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Old 02-13-2017, 05:53 PM   #1
DebRose
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Hello All: I have an 15-month old blue pacific parrotlet, named Meeko. He's quite the talker and has been very social and friendly from the moment we acquired him at 4 months.

No problems to-date, but in the past week, his feathers have become very "messy" and "twisted" looking. He's heading into his second moult, the first one having occurred at about 8 months old.

We consider ourselves fairly experienced bird owners, having had a lovebird for 19 years and a cockatiel for 16 years. Both those birds passed away in the past 2 years, and we have Meeko now, and another cockatiel, Pippin.

You will see from the photo I attached, what Meeko's feathers look like. I'm wondering if this is a normal moult look for a parrotlet. He doesn't appear to be picking (no bald spots) and is doing the normal amount of preening. He bathes as often as he wants to, and is offered the opportunity daily. No change to environment or food to cause undue stress. I do rotate his toys and he gets out 2-3 times a day for 15 min or longer. Perhaps a visit to the vet is required.

Thanks for any support or advice!
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Old 02-13-2017, 06:51 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome to the forum!
You sound well prepared for your parrotlet from the previous two birds, and having them live nice long lives makes it clear that you know how to care for a parrot.
Those feathers look weird. My experience prior to Tumi was 17 years with a cockatiel, and I would say that other than the feathers being smaller molting is the same with a parrotlet. I would schedule a vet visit to check it out, because he shouldn't look like that. And if you don't have one, I would look into a UV light. Many of us have found that our normal lightbulbs just don't give what parrots need, and the smaller parrots might be more susceptible to that. Also, as a mutation he might have poorer eyesight and the UV light will help him see. But at the end of the day, that looks like plucking to me. He's CUTE though, even fuzzy!
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Old 02-13-2017, 07:50 PM   #3
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Congratulations on Meeko. He is still a lovely blue bird, but his feathers are unusual. Could it be nutrition related? Is he getting fresh food, seeds & Nutriberries?
Please let the forum know of how he is doing. Best to you.
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Old 02-14-2017, 01:44 AM   #4
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He is a beautiful boy! The feathers look like he is plucking or barbering, as some call it when they chew the feathers until they are frayed. I have one who does that too although not to that extent.
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Old 02-14-2017, 09:50 AM   #5
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Meeko the "Barber"

Thanks to everyone for your replies! I will consider the UV light, and also the trip to a vet. We have an avian vet in town, whose services we have used before for our female cockatiel. Meeko is served fresh food daily, bok choy, broccoli, apples, other fruit and vegetables as well as Bird Bread (Harrison's) which I make with Red Palm Fruit Oil. The seed mix is from ZooMax "FruitoMax" for Cockatiels and Lovebirds which has added proteins and vitamins, and was used by the cockatiel breeder. He also gets Nutriberries daily. So I believe the nutrition side is covered. The worst thing would be Psitticane Feather and Beak disease, which I feel is highly unlikely as ALL my birds came from breeders in the area, whose aviairies I inspected and their other birds are healthy.
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Old 02-14-2017, 10:00 AM   #6
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There's a really great bird/parrotlet community on Instagram, and one of the parrotlets I follow (well, Levi's account follows) barbers his feathers pretty heavily, especially on his chest, and looks just like that. A vet might be able to determine the underlying cause of the barbering... but in the meantime there is a product that some have used (myself included, for our lovebird, though it didn't work for us) called Avicalm. You use it in combination with another product called Featheriffic. It's supposed to calm your bird (birdy catnip?) when they are angry or anxious, which hopefully in turn causes them to stop plucking/barbering. The Featheriffic makes their feathers grow back really fast and shiney. I actually give Featheriffic to my Levi during molts and his feathers do look great.
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Old 02-14-2017, 11:51 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DebRose View Post
Thanks to everyone for your replies! I will consider the UV light, and also the trip to a vet. We have an avian vet in town, whose services we have used before for our female cockatiel. Meeko is served fresh food daily, bok choy, broccoli, apples, other fruit and vegetables as well as Bird Bread (Harrison's) which I make with Red Palm Fruit Oil. The seed mix is from ZooMax "FruitoMax" for Cockatiels and Lovebirds which has added proteins and vitamins, and was used by the cockatiel breeder. He also gets Nutriberries daily. So I believe the nutrition side is covered. The worst thing would be Psitticane Feather and Beak disease, which I feel is highly unlikely as ALL my birds came from breeders in the area, whose aviairies I inspected and their other birds are healthy.
I doubt very seriously it is PFBD for the reasons you stated, and also he doesn't look like a bird with PFBD. I agree with you that a vet visit is in order to rule out any physical cause and a UV light could help. There are however some birds that are just going to pluck even when there is seemingly no reason why they should. I've been researching this myself for my little adopted girl - I think I'm going to do a search for "plucking" here on the forum and look for posts by Huey's mom to make sure I'm doing everything that I can. If I find something that hasn't been mentioned I'll let you know and I would appreciate any info you find also.

My girl came from a neglect situation and her feathers already look better with good husbandry and proper feeding but I haven't taken her to the vet. I hoped being kept clean and fed properly would remedy the problem. I guess it's a matter of trying different things to see.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:58 PM   #8
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Welcome! I'd have to say that looks like barbering, my girl does that and it looks similar. I wish you the best!
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:51 PM   #9
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You DEFINITELY have nutrition covered! I would have the vet rule out physical causes, and then, yes, we have a good number of birds that do that on this forum and their parronts have some great posts and information. Despite the best care, some birds are determined to do that, so don't think that you are an inferior caregiver or something. Meeko sounds like he is being WELL cared for, and if the vet finds nothing then you do the best you can and go on from there. He's cute even scruffy!
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Old 02-16-2017, 09:13 PM   #10
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He's adorable, I agree it looks like barbering from other photos I've seen.
I agree with all the fantastic advice you have gotten, I look forward to good updates!
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