First, I want to reintroduce myself. I have been a member of Bird Board for a few years, but I haven't really been active for a couple years. I have a 3 1/2 yr old, male, SI Eclectus that I brought home from a breeder as soon as he was weaned (at about 16 weeks of age). When he was a year old, I had to leave him with my mother for almost 2 1/2 years, while my family and I moved overseas (My husband was Navy.). We are now back in the states, and I just brought him home with me about a week and a half ago.
I have two questions.
1) He has several feathers on his chest that are yellowish-orange on the tips. Any idea what could be causing this?
I have read this can be caused by colored pellets, but he doesn't, and has never, eaten anything with artificial coloring. I have also read that it can be caused by either a vitamin A deficiency or by too much vitamin A. Which is it? From what I understand, birds can only get too much vitamin A if they get it as a supplemental vitamin. If they get it naturally by processing beta-carotene, then their bodies just flush out the excess. Is this correct? The only food he gets with supplements would be a tablespoon of Roudybush pellets each day. Is this enough to give him too much vitamin A?
If it's caused by a deficiency of vitamin A, how can I increase his intake? He gets a variety of foods daily: a soft mix in the morning with a variety of cooked beans, cooked brown rice, broccoli and mixed veggies (green beans, carrots, corn, peas); a fresh "salad" in the afternoon (dark leafy greens and some combination of carrots, bell pepper--all colors, broccoli, zucchini, squash, sugar snap peas, and occasionally some fruit--grapes, berries, melons, apples, etc.). He also gets his tablespoon of Roudybush pellets and 3 tablespoons of a Goldenfeast dry mix (one of the "complete diet" blends).
However, I have noticed that he hardly touches his fresh veggies. He always finishes his pellets and most of the dry mix, and he eats about half of his soft mix in the morning (mostly the rice, peas, and corn), but when it comes to the fresh, raw stuff, he barely touches it. Could this cause him to be vitamin A deficient?
2) My second question might be related, but I'm not sure. About 8 months ago, when he was almost 3 and while he was still with my mom, he out of the blue snipped/chewed off all of his tail feathers. Since then, my mom has said he has let them grow back in some, but he will eventually chew them off again. Right now, he is a total "duck butt", and the body feathers around his tail are pretty barbered. My mom thought maybe she had slacked off too much with offering shredding toys, and from what I have seen, he doesn't play with toys nearly as much as he used to when I had him as a baby (under a year), but once it happened the first time, she tried to focus more on offering him toys to chew on again. But he still continued to do it.
Also, in August, he was inadvertently clipped by a bird sitter. My mother had asked the sitter to clip his toenails while he was with her, but the sitter ended up thinking she was supposed to clip his wings. Since then, he has started barbering and plucking/snipping his flight feathers too. I read that chewing feathers can be caused by a vitamin A deficiency as well. Is this true?
I have had him back for about a week and a half now, and I haven't noticed much in the way of excessive preening, but yesterday he did snip one of his longer feathers (not sure if it was a tail feather or secondary flight feather--I think that's what they're called). So far, that's all he's done with me, but I want to make sure I do whatever I can to try to get him back to being fully feathered. He loved flying before, and I would love to have him be able to fly around the house, for both his physical and mental well-being.
I am sorry this post is so long. I wanted to make sure I provided as much information as possible. If there is anything else I can add to help clarify, please let me know. Thank you all for any help you can give!
Questions re: Eclectus feather discoloration and snipping flight/tail feathers
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