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Archive Topic
Feathering

ian jones from Wales. UK asks: Hi Dr.Rob, Have bred gouldians for 18 years with very few problems. Recently moved all the birds[90] to new birdroom, also bought in. About 7 weeks ago they started to scratch vigorously, loose feathers, and small pieces of flakey skin fall off.They seem worse after being handled and after batheing. Have been treating them with S76 in the drinking water as instructed, also given them ivermectin drops to back of neck but they are still suffering. The cages and flight have been thoroughly cleaned. I've obviously handled each bird while treating them, but as yet not seen any parasite on them. Do you have any suggestions as they havent improved after 6 weeks of treatment. Thanks Ian
Hello Ian, Yes, it is possible that your birds may be suffering from quill mites. Remember, quill mites and some other types of mites are not blood suckers, so S76 in the drinking water will not be effective. I suggest that you try mixing the S76 at drinking water strength and allowing one or 2 of your birds to bathe in it. Assess the results. If there is a positive result, then let them all bathe in it. If your birds do not like bathing on their own, then gently mist them with the S76 water.

This could also be a thrush problem, so adding the KD Water Cleanser to the bath and drinking water could also be helpful.

This could also be a dust allergy. So I suggest you also move several birds to a new room and treat them to see if this makes a difference. All the Best, Rob

Kalan Toy from San Jose CA asks: Hi Dr. Rob, Yikes, the breeder treated the canarys with lice spray for two weeks. I picked the birds up yesterday. When I caught two of the birds, they still had lice! the lice were clustered on the small of the back just above the preening gland, unless you were looking for them they would have gone unnoticed: the birds a in good feather still singing and bright. After I got over the shock, I took the spray and drenched the lice in the spray which killed them. 1. will scatt control lice? 2. Will one scatt treatment be enough? Hi, I went to buy a few canarys and a parrotlet from a breeder. When I examined the Canary, mites/lice ran down my arm. I asked them to treat all the birds for mites/lice and hold them. They've been treated with and anti mite/lice spray every 3-4 days for two weeks now. Is this treatment regime enough to kick the pest? Will these treated birds have other health issues after treatment ends? Thank you! Kalan_Toy@yahoo.com
Hello Kalan, It is hard to say whether the cycle has been broken. It really depends upon what kind of mites/lice were on these birds. If they were the kind that only crawl on the birds at night (blood mites) and hide in cracks and crevices during the daylight hours, then the environment would also have had to be treated also. Rob

Ira & Rita Goldstein from New Rochelle, NY asks: We have 2 gouldians, we have noticed recently, a lot of small pin feathers coming out near the head & neck area. That is on both of them. Other than that, they are eating well, singing...Hope you can help us...thank you...Ira
Hello Ira & Rita, I do not think that anything is wrong with your Gouldians. It sounds like they are at the completion of their yearly molt. All the Best, Rob

shelly from hendersonville, nc asks: I recently aquired a group of finches from a pet store that was going bankrupt. In the group, there is a male gouldian, 2 societies and several zebra finches. They are all housed in a large cage together. I have noticed that the color in the gouldian is faded and looks like he is losing feathers. I have never witnessed the other birds picking on him, but have not ruled that out as a possibility. Do you suggest separating him or do typically mixed flocks do OK?
Hello Shelly, I suspect that the faded color on your new Gouldian is a result of inadequate nutrition in this last year since his yearly molt. The birds that you have mentioned should have no problem living in a colony together.

My suggestion is to put all of them on the best diet you can afford and watch what will happen to their health and activity level. My Resting Season Health Programme would be ideal for them. All the Best, Rob

denise mower from south yorkshire england asks: Dr Rob I ahve many gouldians and have bred successfully for a number of years. This year I have quite a few females with bald heads. They have no mites or other vsisble skin infection. they seem very healthy and some have bred young. They have a good balanced foreign finch, charcoal,iodine block egg shell, cuttlefish, greenfood gg food and a water mineral suppliment. They also have meal worms every day as they live in a mixed aviary.mineral block grit also. I have heard it is due to a lack of iodine.They have accesss to a water spray 3 times a day and often use this, What could be wrong? Thankyou
Hello Denise, Insufficient iodine may sometimes be the cause of head feather loss, but most times it is caused because birds are breeding "out of season". By this I mean that they have not been allowed a proper time period to completely molt each year with adequate nutrition.

