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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Havent posted in a while. Jimmy has been doing great until recently. He started becoming very vocal and all upset and would at times get all puffed up. That had me very worried so I took him to the vet. She said he looked fine and he has been eating and drinking fine. His feces look normal. Just the wierd behavior. She gave me an antibiotic and said to keep an eye on him. His behavior seems to be much calmer and more normal after we started the antibiotic. Then I noticed that there was some feathers on his chest just below his neck that looked ragged. Today he looks even worse. (see pics below). I have not found any feathers in the bottom of his cage and he does seem to be preening himself ok. As you can see his head and back look great. I called the vet and they said it could be a molt and that it should be ok as long as he is preening, eating and voiding ok.

So I thought I would take this question to the real experts. After seeing the pictures what do you think? Is there something more serious here or is this the begining of a molt. Do birds become more agitated as they molt?

Thanks for the help!

John
 

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I do NOT like the fact that your vet has put Jimmy on antibiotics if nothing medical was found to be wrong. This is not a good practice!!

Jimmy certainly appears to have begun feather plucking. Please read all of the threads here on feather plucking as it is VERY crucial that you quickly step in and do something. If Jimmy were my bird I would not give him the antibiotic. Is your vet a board certified avian veterinarian? Did they run any tests? Are you waiting for results?
 

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John – I’m also surprised the Vet gave you antibiotics – she should have a diagnosis before giving him this.

They can become a tad agitated when molting but I haven’t seen mine look like Jimmy during a molt. As Andrea said, its looks like he’s plucking.

 

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Finding a good vet

May I suggest that you seek out the advice of another vet (ask about their specialty first). Handing out antibiotics is not good policy unless they find the cause. This kind of treatment is haphazard at best. Birds need very specialized care from people who know exactly how to do it. They are too sensitive to be treated the same as a dog or cat.

The best vets asked LOTS of questions, recommend tests, and show genuine concern for their patient's welfare. Good vets also encourage you to ask questions of them. If your vet rushes you, or fails to ask important questions, or is reluctant to answer your questions, then it's time to find a new vet. I've been through this myself.

Unfortunately, there are lots of vets out there that never turn away a patient because they need the money. Many vets have particular fields of interest, like dogs only, or cats only, but they also don't have a big enough client list in order to make a good living serving just those clients. So, they take other clients that don't really interest them and have very limited knowledge for treating them.

Be very careful.....check out the waiting area of any clinic, look for clues about the type of patients frequent this particular vets office. Do they have a separated waiting area for clients with birds? Do they have literature/pamphlets of bird care on display? Talk to the receptionist..... is she friendly or officious, ask her questions about the type of clientele the vet prefers, or sees the most.

If you aren't happy with what you hear or see, then don't be afraid to cancel your appointment and just leave. But, you should be doing this ahead of time, before your pet is in need of medical care. Unfortunately, if you leave vet selection for when your baby needs help, then you will make unwise choices because you are under stress with worry.

It can be a matter of life and death for an animal, they need a good doctor that understands them, and knows how to treat them. I have a number of different types of animals, so I'm a client for 3 different vets. It took time to find the right ones, but it was worth it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well.... I guess I have a tremendous amount to learn about birds! The vet said that I had 2 choices either very expensive tests or try the antibiotic first. Not sure if that was a proper choice or not on my part. At this point we are done with it so it is a moot point. I have a few things that might be the reason for the feather picking. Although I have never seen him doing it it may well be when we are not home. We dont get to spend near enough time with him so maybe that is the problem. He is also in a fairly small cage 22 by 14 by 18. I just ordered a new cage which is 22 by 18 by 30 I have attached a picture... I probably need to suppliment his diet. He wont take anything but a seed pellet mix called fusion. Oh he also loves millet.

So my thoughts are

1. A larger cage (hope the one I bought is good?)
2. Better food variety.
3. Look into a possible second P'let as a friend.

What do you all think?

