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Old 01-02-2012, 02:46 AM
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black feathers? cause for concern?

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Old 01-02-2012, 02:47 AM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

she is super happy and playful with me, she was molting when i brought her home about 2 months ago, and when her flight feathers came in they had these blackish edges.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:07 AM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

Since you said they moulted in like this, and not that she had groomed them to excess (called over grooming or bronzing where a bird grooms a patch so much that they strip the outer pigments away) the next guess is stress feathers.

When a bird moults in new feathers, if their is stress or a dietary issue at the time they are growing in they can not develop right. Stress bars (what these look like to me) and bronze patches are some of the abnormalities that can happen.

Given that these 'stress' feathers grew in all at the same time, it may just have been stress from the move to her new home. You may not have noticed them right away as the feathers may have been still in the keratin sheath (pin feathers) or unable to be seen as they have not got their full length yet and are obscured by other feathers. Does the occurrence of the feathers/when they grew in match up with the move tht my have stressed her? If so, thats probably the cause.

It's too late to do anything about them now until they moult out again, but they indicate a stress that happened when they were growing in. Like said, this may be because of the move/coming home, or a dietary issue, or parasites or anything that prevented the feathers getting adequate nutrition and blood flow in their development. If you have had her for two months and don't think it was the moving stress I would probably have a vet check her over and make sure she is in good health.

Otherwise, since they have grown in like that, all you can do is wait for the next moult when the new, healthy feathers will grow in. It's only cosmetic an not harming her after all, but stress feathers can indicate underlying problems. Make sure she gets good nutrition year round, but especially when growing in new feathers so she has the vitamins an energy reserves to form them right without stress patches Next moult I bet she will have perfect feathers!
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Old 01-02-2012, 12:29 PM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

That was a very helpful post, Amber, as I don't think I've ever seen this before. Yes, perhaps the bird was stressed then by it's former home or the pet store or wherever she came from. Or her initial moving to your house. If they are from stress, and she's happy now, I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:58 PM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

He is a bit of a cutie. I wouldn't worry about his flight feathers that is normal coloration & what his flights should look like.

If he is a young weaned baby, the discolored feathers on the wings do look like stress lines & would have appeared at the time he was pulled from the nest for hand- rearing. It really isn't anything to worry about as with the next molt his new feathers should be normal.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:20 AM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

Thanks Roxy, there is a good read on it here if you were after more Things You Can Tell from Feathers

Quote:
Feather growth requires a myriad of nutrients for normal feather development. Therefore, if there is disruption in the assimilation of nutrients during the time of feather development, this will result in the production of stress bars on the feathers. Stress bars appear as black or depigmented lines that transect a feather, and multiple lines may occur at different levels on the feathers, if multiple bouts of disruption have occurred. If a young bird develops gastro-intestinal problems, digestive disturbances, prolonged chilling or periods when it is not fed (nor fed enough), this will result in the production of stress bars at the same level on all the feathers that were developing during that time.
I should say that what is in OPs picture are not stress bars as per see (bars are 'breaks' in the feathers, or in less major occurrences black (no pigment) bars) but they all fall under the feather development disruption category.

Usually I would first think that black patches were just overgrooming or worn out feathers that have been damaged over the course of their life and have lost pigment (natural thing), but since it is in a defined patch (not on the flight feathers, but middle right patch on the wings) and they are certainly black 'bars' across the feather (on some the tips beyond the bar also seem to be missing) I would bet on stress related feather development abnormalities ('stress bars')

This is minor though and really not a cause for concern if the stress can be found/located (in this case probably a past stress). A dietary issue would mean almost all feathers moulted in would have been 'stressed', not just this small patch. Looks like birdy had a bit of stress when he moved while these feathers were in development. Nothing major. All birds, even in perfect feather will have a few 'stress' feathers on them.



http://kili.sazhin.net/photos/3/before_after.jpg

Left, stress bars and depigmentation. Right, normally formed feathers.


Edit- I'm not referring to the flights, I think those are normal for a GCC, but to the batch of feathers on the wing in the right middle of the picture.
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Last edited by Amber; 01-04-2012 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:14 AM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

Thanks for the links. I'm actually going to read these right now as my zon spent 28 years on a seed diet and lasagna and mashed potatoes. I knew from looking at him he had some nutritional issues including a little bump on the bottom of each foot indicating a vitamin A deficiency. He is almost completely converted to pellets right now and is actually looking forward to his veggies and fruit and other healthy foods. I am hoping in a couple of months to see a much more vibrant looking bird.
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Old 01-04-2012, 03:33 PM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

I am sure i read somewhere that Codex is around 5 months old. If that is the case then i would have to say that the cause of the stress lines (Bars) or black on the wing feathers would have happened when the little guy was pulled for hand-rearing.

Almost all baby parrots suffer some degree of discolored feathers due to stress from being pulled from the nest, handling & a change in their diet to formula, also humidity. Usually by the time they go through their 12 month molt all the old feathers would be replaced.

As stated by Amber this is only minor & nothing to worry about.

However if Codex is an older bird then the cause could be just wear & tear. Conures usually molt twice a year. First molt is usually at 5 months & mostly the head feathers are replaced, then at 12 months when the flight & tail feathers are replace.

Roxynoodle I have seen an Eclectus parrot with Vit A Deficency & let me tell you it was not a pretty sight. He is so lucky to be with his owners today. I have never seen a bird in such a mess & come out alive. His recovery has taken almost 2 years. He was only a young bird of about 2 years old at the time.
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Old 01-04-2012, 06:48 PM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

A couple of months might be optimistic then on my part. I have to undo 28 years of a crappy diet. This is the first bird I haven't had from a baby. I certainly hope it hasn't shortened his lifespan.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:39 PM
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Re: black feathers? cause for concern?

Quote: Originally Posted by roxynoodle View Post
Thanks for the links. I'm actually going to read these right now as my zon spent 28 years on a seed diet and lasagna and mashed potatoes. I knew from looking at him he had some nutritional issues including a little bump on the bottom of each foot indicating a vitamin A deficiency. He is almost completely converted to pellets right now and is actually looking forward to his veggies and fruit and other healthy foods. I am hoping in a couple of months to see a much more vibrant looking bird.
I bet on a good healthy diet, next moult you will see a huge improvement in colours and feather formations He couldn't be in better hands anyway! And it's always better late then never I guess. At least it was not a 100% seed diet he was on.

Be sure to take before and after shots for us!
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