My QP & feather pulling, diet

CharlieAndMom

New member
Sep 12, 2021
5
6
Parrots
Adult Male Quaker
Charlie,adult Quaker parrot, joined our family several months ago. We're avid bird lovers and have several in our flock. Charlie's the only Quaker. I'm not sure why my bird mama radar is worrying me.

To be honest, Charlie was abused, abandoned & in pretty rough shape when rehomed to us through a friend. He's offered a diet of pellets, dried fruit/nut blend fruit, with a revolving chop including cashews, sweet potato, strawberry, fresh corn kernels. What does he really eat? A little potato, corn, and any black sunflower seeds he can find.

Bad behavior: he will literally tackle you if you have a French fry. He wants people food. That's not healthy, I know. I have started making a "parrot dinner" that's Charlie food as he's often free flying at dinnertime. He was way underweight, slightly cracked beak, hurt foot. Foot healed now, beak almost growing out the bad part, wormed, given vitamins, etc. The beak doesn't inhibit eating.

His feathers were patchy, dull, missing the full throat column & back of neck ruff, & high under his wings on the body. I keep wondering if he has feather mites? His cage is new, was sterilized, his alone. All yours and perches are new. I've gone ahead & sprayed him for mites, his cage & changed his mat papers daily. Looked for any sign on him, on the paper - nothing. I've used the avian spray equivalent of "bactine" we had (one of the other birds got into biting a a different, younger male) under Charlie's wings in case there's a microbial issue. He's still biting at himself.

He doesn't know how to bathe. We're working on learning. Hates...hates!... being misted. We finally found a dish that he likes to bathe in, so he's getting about 1/2 wet until he gets water in his nose. I do have parrot spray bath to use on him - trying to keep the stress low, so I am stalling using it.

Mostly, he's happy. Hates being caged. He sleeps 12 hours, in cage, covered @ night, 7 - 7, but he often sleeps/starts quiet later in the a.m. I won't uncover him until 7, but I wait until he yells "mama" to go start our wakeup routine.

It's another month wait for a new patient avian vet check up.... Nothing is "wrong," I just worry that his long term feeding issues have caused complications with his skin and feathers. He's shredding feathers at the ends. Not pulling any out that I've seen. He's lost a few tail feathers that are growing back. His pin feathers are coming back in around his neck, very slowly.

Charlie given lots of love & attention, has free flight with safe space perches in scattered rooms, doesn't play with toys yet has many available, and says "Charlie baby," and "good boy, love birdy," as well as a couple others. Other than me, he won't let anyone else "step up," but is an avid shoulder surfer without biting.

Honestly, the diets a struggle. I'm going to find a parrot cookbook for picky birds. He hates pellets. Even the colored ones that are little veggies. He drinks lots of clean water. Will toss what he doesn't want off of his perch. Loves being into everything family...... He's my special baby. I adore him, and he's pretty obviously certian I'm his person.

Why do I feel like I'm missing something?
 

Scott

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Welcome to you and Charlie, kudos for your introspection and desire to improve his life in every aspect! Trust your instincts, enhance his health incrementally in advance of vet well check. I don't think you have overlooked anything, perhaps a few suggestions.....

Parrots are notoriously stubborn with food, pellets in particular! Leverage flock eating tendencies by making two identical bowls of "chop" aka fresh veggies and fruits. Begin eating from your bowl, then offer Charlie his feast. Make "mmmm" sounds, bob your head in delight. Nutritional value of pellets varies considerably; the "best" is what Charlie actually eats. Not pushing Harrison's but their conversion protocol is superb and ought work with any brand. Technique alternates pellets with seeds with gradual taper of the latter. Caveat, of course, is never starve a bird into submission! https://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/using-our-foods/large-bird-conversion/

Can you post pics of his feathers and specific areas of concern? What you describe may be "barbering" as opposed to overt plucking. An excellent treatise on plucking: https://www.parrotforums.com/threads/plucking-a-search-for-answers.52217/

Honestly, a few months in loving and supportive home is a great beginning but effects of prior abuse take time to overwrite. Seems you are his person and well on the path to success!
 

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
9,840
1,468
USA
Parrots
Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker female!!, Phoebe quaker female, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC female RIP
Hi,
Welcome to quakers.
Pictures would help.
Stop treating for mites, I highly doubt t that is the issue.
Quaker are prone to plucked and self mutilated when neglected. Once established its difficult to get them to stop. And you don't have to witness the plucking, as they are sneaky. I too took a terrible treated Quaker who plucks around her neck and still does. I just accept it, she is happy with all the great life I can provide.

