Pellet Allergy??

by KB

Hello. I feel like I have an honest question that has been bothering me lately. I have had my CAG for a little over 2 years now. She is 14 years old. I adopted her from a family who gave her less than a great food diet. She was on seeds only with occasional fruit.

When I adopted her I immediately tried switching her to pellets (which took about 4 months) until she finally enjoyed ZuPreem Fruit Blend and ate it daily without fuss. She stayed on seed/Zupreem/fruit & veggie for about 8 months until I was researching "healthier" diets online, in which since then I have converted her to Harrisons high potency pellets, under the impression it was the best.

She still has a small amount of daily seed. Now here is my concern. Since switching her to Harrisons (since December 2010)she has began a plucking issue. When she came to me she was beautifully feathered. She stayed beautifully feathered with me for a year. Her chest is now half bald and her legs too. I am a good bird mommy and had brought her back to her avian vet for multiple visits where multiple blood tests were run to make sure it was nothing internally. Her bloodwork is and always was PERFECT. Vet says it may be behavioral.

NOTHING in her environment has changed in the 2 years I have had just all started when I took away her ZuPreem and switched her to Harrisons. I got all the hand-outs in the world on how to modify this "behavior" problem and believe me, nothing has worked, nor was I ever convinced it was a behavior problem.

Instead, Could this be an allergy of some sort?? Or, Could she just be mentally upset that shes not getting ZuPreem anymore? I am truely thinking of switching her back to ZuPreem and see what happens.

What has really inspired me to write this letter tonight is this. I have a 4 yr old conure as well. He has always eaten ZuPreem Fruit Blend (which is why I originally tried my Grey on) Tonight my Grey opened up his ZuPreem container (which she is smart and knows how to do, and I always stopped her if she tried), but tonight, I didnt stop her, just to see what she would do.

Let me tell you, as I write this she is indulging in the ZuPreem and just looks SO happy. She would never go nuts like this over Harrisons...which backs my theory up even more. Accepting all opinions, answers, etc..just to find out what everyone thinks about this!! please help!! I want my baby happy, and healthy!!!

Comments for Pellet Allergy??

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Jun 17, 2017
Lovebird Harrisons Roudybush Zupreem

Just came across your post. A lovebird flew into our car window one stormy windy night. Lived so kept it. When I found it its feathers were colorful and vibrant. Fed seeds and since it would not eat fresh vegetables or fruit I started to transition my lovebird with 50/50 seed and Harrisons high potency fine as every website recommends as the best pellet. Went thru one whole bag. My bird wasnt keen on it. It kept plucking feathers on chest neck picking at feet pulling from toe to nails. It would literally pluck multiple feathers out! I thought it had mites but nighttime no restlessness no mites found. Pet store ran out of Harrisons so I used Roudybush nibles. My lovee instantly ate Roudybush over seed no transitioning. The next day my bird awoke feathers strangely longer and vibrant and at night it dawned on me it was peaceful no stress no feather plucking. Weeks went by NORMAL happier healthier pluck free bird. I used to put seed mix into little containers so I could just pour it in dish found one and thought I would give it seed as a treat. I work nights went to bed and awoke 8 hours later to find bird had plucked a huge spot of feathers on its chest and was agitated again climbing upside down on top of its cage picking itself. I realized the seed mix had harrisons mixed in. I googled harrisons feather plucking and came across a blog with multiple bird owners discussing harrisons known to cause allergy anxiety behavioral problems feather plucking. Yet most birds do great and swear by harrisons.

I previously had 2 cockatiels who had 2 babies all lived 25-30 years and 2 sun conures who lived 30/32 years who ate zupreen and occasional fruit/vegetables sunflowers peanuts millet as treats.

Everyone has opinions and recommendations some based on experience some based on fact lay person or medical. Formulations ingredients quality control can affect products batch after batch. I gave my birds what pellets they preferred and thrived on. I truly believe animals will instinctually know what to eat so if your animal doesnt like food or suddenly stops eating it whether your feeding it pellet or fresh food or becomes unhealthy physically or mentally keep in mind it could be what its eating.

For example, my dog loved and only ate one brand kibble for years. Suddenly it stopped eating it and it got sick and died. World news hit arsenic in dog food including the one my dog ate. I worked for a vet who autopsied and indicated death was probably due to tainted dog food. I trusted pet food was safe but realize now pet foods arent regulated for quality of safety. You could have a good quality product one bag, then a poor quality even poisonous product the next.

