African Grey Dandruff

by Marty Coats
(Veedersburg, IN)

Why does my 40 year old African Grey Parrot have dandruff?

This past winter, I noticed that the room Smoky was staying in, constantly had to be dusted. I need to know if this a health risk for Smoky since it is coming from her. Is there anything I can do? Should I take her to a Vet?

Any information that you can give is greatly appreciated.

Comments for African Grey Dandruff

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May 27, 2008
Dandruff question
by: The Vet

Parrots normally have some "dandruff" that is par of the the molting process (growing new feathers). Molting does not occur all of the time, so there are some times that less dandruff should be produced. Also it is normal for African Grey's to have powder down, which produces dust. This dust is used to keep the feathers clean and waterproof. This is all normal and does not pose a health risk for Smoky. It can be a problem in people with allergies or respiratory difficulty or disease.

It is possible that your bird is producing more dandruff than normal because of nutritional deficiencies. Your bird should be on a diet consisting of 80% Harrison's pellets and 20% treats. Harrison's contains a unique balance of omega fatty acids that keep the skin supple and prevent excessive dandruff. If you are feeding a different pellet, you can either switch to Harrison's or supplement your current diet with an omega fatty acid supplement such as Sunshine Factor from Avi-x.

In addition to a diet change, you can bathe Smoky regularly to keep down the dust and dandruff. You can bathe daily, but you will need to bathe with plain water on one day and use a bath spray the next, continuing to alternate. The best bath spray is Bird Rain from Avi-x. You should get Smoky completely wet at least 2 times weekly to reduce this problem.

It is also recommended that you have an air purifier or filter. This one is great -

Finally, your bird should see an avian veterinarian every year for well-bird exams. So, if it has been a year or more since Smoky has been seen, then yes, she needs to see a veterinarian.

Dr B

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