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Old 06-22-2010, 03:00 AM
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Alexandrine's feathers

Last February, I got an alexandrine parakeet for my father as a birthday present. The bird seems to be fairly happy, but something that's concerned me since day one is her feathering. When I adopted her, she had very poor feathering on her wings and I'm not entirely sure why. My first suspicion was the fact that she was on an all-seed diet, and I only managed to get her onto a pelleted diet fairly recently. Currently, her diet consists of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables (4 veggies, 3 fruits that I alternate daily), ZuPreem fruit pellets, various unsweetened fruit juices, and a bit of the seed/nut mix she came with.

She eats the pellets well enough, but not as well as I would like. So, I'm considering adding an avi-cake to her daily food ration in addition to the pellets... I'm just wondering how long it will take to see an improvement. Will I have to wait until the next molt? And if so, how long will it take? If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to share. (Note: I realize the feathering on her head is rather poor also, but she's in the process of molting in that area. Her head feathers are not normally that messy.)

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Old 06-22-2010, 03:19 AM
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Re: Alexandrine's feathers

Hello, Welcome to the forum, glad to have you here! And hello to your Alexandrines. Its good to see you have put him on an improved diet and you have done well to get him to eat pellets (i'm still struggling).

I don't own an alexandrines but a answering few questions might help someone here that does help you.

Has the bird seen the Vet?
Do you know how old is the bird is?
Have you noticed any signs of plucking or feather irritation?
Does the bird seem stressed or aggressive?
Is there any flaking on the beak?

I included some fatty seeds (with plenty of fresh Fruit and Veg) in my ekkie's diet for the first few years. I have since taken him off the worst of the seeds which according to my vet were the cause (His feathers were a little bit tatty). I have read it can take up to 12 months to see major improvement. So from the best of my knowledge - if nutrition is the problem, the next molt which will be anywhere from 6-12 months will probably show signs of improvement.

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Last edited by Aussie Ben; 06-22-2010 at 03:21 AM.
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Old 06-22-2010, 03:37 AM
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Re: Alexandrine's feathers

Thank you. Her seed mix actually does have a few pellets in it, but they're nasty things. I even tried them to see what the fuss was about, and sure enough they were extremely bitter- even for my human tastebuds. The Zupreem pellets are much better, although my father takes issue with the red food coloring.

Anyway, no. The bird hasn't been to a vet. She's about two years old. She's never been a plucker, and she doesn't appear to have any irritation other than the obvious itch from molting. She is aggressive at times, though. She's cage territorial and she's afraid of hands. Unless she's in the shower, she will not tolerate being touched with anything more than an index finger on her forehead. Any time we need to examine her, she has to be physically restrained.
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Old 06-22-2010, 04:05 AM
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Re: Alexandrine's feathers

Hey i was talking to a vet the other day about fethers and he said that birds moult once a year so when they loose feathers throughout the year they dont get them back until their normal moulting time!!He also said they can all moult at different times of the year but the most common time is around spring hope this helps P.S Im no expert just passing on what i was told
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:21 AM
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Re: Alexandrine's feathers

I think Ben's right about the timeline. Remember, it took a while for her feathers to get like this, so it'll take a while for them to improve.

Her behavior sounds a lot like my Alexandrine, Max. He absolutely loves to be with us, but does not want to be touched - ever. He has been known to spend a whole day in his cage, even with the door open and someone trying to coax him out. And don't put your hand in there unless you want it bitten. He's just much more solitary and introverted than our macaw.

Good luck with the feather issue. The improved diet is going to help a lot.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:55 AM
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Re: Alexandrine's feathers

Welcome to the forum, great post and lovely members.
You have been given fantastic tips and advise from Aussie Ben and HRH Di.
Browse around, so much to learn and share with one another.
Thanks for the pic, so cute
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:15 AM
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Re: Alexandrine's feathers

Welcome to the forum. Glad to have you hear. For the feather issue. I've been there. When I took her to the vet, the vet checked her and told me she was molting. This isn't exactly the only answer for your bird's problem but my suggestion is to take her to the vet. Good luck!
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:02 PM
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Re: Alexandrine's feathers

At only two years of age, she is too young to have bad plumage from a high protein diet, that only happens to older birds. As a matter of fact, people who show birds keep them on high protein all the time to ensure a beautiful plumage (feathers are made of protein so high protein means nice new feathers all the time -of course, in time, the high protein damages their liver and kidneys and will, eventually, kill the bird). So, if I were you, I would take that bird to a good avian vet asap because this ratty appearance can be caused by a number of things (bacterial or fungal infection, feather mites, congenital liver malfunction, etc) but, in the meantime, try adding some aloe vera detox formula to the drinking water and some DL methionine to the soft food (a very tiny sprinkle from a capsule on her soft food will be enough). They can't but help.

PS I agree with your father about the pellets you are feeding
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Old 06-23-2010, 05:36 AM
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Re: Alexandrine's feathers

First I want to put in a good word for Alexandrines. I got my little girl Emmy Lou from a specialty store called Adventures in Birds. She was breed and hand feed and I got her at 4 months. She was tame but just barely when I got her and she had been weened for a while. After working with "step up" for about a month we had a break thru and she is as sweet as she can be now at 2 years old.She is loves to cuddle at night and she wants to be with me often throughout the day. I can touch her anywhere on her body and beak and she is fine. The only bite I ever got was a jealous bite when I had my LB on my shoulder while holding her. She is cage aggressive but I always give her the choice ( by asking her it she wants to step up )to come to me from her cage and when she wants to she walks over and steps up.She does usually give me a little nip to let me know she did not have to come but she is doing me a favor - however when it is her idea to come ( she leans over the top of her cage and says "hello" )she is very very gentle. Anyway I to have a feather question - she looks great and until about a week ago she had a perfect elegant tail. Suddenly it is stiff and bent and the very long feather got bent enough to actually break of the last 1/3. She loves to shower and takes at least one soaker with me a week. When wet her tail straightens out. What is the deal. Is this part of the molting process? Her other molts the feathers just came out - why are they stiff and breaking - this is only the long tail feather - the rest of her looks great! Lynne
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