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Old 05-06-2018, 03:05 PM
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My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

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Hello, I recently came upon a baffling aspect of my parrot I can't find an answer for and hoped someone in this forum could clear it up.

It's a long story, but I feel like this context is very important for my question: my parents and I recently took in an amazon parrot called Loro after my aunt, his owner, died. He is 40 years old and originally belonged to my grandma, who treated him like her own son and spoiled him rotten. She loved him to death and Loro couldn't ask for a better owner. When she died, however, my aunt took him in... and unfortunately my aunt wasn't a stable person. She suffered from bipolar disorder and other serious mental illnesses, and therefore even though Loro belonged to her mom, she didn't treat him well at all. She often had anger fits and would repeatedly beat Loro or his cage to shut him up, with age and the beginnings of Alzheimer she also constantly left his cage alone in a shady room with no sunlight or fresh air for days. Her caretakers were no better, because they only fed Loro bread and sunflower seeds and beat him up as well. This situation went on for 15 years.

Last year my father went over to my aunt's house to take care of her now that she was very ill and weak. He found Loro in a cramped, rusty cage falling apart with age. Hell there was even a pile of poop accumulate at the cage floor, and it had been sitting there for so long that the uric acid ate away the metal floor and left a big hole when it was cleaned up. His state was beyond terrible, and thus my father started giving Loro a decent life again by constantly taking him out, feeding him a diet full of varied fruits and seeds, buying a new spacious cage for him and overall treating him with dignity. My aunt unfortunately died months later, and we brought Loro to our house so he is part of the family now.

After his 15 years of abuse and terrible diet Loro's plumage was still recovering by then, in fact he went through a really intense molting when he arrived here. Because of this I never really thought much of his naked wings... until now. He has been over his molting for a while now and when he stretched his wings last night I noticed not a single flight feather had grown. This rose many red flags in my head. I asked my mother about it and she showed me footage from back at my aunt's home, when Loro was enjoying the rain and flapping his wings. I realized that they looked just as naked back then, and that was over seven months ago! I can't help but feel concerned, specially because a friend of mine recently lost a budgie to an unknown illness that made his organism so weak he couldn't even grow his wing feathers back.

Also I must point this out: Loro is NOT a legalized parrot. I live in Brazil, and my grandma got him at some road in the countryside way back when the inspection of illegal exotic animal trade was terribly poor. Therefore I suspect his handler did something to his wings to prevent the feathers from growing. At first I thought pinioning, but as you can clearly see in the following videos(sorry for the poor quality, recorded it in my crappy phone), his metacarpal bones are still intact:

After asking my bird expert friend, he confirmed he wasn't pinioned and that his coverts were all there, and even added "it's almost like someone ripped out all his primaries and most of his secondaries right out the sockets".

So now I'd really puzzled. Even if it isn't a sign of illness caused by his abused past, I really would like to know what made his wings look like that. I did lots of research on different methods of permanent flight limitation and found nothing, and I can't help but feel like Loro was put through something absolutely terrifying when he was little... I shudder just from thinking about it. If anyone has any ideas, I'd really appreciate the input.
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Old 05-06-2018, 03:08 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

Track, I'd love to see what others say. I'm glad he lives with you now.
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Old 05-06-2018, 03:27 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

That poor baby I am so glad he is with you now and being provided with better care! Given his age and history of abuse, he does appear to be in good feather now. With the benefit of living in the natural range of BFA's, you have the advantage of being able to feed him locally available fruits they might eat in nature, so I hope you are offering him lots of his natural diet daily

I can't say I've ever seen anything like those wings. Our BFA is clipped (by me and I give a textbook "light" clip, nothing too drastic) and he typically needs his clip redone 2-3X a year because he molts out the clipped ones and grows new ones back (I'd say, on average 3-4 flight feathers every couple months falling out and growing back in). To have absolutely none grow back after over a year! I'm uncertain about what kind of practices are available or were used in the past in Brazil regarding permanently disabling a parrot from flight, but I wouldn't be shocked if Loro had something done to him well beyond standard practices I'm aware of here in the US. I wonder if they were ripped out, repeatedly and the feather follicles permanently damaged over time? In chronic feather pluckers, they pluck the feathers out so many times eventually they can never grow back. Some similar practice may have been done to him as a young bird until the feathers were unable to ever grow back.

