Help! Behavioral and Health issues in Alexandrine Parakeet


New member
Apr 8, 2017
Alexandrine Parakeet
Hi all,
I have a 9 year old Alexandrine called Totu. I thought him male for years but she never did grow a ring around her neck and we had to accept that she was female. But I grew so used to thinking of her as male that I slip up on my pronouns sometimes, please excuse.

Background: We bought Totu as a 3-4 month old baby, her wings were covered with feathers already and the rest grew in. The parrot seller had told us to feed her soaked chana daal(split chickpea) only and that's what we did. Totu's flight feathers grew in and she used to fly around all over the house, we used to hand her outside in the morning and let her roam around the house while at home.
At around 6-7 months Totu started taking an interest in anything we ate so we started feeding her off our plates. We gave her a guava every morning or chillies and a small tomato and then we gave her cooked daal, rice and vegetables. Mom gave her uncooked vegtables anytime she was prepping food. I'm afraid we never thought of eliminating salt, oil or spices from her diet.
Totu was in a small cage and we didn't notice with everyone off to school or office that Totu was gnawing on his cage bars a lot and tearing off the coating on it and was starting lose his flight feathers and looking a little less fluffy. Worried Totu was sick we saw a general vet, an avian vet practically impossible to find in India and he recommended a multivitamin and calcium syrup. Totu's feather started growing in again but he would break them so often. And anytime she got very itchy or feathers started falling out, we would give her the vitamin and callcium syups again and Dad would put turmeric paste on her hoping to curb any infections.
Totu had trouble flying afterwards but had a full coat of feathers.
I went to college when Totu was about 2 and that meant I wasn't around to get the others to pay a lot of attention to Totu. They all love her but when it comes to taking her to he doctor's they often prioritise their own busy schedules over her. Afraid of stray cats gobbling him up and because of Totu screaming anytime we put his outside or away from the family, Totu started spending all day indoors. Anytime I came back I tried to get Totu more sunlight, to help him practice flapping his wings and gave him his multivitamin and calcium. Totu was getting better at flying slowly.
4 years ago I nagged my parents until they got her a bigger cage. We keep her cage on a tea trolley because she doesn't stay alone unless she knows there's no one but servants about. But here there were even more cats, my visits became shorter and afraid Totu was going to gnaw on the brand new furniture they started keeping him closed in his cage for longer periods.
Totu's cage is cleaned and scrubbed twice a day and the servants were a little too enthusiastic about bathing him, putting him under a tap and soaking him thoroughly.
I have only come home for 4-5 days in the last three years and Totu has worsened. He started feather picking, first it was under his wings and legs and abdomen. My parents would just say its very hot her in the summer and that totu gets fluffier in the winter anyway.

Current scenario:
I had an accident and came home for 4 months to recuperate. I was alarmed by the state Totu is in and have been so worried.
1. Totu does this weird thing where he lowers his body, droops his tail and raises his head anytime Dad is around. He keeps kissing Dad.
See photo below:

I don't know if this is hormonal behaviour or just begging. And everyone keeps stroking him on his head and back and kissing him.

2. Totu has been trying to get inside open drawers, under the covers, he always chomped on clothes but now it as if he's obsessed with crawling under covers and shredding everything in sight

3. Totu sleeps at around 11 pm when Mom and Dad go to sleep and wakes up at 8 am. His bedtime has gotten pushed so late!

4. Totu wants his cooked veggies,lentils and rice, I tried give him spruts etc but he doesn't eats unsalted stuff! He still likes crunchy vegtables

5. Totu isn't allowed to sit upon his cage or roam around much, I have been increasing his time outside the cage but it's hard to manage with him tearing everything in sight

6. I sent a lot of bird toys home from the US but my parents hadn't given him those as they didn't want him making a mess, I have started giving him those toys and he seems happy tearing them apart. But he goes through them so fast. And he loves tiny plastic beads and I worry he's going to eat them and choke.

