Green Cheek Conure lost weight

(memphis, tn)

Hi. I have a 6 year old Green Cheek Conure that I have only had for about 6 months. She is going through her first molt since I adopted her. She has been extremely healthy the entire time I have had her. She has been on a diet of fresh veggies, fresh fruits, dried fruits/veggies, and Zupreem. At the vet right after I got her she weighed 61 grams which I was told was good.

I was out of town for a couple of days and had by husband feeding her. She had plenty of food in the cage when I got back but she has lost weight. I know that she ate while I was gone because she had left Zupreem crumbs and partially eaten fruit/veggies in the bottom of the cage like always. She is being really active and does not seem sick.

Is it normal to lose weight during a molt? Is there something else that I need to give her during molting like vitamins(I use the 8 in 1 vitamins in her water already), etc?

I hate to bring her to the vet if that is not needed as she was so stressed out last time. Also, the vet is a 30 minute drive and I have no A/C in the car so I don't want her to get sicker in the car on the way to the vet (it's been almost 100 here all week).

If you have any suggestions as to what is causing this, please let me know.


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Jul 10, 2008
Green Cheek losing weight
by: The Vet

In my experience 61 grams is small for a G-c conure. I have never seen one that weighed less than 66 grams. However, the number itself cannot tell me his condition. A physical exam would be necessary to determine her body condition, i.e. how much breast muscle she has, etc. I suspect he is protein deficient, given the diet you describe. This could be why she is lighter than average. I believe that ZuPreem is not a good diet. It contains LOTS of sugar (sucrose is the 5th ingredient on the list), it has artificial colors, artificial preservatives, and it is baked at such a high temperature during manufacturing that it denatures many of the nutrients. The sugar and the heat reduces the amount of protein available. I commonly see protein deficient birds with yeast infections on this diet. The best you can feed is Harrison's High Potency. Make this 80% of her diet, while 20% should be treats. A treat is anything else.

Yes, birds do loose a little weight during a molt. However, this can be reduced and even prevented if she is fed a better diet. Weight loss can be normal, but the amount of weight loss is critical. I generally see only about 2-3% weight loss during molts. And this would be over a few days. So, for a 61 gram bird, I expect weight loss of only a gram or two, maybe 3 at the most. Immediately stop using the vitamins in the water! These are bad. They do not give reliable nutrition and they cause bacterial growth in the water. There is a good chance your bird has or will develop subclinical infections from the water with the vitamins added. Plus you are over supplementing giving pellets AND vitamins. Side note: put your bird on a water bottle; these are more sanitary and will prevent the chance of infections from water borne bacteria.

If she is sick, not going the veterinarian is much more dangerous than any car ride could be. You are fortunate to be so close to an avian veterinarian. I have clients that drive more than 3 hours to see me annually and for emergencies.

Suggestions summary:

1. Buy a scale and monitor her weight at home; weigh weekly or twice weekly. Keep a written log for reference. Be sure to take this log with you when you visit you veterinarian annually. You should have well-bird checks every year and have you bird vaccinated for polyomavirus.
2. Change the diet to Harrison's High Potency. Make this 80% of the diet.
3. Switch him to a water bottle.
4. Stop giving the water vitamins.
5. IF you think she is loosing weight, take her to be seen ASAP.

Dr B

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