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Old 11-07-2019, 11:20 AM
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New Owner with concerns

Hello all!
A little background on my bird experience: i have worked with many species including quakers, conures, african greys, cockatoos, cockatiels and hans macaws. I have owned a cockateil for a few years and after becoming very close with a umbrella cockatoo i pet sit for often i wanted to rescue a larger bird. Well just so happens that a friend of a friend was looking to rehome her Ecelctus as she told me that her new work schedule of a 12 hour shift was too long to be away from her baby. His name is Simon and we do not know his exact age she had told me he is a little bit of a plucker but he is starting to grow his feathers back. When i met him the first time we instantly clicked and he always perks up to see me. I did a few months of research before actually taking him home. But it seems like he is still plucking. I will list possible symptoms and then my specific care.
Symptoms: •sneezing fits, not heavy breathing though just a few sneezes here and there
• he still plucks and does this thing where he is almost violently scratching himself
• he scratches his beak a lot on stuff and it kinda looks like there are little bits of dry parts to it.
• he has a heavy musky smell. Its not a gross smrll but its noticable.
•he also squats a lot. Like he looks like he is about to fly but just doesn't.

His care: He always has fresh water i change it two times a day. His cage is in our dining room across the room from our cockateil. He came from a home with other birds too as the previous owners were fosters for parrots but Simon was their personal bird. He get for food a fresh produce and grains chop recipe that i pre prep and freeze once a day and then his second meal is sprouts and he gets a treat of a nut once a day. Usually almond or macadamia. He also gets little bits of the fresh fruit we have on hand. At his old home they gave him harrisons eclectus diet like 10 pellets a day but i know that usually pellets are not good for ekkies cause of their digestive systems. He also is out of his cage and with me for at least 6 hours a day if not more. I don't see him play a lot he usually just watches me or dances a little.

As a new ekkie owner i want to know if i am doing anything wrong or if i can do anything to help before i take him into the vet. Cause at this point i think i am going to take him just to get a wellness check at least. Oh he also does not like water that much but i know they need to stay humid so i am not sure how to get him to like it. Any advice for a newbie is greatly appreciated !! I will post a picture too of him! We have had him for about 3 weeks now so it is all still pretty new i am just nervous i am doing something wrong that i dont know about. Here he is eating a banana snack.

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Old 11-07-2019, 12:17 PM
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New Owner with concerns

Can’t answer you for certain other than to tell you a visit with a certified avian vet is very wise-both to rule out potential medical issues for plucking and for a wellness check.

The ekkie folks will be along soon and will be able to give you more information about dietary needs. It’s good that you know they are different than other parrots in this regard.

Oh and thanks for the picture he’s darling!

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Old 11-07-2019, 12:30 PM
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Re: New Owner with concerns

Congratulations. Feather plucking is a difficult journey. I'm sure eclectus people will share ideas
This is a good article, I found it helpful for Ben though I've had parrots for nearly 20 years
http://go.skimresources.com/?id=1629...dde34ef2b3e7e8
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Old 11-07-2019, 12:40 PM
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Re: New Owner with concerns

Quote: Originally Posted by Inger View Post
Can’t answer you for certain other than to tell you a visit with a certified avian vet is very wise-both to rule out potential medical issues for plucking and for a wellness check.

The ekkie folks will be along soon and will be able to give you more information about dietary needs. It’s good that you know they are different than other parrots in this regard.

Oh and thanks for the picture he’s darling!

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Thank you!! There is a great one in my area i plan on taking him to.

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Old 11-07-2019, 12:40 PM
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Re: New Owner with concerns

Quote: Originally Posted by Laurasea View Post
Congratulations. Feather plucking is a difficult journey. I'm sure eclectus people will share ideas
This is a good article, I found it helpful for Ben though I've had parrots for nearly 20 years
http://go.skimresources.com/?id=1629...dde34ef2b3e7e8
I just briefly skimmed the article and i love it already! I am gonna print it so i can take notes on it haha!

