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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 8715
Experience:  Work w/Avian Vet; published bird care nutrition& behavior articles; consults, research
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S. August Abbott, CAS is online now

We have had parrots for nearly 30 years but are stumped. We

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Hi, we have had parrots for nearly 30 years but are stumped. We have a Galah who lives in the kitchen and can see into the conservatory where there are other parrots. On monday we collected two african greys from a friend who is very I'll. Our Galah was fine on monday but on tuesday was staring through at the new birds when they were making a noise. Well since then he will not eat or drink. I put a cover up yesterday so he couldn't see them and this morning I have been giving him drops of water in his beak with a syringe while he is in his cage and he is fighting back attacking the syringe. He is posing which looks fairly normal but I am so worried. He is not tearing up his papers either which he spends a lot of time doing. Appreciate your help, thanks Cindy
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the bird?
Customer: Not really he is just very subdued and not himself

Hello Cindy, I"m August Abbott, Certified Avian Specialist with a specialty in parrot nutrition and behavior.

Tell me, even before you began supplementing your 'too's fluid intake had you been seeing any droppings? If so, were they normal looking?

Give me an idea of what you're feeding

How old is the 'too and tell me a little more: What's it's name? How old? Been with you for how long? In a cage or out or both? Regular sleep schedule and if so, what are the hours? Do you cover?

We'll work together on this - we'll figure it out

Btw, I"m in CA where are you?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi, only started his water with syringe today. Not eaten or had drinks for 2 days. He is still pooping today. Looks reasonably normal with pieces in it but the watery part looks a bit yellow.. all our birds have a good quality seed mix and every day they have a bowl of chopped fresh fruit and veg . He is 25 and we have had him 12 years. In a cage and regular sleep pattern and no do not cover. I am in Lincolnshire, England uk
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Very subdued and not himself at all

Thank you - this is helpful. As long as you're seeing droppings with any solids whatsoever in them, he's eating, just not letting you know

Now, what has me more concerned is the yellowish part of the urates. No matter what the seed makers say - there is no such thing as a 'healthy diet of seeds' for in-home birds and we see a huge number of them, as they get older, develop hepatic lipidosis because of the high fat diet without a day full of flight to burn it off.

It's like feeding a human toddler nothing but ice cream and candy while they live in their bedroom for years. Everything seems just fine until that first heart attack or diabetes or a host of other health issues.

The addition of new birds may have been a stressor - and that stressor could have lowered his "masking" ability just enough to have him showing symptoms. Birds, over 65 million years old, are among the most expert "maskers" in the animal kingdom, which helps explain part of the reason they survived the last mass extinction.

I would have to recommend a hands on vet visit to at least check a fresh dropping under the microscope for yeast/fungal infection and a blood chem to test liver values at the very least. As you know with your admirable history with psittacines, it only involves a nail clipping a bit short enough to get a drop of blood. It's no more painful than us having our finger pricked to do the same.

Then let me know what the vet finds and we'll work together at addressing whatever it is going forward.

I work with a fellow who has international bird shows - I met a 90 year old 'too who was amazing at holding actual conversations! 90 years old! I've only met a few humans at that age who are able to hold conversations!

Let's get yours there too

I can also help you convert to pellets - no matter how old the bird is. I own BrokenBirds.org - all macaws (though currently we do have a 'too) who have been horrifically abused and, well, broken in some way (blind, crippled, etc) and when the come into the sanctuary, some have been seed junkies for decades. I get them all converted, usually within days. So I'm positive we can do this

Sound like a plan?

How are you and your Galah doing ?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi, fingers crossed hopefully he is on the mend. After our last messages later that day he seemed to perk up a little. I think putting a cover round so he couldn't see the new birds helped. I tempted him with little treats when he seemed a little brighter. He loves broccoli and was tempted by that. He is now eating almost normally and nearly back to his usual self. I would say 85%.. I am convinced he was stressed over the new birds. It is about 5 or 6 years since we have rescued our last bird and he couldn't see that one. Lots of attention and TLC have hopefully pulled him round. Thankyou for you email. Cindy

Oh good! Just to be safe given their innate expertise at 'masking' (seeming to 'recover' from something) - a vet visit to check droppings and maybe get a couple swabs for culture?

All up to you though - I respect your instincts and experience. Stop back and let me know how you're all doing now and then, ok?

And if you rate this it only removes it from the 'open' board; we can still continue

Thank you and keep up the good work

S. August Abbott, CAS and 2 other Bird Specialists are ready to help you