My tiel has a bald spot on her head and the skin is very red!

by Angela Phelan
(Pasadena CA)

I took my tiel into the pet store I bought her at to have a routine wing/and nail trim. Her nostrils had been very dark/black for a few days, and I tried to clean them but couldnt get everything out. After clipping her wings/and toenails one of the store clerks restrained her in a towel while the other removed the black junk from her nose with a needle and some other tools. They then misted her down in the face/and head till she was soaking wet to see if that would loosen up the debris in her nostrils. Once they removed everything they lightly blew her dry with a hair dryer and then gave her back to me.
When I got her home I noticed that there was a circular red spot, about the size of a dime on the top of her head that wasnt there before. After closer inspection, I found that she had a dime sized bald spot (all the feathers were completely gone) and the skin was very, very red, and inflammed, comapred to the rest of her skin on her head that is pinkish grey underneath her feathers.
This was not there when I took her in to the store. Should I be alarmed? It dosent seem to be bothering or hurting her. I think what might have happened is while she was being restrained in the towel (they had her restrained for over 10-15 minutes) maybeher feathers were accidently ripped out by the towel when she struggled, and the redness was from having her feathers plucked out? I cant imagine what else it could be, or how else it could of happened.
I am concerned because its been over 8 hours since she was restrained and the redness has not gone down, or changed to a lighter pink color like the rest of her skin. When I rub her head she dosent seem to be in pain or effected by it, but I am a little alarmed....espicially since her head was completely normal before I took her to the pet store and none of her feathers were missing.
What do you think happened? Any advice would be very much appreciated. I dont know if I should take her to the vet or not, or if there is something I can buy at the pet store/or online that will sooth the skin and stop the redness and irritation, and promote her feathers to grow back. She is not a feather plucker, and even if she was she cant reach that spot.
Please help! Thanks!

Comments for My tiel has a bald spot on her head and the skin is very red!

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Mar 16, 2010
My tiel has a bald spot on her head and the skin is very red!
by: Linda

Yes, as Tracie said, your bird needs to be seen by an Avian Vet immediately. Though you were doing what you thought was right, you were wrong.We have ALL been wrong, at one time or another, when it comes to our birds, as it is a life-long learning experience. NEVER, EVER ALLOW PEOPLE IN PET STORES TO TOUCH YOUR BIRD OR EVEN WINGS AND NAILS. These people do not know what they are doing, and the length of time bird spent restrained tells the story.

Your bird was probably already sick which was why the nostrils were black, and material could even be old dried blood. PLEASE DO NOT DELAY TAKING HER TO AN AVIAN VET EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DRIVE A WAYS TO GET TO ONE. All new birds need to be checked by an Avian Vet as the birds coming from pet stores are usually already sick from poor care there and at the breeder's. Pet stores commonly buy from Bird Mill breeders who do anything and everything they can to make money which means they do not feed birds properly and do not take them to a vet before sale.

Let us know what the vet has to say, and just remember that ONLY A TRAINED, LICENSED AVIAN VET CAN DIAGNOSE AND TREAT PROBLEMS WITH BIRDS. Pet store people are usually not well-trained in bird's care, and are totally unable to diagnose or treat any problems.

Thanks for writing, and hope your little bird gets better soon.


Mar 13, 2010
My tiel
by: Angela

Well it turns out that the bald spot is a sore, there is a large scab now where there was just a bright red bald spot yesterday.
So either the pet store employees did this by restraining her to hard, which seems far fetched, or my other bird, who is a Conure, bit her on the head. They do not get along and I keep them separated, but once in a while my conure finds her way over to my Tiel's play pen and they start fighting. My conure probably bit her on her head and I didnt notice it until she was soaking wet at the Pet Store.
What I want to know is can I put some Neuosporin on the scab? Or some other product? So that it will heal faster.

PS - I dont think there is anything wrong with having a wing/and nail trim done at a Bird Pet Store. I used to be an avian Vet Tech at an exotic hospital and know a lot about birds. I normally can clip their wings and nails myself but its a difficult thing to do all by myself. I REFUSE to pay a avian vet over $60 to do this. I got my Conure at Bird Crazy in San Diego and always took her back to them for free wing/and nail clipping, and never had any problems. So I am not sure how my tiel got this bruise/sore now a scab on the top of her head but would like to treat it on my own before I take her to some Vet and get ripped off. So if anyone can help me find a good product that will prevent infection and help her sore to heal quicker that would be great!

Mar 12, 2010
Cockatiel with crusty cere
by: Tracie

Oh my!! I am so sorry that your tiel has gone through this. I know you are doing your best, but a pet store is the last place to take your bird.

You will likely have other people post a response with their horror that you took your bird to the store and allowed employees do this to your bird, but you really did the best you knew how.

You need to get your bird to an avian vet, not a dog vet. On our Find an Avian Vet page we have some vets listed that our readers have suggested. At the top of the page are links to other sites where you can search for a vet.

Thanks for writing and trying to get your bird some help. It sounds like your bird has an infection and really needs to get examined so it can get a prescription.

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