Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Birds Going Bald, Possible Causes

Blogger identifies search criteria that lead people to this site. Someone searched out why their Splendid parakeet was going bald, so I thought I'd address that problem.

Young Splendid hen with her two brothers.

None of my Bourkes or Splendids have exhibited this, but I did have a female Budgerigar once who did, and I've read about parrots plucking out all their feathers. In the case of the larger birds, there might be a vitamin deficiency, or just plain boredom. I think it's often depression.
Handfed male named Rainbow.

In the case of Beauty, my budgie, she had been a house pet and very happy that way. However, an ugly green male parakeet arrived on our front lawn and I caught him. They quickly bonded and life in the house with the two of them became very noisy.

They were transferred to our outside aviary with the finches. She quickly made use of a finch nest box and hatched an egg. The baby was green and his wings were deformed. He couldn't fly. Because of this, my parents insisted we remove any and all eggs she laid from then on. This upset her immensely, and she started pulling out her feathers, leaving her front entirely bald. That winter she died.

We don't know any of the circumstances of the searcher's Splendid, but would guess it might be lonely and depressed. Another bird, and/or more attention could help. My own bachelor Splendids were provided with lots of stimulating toys and a bigger cage than the other birds. I think this helped keep them satisfied. Splendids are very active birds and enjoy swings and toys.

This bird really used the rings,
climbing in and out of them.
All the birds love their swings.
Another recommendation would be to be sure they have adequate nutrition. They love fresh vegetables, and you should always have cuddle bone and/or other calcium sources available. My birds have all benefited greatly from bird breeder extraordinaire Bob Nelson's advice. He recommended I add small salt blocks intended for rabbits. In doing that, all my birds' health and productivity has increased immensely. Not only did the Bourkes have bigger clutches and hatch ALL their eggs last year (I'd had losses before this), but the size of the new Lady Gouldian finches' first clutch amazes me. I noticed the hen pecking at the salt block just this morning. Is that the reason for their success? I believe so.

To avoid feather plucking, be sure every possible nutritional requirement is met. Give them lots of stimulation with toys and/or other birds. Also, if another bird is present, watch to be sure it isn't plucking the feathers of its companion. If so, you may need to separate them.

Peace & Blessings!

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