Dusky-Headed conure is going bald on the top of his head, again!

Dusky Conure with feather loss

Dusky Conure with feather loss

My dusky-headed conure is losing the feathers on the top of his head and a bald patch is emerging. The same thing happened last year at around the same time.

On the first occasion we took him to a vet who said it was mites and put a lotion on his neck, but this didn't help. I then took him to a top avian vet who said it wasn't mites (he is our only pet), gave him a vitamin jab and said the feathers would grow back in time, he wasn't sure what the cause was, but thought he may be rubbing his head on something.

Eventually, after about a month, the feathers grew back but the same thing is happening again this year! I am loathed to take him to the vet again, as he is otherwise very well, eating lots of varied foods and seems otherwise happy. He seems to be massaging his head alot and scratching it, which i think may be causing the feathers to drop out.

I put on the same mite lotion as the vet, as a precaution, but this hasn't helped (I didn't think it would, but wanted to rule mites out).

Could it be a type of eczma? And if so how do I treat it? I have been putting aloe vera on the bald patch from a plant to cool it down, but I am desperate to know what is causing this.

He is kept in very clean conditions and given lots of attention, although there are days when he is left on his own whilst we are at work - this is only usually 2 days maximum and we keep him out for four hours when we get home to be spoiled and fussed over until he is happy to go to bed.

Advice anyone?

Comments for Dusky-Headed conure is going bald on the top of his head, again!

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Feb 10, 2009
How do birds get bacterial infections
by: Tracie

Dr. B has mentioned to other people that birds can get bacterial infections from their water bowls. It is best to have a water bottle, like the Lixit water bottle, so that they have fresh water.

Besides drinking bacteria water, your bird might bathe in it too. You do have to "train" the bird to use the bottle. Most people attach the water bottle next to or very near their water bowl. Once you see your bird drink from it, you know they know where they can get water.

That is a very simplified explanation, write back if you need more specific instructions.

Feb 10, 2009
by: Anonymous

I may have given the impression from my wording that we leave him for 2 days at a time, what I meant was max 2 days a week from 9 to 4, but he has a very large clean cage, lots of toys and varied foods. I leave the tv on for him (low volume), which is costing me a fortune but i figure it keeps him company. I cover the back of the cage to make him feel more secure (advice of the vet). I work in education so have long holidays and hardly leave him during these times.

If it is a fungal infection, anyone know how he could have caught it? I bathe him twice a week, he doesn't like it and ignores me for hours afterwards.

Feb 10, 2009
Type of feed
by: Anonymous

Thank you Dr B for your reply I will certainly seek advice and treatment. Just going to sort out light equipment. Thank you everyone else for your useful comments.

We feed him Pretty Bird Jungle Munchies (initially we gave the African/conure ones,but have now changed to Cockatiel/Senegal etc ones as the African/Conure mix was too big for him and he wasn't eating),Nutri-berries,Veggie bites, Pretty Bird Daily Select Pellets, millet, fresh fruit, (he loves pomegranates and apples), fresh veg and anything that is safe for him to eat from our plates. Oh and peanut butter as a treat (he has cravings for this).

Feb 10, 2009
Dusky Conure balding
by: The Vet

Most of the cases I see like this are a skin fungal infection. There are other causes of dermatitis in birds, such as viruses, bacteria, nutritional deficiencies, and others.

My recommendation is to do further diagnostics, such as a skin biopsy and perform a culture on it too. Some blood work could be helpful, too.

I don?t know what your bird is eating, but it is a good idea to feed Harrison's pellets. These pellets contain Omega Fatty Acids that will help with shin inflammation.

I also recommend that you give your bird a full spectrum light 3-4 hours per day to help with skin problems, too.

I recommend you discontinue use of the mite medication. Topical treatments NEVER work for mites, and it is very unlikely to be mites.

Dr B

Feb 09, 2009
going bald
by: Anonymous

You didn't say what kind of diet he was fed. If the vitamins helped maybe its a nutrional defency.
I would advise feeding a good organic pellet like Harrison's or Totally Organics Pellets. My sun conure likes both but my grey will only eat harrisons and my cockatiel will only eat T.O.P.
Don't give vitamins with these pellets.

Feb 09, 2009
by: Meaghan

I have a green cheeked conure who seemingly seems to do that as well,not quite so bad,but my suggestion would be to check the rest of his body to see if it could be dandruff,also,seeing as you are not always home,it could be he's doing it for attention,or is stressed out.

Try making sure the bathes more than twice a day,his cage is always clean,he has lots of toys,also maybe get a birdy tape and play it when you are not around,ive done all of these,and since then,i have not had an issue with it.

Meaghan :-)

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