I think someting might be wrong with my parakeet. His feathers are gone on his head. It's sort of like the feathers are gone and only the little stick that holds the feather is there. On his chest, the blue feathers are going away and the white feathers are starting to show. I have to sweep almost every night because of all of the feather loss. Does anyone know what's wrong with him?
Jitterbug from Oneonta, AL
Call your state veterinary school, ask for the ornithologist. (03/06/2006)
By the Oracle
It's that time of year... usually a bird will molt twice a year, and March is the time for the molt. I have had birds for years, and if your bird isn't stressed from something else, this is normal. The new feathers will grow in soon...but in the meantime, they look pretty sad. (03/06/2006)
Parakeets lived in my home at least 16 yrs; there were no local vets who cared for birds so i got a book at the pet store that told all about how to care for them including when they're sick, what to look for and how to treat them.
One of my parakeets developed a problem similar to your bird's. Hers was due to stress. Budgies are extremely sensitive to stress. Repair work was being done to my apt's roof; after hearing the hammers' pounding noise a couple days, her reaction was to pick out her feathers (none of the other birds did); from thereafter, she never allowed the feathers to grow back; she was normal 'n healthy otherwise, tho and even raised babies.
The stick you're referring to is the shaft of the feather. Do you have any other birds in the same cage?
What's the temperature in your apt? Budgies fare best when it's 70-78 degrees. Below that they get cold and possibly sick. Above that, the heat will stress them and also affect their health.
If it's too hot, the birds will/can molt an extra time that year. Because the temp. inside my home was constant, my birds didn't always molt seasonally and sometimes not at all.
You could also check for little mites which could be a factor. What you get at the pet store is a round metal container-about the size of a lady's compact-that attaches to the top of the cage; it has an insecticide specifically for birds that will kill the parasites and not harm the bird. I attached mine above where the birds preferred sitting most of the day. Change it every couple months.
Budgies also don't do well if they're in a draft of any kind; keep their cage in a spot away from air currents, and temperature extremes. If your bird moves back 'n forth, she's bored. If your bird starts to sit low on her perch, she is 'feeling poorly' and needs extra care.
When my birds were ill/feeling poorly, I added extra liquid vitamins to their water plus added stuff to their seed cups. There's also antibiotics, available in tablets when I had birds, that you can dissolve in their water. Make sure their seeds are the best you can afford-varied w/added vitamins 'n nutrients; they will live longer and remain healthier. My oldest bird lived 14 1/2 yrs.
Change their water daily; more often if providing them medicine in it. Change the bottom-of-cage newspaper daily. If you keep your supplies handy, daily maintenance should only take 20 minutes.
During the colder months, it's okay to drape the back 'n sides of the cage w/a large beach towel... even tho you keep inside temps constant. My birds also got a heating pad, on the low setting, placed atop their cage, beneath the draped beach towel, to keep them warm, to compensate for far-away drafts from opening and closing doors, during winter.
Get a good book that explains exactly how to keep your bird healthy; read through what's available and get the best one, or get both. Make sure the cage is large enough for the bird to fly around a bit to exercise its wings and maintain muscle strength. Also provide things for it to play with, chew upon, and provide a cuttle bone for its added nutritional and beak-sharpening benefits. If the beak gets too long, you'll have to clip it gently w/fingernail clippers. Be gentle and patient. It's also a good idea to take your bird outside its cage; it likes attention and also needs the exercise...even tho the cage is large. Drape their cage after dark so they feel secure and have time to rest from the day's activities. Try to keep things around them quiet or they can get stressed.
Beyond this, contact a veterinarian who treats birds. (03/06/2006)
Could be stress or could just be a usual molt, my budgie and chickens do this too... buy or borrow a book from the library or look on an internet site that specialises in this type of bird, you could email them to ask... much cheaper than the vets unless your bird needs immediate attention... if he is eating and drinking normally you may not need to go to the vets, just wait for feathers to regrow.
It's a good sign you can see feather shafts as new feathers will grow from there. Definately cover the top of the cage and 2 or 3 sides with a large towel, it will help the bird to feel secure. Good luck. cx (03/07/2006)
Regarding some of the advice... DON'T TRIM YOUR BIRDS BEAK. (02/03/2007)
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