Improving the nutrition in their diet and allowing sufficient molting time next Spring should correct this problem for you and your birds. All the Best, Rob

ROCCO CICIRELLO from STATEN ISLAND NEW YORK asks: hello, i have a molting red factor canary,i added one half tea spoon of cantaxithin into one half pound of orlux red factor egg food. do you think this sufficient, or to much? they say what they don't need they excrete.is this correct? thank you.
Hello Rocco, I suggest that you follow the directions on the label of the coloring product that you are using. Regards, Rob

ROCCO CICIRELLO from STATEN ISLAND NEW YORK asks: hello, my red male red factor canarywill be molting soon. he dropped a couple big feathers, so i know from the past he's a few weeks away from a major molt. i noticed last week for a couple of days he would sleep almost all day on the top perch or on the floor, with his feathers all fluffed up. he was still eating his L'AVIAN CANARY SEEDS,cede red egg food,and petamine.just yesterday he perked up and seems normal again.is this a stress sign of the molt? thank you
Hello Rocco, Your canary could be in the beginnings of his yearly molt and therefore experiencing some stress. I would suggest keeping an eye on him for a change in droppings or any other behavior out of the ordinary which could be a sign of illness. A good molting supplement would be most helpful to him during this time. Regards, Rob

Richard Norwood from Columbia, SC asks: I have Society Finches that have some feather loss that seems permanent. They lose feathers on their upper chest, the nape of their neck, and over their shoulders. The loss is in patches. I have used S76 and I have sprayed for mites with no improvement. Any ideas? Thanks.
Hello Richard, Your Society Finches may have self induced trama or inter bird picking. I would check for compatibility in the flight and dust in the environment. Birds can get staph skin infections with dirty air conditioning systems. Best of Luck, Rob

sue lloyd from USA - North East asks: Wondering what would cause Canarys to go into a soft molt. This - of course ruins any hope of breeding. They seem to just finish a molt and start another. Could this be related to a medical problem? I am not the only one seeing this in my birdroom. Reading your book on Canary Health and wondering if an antibiotic treatment would be a good idea. Would you recommend Baytril? When would be a good time of year to treat the entire flock with baytril? After the summer molt - or just before Breeding season?
Hello Sue, A soft molt can be induced in canaries by any sort of stress, a food change or temperature/daylight fluctuations. All the Best, Rob

andreabonoldi from southborugh, ma asks: What does it mean if both of the side wings are dropped slighty and not exactly in line with the back feathers.
Hello Andrea, Dropped wings can be a position that you bird is exhibiting beause it is not well. Assess the possible health issues that may be involved. All the Best, Rob

Mick from Senior asks: Dr. Rob, How can you tell if a gouldian has a ingrown feather (eye area)?It is swollen and yellow ,he keeps rubbing it.I have tried colloidal silver drops,and a antibiotic ointiment!How do you care for this?Thanks ..Mick
Hello Mick, Ingrown feathers are very rare in Gouldian Finches. It is more of a problem in Budgerigars. I believe that your Gouldina's problem may be a sinus infection. A vet must assess whether it is a bacterial or fungal infection and treat with the appropriate medication. Good Luck, Rob

hugo perez from arecibo puerto rico asks: Hi DR. Rob I live in Puerto Rico and I just purchased a pair of vosmary electus from a person that was leaving to the gulf ,, he left the birds whith his brother and his brother has no info on them , well the male has pluck in the back and in the chest all the way down , i went to the vet , and they dont know to much on birds down hear , his wing are clip ,,and I have not seen him plucking or pulling feathers in the month or so they have bin here ,, I have been spring mite and lice bird spray on him but no feather yet,, please help thank you ...
Hello Hugo, I believe that you need to take your Eclectus to a good avian vet for a complete physical examination. All the Best, Rob