7. Totu has been feather plucking so much his neck is bare. Thankfully he doesn't start munching on his growing blood feathers! But see picture below:

8. I bought cutlefish but my parents being strictly vegetarian threw them out sying they don't want totu kissing them after eating a bone :'(

9. I started him on calcium again but he hates the syrup, tries to sneeze it out if I force him to drink it. If I add it to his water bowl he avoids it.

10. As I mentioned we put turmeric paste on him anytime he gets itchy and thought his colors are changed because of that but the other day someone told me his faethers are turning black upon seeing the following photo:

11. Totu was being bathed so badly that he shivers afterwards, and his back doesn't have the soft white faethers anymore, I'm worried its because his back was placed right under the stream from the tap. I'm trying to mist him but he doesn't like bathing much. He prefers washing his face in his water bowl. Is it safe to use a hair dryer on him since he doesn't have much feathers?

I love her ever so much and I want her to get healthy please suggest what to do, I don't have a good vet but I'm searching for one. I am home for another 2.5 month and I want to change Totu's habits now!!!


New member
Sep 14, 2013
Columbus, GA
Eclectus, CAG, BH Pionus, Maximilian’s Pionus, Quakers, Indian Ringnecks, Green Cheeked Conures, Black Capped Conures, Cockatiels, Lovebirds, Budgies, Canaries, Diamond Doves, Zebra Finches, Society F
Well that's a LOT!

your bird is under a lot of stress and your family is making it much worse by their behavior. How long until you come back from college permanently? The situation is not healthy at all.

the diet is not great, and if they are salting his food often they are killing him. You said he eats crunchy veggies and guava, that's good. Get as many raw veggies and fruits into him as you can. Instead of salt, try spicing things with turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and crushed red pepper. All these are good for him. Don't give him calcium syrup anymore please; that stuff is completely unregulated. Instead give him leafy greens. Don't put them in his food dish, give them too him to shred. The bigger the leaf the more fun, like collard greens. Give him all his veggies this way, as toys rather than cooked in his dish. Also please stop feeding tomato as it is not recommended. It isn't toxic that I know of, but shouldn't be too large a part of the diet.

your parrot NEEDS TOYS. Yes they will be messy, but you mentioned you have servants scrubbing the cage daily anyway (pardon all of us in the USA while we take a moment to daydream about servants cleaning our cages). Your parents are vegetarians, try explaining to them that it is CRUEL to deprive him of toys. Also explain that chewing is a natural bird behavior. Of course all he wants to do when out of the cage is chew everything in sight because he is desperate for some entertainment. Parrots have huge brains and they NEED entertainment. If you can't afford the expensive parrot toys, look on Pinterest, etc for home made ones, or even bring safe wood into the house and simply let her chew on that at the very least, along with paper. Many paper packages that would otherwise be thrown away can become free bird toys. If you are worried about the small beads, just don't get any more toys with beads. To a parrot, destruction is fun; you know they love a toy when they completely demolish it.

The trying to get into dark small places is a nesting behavior, and the plucked legs are a sign of hormonal frustration. Your bird is sexually frustrated and that's just making everything else 100 times worse for her. She needs more sleep, more sunlight, no more stroking her back, etc.

Please stop putting paste of any kind on her
:( instead, if you think she has dry skin, soak the flesh of an aloe leaf in a bowl of water for a few days and then strain the juice into a spray bottle and mist her with that. Much more pleasant and effective.

Pleas build a play stand or buy one so your bird can be out of her cage but have her own things to chew on instead of your furniture.

You say you want to change her habits, but she is not the problem. She is simply showing you how much she is suffering. The habits test need changing are those of the family and staff. Once she has her needs met, she will be much happier.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


New member
Apr 8, 2017
Alexandrine Parakeet
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Thank you SilverSage, I'm making a lot of changes, hopefully totu will get better soon.

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