African Grey no feathers around eyes

by Porshiana
(River Rouge Mi)

I got a 14 week old african grey today I am a little concerned about the fact that she has no feathers around her eyes. I was thinking maybe a plucking problem, then I realized she can't pluck them there. The breeder just kind of answered me with "oh it's normal" and went on about something else, but now that I have her home it bothers me. She also suggested against a vet visit because it could be traumatizing at this point, and greys can be quite unforgiving. I think that is what made me start wondering more about her eyes.

Anyway, had anyone ever had a young african grey, and if so is it normal for them to have no feathers around their eyes? Closer to the nostrils she is actually a little pink. The breeder did have 5 babies, so I am wondering if any of the others plucked her. They all seemed to get along well, but she was the shyest.

Also, I can kind of understand about the vet being traumatizing, and don't want to take her quite yet, at least until she gets to trust us. In the mean time are the specific signs I should look for for problems. Thank you so much for your help!

Comments for African Grey no feathers around eyes

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Apr 05, 2010
Help with parrot training
by: Tracie

We have several articles on training and parrot health on our Parrot Training page. Make sure your bird is eating about 80% healthy, non-colored, pellets and only 20% fruits, veggies and treats.

Apr 04, 2010
The vet, diet, breeder and behavior
by: Porshiana

I spoke with my vet(I have 3 toy poodles) thursday evening. She is not an avian vet. However, she has seen many birds, including African greys and other parrots. She knows an avian vet but he is much further away. She said if anything is wrong I should go to him, but since Echo appears to be healthy, she can do a physical examination. I told her about my concerns of scaring the bird. She agreed not to do any bloodwork or labs unless she has concerns. If Echo appears healthy from a physical examination, she won't need to do any. She can tell about most problems just from physically examining her.That made me feel much better. I have an appointment on Monday morning.

As for the breeder, she cares about her birds, a LOT. She may be misinformed, or may have some wrong opinions, but I don't doubt her level of concern. She had a lot of cages, and none of the liners had more than 2-3 bm's and a tablespoon of seeds on it. she lets them out in groups, and goes behind them cleaning up messes immediately. As for diet she was very concerned. She feeds Golden nooble, sunburst delight and zupreen fruit pellets, as well as a tablespoon of cooked 5 bean mix, and fresh veggies and fruits every day. She insisted we feed her all of this so she has variety.

She also lectured quite lengthily about everything, from washing our hand before we touch her because we smoke, to sticking to a schedule of letting her out, to making SURE all fruits and veggies are organic,to paying close attention to her psychological well being. Quite frankly it is her long lectures and nervousness that keep me from wanting to go to her with any concerns.

I do have some other concerns regarding behavior, but I am not sure they require a vet. Do you have any sites or pages to suggest? She does not like going back in her cage, her tiny nibbles are becoming harder, and she throws about 70% of her food on the ground. Those are just starters. I really need to find a way to let her know her bites are too hard without hurting her. The old "flick them on the nose" idea does not seem psychologically sound to me, I haven't done it yet, and don't want to unless i have to. I think she is doing it for attention, but I can't give her attention all day long. It seems since the nibbles get no attention, she decides to try a little harder. All I have done is move my hand toward her when she does it, kinda waving her beak away and she backs up, then does it again. I am afraid I am teaching her that the harder she bites the more attention she gets

Anyway, can you suggest a place to go regarding behavior?

Apr 02, 2010
African Grey no feathers around eyes
by: Linda

Hopefully you've looked at the pictures Tracie provided for you to see if your bird looks like them.

As for the Avian Vet visit, the breeder was a little too quick to tell you NOT to take bird to vet. Depending on the breeder, some birds are sick directly from the breeder if they have not had regular Avian Vet care during their young weeks and a highly nutritious diet in the form of organic pellets. Tracie carries several kinds out here, and you need to get your bird onto one of them right away. All baby birds can develop bacterial infections due to the fact they have no immune system to speak of and are new to the world of dirt and bacteria. Something an older bird has become used to being around can hurt a baby bird very badly. All your birds need to be seen by an Avian Vet at least once a year to make sure they are healthy and doing well.

So, the Avian Vet needs to see your bird as soon as is possible to rule out any physical problems whether the eye feathers or lack of them is normal or not. A little warning bell went off when I read that the breeder cautioned you not to take your bird in for an exam, and I would do exactly OPPOSITE OF WHAT THEY SAID. The vet will run a test or two to rule out infections, possibly do some general bloodwork like a CBC to see if any infection is present by looking at the white blood cell count. I would wait on any vaccinations until the bird has built up some strength from this round of services and is used to his new food, cage, home toys and you. Also, vaccinations may not be necessary unless there are certain diseases prevalent in your area. Vaccines never should be given to a sick bird or one who is harboring any kind of infection as the vaccine itself can make bird a little on the sick side sometimes. Vaccines, while good in many ways, have to be given very carefully and at the right times or they will take whatever remains of the immune system to its lowest point.In other words, an already sick bird will become sicker, and a fairly well bird may then contract a bacterial or viral infection due to the vaccine and its effect on the body.Give your bird a little time to get on a good eating and sleeping schedule as he adjusts to his new home.

Thanks for writing, and I wish you many happy years with your bird,

Apr 02, 2010
Around eyes, and a vet visit
by: Anonymous

She looks pinkish white around her eyes from a distance instead of the clearer white shown there. when you get close, the downy white feathers around her eyes are not thick, and you can see pink skin through them. The area between the eye and nostril is even more devoid of the downy feathers, and more pink that the rest of the eye circle. I am wondering if this is just the last of the feathers to fill out with her only being 14 weeks.

As far as the vet and the trauma, will the vet be very intrusive on the first visit? I would hate for her to have blood drawn, be force fed meds, etc.I would not be so hesitant if the vet was just going to look her over physically, and if there are no signs of problems, then go no further. Can the vet tell if there are any problems from a mere physical examination?

Another concern is that I am not very used to her yet. We have come a long way in the last few days, but if the vet wanted me to hold her down for a shot or something it might put a strain on a fragile relationship. Do african greys need vaccinations?

So, my overall concern is how an initial vet visit with a parrot will be if there are vaccinations, blood drawn etc if she appears healthy. If for some reason she was not healthy, and these were needed, then I don't care how much emotional trauma is necessary for her health, I would have to do it.

I am sincerely considering going to the vet. However, the breeder does have me cautious. Your advice there is appreciated.

Apr 01, 2010
Picture of AG for feather question
by: Tracie

Please look at the pictures on our African Grey Parrot profile page. There are pictures of other African Greys if you scroll down to the African Grey stories.

African Greys do not have grey feathers around their eyes. Does your AG look like the parrots in the pictures on this page?

Also, Dr B recommends that you take your bird to seen an avian vet for an exam and vaccine before even bringing a bird home. Yes, it is traumatic, but it is even more traumatic to take a sick bird to the vet later.

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