In any case, you can at least try to turn the negative into a positive. Since he can't fly, make sure he has lots of climbing options instead. My BFA has been clipped all his life (was before we got him) and does not know how to fly. He loves climbing though and it allows him some independence to get around when provided ways to climb between his cage and play stand etc... I'd also recommend some additional (natural, not straight dowel) branches in a thicker diameter in his cage. He would likely enjoy some toys as well, though older birds can be hesitant to play. Depending, he may also enjoy supervised outside time or to go out with the family on excursions, since there is clearly no way he could fly off.

Last edited by Kiwibird; 05-06-2018 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 05-06-2018, 04:05 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

Oh yes we provide him lots of local fruits. I see wild parrots and parakeet flocks regularly in my city, some even come to my yard to eat our fruits, so we already had a good idea of what kinds of fruit they really enjoy. Loro's favorite is easily guava. He loves it so much I constantly find him with a pink/red beak XD. Honestly I was shocked that even though he spent 15 years with that awful diet of bread and sunflower seeds, Loro never really got overweight. My best guess is that his habit of always dipping the bread in water helped nullify the effects of yeast.

Now regarding his mobility, Loro is still in the slow process of building trust on us. He trusts my father enough to let him grab and cradle him like a baby, but my mother and I are still in his beak's fire range. He made me his official head scratcher, but other than that any harsh move and my fingers will be in danger, haha. Because of this, Loro doesn't show much interest in getting out of his cage, in fact he is really scared of doing so. We have a dog and two cats too, so that doesn't encourage him to get out any better. We are currently trying to get him to leave the cage and walk around our laundry room to have a daily exercise and interact with the environment a bit(and we always lock the other pets out of course), but it's a very slow process for such an abused parrot. Specially because back in my aunt's house the caretakers often beat him up with a broom whenever he got out.

We also got lots of toys for him to entertain himself inside his cage, but as a 40 year old parrot who NEVER played with toys before, he doesn't even know how to play. Instead of climbing on the little wooden stairs and dangling from the rope balls, he just pulls them over and destroys them to bits with his murder-beak! Do you have any advice on encouraging him to climb and interact with the toys in more ways than just... chewtoys? XD
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Old 05-06-2018, 04:29 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

Thank you for rescuing him.
It may take a long time to gain trust. Just be patient.

Sit next to his cage and read softly to him, look over at him to let him know you are talking to him. Do as much as you and Loro feel comfortable.
You may have to play with his toys in front of him to show him what to do. They are smart but he needs to trust you too.
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Old 05-06-2018, 05:41 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

Thank-you and your family for taking this Amazon into your home. And, Welcome to Parrot Forums!

The Amazon appears to be suffering the effects of what is commonly seen as a seriously poor Export Clipping, where the Primary and Secondary Wing Feathers on one or both Wings are cut very short to assure that during the length of the Export /Import additional trimming is not needed.

The results, when cut extremely short is that new feathers are totally unsupported and commonly lost when they come in. Many Parrots die as a result of Blood Feathers breaking and bleeding.

Clearly some of the root bases are still in place as there are currently two Primary feathers (one on each Wing) that are fully in place. By their coloration, they appear to be Primary Feathers and the color(s) indicate they are flash feathers. Other Wing Feathers could also fill in with time and an excellent diet. Depending on the overall health of the Amazon, replacement of Wing Feathers can take years to be replaced. Even longer when the natural process has been continually broken and/or suppressed.

You really need to have your Amazon seen by a qualified Avian Vet that can inspect the Wings to determine the level of damage and likelihood of regrowth, position by position.

At this point, extensive effort in providing a very healthy diet is your goal.