Taryn DeChellis from Glendale, California asks: Dear Dr. Rob, I am writing you about Titan, a Senegal parrot, who started plucking last February, 2005. It started a couple weeks after we adopted another cockatiel and parakeet, both females. In the same room, is an African Grey, a pigeon, and at the time, three cockatiels. The Senegal was born 2/17/2000. Once the plucking began, I tried Profeda in his water. I have also put flower essence drops for anxiety in his water. I have since moved the cockatiels out of the room. I give him a shower each day. I spray him with George's aloe vera each day. I put aloe in his water, along with 911 Stress Control. I spray him with 911. Lately I have also been spraying him with Silver 100. This is similar to collodial silver (a natural antibiotic). He needs to be caged unless I am around because he will attack the parakeets through the cage bars. He is jealous that the African Grey is out all day, and he wants out. But this situation has not changed for three years. He has alot of toys in his cage. He enjoys sitting under the full spectrum light. He used to love being outside. Now, he completely plucks if I put him outside or into another room for more than a half hour. A few feathers will grow back and then he will get stressed and pull them out. He used to be a great eater of fruits and vegetables, and now is not. He will eat dried papaya, a bit of egg, a couple peas, a grape, dehydraded raspberries, Lafeeber's nutri-berries, safflower seeds, an almond in the shell, and a pistachio nut. During the last year I eliminated nuts at one point, which made no difference. He has become a screamer. He has anxiety and is nervous. He is so plucked, he has one tail feather left. He cannot fly, he just falls if he tries. I went to the Pomona Bird Show last Sunday and spoke with Laraine. She said that I should write to you, saying that Titan's plucking is a problem that possibly you could help me with. She said Titan's situation was beyond her level of expertise. Since the show, I now have him on calcium plus, at four drops per two ounces of water, and still have the aloe and 911 Stress Control in his water. On his Nutri-berrie, on the papaya, and on his wet food, I have been sprinkling the Feather Fast. I want to ask if maybe I should try to syringe the calcium into his beak to ensure that he is getting enough of it into his system. I appreciate your time in analyzing Titan's situation. He was a beautiful and happy Senegal at one time. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions as to what else I could do to try and break Titan?s habit of plucking. Best regards, Taryn
Hello Taryn, I apologize for the delay in replying to your e-mail. This is a psychological problem but first I would treat for mites and lice. You must determine the bird's underlying frustration with the new birds. Perhaps you can get this bird out first or mix him with other birds or move his cage away from new bird. He may be separated from his friend. Check all these out then get back to us. All the Best, Rob Rob

Kim from Iowa asks: I have a pair of redhead normal Gouldians. They have lost their head feathers and they have not returned. What is their problem and what can I do to assist them in regaining their head feathers?
Hello Kim, When birds loose their head feathers like yours have done, it is because they have not been allowed to molt at the right time of year. Birds need a specific time of year set aside for their yearly molt. For Gouldians this is in the late Spring. My suggestion would be to put your pair onto my Health Programme now and remove all nestboxes until well after they have completed their yearly molt. All the head feathers should then return. All the Best, Rob

Sandra DeSante from Philadelphia, PA US asks: One more question. After molting my male orange-cheeked waxbill ended up with one white tail feather. How did this happen? Will it turn dark gray again with his next molt or will it stay white?
Hello Sandra, I am afraid that I do not know the answer to this question about the white feather. Rob

Jim Beverly from Bristol, TN asks: I purchased a Swainsons Lory in Nov 05. It started picking its feathers and appears to have some type of parasite. We have had it to the vet several times with no cure yet. Tried ivermectin and now cefadrops. The bird has no feathers on his chest and left leg and now starting down his back. There are yellow scales on its neck and leg and back where the feathers used to be. Any suggestions.
Hello Jim, This question is more complicated than can be answered in this brief forum. A Questionnaire will be sent to you so that additional information may be gathered to help us answer this question for you. Rob

Sybil Wyatt from Baltimore asks: Our male eclectus is plucking his feathers. The owner of the store where we bought him three years ago recommended acquiring a small bird--perhaps a finch--to keep in a separate cage in our parrot's room. She thinks the diversion might improve our parrot's mental health and reduce his plucking. What do you think?
Hello Sybil, The plucking issue that you are dealing with is far too complicated than can be resolved in the forum. A Questionnaire will be sent to you, so that we can gather additional information to help you deal with your Eclectus' plucking issue. All the Best, Rob

