How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Pat Your Own Question

Dr. Pat
Dr. Pat, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 4244
Experience:  25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
21122637
Type Your Bird Question Here...
Dr. Pat is online now

My african grey parrot plucking feathers on chest and has a

Customer Question

My african grey parrot plucking feathers on chest and has a lump on top of chest
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Shantal-Mod replied 2 years ago.

I've been working hard to find a Professional to assist you with your question, but sometimes finding the right Professional can take a little longer than expected.

I wonder whether you're ok with continuing to wait for an answer. If you are, please let me know and I will continue my search. If not, feel free to let me know and I will cancel this question for you.

Thank you,

Shantal

Expert:  Dr. Pat replied 2 years ago.
.Greetings, I am Dr. Pat. I have worked with birds for many years. I will do my best to help you.

Greys can be very problematic birds--I know this from my patients and from the Grey that shares my home. Feather issues can be a very complicated knot of behavioral, mental and physical problems and you need to address them all in order to get a handle on the problem. Even then, it may not be 100% successful and it will take months and months. You have to start somewhere, and ruling out physical problems is the easiest. Repairing behavioral and mental issues takes a lot of understanding and patience.

The lump at the top of the chest is probably the crop, which you can see if the feathers are thin (invisible under feathers) but a photo would help me decide that.

Greys are very prone to stress from changes. It is so very important that you have an established routine that he can count on.


Any changes at home? Again they are very sensitive birds and can react poorly to change.

Even if this is a behavioral problem in part, you must change some things immediately. Even then, results may not be visible for months and months:
  • 14 hours dark quiet uninterrupted sleep at night
  • proper diet
  • peoper and thorough health check
  • big cage with lots of exercise
  • entertainment/learning
  • possible bird friend
He needs something to do with his mind. You can read children's books to him, point out the pictures, show him garden catalogs, teach him to count, anything to make him educated. He needs to learn to play by himself with the assurance that he has not been left out or left behind.

He may be responding to seasonal changes, and hormones may be a contributing factor. Again, diet, photoperiod, enterttainment and exercise will help.

Feather issues can be caused by a multitude of things, including bacterial skin infection, viruses, fungal infections, allergies, metal poisoning, hormonal flux, psychological or combination of these factors. The difficulty is diagnosing the problems and assigning an intelligent treatment plan. Your vet will want to run a number of tests so that appropriate medications can be prescribed.

Inflammatory skin/follicle disease is common. The causes can include local infection, metabolic problems, or even intestinal parasites. It can also be a prime area for even more serious problems like skin cancer. An avian-experienced vet should take a look at the poor bird, and run some tests. If this were my patient, and money no object, I would start with complete fecal analysis and direct smear, stained with Sedi-stain and unstained for multiple parasites, fungi, spirals; direct smear stained with Sedi-stain and unstained of the oral cavity; bacterial culture and sensitivity of the feather pulp, skin, feces and choana. Depending on the case I might do a fungal culture of the skin and feather pulp. Routine blood work is necessary to rule out other issues such as thyroid, toxins, calcium levels . There are MANY DNA/RNA tests for bird diseases (ask your vet about Borna Virus testing). Ultrasound is often more informative than radiographs and does not require anesthesia (ask your vet about this option). Generally I start them out on medications, injectable antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, as indicated by the tests.

AAV recommended lab work



I really must stress that you need a bird-experienced person, and not just a vet who advertises that they care for birds.

You need to take your bird to see an avian-experienced veterinarian ASAP for complete examination, diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Where in the UK are you located?

Check

http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/index.php/Avian_Vets/28

http://www.avianveterinaryservices.co.uk/

http://www.birdvet.co.uk/

http://alanjonesbirdvet.yolasite.com

http://www.cjhall-vets.co.uk/index.asp

www.marknelsonvet.co.uk

www.arkpetsonline.co.uk

www.riversideanimalcentre.org



for members of AAV in your area or call your regular vet and see who they recommend; ask if they really have worked with birds a lot. Unfortunately, this list does not rate competency or experience, but is only a starting place; the vets at least take the avian medicine journal and hopefully see a bird or two a year. The best referrals are word-of-mouth, so check with several non-bird vets, the humane society, parrot rescue groups, bird clubs, etc. for their input. As you might guess there may be controversy and varying opinions even with this. Even board-certified avian specialists may not have a lot of practical bird experience. Unfortunately there are few resources available to refer you to really good, clinically-experienced bird vets.