Soft wood crew toys and plain paper and thin cardboard for him to crew apart (make lots of tiny pieces of) is what we call play!

See the top two Threads in the Amazon Section and read both! Within the huge Thread: I Love Amazons - ... is a ton of information of loving and living with Amazons is found in that Thread in each of its well over 30 segments. One of the segments provides a foundation for a healthy Amazon diet. Many of your other questions may find information with in those many segments.

Enjoy!
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Old 05-06-2018, 07:36 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

Quote: Originally Posted by SailBoat View Post
Thank-you and your family for taking this Amazon into your home. And, Welcome to Parrot Forums!

The Amazon appears to be suffering the effects of what is commonly seen as a seriously poor Export Clipping, where the Primary and Secondary Wing Feathers on one or both Wings are cut very short to assure that during the length of the Export /Import additional trimming is not needed.

The results, when cut extremely short is that new feathers are totally unsupported and commonly lost when they come in. Many Parrots die as a result of Blood Feathers breaking and bleeding.

Clearly some of the root bases are still in place as there are currently two Primary feathers (one on each Wing) that are fully in place. By their coloration, they appear to be Primary Feathers and the color(s) indicate they are flash feathers. Other Wing Feathers could also fill in with time and an excellent diet. Depending on the overall health of the Amazon, replacement of Wing Feathers can take years to be replaced. Even longer when the natural process has been continually broken and/or suppressed.
Oh that's very interesting, I've never heard of that before. If that was the case, though, it's important to consider that he is 40 years old now and never really had his wings clipped during his time with my grandma or aunt. Neither of them knew to do this sort of thing and let alone bothered to take him to a vet, and back in the day my grandma took great care of him too. That's why my best guess is that whatever happened to his wings must have been caused when he was taken from the wild as a baby, and thus the damage to his feathers are clearly permanent at this point.

Quote: Originally Posted by SailBoat View Post
You really need to have your Amazon seen by a qualified Avian Vet that can inspect the Wings to determine the level of damage and likelihood of regrowth, position by position.

At this point, extensive effort in providing a very healthy diet is your goal.
We've been looking for viable avian vets to take him for a few months, unfortunately it's very difficult to find one around here -.-'. I recently heard of a new avian vet coming to a clinic close to my neighborhood, though, and my parents are looking deeper into it. I really want him to go through a check-up because Loro never went to a vet in all his life, and now that I noticed his wing issue I feel the need to do that as fast as possible.

Thanks a lot for the advice, though! I actually have been browsing some of the info thread since I made the original post. While I've taken care of WAY too many birds to count thanks to being a cat owner(I gotta nurse their victims back to health constantly ¬¬'), I never had any experience with parrots before Loro. If anything I've always been super uneasy about parrots because Loro himself pretty much tore my finger apart waaaay back when I was only 4 years old. It's amusing that nearly 20 years later I had to get over my aversion of parrots to take care of the culprit of it in the first place XD.
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Old 05-06-2018, 11:07 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

Great advice from the posts above. I'd also like to reiterate that it's great Loro is now in your and your parents' care, as it sounds like he's had a rough time of it up until now.

As for his wings, it's possible he plucked them often enough to damage the follicles and render them unable to grow new flight feathers. Or that they were plucked for him often enough for the same result.

As Kiwibird mentioned, though, creative options for climbing can give him quite a bit of independence and mobility in lieu of flying. Just make sure to keep the cats and dog completely separated from him once he finally gets comfortable enough to leave the cage.
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Old 05-07-2018, 03:45 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

Toys! That parrot needs toys, and someone to show him how to play with them

Brinquedos! Aquele papagaio precisa de brinquedos e alguém para mostrar a ele como brincar com eles
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Old 05-07-2018, 03:52 PM
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Re: My rescued Amazon is missing his flight feathers?

I am so glad that Loro was rescued and is now receiving proper care and love.

Last edited by SailBoat; 05-07-2018 at 05:22 PM. Reason: Removed unrelated sentence.
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