Sep 13, 2012
plucking because of change of diet???
by: Anonymous

hi i have a orange winged amazon who is 8 years old and changed diets here and there from seeds ,friut and veg nuts and ive now tried harrisons and now my parrot plucks why??my bird has never plucked before this.

Editor's note: Birds pluck for various reasons. Some from stress in the environment, some due to illness or disease, some due to boredom. Please read this Feather Damaging Behavior article for more information.

Feb 08, 2012
Sedation necessary for bird x-rays
by: The Avian Vet

You should switch your conure to Harrison's too. Yes, it is necessary to sedate for x-rays, but it is very safe and a short procedure.

Dr B

Feb 08, 2012
by: KB

Thank you all for your information and opinions. I will not feed her ZuPreem ever again!! But it seems to work for my conure. When i switched my Grey to Harrisons I tried him too, but he gave me so many more issues. I will certainly try again though. My Grey is a DNA sexed female, but we never did x-rays. Would she have to be sedated for that!? She goes for well visits every 6 months as well and has so much stimulation at home. I will not give up on trying to find a cause for this I just feel better now knowing that Harrisons is not to blame.

Feb 08, 2012
Bird plucking half of chest and leg
by: The Avian Vet

It is undoubtedly the best. ZuPreem is one of the worst. Harrison's needs to be 80% of the diet. The remaining 20% can be any healthy treat.

Seeds can be up to 10% of the diet. Harrison’s did not cause the plucking. The pattern of plucking sounds more like a reproductive problem than a behavior problem. Blood work is only one small test that is necessary to determine a bird’s health status. Did you do x-rays? How about DNA sexing? I find that rarely is plucking a behavior problem or a primarily behavior problem. Blood work alone is not enough to diagnose this problem. Your are correct, it is not likely to be behavioral.

Yes, allergy is possible. I don’t believe it has anything to do with taking away the ZuPreem. Don’t switch her back to ZuPreem.

The ZuPreem has lots of sugar, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, which can cause significant problems. Look for other causes first.

Dr B
Find an Avian Vet

Feb 08, 2012
Why feed pellets?
by: Tracie

The reason the "feed our parrots as the eat in the wild" theory doesn't work, is because our birds are NOT in the wild. They are not flying around all day searching for food, they are not left in the elements trying to keep warm or cool depending on the time of day. They don't go through times of drought.

Also, our captive birds live longer than most wild parrots because they eat a consistent diet and are not subject to disease etc.

Avian vets have been studying all their bird patients for years. Those birds with the "feed as in the wild" diets do not typically live as long and have more health issues than those on Harrison's pellets.

There are always exceptions to the rules. I know a man that smoked and drank too much. He had been smoking since he was 12 years old. He boasted how smoking didn't shorten his life, he was healthy at the age of 60. He died at the age of 61, but regardless his body handled his poor diet and cigarettes longer than some. He couldn't tell by the outside, that he was killing himself on the inside. His doctor told him he was healthy, but he had a stroke anyway.

Feb 07, 2012
Pet allergy???
by: Shann

I am not a vet . I am not even a long term parrot owner but comon sense has to play some roll in every thing we do. You have brought up questions that have been in my mind for a long time.
I have had 2 CAG's for 6 years now. They are healthy , they see their birdie vet every 6 months for a check up and weigh in and once a year for a full work up .
I have read so much on line about the right "food"

common sense tells me that God gave us all we need to eat healthy. In nature our birds do NOT eat pellets. The forge for seeds, nuts, fruits, barks, clays. Pellets are a balanced "easy serve" diet for our birds just as nutra bars are a balanced breakfest for us . But what a horabble way to live our lives one flavor,one texture .
I would think it would be very stressful to enjoy your food and then be limited to the same thing day in and day out.

Why can our parrots not be healthy and happy eating heathy fresh seed, nuts, fruits, grains and veggies? Don't get me wrong here, I give my greys harrison pellets mixed in their dry foods and they eat them. But it is a mix.
How would we feel if we had green beans for dinner every night?

Just my thoughts and questions.

Feb 07, 2012
Pellet question
by: Tracie

I have asked Dr B to answer this, so give him a few days. Birds do love ZuPreem, the same way we love treats. They usually love things they are allergic to also, like peanuts etc.

Hopefully Dr B will get back with you soon. He has had an avian vet practice for over 30 years, so he is able to answer with the experience of treating birds eating all kinds of diets. He also teaches at a university, and has that experience too.

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