Jenday Conure feathers all gray now on chest

by Roberta
(Lake Jackson, TX)

Hi, Linda. I have a three year old Jenday Conure. She's a sweetie and is very attached to me. I spend most of the day with her on my days off. We have our little routine. It had been just my husband and myself at home except for the granddaughters coming every other weekend. My son moved in for a bit a few months ago. A lot of things seemed to happen at almost the same time. First, she started having fewer and fewer red feathers on her chest. I had been supplying her with a little birdie hut that she loved but she would tear the seam out of it and pull the plastic liner out and stick her head and shoulders inside to sleep. I worried about that so when it got to that point I would replace the hut. This happened several times. It never affected her feathers before, but I was wondering if by crawling into the torn hut she was rubbing those feathers too much. So, I just got her a different birdie buddy.

I wondered if she was getting enough full spectrum light on the days I wasn't home so I have one on by her cage during those days. It's been months now and still no red feathers. Otherwise she acts the same except at around the same time all this happened she suddenly developed an obsession with my older granddaughter who is 11. She flies to her constantly and doesn't want to be with me when she's around. My granddaughter doesn't want her on her and doesn't love on her when she with her but she is still obsessed. Then the other night, she decided that one of my other sons was The One. Otherwise she acts normal, loves to be with me and has her usual good appetite. So what's up with the odd behavior and the feather loss? I have never seen her plucking out those feathers. It's been months now and she shows no signs of illness. What should I do?

thanks, Roberta

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Dec 18, 2012
Jenday Conure feathers all gray now on chest
by: Linda

Yes, as Tracie said, you'll need to rule out physical issues. Sometimes birds under various kinds of stress do get sick. Stress causes immune systems to go down opening them to some type of bacterial infection. The fact that your Son moved back in is the beginning point for the stress. Birds are creatures of habit, and a new person or pet in the house is very stressful for them.

I do believe she is plucking her feathers, but it could also be part of an infection or some other physical issue going on. Have her examined for infections and also have a bit of blood drawn so they can see how organs are functioning. Take her to only an Avian Vet because the dog and cat vets no nothing of how to diagnose and treat birds.

As for attachments she is forming, all of this behavior could be illness related or even dietary. If she is eating 80-85% organic pelleted diet like Harrisons, then she is getting 100% nutrition. If, however, she is eating mostly seeds or junk pellets like ZuPreem or Lafaebers' with or without fruit,veggies and/or vitamin supplements, she is not getting the right kind of nutrition. Also birds should not eat "people" food because these are usually loaded with salt, sugar and fat. Have her examined by Avian Vet before any dietary changes.

Get rid of the snuggle hut. Use a lightweight, pastel polyester or cotton cover for her cage at night, and she will feel very safe and stay warm. The snuggle houses have caused many accidents, injuries and death for birds using them. A cover should leave a couple of inches at the bottom for air circulation. Birds need about 12 hours of darkness and quiet so they can really rest and sleep. Cages in active areas of the home, have to be moved to a quiet bedroom or such so birds can get good rest. The full spectrum light is great for your bird as window light does nothing for them as the full spectrum of light is blocked by the glass.

When or if you get ready to change food over from seeds to Harrison's pellets, below is link to article written by avian vet about how to go about change. Make sure bird has been examined and either cleared or treated for infection before beginning the change.

Switching Birds To Pellets article

Thanks for writing and hope your Holidays are warm, wonderful and safe!


Dec 17, 2012
Jenday losing feathers
by: Tracie

Unfortunately there is only one way to rule out illness or disease and that is to have the bird examined by an avian vet.

It does sound like the bird bird may be stressed and may even be hormonal, and that is stressful too. ;-) Losing feathers or plucking feathers always requires a vet visit though, because you just never know if there is something internal going on causing the feather loss.

I know you said you haven't seen the bird plucking, and if the bird is not plucking then that is certainly as sign of illness because feathers don't just fall out and leave grey feathers behind in a molt.

Please read this article below on my website here that was written by an avian vet:
Feather Damaging Behavior article

If you do not have an avian vet to take your bird to, you can use this Find an Avian Vet link to look for one.

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