Mona Lilly from rockton , IL asks: My baby gouldians are now 8 months old. One of them is still green and the other one has almost changed completely except the black head is spotted. Three week ago I started them on vitimins program of yours. Will this help them change colors. They both sing and seem very healthy. We live in the midwest and I keep the temperature at 74 degrees and the humidity of 40%. Is there anything else I can do? I say this as a joke, they were raised by Zebras and they have taken on thier personality. It seems like they want to stay green.
Hello Mona, Your juvenile Gouldians may have imprinted on their Zebras parents and may follow their moult pattern. I suggest placing them onto my Health Programme as their metabolism may become confused and render them susceptible to illness during an abnormally placed moult. It would be interesting to see how they go in the future. Rob

Stan Weiner from Westlake Village, CA asks: I have a new Cordon Bleu male that is about 9 months old. I have had the female for almost a year. Her last mate died recently, they never "mated". It appears that she is pecking, not aggressively, at the back of his head. He has a bald spot now. This just started and we've had him for about 2 weeks. Three questions: Will the feathers grow back and what to do about the pecking? Finally, why is it happening?
Hello Stan, The hen is agitated. It may be due to a illness or nutritional imbalance or purely incompatability. Be careful that she is not chasing him away from food. Rob -----

Tom from Jerusalem asks: Hello Again........... I have a canary that has been molting for about five months nonstop. It does sing, but weakly. I do not have it in a draft, and I feed it plenty of vitamins and make sure that it is getting all its needs, but I can't figure out why it is still molting. I have several other birds in the same place and they get the same treatment, yet they seem fine. Plus, when does the canary breeding season begin?
Hello Tom, This is called delayed moult and often the result of megabacteria or some other bowel problem that prevents absorption of nutrients to support a quick moult. Emotional problems (eg overcrowding, incompatability, dominant bird or a mated pair in same space as this bird chasing him/her away from food,etc) may also cause a delayed moult. Place on KD for a few days then Moulting Programme. CANARIES ARE SPRING BREEDERS. All the Best, Rob

Leo from California asks: Hello Dr. Rob, I recently acquired some finches. I observe that there seems to be some problems with them. My birds are shedding a lot of feathers lately and it isn't just one that is shedding, its like most of them. They are currently breeding, so I doubt this is a great time for molting. What may be the problem? Please teach me what to do. Thank you! Leo
Hello Leo, Your finches are probably experiencing an environmental change molt. This can happen when you newly acquire them because their temps and humidity can sometimes be different than where they came from. I would take all the nesting material away until this molt is finished. It is very stressful and energy consuming to molt and try to raise chicks at the same time. The parents will run out of energy and then possibly abandon the chicks.

You might also assess whether or not they have any external mites which could be causing the feather loss. If so, allow them to bathe in an S76 bath to remove the mites and treat the cages with a pyrethum spray. All the Best, Rob

Reva Wamsley from Yuma AZ asks: We have a pair of Gouldian finches that are going through their first molt. They are both puffed up but the male is really puffed up. He acts fine, he's eating and active. Is this a normal part of molting? We just started giving them Feather Up.
Hello Reva, Whenever birds puff up during their molt, that is a sign that all isn't going well. Molting is very stressful on them and it requires a lot of energy and perfect nutrition.

The Feather-Up is a start in the right direction as long as they are eating something moist that you can sprinkle it onto. Another thing that you can offer them is some NV Powder for about a week. This is an electrolyte, glucose and vitamin supplement that is added to their drinking water that will give them a quick boost of energy to help them through this molt.

All birds look very ratty when they are molting, but only the strongest come through it as if nothing were happening. All the Best, Rob

Courtney from Australia asks: I wrote to you last year about my female Gouldian going bald on the top of her head. Over the summer she grew her feathers back and looked really good. However she is beginning to show signs of loosing them again. She has begun to loose feathers around her beak and eyes. Is there a way of preventing this from happening again. We keep the birds inside at night and when it is cold, but have them outside as much as we can. Does ducting heating effect the birds in any way? They get a balanced diet and food/water is changed daily. Thank-you for your time.
Hello Courtney, The balding you are seeing is a result of your hen coming back into breeding condition. Some hens go through this every season, some outgrow it as they mature. It is hormonally related and about the only thing that could help is improving the diet that you have them on. All the Best, Rob

