Sick African Grey

by Kat
(United Arab Emirates)

Lucky the African Grey

Lucky the African Grey

Hi, I recently took in an African Grey. The previous owner told me he is a plucker. Soon I realized though that the bird is not actually plucking his own feathers out of boredom and that something else must be the cause of it. So I took him to the vet. Due to the fact that he has red feathers scattered everywhere the vet suspected PBFD and took a blood sample. Thank god the test turned out negative and I ended up naming him "Lucky". However, I still don't know what is wrong with him.

Age: 1 1/2 years (that's what I've been told anyways)
- Loss of feathers
- Scattered red feathers
- Right eye closed most of the time
- Loss of balance - fell of his perch a couple of times, seems to have improved though.

I have changed his diet to Harrison's and only treat him with peanuts and seeds once in a while. I offer him vegetables and fruits every morning, but he just doesn't seem to be interested. He only likes to eat grapes so far. Other than that he seems to be doing just fine.

He loves to be scratched on his head, plays around in his cage, imitates various sounds and says "hello". But his energy level seems to be low. He is only active for a very short period of time and then goes back to "snoozing" mode.

His feathers seem to be improving as I see new shafts growing, so I'm hoping that's a good sign of recovery. We have another vet appointment this week. The vet would like to remove a feather and do a bacteria test. He is currently on medication. Some liquid I mix with his water dish that is supposed to relief him from scratching and itching.

I'd really appreciate you opinion and suggestions. This bird already stole a big piece of my heart, and I just want to give him the best care possible.


Comments for Sick African Grey

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Jul 05, 2012
My bird is plucking
by: Anonymous

Hi, i was wondering if you could help me i have an african grey called "tucci" and she can not stop plucking we have tryed all vitamin products and none seem to be working we have got her a new cage. Also she has loads of toys and gets lots of attention but still seems to be plucking what shall i try next.

Thank you

Editor's note: The vitamins may be part of the problem, they are toxic most likely. Please read our Feather Damaging Behavior article for more help.

In the future if you want people to see and answer, you need to post a question, not an answer here to another question, on our Parrot Questions page.

Jun 04, 2010
To consider
by: Anonymous

Calcium deficiency?

Feb 17, 2010
Sick African Grey
by: Linda

Your bird has classic symptoms of bacterial or viral infection. Glad they ruled out the Beak and Feather Disease. There is, however, an infection in this bird. The lack of energy, eye swelling shut and not much appetite are signs of an infection.

Did the vet do a throat culture to test for bacterial infections? One from the anus is not adequate, and they have to also take a smear from the throat to see if same bacteria is there that they find in anal area.Bloodwork should show a higher white cell count, but does not always, so it is not that reliable. Why he wants to pull a feather, I don't know unless he wants to have lab break down the actual makeup of feather to see it better. That will only hurt him for a short period, as it is like a prick which he'll forget about shortly.

So, ask the vet about throat swab and what a pulled feather is supposed to show. They need to do a complete blood workup which I assume they did when testing for the Beak and Feather Disease, but maybe not. There could be a problem with thyroid, kidneys or liver going on here, so be thorough.

Severely neglected/abused birds can have several things going on at once because of the years of neglect. Greys are not all normally feather pluckers though they can be that way if their little lives become some kind of hell. As the other lady said, shreddable toys are a help. In your case, you HAVE A SICK BIRD, so work from there right now.

Very happy to hear you have him on Harrisons as it is my favorite. I've fed it to my 30+ year old Amazons for 17 years, and they stay healthy and happy. Harrisons makes a good Birdy Bread mix too, and just get the organic red palm oil, Sunshine Factor
to put in there along with 2 eggs and water. It bakes up easily and stores in frig for up to a week and in freezer for up to 6 months. They have 3 types to please almost any bird, and Tracie carries mix and oil here. Greys are not big fruit eaters though they'll eat a little apple or banana. Fruit and veggies should not be more than a mere 10% of overall diet, so don't worry too much. Once he gets well, you may see a change there. We bake up sweet potato and give a little bit to birds every once in a while, so you may try that.Some can be put into Birdy Bread or some other kind of veggie. After he feels better, he may surprise you with what all he likes. I'd suggest leaving peanuts and seeds off all together as they will interfere with pellet intake if given too often. No more than one or two tiny amounts a week, and I'd start using the Birdy Bread instead of the seeds. It's base mix is the Harrisons recipe with some yummy things added to each type.

Let us know how this goes as we are here to support you, and we thank you for taking this sweet little guy into your home. You are one of the human Angels we see too little of.


Feb 17, 2010
sick african grey
by: Anonymous

I have an african grey timneh who is 12 years old. Although he does not pluck he at one time started plucking very little on his chest that i did notice a small bald spot. My vet told me that he was surprised to see an african grey with feathers as they are pluckers. Anyway, he was healthy so I bought him some toys that he can shred and he loves them and it did take care of the problem. He is also in the living room where my husband and I are alot so he has company. He loves that sisel rope. Seems to keep him busy and he has not plucked since. Not that he did very much. He also loves a shower and will ask for one daily. I have a shower perch and he loves it. I don't know if this helped you or not but I sure hope it did and he gets his feathers back. Oh, my grey will absolutely not eat pellets so I try and try to keep him healthy by giving him fruits, veges and I make birdie bread for him and try to disguise the pellets in them but this does not work either. He is too smart. I think he has a great home with you and is very happy and he will eventually get his feathers back.

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