Lorikeet losing head feathers

by jenny
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

Hi. My rainbow lorikeet (normal type) has lost 70% of his feather for about 8 months now. First I thought it was natural molting, but then after 5months since it started, it spread down to the neck. He doesn't eat as much as he used to be.

He is the elder brother of the two (we bought the two brothers from the same breeder), one day older. He used to be the dominant and has reduced in body size and no longer a dominant bird for the last 6 - 8 months.

We are counting each new feather that comes out, but the next day or two the feather disappears. Some time we caught the young brother bird plucking out the feathers from his brother's head. The bald head naturally looks dry, but is not scaly or dark grey. He is not as active and friendly as he used to be. He doesn't talk much. He plays with his brother a bit, but not as much as when he was younger.

Is my bird sick? I note that he has becoming bity (biting a lot) lately and running away from us when we want to catch him. However if we stand still, then he will climb on and stay on our shoulders, but just doesn't want to be held (can't catch him easily like before). Could someone please help us advising whether our bird is sick, what is causing it and what could we do. Much appreciated. Thanks. Jenny

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Apr 29, 2012
Thank you
by: jenny

Thank you for your suggestion. We will get another cage and try to separate them (which will be hard) because we've a number of times tried feeding the older brother - the one that is losing feathers - outside the cage, whilst having the younger one inside). Amazingly, both birds would scream for each other and would not eat. The outside one would run to the cage and look in it, ignoring the food dish outside. As soon as we open the cage, the older one rushed in and kissed the younger one on the head and stood side-by-side (we had hardly seen the younger one kissed the older, but we had twice seen the younger one mouth-fed the older one). We couldn't bear separating them.

When eating, the younger one generally doesn't want his older brother eat, so the latter one either has to bob his head (or rather begs) in front of the former one. Most of the time he just waits until the younger one has finished. I first thought he was being "considerate". But now seeing that he is losing weight, I think I will have to do something. So thank you for your suggestion. As mentioned, we will try to put them in separate cages first.

Apr 27, 2012
Lorikeet losing feathers
by: Anonymous

The first thing I would do is put them in separate cages. Obviously the other bird has become the dominant one and is plucking the poor guys feathers out before they get a chance to grow back. After separation if your bird is not eating like he should I would take him to a vet. He is acting differently towards you because the other bird is dominant now and he's stressed out. Give him a chance to be in his own cage and his behavior should improve. Someone I knew had two conures in the same cage and one was healthy and beautiful while the other had feather loss, was much smaller in size and just looked so sad and sickly. After separation, the little birdie thrived and became just as beautiful as his big brother.

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