lovebirds legs cracked and bleeding

by Rebekah

picture of her today after I put neosporin on her legs

picture of her today after I put neosporin on her legs

I purchased a pair of blue-masked lovebirds in December, they were about 6-8 months old at the time. We were told by the petstore that they were male and female. The male bird has became very ready to mate (dancing, circling her, feeding her, butt rubbing on the perch, etc.). She will respond to him grooming her and feeding her but other than that she seems disinterested.

Up until now they have played a lot together and played well - very little 'fighting'. They are not fighting now but she has lost her personality. She wants to sleep a lot more, became very quiet, wants to sit alone - away from the male bird.

All of a sudden, I noticed that she was not wanting to use one of her legs so after showering her last night I could see the top of her one leg is very chewed on, cracked looking and not really bleeding but looks like it. The other is beginning to look the same way. So I put some neosporin on both of her legs today and hope that will help. I don't know if she possibly has mites - or if the male bird is hurting her legs or what is happening.

If it is something like mites - it doesn't seem to be attacking the other bird. The male is as lively as ever and very much wanting to mate. I have owned different kinds of birds all of my life and I haven't seen this happen to their legs before. But with the change in the personality, sleeping a lot, playing less, and wanting to be alone and now the leg problem- I am really getting concerned. I still see her eating on the cuddle bone some, drinking water and eating seed. Not excessively but she hasn't stopped being hungry or thirsty as best as I can tell.

We are home in the morning and evening with them - sometimes in and out during the day so they could have problems when no one is watching - not sure what is going on! please help. Thanks so much for taking your time to respond.

Comments for lovebirds legs cracked and bleeding

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Sep 19, 2009
by: Whit

I have two lovebirds of my own, going through a lot of the same things right now. My female is ready to mate, yet my male isn't that interested. He would rather be playing or interacting with us. They have always been very close as they grew up together. They used to just play fight but now my female has become very over powering and mean. She has laid eggs once now and nothing happened of it. So now shes become worse. He will respond to her by feed her, and sometimes return the mating date, but tries to avoid going any further. My female then attacks him or bullies him into doing things. As a result my male has started picking himself, it started off on his neck and now he has moved down his leg. His leg has been picked threw the skin and is raw and bloody. He keeps his distance from her and is very tired all the time. I took them to the vet and was advised that he has no mites (which is very unlikely if the other bird doesn't have mites) and is very health. The stress that she is putting him threw is making him mutilate himself. The vet said that he has seen this before with cockatiels, lovebirds and parrots, and recommended that I seperate them. I have bought another cage and placed them right beside each other. They talk to each other and I let them be out and play together when I am home.

Sep 12, 2008
by: Lovebirds lover

You NEED to separate your birds RIGHT AWAY!!
Your bird needs to rest a lot, and sleep well
to hill! If your male wants to reproduce on top of it, its for sure that he will not let her rest and she will NEVER hill and eventually die or even chew off her leg (my sister in law's bird did chew off her paw and died from bleeding during the night)!! Also, it is dangerous for your male to be exposed to your sick bird and
the animal instinct will kick in and HE WILL try to kill your female if he sences that she is sick,
it's not meaness just natural instinc!Go ahead and separate your birds AS SOON AS YOU CAN!! Also, you could keep your femal on you at night when you're watching TV or reading, get a small blanket or a rag (they love to hide and be warm) and let her sleep on you, that way she will feel secure and sleep thight, that will help her rest and hill faster!Wait for your bird to be complitly hill before putting back togheter and watch closly your male's reactions, I would even sudgest you separate them during the day when your not there and put them back togheter when you could keep an eye on them only until your dure that your male will not hurt her. You wouldn't like to live with a bully who hurts you and make you scared, it's the same for your bird. Once again, SEPARATE YOUR BIRDS RIGHT AWAY!!!
Good luck!!