Ivy from England asks: Hello Doctor Rob! I am a birdkeeper living in Suffolk, England. I have two budgies, seven red factor canaries and two Gouldian Finches, all kept indoors in separate cages. We've had the Gouldians since last year and they are about three years old. I am becoming worried about them as the female has been losing feathers at the back of her head, along the edge of her mask (both birds are normal red headed Gouldians). I thought this is because the male has been trying to mate with her for the last few months and he pecks her head during his attempts. Now the male has lost a lot of red feathers around his face and around the edge of the mask- I can see his ears. Both birds even have small bald patches. Is this a normal moult for the UK? I have been giving all of the birds vitamins and exercise. I would appreciate any advice.
Hello Ivy, The feather drop out could be from a retarded moult or mites. My full Health Programme plus S-76 in the drinking water AND a S-76 bath will help all birds. All the Best, Rob

Jacqueline Forte from Florida asks: One of my 4 ringnecks has a large bald patch around his left ear. I am assuming this is mites. I have read many of your responses stating to use S76. I am wondering if you ever recommend Diatomaceous Earth as treatment. I use this on my chickens outside and they do very well. I have also used Frontline on them and it works too! 1 drop on a bantam. I of course am terrified to use that on my indoor birds but am convinced that the DE can't do any harm. What are your thoughts and if you think it is a good idea would you reccommend dusting them or having them eat it? Thanks in advance for your time.
Hello Jacqueline, Diatomaceous earth works well in chooks and is used as a bath or deep litter. It works really well and I recommend its use. I would use it as a dust, not to be eaten. All the Best, Rob

Jeff & Lavonne Bell from Illinois asks: We have lady gouldian finches. Our finches appearance is bad. They are always picking at themselves all the time and look as if they are in a full time molt. We took a couple of the finches to the vet and he said they are healthy. They don't look healthy and I'm debating this vets expertise. He checked them for lice and mites and found none. He said maybe they are stressed and to give them more meat, as to give them our left over meatloaf or whatever. The younger of our gouldians breaths hard,eyes always look tired, and appears puffy and always picking at himself as do the rest of the gouldians.They are offered a variety of the best of foods, including live food. Any ideas ??? Our birds are kept in a plexiglass aviary. I use corn cob and natural pine bedding on the floor which is changed at least every 10-14 days. Their food dishes are cleaned daily as is a fresh supply of vitamin supplemented water. They eat a balance of seed, fly larvae, fresh veg's, hard boiled eggs, millet, on a daily basis. I feel that their diet is not an issue but the Vet suggested they may be stressed and to feed them whatever type of meat we were eating, they may be lacking protein. I have tried this but the gouldians don't seam to care for it. I had also heard to get the wax bills out of the aviary, which we did with the exception of one orange cheek. We currently have a pair of Societies that have just fostered a Gouldian egg and he/she has just left the nest this past week and seems in excellent health. The only other idea I have is that we use Spanish Moss in the upper portion of the aviary held in there by chicken wire. Could this be the cause of dust or any environmental problems. My husband designed and constructed this aviary three years ago and we really haven't experienced any problems until the past six months or so. Any additional ideas, and thank you for your first resonse.
The most likely causes of itchiness and poor feather quality are nutritional imbalance, fungal toxin, streptococcal infection or mites. I would recommend S76 in drinking water for 2 consecutive days and in bath water on same day or spray them with the S76 mixture. Then I would suggest that you put them onto my full health programme. Give KD in the drinking water for three consecutive days then reassess in 3 weeks. Check for a possible source of fungus or strep = dust or/and humidity. Check floor covering. All the Best, Rob

Michele Smykle from South Dakota asks: My pet sparrow who is 8 months old is loosing her feathers? They are not necessarly being "plucked" out either, they are falling off her when she flys, sits around etc.....She eats normal and acts normal. This all started happening a day after she took a bath -- What are your suggestions? I am taking her to the vet tomorrow.
Hello Michele, This is usually nutritional (old feathers not being replced), mites or atoxoplasmosis (coccidiosis). S76 in the drinking water and painted on any bald spots and KD baths would be helpful as well as getting your sparrow on a Health Programme. A treatment with Trimethaprim Sulfa will also be necessary if the problem is coccidiosis. Rob

Red Foster from DFW, TX area asks: I have a 5 1/2 year old blue and gold Macaw. It seems she has stopped preening her feathers. They are not long and sleek anymore. They appear to be ruffled on the edges. Could this be serious?
Hello Red, THE ROUGH EDGES OF FEATHERS indicates a dry feather or mechanical abrasion (friction). If the edges are roughened in the area around the elbow it may be masturbation if he is a boy. Other wise it could be mites, lice or more likely dry feathers associated with a delayed or slow moult. Whatever the cause this bird will definitely benefit 100% from a programme of my health products and S76.