John

John
 

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Ahh!! I see. We do special cage orders too if anyone knows of someone in need - and all proceeds benefit the non-profit we are starting :)

I recommended that very cage (the cute triple roof by prevue) for a single parrotlet when I first started in birds, it seemed great. Since then I have learned that it really is too small. But, good for a spare cage else where in the house!
 

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I am not sure the cage will be big enough. I think a very large cage with just the right toys and rope perches and other perches are one thing you need. There are some really fun toys that give them a lot to do. Foraging is fun, playing, flying, ringing bells, swinging on large swings...I also use a Featherbrite light in the morning for two or three hours.


Was that your new cage photo? What foods do you feed him? Do you give lots of good baths? 12 hours of quiet sleep? Is something possibly new stressing him?

Try singing. I sing at bedtime. I carry Chipper around on my shoulder. She has me all day. She flies and loves her playgyms. I give her a lot of things to do and eat.

They need nice baths for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks to everyone for the great replys! Andrea is this cage ok for Jimmy or is it still too small? I will order a bigger cage if I need to. (although this little orphen that adopted us is starting to cost some serious money LOL) Jimmy is on my shoulder as we type. He seems fine and is enjoying picking at my hair. My big concern is this weekend. No one will be around to spend time with him. My son is going to be away and I am working 3 12 hour shifts. Hopefully he will be ok. Other than the raggy chest feathers he seems perfectly normal.

John
 

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Johnfish, as I understand it, your bird had all his feathers when you took him to the vet. You thought something was wrong because he was acting uncomfortable. After his visit, he lost feathers on his chest, either to plucking or molting. I have a couple of ideas...

First, how old is Jimmy? If this is his first adult molt, he could easily be overpreening. Apparently, this is not terribly uncommon. He has to replace every feather, and that's a lot of prickly little pinfeathers to tolerate. Some parrotlets will enthusiastically pull out old feathers and make themselves look awful until the new ones come in. He will molt more gracefully next time. The restless behavior that caused you to take him to the vet was simply a sign of his discomfort. Daily baths and lots of nourishing food and quiet would be in order. Lost of clean fabric scraps to shread may help distract him.

Second thought-- The vet, in an attempt to save you hundreds of dollars, gave the antibiotic she thought would be most likely to be of use in case Jimmy was actually sick. (Many vets will prescribe based on the owner's instinct that "something is wrong" rather than risk not giving a sick animal treatment) Perhaps, though, the antibiotic is irritating Jimmy's skin and that is why he has pulled out some feathers. (Although you have not caught him doing so, right?) If that happened to my bird, I would call the vet and ask about discontinuing the antibiotic.

Third thought-- Think, think, think: Has anything changed? Perhaps you have been giving Jimmy a nibble of cereal every day and he's developed an allergy to something in it. Perhaps his food contains soy, a common allergen. Even wheat and corn sometimes bother birds (although I've not heard of them bothering parrotlets) Perhaps you started using the air conditioner and there is mold in the system. Maybe someone used a dryer sheet or cologne or handlotion or dish detergent that bothers him. Airborne chemicals can irritate the skin. (Certainly you know not to use air fresheners, teflon, etc) Your water supply may have more chlorine in it than usual-- used filtered or bottled water. Did he eat comething too hot and burn his crop? That could cause him to pull feathers over the crop area.

Fourth idea-- If Jimmy is actually eating the feathers, he may be suffering a nutritional deficiency. However, the picture you posted looks like whole feathers are coming out, not being chewed off, and you are not finding chewed feathers in his cage.

Good luck. Keep us posted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Hi Lily,

Thanks for all the thoughts. We are finished with the medicine so we will see if it improves. He acturally started with just a thin line of disturbed feathers just below his neck line about a week before his unusual behavior and his vet visit so that may have be the start of all this. His unusual behavior is much better since before the antibiotics so maybe there is a correlation there I dont know. I have provided him with a bowl of water for bathing but he ignores it. I think maybe he is scared of water after the time we had with him at petsmart. We have started using the AC recently so maybe that is an issue. I will change out the filter (probablay needs it anyway). The vet did say it was possible he was begining a molt so I guess we will see.