Here are a few suggestions that I give everyone: important!

The following guidelines help with basic issues such as nutrition, obesity, good immune status. Surprising how the following can make a bird healthy, and how infrequently birds are ill if they are on the following regimen. No amount of medicine is going to work if the birds' basic needs are not met.

Basic Care

AAV Guidelines

Birds should be on a high-quality, preferably prescription, pelleted diet: I prefer High-potency Harrison's
http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.http://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/products/harrisons.html

http://www.hbf-uk.co.uk/

http://www.mah-shop.com/

In addition, they should be offered dark leafy greens, cooked sweet potatoes, yams, squash, pumpkin; entire (tops and bottoms) fresh carrots and so forth. No seeds (and that means a mix, or millet, or sprays, etc. etc.) and only healthy, low-fat high fiber people food. A dietary change should be closely monitored and supervised by your avian vet.

Daily Maintenance

Birds should get 12-14 hours dark, quiet, uninterrupted sleep at night. Any less and they can suffer from sleep deprivation and associated illnesses. They should be covered or their cage placed in a dark room that is not used after they go to bed.

The cage material should be cleaned everyday, and twice a day if the bird is really messy. Paper towels, newspaper, bath towels are ok. Never use corn cob, sawdust, wood chips, or walnut shell.
Food and water dishes should be cleaned and changed daily. Keep one set cleaned while the other is in use.

Fresh, perishable food should be placed in separate food bowls. Remove fresh food from the cage after a couple of hours to avoid spoilage.

Change cage papers daily, and clean the grate and tray weekly.

Clean food debris or droppings from toys and perches as needed (which can be as often as once a day).

Grit is not necessary for birds, and will cause digestive problems and death. The best sources of minerals (and vitamins) are leafy greens. Never give grit, gravel sandpaper or cement perches. A bird will eat those to excess when it is not feeling well or if there is a nutritional deficiency. They do not need it at all (an old myth from the poultry days, even poultry do not need it). It can cause an impaction and lead to serious or fatal c

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found ""JustAnswer"" on my Google search -- you are now in my ""Favorites"" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George
< Previous | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found ""JustAnswer"" on my Google search -- you are now in my ""Favorites"" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Pat

    Dr. Pat

    Bird Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2863
    25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/birddoctor/2012-6-22_173214_birddoctor.64x64.png Dr. Pat's Avatar

    Dr. Pat

    Bird Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2863
    25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2
    Small animal veterinarian with 15 years experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PC/pcbobber/2014-7-18_135433_Photo.64x64.jpg Dr. Bob's Avatar

    Dr. Bob

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2016
    35 years in general practice, including avian.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NE/nekovet/2013-8-20_23339_nekovet.64x64.jpg Dr. B.'s Avatar

    Dr. B.

    Bird Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    366
    As a veterinary surgeon, I have spent a lot of time with bird cases and I'm happy to help you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/fgvs/2009-07-21_182123_michael.jpg Dr. MD Stafford's Avatar

    Dr. MD Stafford

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    233
    20 years private practice, contract veterinarian Dickerson Park Zoo and attending veterinarian Missouri State University.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/fionasteel/2010-5-15_192530_copy_of_tess_and_lily_001.jpg Fiona Steel's Avatar

    Fiona Steel

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    221
    BVMS MRCVS
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TE/technolizard/2011-6-9_182920_drj.64x64.jpg Dr. Jaime's Avatar

    Dr. Jaime

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    102
    Avian/exotic practice owner, 10 yrs. avian rescue, 3yrs. private practice, 2yrs. avian wildlife