've had good resources, friends with extensive avian veterinary experience, an accessible vet, and a trainer that's worked with a lot of people-shy ringnecks. That said, I'm *always* open to any suggestions or ideas because you never know what will end up sparking the idea that makes a difference!
 

Phocyn

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My vet said jalapeños but I’m hesitant so been mostly feeding bell peppers as part of the diet. If I remember anything else I’ll comment. Sorry, I’ve been sick lately and spend most of my time trying to tutor non bird owners how to take care of the birds.
 
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