Within 3 weeks there will be a noticeable change in feather quality. If you could get a photo now and one in 3 weeks to see the change I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.

The Health Programme would include Turbobooster, E-Powder and F-Vite on seed daily for three weeks. 6 drops of each Dufoplus and Ioford on fruit two days a week. KD Water Cleanser in the water for 2 days a week and S76 NOW, THEN REPEAT S76 IN TWO WEEKS. Get back to me after this when we can see a marked change in feather quality. All the Best, Rob

Lorie from Tampa, Fl. asks: Dear Sir, I was given a pair of Zebra Finches only two months ago. I have never had a bird as a pet, there-fore I am in the "live & learn" process of care-giving. I have searched the internet for information on how to do so, to no avail - until now ! I am so glad to have stumbled onto this web-site, but I am hoping that it's not to late. I love my animals dearly & am fearful for my male. I had not noticed any problem before today, when I decided to do an extensive cleaning of their cage. (I normaly view them hanging from the ceiling) when I pulled the cage down and got a good look at the male I was terrified. He had no feathers on the top of his head. He looked as if he had been sucked through a vaccum cleaner. As I continued to examine him, he had feather loss on his back (only on one side) where his naked skin is very red & looks very sore. I took him out of the cage & discovered that the feather loss & redness continues all the way under his wing. It looks like it really hurts, & I am heartbroken & scared of what could be wrong. I can't believe that this could be normal, as in a moulting situation (although I am not completely educated about what that means). He acts totally fine. He is still able to fly pretty well, he is eating okay & he is as vocal as usual. His mate is her beautiful, normal self, but I have noticed her now picking at his raw areas (she acts like she knows something is wrong & she is trying to doctor him. He doesn't seem to mind her attention.) He picks at the remaining feathers in the affected area himself, as well. I put a heating pad against their cage in an attempt to keep his little naked body warm, & I put all new bedding in their nest. The female appears to be eggbound, because she has laid over a dozen eggs, since I got them, that have failed to produce anything. I was told she laid them due to stress from the move & that I should just remove them. I removed at least 9-10 eggs today before returning the pair to their cage. I am afraid to seperate the pair, & am afraid to keep them together. They have been (either) playing hard together alot the past few days, or else they are fighting. It's hard for me to distinguish between the two behaviors since I do not know them that well. All I know is that they do seem to love each other because they sleep together all the time & the male tends to this nest, that won't produce, religiously. I am very worried about them both. PLEASE, please! - I would appreciate any advice you can offer me to know how to take better care of these two & if my male has a (serious) problem that I need to address & if so, what do I do to help this poor little fellow. I don't want to fail at being a good birdy mom. Thank you so much for you time (& advice). Sincerely, A very worried mother.
Hello Lorie, Your zebra finch could have suffered a night fright or another stress episode with acute feather loss from flying scared around the cage. I would treat both birds with TurboBooster, F-vite and E-Powder to restablish their health and also treat them with S76 in drinking water as well as their bath water in case of an acute case of both internal and external mites. Good luck, Rob

Estelle Soto from Montebello, CA asks: Dear Dr. Rob, I have a 4 year-old male, Lady Gouldian finch, who started a molt about 3 months ago. He has lost feathers primarily around his neck, that I don't see growing back yet. This is the 'longest' he has taken to molt, and I am wondering if he is "stuck in the molt"? Also, I have noticed that his beak is a purplish color? Is this "normal"? And at night, he falls off his perch quite often, not able to keep his balance like he used to? Are these signs of "normal aging"? Thanks, Estelle Soto
Hello Estelle, This bird has a health problem. First treat with S76, then KD in the drinking water for 3 days, then reassess. Also, fortify his food with TurboBooster, E-Powder and F-Vite. Rob

