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AfricanGreys.com • View topic - chest down feathers picked

chest down feathers picked

Welcome to the Grey Play Round Table African grey Question and Answer Board. Maggie Wright, author of the Barron's Grey pet manual and creator of the Grey Play Round Table African grey newsletter/magazine, and Lisa Bono, African grey behavior expert, will be the two moderators to answer your questions. Please check out the areas that have already been dealt with... and submit your new questions.


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PLEASE send me your questions... we REALLY want to help you!!! merlin@AfricanGreys.com.


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Maggie Wright

Moderator: merlin

chest down feathers picked

Postby merlin » Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:08 am

Hi

Have been reading up on your website on african greys. We have one, sally who we keep in the house with us. She has just developed a feather problem ie the small downy feathers on her chest and her back seem to be dropping out leaving her almost bald. She is not a feather plucker and all her main feathers are fine and we get her out most days and she goes outside when we do etc. So I am mystified what is causing this.

I have looked at your article on diet and this may be the problem. I am not sure, because although she is a fussy eater, she has a good seed and nut food. She of course loves all the things deemed bad for her ie cheese,cream, chocolate. She will eat oranges and sometimes grapes, but she is not a big fruit lover. She has chicken and any other cooked meat and sometimes she loves to chew the chicken bones .

She is approaching 4 yrs old and always looked well up to recently. Is there anything you can suggest to get her back into good conditon? It's no good taking her to a vet as most of them have got less of a clue than me.

Any suggestions would be very welcome.

kind regards
allan
merlin
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Re: chest down feathers picked

Postby merlin » Sat Apr 28, 2012 12:13 am

Dear Allan,

I'm sorry to hear that Sally is experiencing feather problems. Although you think the vets are "clueless," it is best if you would find a good one and get her thoroughly checked over. Most feather problems actually stem from something that was physical first. Have the vet do a nutritional profile, then check for things like giardia, zinc toxicity, aspergillosis, and so on. Once these issues are determined to not be the cause, then I recommend that you check into other issues.

There are 1001 potential causes of the feather issue, so you need to think back to when the chest down feathers started to disappear. This can be a sign of some sort of insecurity (something new by cage that scares her, something different in her cage room, stress in home like a disagreement in family or something, and so on). Please think back to that period. Also, the chest area could also relate to some kind of bacterial infection, aspergillosis or giardia, or something like that. That's why a vet check is also very important.

Here is a link to a good whole foods diet. If she is eating seed, you may want to try either sprouting or soaking the seed. This makes the seed much more nutritious and with less fat. (Totally Organics sells seed that you can soak or sprout). Sally does not need to eat a lot of meat. Maybe a tiny piece of chicken or grilled salmon about twice a week is good... a well-cooked chicken bone with a tiny amount of meat on it is good every few weeks. Greys don't need as much protein as their wild cousins because they do not fly about 50 miles/day to forage, as their wild cousins do. Please DO NOT EVER give her chocolate or cream, as both are very bad for her.

http://www.essentialbird.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12:a-fresh-organic-whole-foods-diet-for-parrots&catid=1:articles&Itemid=35

Please keep me posted and let me know what the vet says. Also, please seriously think back to the time when the picking started and let me know if anything happened to Sally or near her cage or in your home around that time. It is important.

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Blessings,
Maggie-
www.AfricanGreys.com
merlin
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Posts: 188
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Re: chest down feathers picked

Postby Lisa A. Bono » Wed May 02, 2012 6:52 pm

Hi Allan. If you need help locating an avian vet, let us know.
I am also thinking in the realm of perhaps too much protein (meats/nuts) because that could harm the liver.
My female grey went from being perfectly feathered to bald on her chest, legs and under her wings in less then 48 hours.
When I took her to the vet(within htat 48 hours) she was in liver failure. She was only 6! She LOVED chickpeas and cashews. I thought I was doing good
by feeding her more of what she liked, when in fact, I was harming her. I am glad to say with diet change and the help of a good vet, Emma is doing well and perfectly feathered again.
As Maggie said, there are so many facets of feather destruction. They could be emotional, medical, nutritional , physical and perhaps genetic. To date, we have not been able to have a definitive answer to it and as we say in the business, the person who figures out this piece of the puzzle will be rich!
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