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General Health Care Remember to use common sense and consult with an avian veterinarian.

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Old 05-26-2019, 12:19 AM
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Interesting Bald Spots

Hey there guys,

I am aware that I should take my lovebird Coco to the vet as quickly as I can, but I just wanted to ask your guy's opinion to put my mind at ease until I am able to arrange a visit. I am currently not as concerned with the missing patches of feathers because of two reasons; I've had her for about 2 months and there has been no outward signs of illness (meaning she eats, drinks, flies, plays, and sings happily), and two, the bald spots are hardly noticeable unless she is preening or stretching a certain way. I had gotten her offline from a bird breeder in a different state so she was shipped to me by plane. An important note I might add is there was no information given to me, I do not know her age, nor her gender, so I just decided to call her a "she" for now.

Why I say "Interesting Bald Spots" is due to the fact that the bald patches are similar on each side of her body. So I'll list out what I notice. For example; when she tries to climb things, there is a small bald patch on both of the outsides of her legs, in a similar spot. She has, I would describe it, as lacking of feathers right before where her wing lines start on her back. More concerning, her neck has no feathers but again, only noticeable if she raises her head very high, so I wouldn't say she is completely missing all the feathers on her neck. I do not know much about bird illnesses, but did research furthermore into possibly ring worms, and honestly not too knowledgable as to if she would show signs of illness with that. I have watched her closely, and I have not seen her feather plucking as well.

So my question is, should I be concerned with this and take her to the vet immediately, or do you think it'll be ok to wait a week or two? It's so weird how its not just in random places, but in the same spots on opposite sides of her body.
Adding on to the fact that I do not know her age, I figured it might be due to her age? She might still be young possibly all of her feathers haven't grown out? I am unsure of how long it takes for a bird to grow its feathers even after it is weaned, so that would be helpful. Another thought that crossed my mind is she is white colored, maybe I can just see her skin more in some places because her skin pops out more? Lol, I am just so unsure what to do or think.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, it will put my heart and mind at ease at least knowing I'm not blowing obvious warning signs off.
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Old 05-26-2019, 04:04 AM
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Re: Interesting Bald Spots

Parrots pluck for many reasons hun, illness as an outlet for pain, hormones, bad diet, emotional events, it is habitual and he/she has always done it. Your AV can rule out some of those causes. In the meantime look at what you feed and eliminate all colours, sugars, additives and stay with a mainly fresh diet with a good quality pellet such as TOPs. Have you observed the leg plucking? This is a familiar part to pluck when they are not 100%. I would see the AV at the soonest opportunity as would want to get to the bottom of it. He can also possibly give you some of the info you are lacking. :-)
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Old 05-26-2019, 09:49 AM
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Re: Interesting Bald Spots

I sound like a broken record, but aside from plucking, PBFD testing is important for birds in general (especially if feather issues are showing and most definitely if your bird is ever around other birds in a boarding setting or in the home).

Last edited by noodles123; 05-26-2019 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 06-01-2019, 11:35 AM
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Re: Interesting Bald Spots

Question, this Love Bird is fully-weaned onto solid food, and you're not having to give her hand-feedings of formula, are you? i guess I'm not understanding how you can "order a Love Bird online from it's breeder", yet you don't know it's age. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not understanding whether this is an adult bird that you bought because it's breeder was simply Re-Homing it, OR if this is a young, baby or juvenile Love Bird that is still under a year-old and has not yet gone through puberty/sexual maturity yet...Big difference between these two situations...

***Love Birds fully Abundance-Wean between 8 weeks-old and 12 weeks-old typically...And ALL of their outer feathering/plumage should actually be completely grown-in by the time they start to wean and are able to be transferred from the Brooder, which provides heat, to their first cage, their "Weaning-Cage" or their "Starter-Cage", because all of their outer feathers are now grown-in and they no longer need an external heat source. So all of a Love Bird's outer-feathering should be completely grown-in around the age of 8-10 weeks-old...So if your Love Bird is fully-weaned and has also fully-fledged, meaning it can fly (which should also happen around 7-8 weeks-old give or take a week or 2), then it should not have any bald-spots anywhere on it's body due to it's age...

Love Birds go through puberty and become sexually-mature right around 1 year-old, give or take a month or two in either direction. At some point between the ages of 6 months-old and a year-old they should also go through their first molt, which is the largest molt of their lives because they are molting their juvenile-feathers and growing-in their adult-plumage...So a lot of the time when they go through this first huge molt, they do experience complete areas of baldness until their adult-plumage grows-in. Because you're stating that the bald-spots are "Bilateral", meaning at the same place on both sides of the body, then it stands to reason that it's not a Feather-Destructive Behavior like Plucking, but rather just your bird going through it's first molt, depending on how old it is, which I can't say because I'm not sure if this is an older, adult Love Bird that you adopted from someone online, or if it's a Love Bird that you bought from it's breeder and is supposed to be under a year-old and still a baby/juvenile bird...

***Either way, regardless of it's age, where you got the bird, what kind of bird it is, etc., doesn't matter, ANY TIME YOU BRING HOME A NEW BIRD you absolutely need to #1 Find the closest Certified Avian Vet (CAV) or Avian Specialist Vet to you and have a full Wellness-Exam done that inclues a complete visual and physical exam, full Fecal-testing including in-house Gram-Staining/Microscopy that do on the spot in their office AND having them send-out a Fecal-sample to the lab they use to run a Culture & Senstivity, and then also having them do a blood-draw from the bird's neck WITHOUT ANY SEDATION OR ANESTHESIA AT ALL and running full, "baseline" Blooc-Work. This type of full Wellness-Exam needs to be done once a year because ALL BIRDS possess an innate survival-instinct which causes/enables them to hide ANY AND ALL outward signs/symptoms of illness/pain for as long as they possibly can, which is a very long time, usually at least many weeks up to many, many months or longer...So just because you're not seeing any outward signs of your Love Bird being ill, that means basically nothing when it comes to birds. They can disguise how they are feeling for months and months, and while you see them playing, eating, moving around, flying, etc. like they normally do, they are actually quite sick. For this reason a lot of birds are too far gone to save by the time their owners get them to their CAV's and they often die of simple infections and illnesses/injuries that could easily be treated if caught early-on. So that's why it's so important to have a full Wellness-Exam with baseline Blood-Work done at least once a year, it's the only way for us to catch signs/symptoms that something is wrong, such as Liver or Kidney functions being off, their blood-cell counts being abnormal, them being slightly Anemic, etc.

So while I would bet that since your Love Bird's bald-spots are bilateral and if you got him/her from a breeder that makes me think that he/she is probably under a year-old, or was when you first got her, and that he/she is probably going through the first-molt, you still must get him/her to a CAV/Avian Specialist for her/his first Wellness-Exam ASAP...And you can always call/email the breeder and ask your bird's age, hatch-date, etc.; it boggles my mind that you purchased a parrot from it's actual breeder, yet you have no idea how old it is, that makes no sense at all. Breeders typically put the age of the birds they are selling in their ads right up-front, and if they don't offer you even that basic information, something is very wrong/shady...
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