sorry for the long backstory

by blake



I've had my lovebird Fiji for almost a year now. The way he came into my life was stressful to begin with so i'll explain so you can see why i could think this all could be stress...

I found him in a field, pefectly fine. and he was a happy bird, couldn't find the owner and i wasn't going to leave him out there to die, so i took him in. i rescued another lovebird from someone's backyard, who was poorly taken care of. this bird was an angry old man (Articuno)...but Fiji liked him, and they grew close. I then moved all the way across the country on a plane with these two. I had both on medications for Psittacosis because me and my vet thought Articuno was sick..
Articuno after the move became very very ill, started feather flucking to the point which he bleed, and Fiji no longer wanted to get along with him. He attacked his feet until Articuno died..
Fiji is way into his own reflection to care? I think? I'm not sure.

Month or two so later, i bought a green cheek conure. He is the happiest bird ever. Fiji keeps to himself, he doesn't like the new bird, but tolerates him at most.

But my question is...Fiji has lost all his colored feathers on his stomach. I'm not sure if he is plucking them out because i never see him do it. It's been like this for a couple months. I see some pin feathers sometimes, but he doesn't let me near him anymore to help him with the itchiness...I'm not sure if because it itches so much he's plucking the new ones out?

or could this be PBFD? i'm scared, because I have stupidly already let my new one try to play with fiji so I'm not sure what to think.

Also his diet is mostly Zupreem's Avian Entrees diet for small birds...he only eats the pellets and sometimes i give him seed, but he refuses to eat anything else. Should I give him a vitamin supplement? I've heard good and bad things about that..

Again, sorry this is so long but i'm worried.

Comments for sorry for the long backstory

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Nov 18, 2010
Lovebird plucking
by: The Avian Vet

Fiji is undoubtedly plucking. Molting does not cause feather loss and bare patches, and the feathers do not fall out on their own. He or she is plucking. Birds usually do this at night and when they are alone.

The causes of feather damaging behaviors are many. In my experience, it is most often caused by disease or illness, and rarely just behaviors such as stress.

Stress may play a role in this but, it is less likely than other issues as mentioned above. It is possible that these are sexual frustration behaviors, particularly since there was another lovebird in the home, and now Fiji?s reflection has become an obsession.

Were they diagnosed with Psittacosis before treatment? PBFD is a differential. And now that your new bird has been exposed, you should have him/her tested, too. Birds should be seen annually anyway for exams and vaccines.

Female lovebirds in particular are often very aggressive and all birds will pick on other sick birds. It is important that you do not allow these two birds to play with each other. Even though they may appear to get along, at some point, one is going to hurt the other. I see birds loose their beaks and toes when incompatible birds are allowed physical access.

First, ZuPreem is a poor diet. It has sugar, which birds should not have in their diet. It has lots of artificial ingredients, which are known to cause plucking in some birds. Any pellet is better than no pellets, but I would recommend using a different pellet. I recommend Harrison?s and Roudybush. Harrison?s is the best diet because it is organic and contains omega fatty acids. Absolutely never give vitamins when a bird is on a pellet diet. This will cause life-threatening overdoses.

My first recommendation is to take Fiji in to see an avian veterinary specialist. First, you should have Fiji worked up thoroughly. This means blood work, including DNA sexing, physical exam, cultures, and x-rays. Sexing Fiji is vital because 1) you cannot look at him/her and tell what the sex is, and 2) because males and females have different health problems, and knowing the difference will help the Dr. diagnose and treat properly. The other tests can help rule in or out other physiological and infectious causes. Certainly one test to run is the PBFD. If you bird is not vaccinated against polyoma, you should also test for Polyomavirus.

Dr B

Feather Damaging Behavior article

Bird Plucking help

Feather Plucking help

Nov 18, 2010
feather plucking
by: Anonymous

Your bird is stressed and is pulling his own feathers. Maybe try and get him a friend of his own kind, start off in a separate cage, next to each other. I always believe in a pair!

Editor's note: Getting a friend, would mean keeping the new "friend" in another cage because they may hate each other if they live with each other.

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