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Old 11-07-2019, 01:33 PM
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Re: New Owner with concerns

This one is good too
http://go.skimresources.com/?id=1629...3fe83d29ec849c
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Old 11-07-2019, 11:37 PM
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Re: New Owner with concerns

Hi,

Since others have already addressed feather plucking, I thought I'd just say that I wouldn't be too concerned about the other things on your list.
The musky smell is natural.
The way you describe him squatting sounds like he is displaying (he wants you or whoever he's doing it in front of).
Sneezing can be caused by feather dand, fine feathers around his nostrils, temperature. In some cases, it can even be a sign of vitamin deficiency, but that's a last resort.
My eclectus used to scratch himself violently. The vet could not figure out why. I've heard other owners say their eclectus do the same thing.
When he was younger, mine would barber his feathers and over preen. He grew out of the barbering and does not over preen as much as he used to. He seems much healthier since I cut pellets out of his diet entirely.
I mention the pellets because you said you give them to your guy. They may not be doing him any harm; though, it's worth knowing that some eclectus have a lower tolerance to them than others, which can result in symptoms such as scratching (which can be caused by a food allergy) and toe tapping.
But I think that your eclectus has a very healthy diet and it sounds like you're looking after him very well. Sometimes they do things, like scratch too much, and there is no simple answer.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:21 AM
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Re: New Owner with concerns

First things first, when was the last time he had a shower?
That might help with his sneezing, plucking (just a little), and smell.

Good job on changing up his diet to fresh/frozen foods! That is often the first step with pluckers who are ekkies.


Sneezing and beak stuff could be an issue with his respiratory or his beak - only an avian vet (not just any vet) will be able to say. Their beaks do peel slightly as they grow out sometimes, but it shouldn’t be to the point of worry. And beak scratching is completely normal. There’s a scientific article somewhere (I forget where I read it) that elaborates on wild parrot behaviour. Basically, they all wipe their beaks naturally after eating. If what they ate was particularly wet or sticky, they’ll wipe more. If the perch they’re wiping on is not rough enough, they’ll wipe more. In addition to wiping after eating, they also rub their beak to keep it filed down. It’s normal, but not to the point of wiping so much to worry you.

Smell-wise, I don’t find my little guy musky. He gets a shower about every 2-3 days (he goes into the bathroom every day, but only chooses to go under the water every 2-3 days).

On the squatting, is it like he’s about to poo or about to fly? If poop, I worry about his digestive system. If flying, are or were his wings clipped? He might have the desire to go somewhere, but might not be able to, hence the squatting to fly.


On plucking, which is often the biggest concern for people, see an avian vet asap. He might have a skin condition irritating him and causing him to pluck and scratch. If those tests come back clear, then we can talk about other problems and potential solutions (hormones, seasons, psychological, etc).

You can search the eclectus side of the forums for more about the pluckers here and what they have tried. Everyone is different, so don’t expect a magical solution. Sometimes it's hormones, humidity, diet, seasons, psychology, habit, etc.
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Old 11-08-2019, 05:24 AM
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Re: New Owner with concerns

Pellets and eclectus do not mix because they are experts at extracting nutrients and they can basically OD on the vitamin content.
Plucking can be behavioral, but the vet shouldn't be a last-resort when this bird is new to you.

Take your bird to a CAV and if you haven't I would make sure you get bloodwork done (a CBC and vitamin panel) and then also consider running tests for other diseases (PBFD, PDD etc)..But at the very least, a CBC.

A gram-stain is also a good idea---and maybe a swab of the skin in the area he is plucking.
Sometimes x-rays can also reveal an underlying issue-- if a bird is in pain to to a blockage or enlarged organ.
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Old 11-08-2019, 04:06 PM
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Re: New Owner with concerns

Quote: Originally Posted by Keatz View Post
Hi,

Since others have already addressed feather plucking, I thought I'd just say that I wouldn't be too concerned about the other things on your list.
The musky smell is natural.
The way you describe him squatting sounds like he is displaying (he wants you or whoever he's doing it in front of).
Sneezing can be caused by feather dand, fine feathers around his nostrils, temperature. In some cases, it can even be a sign of vitamin deficiency, but that's a last resort.
My eclectus used to scratch himself violently. The vet could not figure out why. I've heard other owners say their eclectus do the same thing.
When he was younger, mine would barber his feathers and over preen. He grew out of the barbering and does not over preen as much as he used to. He seems much healthier since I cut pellets out of his diet entirely.
I mention the pellets because you said you give them to your guy. They may not be doing him any harm; though, it's worth knowing that some eclectus have a lower tolerance to them than others, which can result in symptoms such as scratching (which can be caused by a food allergy) and toe tapping.
But I think that your eclectus has a very healthy diet and it sounds like you're looking after him very well. Sometimes they do things, like scratch too much, and there is no simple answer.
Thank you! His old owners gave him pellets but now he is on a fresh and frozen fresh foods diet only. He has a vet appointment scheduled for next week and i hope to get any underlying issues i can't see brought to the light.

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