As for his age I litterally know nothing about this bird. He had no band when he flew into my back yard on a warm January day and we have had him ever since. That first day with us was quite tramatic for him. But I know if we had not taken him in he would have died because it got quite cold that night. Here is a link to my post about all of it.

http://talkparrotlets.com/showthread.php?t=300&highlight=jimmy

I have to tell you I am very attached to the little guy. I feel guilty that I can't spend more time with him though. At least my shift work is days only even if it is different days each week. When I am home I keep him out and with me as much as possible. I am hoping the more spacious cage will help. Oh and one of the things I have noticed about him right from the begining is he is not much of a player. He likes to just sit on me when I have him out but he doesnt go for the play gym other than to just sit on it and he also doesnt play with any toys in his cage. At least when I am watching. I do try to change up toys every week or two. Any advice in this area would be great.

Thanks again all

John
 

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Oh, John, that is a wonderful story! Yes, it sounds as if something has helped Jimmy, maybe it was the antibiotics. Time may tell. We bought a mold test kit today because of problems that started around the time the AC came on. The filter looked fine.

It took some time to get my bird interested in toys. She was skeptical of any plastic toys. What finally got her interested was a collection of things she could destroy: toilet paper tubes, balls of white paper (don't use antibacterial tissue or the kind that has moisturizer in it), washed fabric strips, twigs, star anise, and cinnamon sticks. One thing I didn't let her have was my brightly colored embroidery floss, but the combination of bright color and chewable may inspire Jimmy. Food toys may get him going: veggies threaded onto a string, a branch with popped corn (plain) pushed onto some of the twigs, nut cups shoved between the cage bars with a few seeds folded into them...
 

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John,

The feather damage looks like a result bad behavior, possiblely plucking.

Leave the radio turn on to a clasical music station at a relatively low volume while you are away; I do this and find it helps in calming the birds.

Regarding the vet; as I wasn't there, so I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. Our vet (certified avian vet) checks the bird turds for bacteria while we wait; I think he charges $20 - $30 for the service, which is cheaper than antibiotics.

Good Luck,

Art S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the feedback Art. I think Jimmy looks much better than when I took the pictures. 2 things have happened. First he is about done with the medicine. The second is I have been covering his cage earlier. We used to keep him up when we got home at night (up till 10pm) But would uncover his cage at 6 am when we started our day. This has been our routine since we took him in. This past week I started covering his cage at 6 to 7pm. Oh my gosh what a difference in behavior. He is so much calmer and I think he is leaving the area on his chest alone now as it looks much better.

At this point we have to get him moved into the new cage. I hope that it will be3 adequate for him. The thing looks like its big enough for a bald eagle (Not really LOL). But is smaller than Sallys cage ( Is hers the bench mark on this forum :) ). Should I just move him in or do I need to put a few toys in there and set his cage next to it for a few days so he gets used to it?

John
 

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Chipper was quiet with the new cage. We sat with her and talked to her. She kind of just sat and looked around for a couple of hours. It was so big, there was so much to see!

She then walked around and slowly, over a couple of hours, she learned how to get around. It is so big that we put bending rope perches all over and other perches too, all the way down.

I set up play areas all on the sides and bottom. She uses and play at each on! The door is open and she is in there PLAYING. I have a "Forest" of wooden bead rope toys all together. She climbs in them like a tree. She treats each bell differently.

I was so nervous that Chipper would be scared of the new cage. She just took a few hours to get used to it and now she could not be happier. She changed when we got that cage. SO much happier and less nippy. She can fly in it.
 

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We left the cage next to their old cages for a day, but our birds were excited about it right away - especially since we bribed them with millet on the floor of the new cage! I think they are now ready for the next size up ;) .

Regards,

Art S.
 
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