Nanday Conure Forum

Message #2173. This is a followup to #2160.

Date:Sunday October 10, 2004 12:55:06 pm MDT
Subject:Re: Help please....
Message:Hi Debbie!  (Oh, aren't those green cheeks adorable?  I have one of those myself, plus a maroon belly, a sun and a Nanday - not to mention 18 other parrots of various types here).

Nandays are very smart birds and yes, they could very well pluck themselves due to an emotional problem, such as the loss of a buddy.  This bird may have other issues as well, I'm afraid.

Being kept in that small cage must have been a horrid existence for this Nanday.  Budgies can be very aggressive and I wonder how two birds of such a size difference fared in such a small cage, unable to get away from each other and all.

I wonder where the woman got the nanday in the first place (from Petco?) and whether the bird may have been sick (or at least a carrier with no outward symptoms, yet still contagious) when she acquired the bird and that is what caused the death of her budgie.  Do you know what the band #s are?  We may be able to do some investigating and learn a bit more about the bird that way.  A closed leg band would indicate (to me anyway) that this bird was banded as a baby.  If it was an open band, that might indicate an adult caught wild bird or perhaps someone who purchased an unbanded bird (to breed or to resell) and wanted to put a leg band on it for any identification purpose.  As far as I know wild nandays are still being caught and imported since they are not considered endangered or anything.

Budgies don't usually live much past 5 or 7 years old and that seems to be mainly due to breeding practices.  So the budgie may have died from natural causes, or it could be illness/disease related.  Because the birds were kept together in a cage way too small and fed such a nutrient-lacking diet, it would not surprise me to learn that they only had their cage water changed once a week (or some other horrible thing such as that).  With that thought in mind, a bacterial infection could have developed in the water.  Giardia, which is a parasite found often found in contaminated water, causes severe itching and it frequently causes a bird to pluck, even to the point of self-mutilation (such as scabbing) due to the severe itching.  Giardia is difficult to diagnose because it isn't always shed in every dropping.  Many vets will treat a bird that is picking it's feathers with Ronidazole and if the picking doesn't stop, at least Giardia has been ruled out.

If this bird was wild caught 10 yrs ago, this bird is an older bird (of course) and if it has been fed such a horrible diet (wild bird feed is usually high in fat because the wild bird fly all day long burning calories and they need a high fat diet to help survive the cold winter months) it is possible this nanday is experiencing fatty liver disease which can also cause feather picking.  Other causes of feather picking can include nutritional deficiences or excesses, environmental or traumatic problems, fungal infections, kidney disease, toxins, or viral problems.  I would imagine that if the blood work comes back looking good, the fecal tests look good and any other bacterial or fungal testing the vet deems necessary all come back looking good (and whether or not the vet chooses to treat with Ronidazole just in case), chances are the bird's problems are emotional/behavioral.  It may be because the bird was bored in such a small space or perhaps was fearful or frustrated, experiencing anxiety or perhaps it started as overpreening and is now just a plain ole bad habit.  

Whether the feathers regrow will depend on if there was any follicle damage or not and whether there is an underlying disease (such as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease) in which they may not regrow normally anyhow.  Only time will tell.  Many times the use of an Elizabethan collar is used to give the feathers a chance to regrow.  Regardless of the cause, if the bird is of a good weight and is healthy enough to withstand the stress of a diet change, I imagine that is going to be one of the first steps that will need to occur to start regrowing the feathers.  Feathers are 88% protein and therefore some extra protein during this time of feather regrowth may be helpful.  Although seeds are high in protein, they are also too high in fat.  I would use scrambled egg (without butter or fat) and fed warm this can be a soothing "comfort food" of sorts for your bird.  Beans are also a good source of protein and can be fed warm.  I would definitely consult a vet when trying to improve this bird's diet though.  This bird may have other physical limitations going on inside and may not be able to handle the stress though.  I would ask for copies of any tests performed by the pet store's vet or at least have copies faxed to your avian vet.  If you don't alreay have one, you can find one on the Association of Avian Veterinarian's website -

Regardless of how the tests come back from the store, I would definitely treat this bird as if she did have a deadly infectious disease and keep her in quarantine, isolated from the rest of my flock, for at least 90 days.  I would have her retested at my vet's after 30 days or so, and I'd keep her in complete quarantine for at least 90 days.  That means handling her last and changing her cage papers last or else washing (your body and your hair - everything) and changing clothes before handling any of the other birds.

I hope some of this helps.  

I would love to see some of her photos if you could email them to me -  Thanks!  

> Debbie wrote:
> > HI ..
> > I went to my local Petco today where I am very friendly
> > with the associates there.
> >
> > They advised me that some woman gave them her Nanday Conure.
> >
> > When she brought this precious baby in. She has NO feathers.
> > Completely bald. From the neck down. plucked bald. Not one
> > down feather. Even the top of her wing is bitten raw.
> >
> > They believe, based on the round band, that she was wild
> > caught approx 10 yrs ago. She is a female. Petco said because
> > the lady just dropped her off they CANNOT / WILL NOT sell her
> > so they offered this precious baby to me. AFTER the vet checks
> > her so the rest of my animals do not get harmed in any way.
> >
> > This is what the lady told the Petco Assoc.....
> >
> > She brought this precious baby in in a starter parakeet cage.
> > She told the assoc. that since his "buddy" the parakeet died
> > she has plucked all her feathers out and the lady no longer
> > wanted her. When the assoc asked what size case this baby was
> > used to the lady said  " She is in her regular cage". Imagine
> > a parakeet cage for a Nanday Conure......
> >
> > Then the lady told the assoc that is what
> > this precious baby was living on. WILD bird seed!
> >
> > My question is this......
> >
> > Will her feathers grow back ?
> >
> > Does anyone have ANY information that will help me better care
> > for this poor thing?
> >
> > Any/all info would be GREATLY appreciated...

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