May 19, 2008
bird update
by: Anonymous

I did take her to the vet about 8 days ago and he said neither of the lovebirds have mites. He looked her over realy good and felt like my male bird is just picking on her alot. (He really wants to mate and she does not) She wils let him feed her and clean her but does not want to be mounted - so he is being a little mean to her at times. She does seem to be chewing on her legs alot and especially the one - which if she picks (or I've caught him picking on it too) she will make it bleed. Which is probably what is making her so tired - losing the blood and not getting enough rest due to the male bird not leaving her alone. The doc did give her a shot that said it should perk her up and gave them ivermectin in their water - and suggested to do it once a year. He also gave us cauterization sticks to help her legs if she bleeds. She has gained back some personality and some strength - but just not back to herself - and she goes through times where she just holds that leg up and just tries to sleep alot. Still not sure exactly what is wrong. The doc thought maybe I should seperate them. Thanks for any additional comments.

May 06, 2008
Don't give ivermectin w/o vet supervision
by: The Vet

This is very unlikely to be a mite infestation. DO NOT give her ivermectin for any reason without the supervision of a veterinarian!

Did I understand correctly that her legs are healed and covered with feathers?

Also, do not use Neosporin on birds; it is oily and can cause feathers to become very dirty and oily, making them not work properly. Also some birds have reaction to Neosporin.

I am sure your bird could benefit from some antibiotics, but don't buy any over-the-counter medications.

I realize a vet is far away, but it is probably worth the drive. You can also search on this site for one that is closer

Dr B

May 05, 2008
Dr. B reply
by: Anonymous

Thank you Dr. B for your advice. I have read that mites were fairly common for these birds and have seen several pictures on the internet of birds with scaly-leg disease. I have also read that you could use topicals like neosporin, mineral oil, paraffin oil, vaseline, etc could be used to help. The neosporin didn't seem to bother her however I tried a little aloe from a real plant (since it was natural) but she seemed to pick her legs more after that one - so I showered her again - which she thoroughly enjoys the water and just let her dry - which her feathers are back to normal and her legs are covered up again by her feathers.

She seemed to pick a little less today - was wondering if the Ivermection Solution in her water would help - I have read good things about this - if in fact she does have scaly-leg. Her stool is very normal and eating and drinking have been very normal - I was home all day today and watched her. Also let her out to play and she played some, not as much as usual, but she did enjoy playing. I know her legs are really bothering her, one she really doesn't want to use much. So after searching for hours on the net, it appears that she does have scaly-leg disease.

The closest bird vet is 3 hours from where I live. So if you have any suggestions I certainly welcome them. Thank you for your help and concern.

May 05, 2008
thank you for your help
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your comments. I have been watching her over the weekend. Her legs have really been bothering her, one in particular she doesn't want to use much. I have given her a couple of showers and tried some neosporin on both of her legs - it must have bugged her because she picked on them all last night and I woke up to find some blood on things in the cage from her feet.

Her stool is very normal still, and she is eating and drinking very well. She played some today when I let her out to fly in the house. Not quite her usual self though. I think that he might have realized that she is not feeling well and has somewhat seemed to not be bothering her as much as far as trying to mate but seems to be trying to take care of her.

When I could really look at her legs, the top are very crusted and sore looking, one worse than the other. The best I could tell from searching the internet, it looks like she might have scaly-leg mite disease - which looks very treatable. With all of the birds I have had, I have never seen this before.

So after researching it looks like I can purchase Ivermection Solution and put it in the water and it is suppose to kill every parasite. I am going to give this a try and see if that is what I am dealing with. I live in a small town and the closest bird vet is about 3 hours away - so if anyone has any other suggestions for me to help her I am open! Thank you for your concern and help.

May 04, 2008
Never use Neosporin on a bird!
by: The Vet

You should never use Neosporin on a bird! It is greasy and will ruin their feathers. In addition, some birds have reactions to this medication and there will be inflammatory lesions on top of what is already there.

This is probably not mites. Mites are a very uncommon problem.

The change in the personality is an indication the bird is sick and not felling well.

You need to have a professional look at this as soon as you can. Find an avian veterinarian immediately.

Dr B

May 03, 2008
Lovebird legs bleeding
by: Tracie

If your bird is acting lethargic, I would be concerned. I am not sure if that is what you are indicating.

Since it is the weekend, you should try to watch them closely and see if the male is biting her and/or wearing her out chasing her around. She might need to be separated from the male for a short time.

If you separate them, put her cage right next to his cage to reduce the separation anxiety.

I am not an expert, this is just my opinion.

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