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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 8579
Experience:  Work w/Avian Vet; published bird care nutrition& behavior articles; consults, research
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Wing macaw, my wing macaw has gone through a severe malt and

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Green wing macaw
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What seems to be the problem with the macaw?
Customer: Hi, my green wing macaw has gone through a severe malt and his chest feathers are really patchy with a bold patch near his crop, I am not sure if he is feather plucking but his chest is getting more bearer.
JA: Where does the macaw seem to hurt?
Customer: He is not hurt
JA: OK. No obvious pain. What is the macaw's name and age?
Customer: Rio age 5
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Rio?
Customer: He went to the Vet's about 2 months ago, as he was being really lethargic and quiet, they tested his blood but it came back all clear
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
About 2 months ago, he was feeling really lethargic and had his head behind his wings, we took him to the Vets and they said his blood tests and Xray were clear, they prescribed him anti-biotics for a potential infection, but within a few days he was normal and back to his lively self. 2 months on, we have noticed he has gone through a heavy malt, his chest feathers are chewed and patchy and is losing feathers regularly. This isn't normal and he spends a lot of time preaning.
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
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Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Just need an answer

Hello, one of the moderators here reached out for me to help you (this is the first I've seen of your question and I'm sorry it seems to have gotten lost on the boards)

I'm August Abbott, Cert. Avian Specialist, owner of N.CA Parrot Rescue (Broken Birds Sanctuary) in upstate California. I specialize in macaws, especially those 'broken' by abusive or severely neglectful humans. I have both a Scarlett and a B&G showing similar 'sparse' chewed up feathers like Rio is.

You MUST be complimented on your commitment to Rio in taking to him to the vet for a check up when he acted even a little 'off'. My concern is why the vet Rx'd an antibiotic without a diagnosis. That's not even prudent in humans anymore. Antibiotics given "willy nilly" like this can build up a resistance to them which means when one really, truly needs it, it won't work. Too many antibiotics is what contributed to the evolution of "super bacteria" and the reason we're so astute to what foods we eat were fed antibiotics while it was living

This said, maybe establishing a different vet would be a good idea for future needs. It's just something to think about

Now, as for this 'choppy' appearance: It could still be an infection. Was he checked for yeast? This is a simple look at a fresh dropping under the microscope at any vet. Some will even let you rush a fresh dropping (collected on a piece of waxed paper or parchment) in for exam without having to bring Rio, but find out the procedure before endeavoring to do this

Another thing we have to consider is an allergic reaction to something. Does anyone smoke (anything) in Rio's vicinity (as in the entire house)?

Where is he in relationship to the kitchen and let's talk about what you use to cook (any coated cookware?)

Any other animals in the home?

How about his food? Describe what he eats on a daily basis. Not the name or brand, but you've got to be my eyes - what is his usual food made up of?

Finally - how are his droppings looking? Normal in amount, consistency, color? Any odor to them?

We'll get this figured out - you, me and Rio together, ok?

S. August Abbott, CAS and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Hi, thank you for getting back to me, I appreciate the response.
Do you think the feather condition could have been caused as a bi-product to the anti-biotics? I don't think he was tested for Yeast, should I call the Vet and ask them? we did provide a dropping sample when we took him to the vets so perhaps they did?
No one smokes at home, we do have another African Grey who is placed on the side of his cage, the Kitchen is also in the next room, but has open access. What could have caused this from the Kitchen? coated cookware, we only tend to use steel pans.Generally, in the mornings he would eat either a boiled or scrambled egg, fresh cut fruit (apples, banana, grapes, oranges, porridge, walnuts, mango, green peas, corn on the cobs, and for noon/afternoon he would eat the general macaw seed mix, sometimes boiled noodles, pasta, rice, meat (on the bone) cooked and left over from our dinner plates.
No odor to the droppings, but they tend to differ, sometimes green/white lumpy, sometimes lighter brown/green but more of a splatter.
What do you think could be causing this? do you specialise in parrots? do you think we should take him back to a Vet? the place we took him last time, was the only specialist local to me.

I have not seen this follow up until just this minute - I have no idea why or how it escaped being 'dinged' for attention and I apologize for what is clearly a site 'glitch'

Yes, I specialize in parrots, specifically macaws. I own N.CA Parrot Rescue which is becoming Broken Birds Sanctuary. I am now taking in only the birds permanent disabled by abuse and neglect.

Fill me in on how he's doing right now.

I'd try to eventually eliminate the seeds. Quite often they are a culprit in a host of health problems and surprisingly your Grey isn't showing any allergic reactions to them (seeds). A pelleted diet for a base is recommended. These are not cereal as many people think. They are exactly what they say they are on the ingredient list which is typically various fruits and/or vegetables extruded to a dried and palatable form. I'd start with a plain, no flavoring, no colors added and offer one or two from your fingers as it it's a treat. Eat one yourself to trigger the 'flock sharing' reaction. Unlike dog or cat food, the pelleted diets offered birds are safe safe safe (and thus highly recommended)

If no luck with the plain after the first week or two - move on to one with 'some' flavoring/color until you find the right pellet. Don't worry about them starving themselves. It won't happen. These beauties have survived that last mass extinction some 65 million years ago (the only other species that made it were the crocodilians) - they roll with the flow and will forever be survivors.

You can be sure they're still eating by monitoring the droppings. If droppings are happening and have any amount of solids in the center, that's food. They're eating.

If your vet took a fecal sample chances are they looked at it under the microscope and checked for yeast. You can always call and ask

By putting a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar OR real lemon juice in a cup of fresh water twice a day you'll raise the Ph just enough to help stave off yeast. It's not a 'sure thing', but it helps.

Again I'm sorry for the site's error in notifications. I'm still here for you

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
He is fine at the moment, he tends to sit on his free standing tree perch and is usually very observant when someone comes past or in the kitchen. Do you think this is a sign of maturity that he screams less and is more calmer? He doesn't eat much seeds at all, we have tried to give him pellets before but they do not eat them and same goes for the african grey. They simply neglect the seeds until they starve basically, is that normal and part of the weaning process?
I will call the vet and ask them about the Yeast test, I am sure that they did this. do you think the broken and frays chest feathers are a result of a diet or more so, an underlying infection? what would the vet do to test this? the feather appear to be chewed as you can see in the pictures but he is also growing new feathers.

They won't starve themselves. It's against every instinct they have, so stick to the pellets and plenty of fresh foods. I'll stand by you all the way on this - we can 'chat' daily if you want to ok?

A vet will take a crop swab and a dropping sample. They will look at the dropping under a microscope to check for yeast. The swab would likely be cultured to see if it grows anything specific (bacteria) and then treat accordingly for that particular growth.

If something more serious is suspected a blood sample would be taken. To do this the vet will clip a toenail just short enough to produce a drop or two of blood. It's like when we get our fingers stuck for a blood sample. It stings for a half a second and that's that.

With a blood sample, if you want, the vet can send away for DNA and tell you the sex, for sure, of your bird(s) which is really good to know going forward. Symptoms you may see in the future may be just a touch of 'constipation' in a male, but the same symptoms could be egg binding in a female and one you can wait on and try to address at home; the other could be life threatening without immediate intervention. That's why it's important to know 'for sure' sex.

This could be a simple - major molt, even though it looks unusual this time. One of my own here in sanctuary looked bald in a spot on his head for the first time ever. For some reason he molted ALL his feathers there at once, probably scratching and rubbing the area. I was concerned too since as I've told you it could be infection or even disease. Fortunately, it took a month, but the new feathers are all in and accounted for.