Itchy Peach Faced Lovebird, Blood on Feather

by Marie

I have a 5 1/2 year old peach faced lovebird. He was hatched from my in-laws birds, so we've had him his entire life. He does not have a cage mate and has never laid eggs. He eats a mixed seed in his cage and these fruity pebble vitamin things. He also has a cuttle bone and calcium block. He eats off my plate a lot too, his favorites are eggs, turkey sausage, chicken, any kind of bean, bread, soymilk, tortilla chips, the accidental small amount of cheese... we never let him have avocado or soy sauce.

About a year and half or two years ago he started humping me or my fleece jacket when it was on a chair and this has since changed to him humping a towel on a towel bar (because I really don't like to be humped!). He also regurgitates on the towel (which he used to do in my ear, again, eww). He humps the towel several times a day.

He is still generally happy and flies around like normal (he has never been clipped). He has recently started acting VERY itchy. He lets me break his pin feathers that are on his head, but doesn't really let me get in there in any place he can reach with his beak. He has been so irritated, like something is getting him and he'll fly off my shoulder, do a circle in the air, land, then attacks his vent area.

For the past few days he has been asking me extra to come with him to the bathroom (where his towel is) and to his cage (where he has a bird house... similar to a nesting box).

Today he pulled out a small down feather that had some blood on it. I looked at his towel and noticed there was a little blood on that too. I flipped him over and there is a little dried blood on some feathers... he is not currently bleeding, as none of the blood is bright and wet. He is still irritated in his vent area though.

Do you know of reasons for this type of behavior? Thank you for your help! I love my lovebird (who is currently climbing on my glasses, asking me to follow him)!

Comments for Itchy Peach Faced Lovebird, Blood on Feather

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Jul 16, 2010
Blood on lovebird
by: The Avian Vet

You have a sexually mature bird, probably male, but females will sometimes behave this way too. The fact that has never laid eggs does not mean it is not a female. The only way to know for sure (unless eggs are laid) is to DNA test for sex.

It is important to know for sure because some problems can be related to the bird?s sex; males and females have different problems and knowing the sex will help diagnose and treat certain conditions.

The itching could be related to the molt; but lovebirds develop a problem called polyfolliculitis, which is a genetic problem. This is VERY itchy. The blood could come from this problem or a broken blood feather or even irritated skin. You need to take your bird in to see an avian veterinarian.

Dr B

Jul 15, 2010
Itchy Peach Faced Lovebird, Blood on Feather
by: Linda

Yes, follow the links Tracie provided and, with all due respect, stop feeding him all that mess you are feeding. Birds do not need to eat meat of any kind, and people foods of all kinds contain large quantities of sugar, salt and fat. The sugar and salt are fairly quick killers, and the fat takes a little longer. No more eating off plates. Put bird in cage at mealtime and let him eat his OWN FOOD.

So, get your bird onto a diet made for parrots, and immediately stop all the junk food you are allowing him to consume. It is irritating his digestive system all the way down the line and is causing much pain and itching. He is miserable, and in pain. There is a thing called "killing with kindness", and this is what's happening. Treat your bird like a bird and feed him organic, high quality pellets, organic fruit and veggies a few times a week. With the Harrisons organic pellets, you will need no vitamins or mineral additions to his diet. Feed 80-85% pellets and 10-15% fruit and veggies only a few times a week in small quantities.Follow the instructions for changing birds from seeds and junk to the organic pellets. He won't like it at first, AND HE WILL ADJUST AND FEEL MUCH BETTER FOR IT. He is likely to develop an ulceration if he has not already from eating all the spicy foods. A trip to an Avian Vet is recommended to make sure there are no other physical problems. Seeing blood means this has gone from a mild irritation to something far more serious.

Your bird is suffering, so please do not delay starting to change his diet immediately. Cut out ALL THE JUNK FOODS RIGHT NOW and order some pellets appropriate for his size and go from there. The Avian Vet may also wish to give him something to help with the acid being produced throughout his digestive system. This is SERIOUS, so do not take this lightly or your bird will die.

Jul 15, 2010
Lovebird with blood on feathers
by: Tracie

If the bird is attacking his/her vent, you need to get the bird to an avian vet ASAP. For a male, it could be cancer, for a female, it could be egg bound or cancer.

I also suggest that you read the Switching Birds to Pellets article written by an avian vet. Birds who are raised on a healthy pellet diet, like Harrison's live much longer lives.

Artificial vitamins can harm your bird and colored pellets cause all kinds of health problems and cancer in birds. We have other articles on bird health, chemicals in foods and training on our Parrot Training page.

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