It took a lot of time to improve her diet and getting her eating veggies. Took 3 years to get her eating leafy greens! Even though every other parrot I have chows on every type of veggies and leafy greens.

Try steaming and chop veggies and mix with some cooked healthy pasta ( like the ones made from lentils, chic peas or other healthy pasta) like a human meal. Hot red chili pepper, and bell pepper are usually well liked and very great source of vitamin A. I serve my veggies in big hunks spread out on a plate or shallow dish on top of cage and let them explore and forage .

;) my 3 are hanging on me as I type sending yours moral support.

Try sprouts, some boiled egg , keep trying ! I've really found quakers like veggies more than any species I worked with...hopefully that will kick into yours soon

Get a digital kitchen scale and track weight. Be more lenient while he heals and adjusts. Maybe try pumpkin seeds.
 
OP
C

CharlieAndMom

New member
Sep 12, 2021
5
6
Parrots
Adult Male Quaker
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
Hi,
Welcome to quakers.
Pictures would help.
Stop treating for mites, I highly doubt t that is the issue.
Quaker are prone to plucked and self mutilated when neglected. Once established its difficult to get them to stop. And you don't have to witness the plucking, as they are sneaky. I too took a terrible treated Quaker who plucks around her neck and still does. I just accept it, she is happy with all the great life I can provide.

It took a lot of time to improve her diet and getting her eating veggies. Took 3 years to get her eating leafy greens! Even though every other parrot I have chows on every type of veggies and leafy greens.

Try steaming and chop veggies and mix with some cooked healthy pasta ( like the ones made from lentils, chic peas or other healthy pasta) like a human meal. Hot red chili pepper, and bell pepper are usually well liked and very great source of vitamin A. I serve my veggies in big hunks spread out on a plate or shallow dish on top of cage and let them explore and forage .

;) my 3 are hanging on me as I type sending yours moral support.

Try sprouts, some boiled egg , keep trying ! I've really found quakers like veggies more than any species I worked with...hopefully that will kick into yours soon

Get a digital kitchen scale and track weight. Be more lenient while he heals and adjusts. Maybe try pumpkin seeds.
Thank you so much :) I am working on cooking fresh veggies a bit. He seems to like them soft. Just want to keep the nutrients. He won't eat leafy greens yet. I'm slowly rotating a couple different pellets. No luck yet. He does love mashed sweet potato - and I mixed in carrots today... He still ate it, yay! I'm used to parrots that love thier fresh chop. Today was a good day. He's a happy soul... I just love him so. Thanks for your advice & suggestions - I appreciate it!
 
OP
C

CharlieAndMom

New member
Sep 12, 2021
5
6
Parrots
Adult Male Quaker
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
Welcome to you and Charlie, kudos for your introspection and desire to improve his life in every aspect! Trust your instincts, enhance his health incrementally in advance of vet well check. I don't think you have overlooked anything, perhaps a few suggestions.....

Parrots are notoriously stubborn with food, pellets in particular! Leverage flock eating tendencies by making two identical bowls of "chop" aka fresh veggies and fruits. Begin eating from your bowl, then offer Charlie his feast. Make "mmmm" sounds, bob your head in delight. Nutritional value of pellets varies considerably; the "best" is what Charlie actually eats. Not pushing Harrison's but their conversion protocol is superb and ought work with any brand. Technique alternates pellets with seeds with gradual taper of the latter. Caveat, of course, is never starve a bird into submission! https://www.harrisonsbirdfoods.com/using-our-foods/large-bird-conversion/

Can you post pics of his feathers and specific areas of concern? What you describe may be "barbering" as opposed to overt plucking. An excellent treatise on plucking: https://www.parrotforums.com/threads/plucking-a-search-for-answers.52217/

Honestly, a few months in loving and supportive home is a great beginning but effects of prior abuse take time to overwrite. Seems you are his person and well on the path to success!
Thank you! I live fresh chop and lots of veggies, so we'll try having a healthy breakfast and lunch with yummy sounds. It's a great idea! I'll have to get a photo that shows good feathers in detail. The little dynamo avoids the camera. Thank you so much! I'll try the pellets you recommend. So far, he's not willing to eat any of them.
 

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