Betty from Portland, Oregon asks: Dr. Rob, I have a two year old female Lady Gouldian , that has a terrible problem. She has lost nearly all her feathers. She can barely perch on a perch 1 inch from the bottom of the cage. Her appetite is good, she is drinking well, and she of course stays close to her light for warmth. The male she has lived with for her whole life (and the father of her four beautiful boys) is fine, as beautiful as ever. I am worried about our little girl. I have been giving her Nekton MSA minerals and trace elements in her water, but I don't know what else I can do for her.
Hello Betty, It appears this bird is unable to grow new feathers as she has dropped her old feathers but not replaced them with new ones. It may be more complicated than simply nutrition and may be impossoble to cure but the first step I would recommend is Turbobooster, E-powder and F-vite coated and mixed onto her seed and vitamins (DufoPlus and Ioford)as in my Moulting Programme. This would include a course of S76. Good Luck Rob

Alessandra Negrini from Italy asks: Dear Doctor, I have little experience with gouldians. It is only a few months I have them. Now I am in need of an advice. I bought my first couple of gouldians on July 1st 2004. On October 24th 2004 I bought other 2 couples. After a period of quarantine, I put together all 6 gouldians in a big cage (100 cm breadth x 70 cm depth x 90 c, height): http://community.webshots.com/album/228097684dLFPip . Yesterday I noticed that the red-headed normal hen is losing feathers of the mask: this lack of feathers interests the mask only, near the beak (but is extending), not the throat. This thing is happening to her only. Maybe she is stressed by colony-life? But this cage is very large for 6 birds and is not overcrowded, as you can see in the photos. They have plenty of space and food. I don't know what to do. My gouldians eat: - vegetables and fruit (they learned it in the end!!) - seed mixture = 50% exotic mix + 50% canary seed - feed I do myself with bread, cookies and dry milk - speficfic feed for gouldian finches (Orlux) - monthly vitamin supplement - minerals, grit and charcoal ad libitum Can you tell me what to do? Thank you so much Alessandra from Italy
Dear Alessandra, I would like to know if your bird is active and alert (bright eyes, etc.) and the nature of it's droppings. It may be a weaker bird as you say that is more affected by inter-bird activities than the others. I WOULD TREAT FOR MITES first (eg S76), then fortify the diet with a complete moulting programme to accelerate new feather growth. Otherwise it may be hormonal and related to imminent breeding activity. If this is the case, she will need fortification of food with nutrients. All the Best, Rob

Shelley from Washington asks: I have 1 female gouldian with 3 males; the female shows signs of aggressiveness towards the males. She is developing some bald spots which began as a bare ring around one eye, then patch of baldness on her cheek, now there is more baldness on the back of her head. What is causing this? I do not see the males picking at her or bothering her in the least, she's the one who bothers them.
Hello Shelley, This problem is a similar answer to baldness all over the head although feather loss around the eye may be sinus infection. It relates to the time the bird was born and if the bird is receiving a good nutritional balance. We would always treat a bird like this with Turbobooster, E-Powder F-Vite, etc and wait for the next moult. Treat also for external mites as a precaution. All the Best, Rob

JP Agrall from Illinois asks: I have a 3 year old Quaker. His feathers around the neck region, especially under his front neck region, are either falling out or being pulled out. What can I do to bring his condition back? He is bald on his neck. Thanks! J.P.
Hello JP, These signs reflect a problem with the crop. It may be a thrush infection. Treat initially with KD Powder in the drinking water. Then re-assess. This may also be the start of a behavioural problem. All the Best, Rob

Courtney from Australia asks: A couple of months ago my female Gouldian started to bald on her head. I increased the iodine in her diet, this didn't seem to help. Over the last few weeks she has gotten worst, she has lost more feathers on her head and body. I took her to the vet and was given some cream called canaural. This made her feathers stick together. Yesterday the vet washed her, now she cannot fly and is hopping around the bottom of the cage. She is eating and drinking, but she is shaking and seems to be getting worst each day. What should I do?
Medicated oils like canaural get absorbed quickly into the blood stream and may cause illness from drug overdose. This may be why your bird now looks ill. It becomes cold at this time of year in Australia and we see a lot of bald headed Gouldians. Mostly late breeding birds or birds that have bred in the wrong season. They display a moult of the head feathers but fail to grow then back until later in the year. Other causes for this baldness may be mite or protein deficiency. All the Best, Rob

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