Captwest, any suggestions?

I hope you haven’t left this site…I find your advice and guidance with my Jodi very helpful…and I have a question for you…My Jodi has very scruffy feathers at the moment, he has been molting, and I have seen and felt new quills, but the molting seems to have stopped now as he is no longer losing feathers. But, he still looks terribly scruffy and his feathers look a bit dull. Is there anything I can do to improve the condition of his feathers? Any info would be appreciated.PS. You will note that I am referring to Jodi as “he”…we had the birds sexed the other day and it turns out that my little green chicken is a male! My little Jet (TAG) is a female!

Here’s what I’ve learned for what it’s worth. When I got Kili from a bird store, her plumage was not good at all. Her tail feathers were all torn up and she had endless stress bars. However, with good diet, exercise, and out door time she has developed a stunning plumage. Here are before/after photos from a previous molt. I think she looks even better now so I’ll have to find a more recent pic to post.In terms of diet during molt, I seriously think it’s better to feed a close to 100% pellet diet during this time assuming it’s a top quality pellet. Almost any other foods will dilute the nutrition. I agree with feeding more variety between molts but feeding about 80%+ pellets, 10% nuts/seeds as treats, and 10% other has definitely yielded some good results. Truman’s breeder and vet agree with this approach so I’m not just making it up.Second, I think out of cage time and flight help the overall health/fitness of the parrot and this is reflected in the plumage. In nature the parrot with the sexiest plumage gets the hottest chicks, right? This is probably a selection for parrot parents that have better nutrition/health which ensures survivability of their offspring.Finally, I don’t think any kind of lamp or indoor setup can replace the value of outdoor sunlight. I don’t know if or how much of a role this plays but to me it seems that it does. Since I’ve started taking Kili out, her eye color has become brighter and I think it is reflected in the plumage as well. However, I cannot be certain what kind of role this plays compared to the two above factors because I had begun experimenting with all 3 of them around the same time. So which of the three plays the biggest role I cannot tell you, but to me it seems that since implementing the three it has done wonders on her plumage.

Oh and I just wanted to add that stress is another concern. Stress affects health and health is obviously reflected in the plumage. However, it’s not that I think stress needs to be entirely avoided. Instead, the parrot needs to learn to deal with stressful situations through socialization. Put it in all those stressful situations that life may throw at it while it is young and gradually as it matures. This is why I take my parrot to crazy places that are hardly relevant to its life. For instance I have taken Kili to carnivals where people were shouting, balloons popping, etc. I took it slow at first but after a week of going daily I could walk through the whole thing with her on my shoulder without any trouble at all. This may not be an important skill or situation for the parrot to learn, but if it can cope with that, then it can get over a piece of furniture being moved or something silly like that which can throw some very unsocialized parrots for a loop. For these reasons I change my parrots’ cage layout every few months, take them on outings, and introduce them to people. This way when they are molting, the little things that may go on in their lives are petty compared to what they’ve experienced so stress is less likely to be displayed in the plumage as it is growing in. And here is a fairly recent photo showing Kili’s newest molt:

http://trainedparrot.com/index.php?bid=43&article=Parrots+in+Aviary+%26+Taking+Kili+to+the+Street+Carnival

Thanks for the great reply Michael. Your Kili is beautiful! I think my Jodi eats a pretty good diet, he gets a cooked mix daily (it has pulses, beans, rice, mielies in it), then I add to that some nuts, seeds and fresh spinach. He has access to his fruity pellets all day and he gets a skewer of fruit every day too. My Jet is on the same diet and looks lovely, but she is younger than him. Is there possibly something I could add to his diet to help with his feathers?He could probably do with more fresh air and sunlight, but he does go out at least once a day for a wonder around the garden…Your comment about the stress makes perfect sense, I agree that exposing them to stressful situations prepares them for other kinds of stressful situations!Thanks again for the advice!

Tandi wrote:Is there anything I can do to improve the condition of his feathers? Any info would be appreciated.Hey Tandi , Jodi and Jet,Looks as if most of it has been covered. The only thing i might add is bath time, if your OWA is anything like mine ,they love their bath/shower time.Younger birds with their rough and tumble life style often look more “beat up” than older more stately birds .Neglected birds seldom look as good as happy well socialized birds( not that Jodi is neglected)I’m sure he will look much better after the molt is over, BTW, now is a good time to really bond with your bird by preening those pin feathers as i’m sure he’s looking more attention now.Glad you had the DNA thing done,now you’ll have more insight into their personalities .Good luck,Richard

Good points capt.Tandi wrote:Is there possibly something I could add to his diet to help with his feathers?Like I previously said, it’s probably about what you take away rather than add. If the diet the bird is on works for you and yields the best plumage, don’t change anything. But if it doesn’t and you think it’s not the best that it can be, I would suggest changing the bird to a top quality pellet (not that fruity stuff… Harisons or Roudybush in my mind but could be others) and during the next molt feeding anywhere from 70-100% pellets and all the other stuff just as treats.People seem really attached to the varied diets they feed their parrots and are reluctant to downgrade to all pellets. But it worked for my breeder and it worked for me, so if what you’re doing already isn’t working, I think it’s worth a try.