Cockatoo has musty smell

by Christine Brown
(Fairhaven, Mass. USA)

My 13 year old female cockatoo has developed a musty smell that I notice sometimes more than others. She has been a feather picker in the past (I believe because we had moved her during a renovation) but has recently stopped and her feathers are now growing back very nicely, thank goodness. She will pull a feather here and there but nothing like before. All areas have either grown back or are growing back now. Just her belly is still bare but I can see feathers starting to poke through.

The vet had given me an ointment called Vetropolycin for a previous stuffy, crusty nostril that I am using on her right now to see if it will help, but I have read that this smell can be caused by different things including hormones, I know she is hormonal right now too, but I have recently given her peanuts and I just read that can also be a cause. She is otherwise healthy, eating well and her dispostion is good. I will take her to the vet but would love your feedback on this problem.

Thank you in advance,
Christine Brown

Comments for Cockatoo has musty smell

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May 12, 2011
Cockatoo with musty smell
by: The Avian Vet

There are many things that can cause an abnormal odor. Certainly hormones are on the list, but not as likely as other causes. Yeast in the droppings caused by stress, and poor diet are another cause. Skin disease can also cause it. Infrequent bathing also contributes. An experienced avian veterinarian should be able to recognize the odor and perform diagnostics to determine the cause.

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Dr B

May 11, 2011
Cockatoo has musty smell
by: Linda

Hi and thanks for writing. I would go ahead and take her back to her avian vet because the meds he gave for crusty nostril are possibly to treat a fungal infection which could have spread to inside her body. No medicine is to be given forever, so she needs a recheck about that. The musty smell can also be a sign of an internal fungal infection, but she will need to be tested appropriately BEFORE being given any more drugs to obtain a proper diagnosis. Too many antibiotics will cause fungal infections, eating food that has grown mold spores can cause it.

Never feed your bird peanuts because the oil in peanuts is high in bad fat plus commercial growers spray their crops with pesticides and use strong, harmful fertilizers. She does not need to be eating any kind of nuts as they are all high in fat and low in quality protein. She needs to be eating a high quality organic pellet like Harrison's and below is a link to an article written by an avian vet on how to go about change. Most of the cheaper pellets on the market like ZuPreem and Pretty Bird and low quality foods full of dyes, pesticide/fertilizer residue and preservatives. Harrisons is made using a cold extrusion method meaning it is not heated which destroys valuable vitamins, minerals and proteins. Most commercial foods use a heat extrusion method, so we are losing valuable nutrients when we feed these foods.

Switching Birds to Pellets article

The Harrison's can be found here and buy the size grind for your bird which for a Cockatoo would be the Course Grind. Harrisions is avian vet endorsed, and is a complete diet which helps with all kinds of skin and feather problems as well as many other physical ailments. Birds eating a well balanced diet go to the vet many times less than others because they get sick less. It is worth the extra cost for the food because there are less avian vet bills to pay. I know this because I've been feeding Harrisons for almost 20 years to a pair of Amazons, and they only go to vet for toenail clips.

Let us know how everything goes, and it takes time to make the change to organic pellets from seeds or the cheaper brands of pellets. Manufacturers of the cheaper brands of pellets sometimes use a chemical that is used as a binder in face creams. It tastes sweet and birds quickly become addicted to it. Sometimes they even use regular sugar which kills birds, so change to the organic pellets and there are several kinds to choose from here with good pricing and guaranteed freshness plus fast shipping.


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