Love your newsletter!
My M2 (Moluccan cockatoo) has a problem and I thought I’d run it by you.
I’ve had birds all of my life, parakeets, cockatiels, amazons and this is my first ‘too. I got him as a baby and have had him for 10 years.
He seems very content as far as I can tell.
About 6 months ago he molted 3 feathers at the same time from his tail. The new ones sprouted, of course. But over the course of this six months he continues to pick his tail skin raw.
I know M2’s are notorious for self-mutiliation. I don’t think that’s the issue.
I’ve had him to the vet three different times. They took a good look at the tail. While I thought something must be bugging him, they said they didn’t see anything suspicious however they did find a fungus. He’s had 2 rounds of meds – an anti-fungal & anti-bacterial & pain meds combo. They said the pain meds would also act as a sedative.
Throughout each treatment the picking seemed to subside but really didn’t. Before the medication was complete there were blood drops on the paper.
I finished off the meds and lately I have been swabbing the tail once a day with hydrogen peroxide. That hasn’t fixed it either.
It’s not a lot of picking, maybe 5-6 drops once a week or so.
His tail feathers are almost completely in now and the flesh of the tail is not so exposed.
I’ve been scrubbing the cage with a mild bleach/water solution and, of course, rinsing it thoroughly.
Do you have any ideas about this?
Couple of questions, Sandy.
Was this vet an avian vet?
How could an avian not have been more suspicious when you told him/her about the feathers? Was your M2 retested for the fungus and found it was completely gone?
Are you sure it was three feathers and not four?
I’m not a big fan of sodium hypochlorite (bleach). Birds should not breathe those fumes even from another room.
The hydrogen peroxide Is most likely drying out her skin and the feathers and can actually cause sufficient irritation to delay healing or even prevent healing. The M2’s skin would be far better served with coconut oil.
She would also ingest it during preening which would be a good thing as well.
Hello Catherine and Mitch,
I am enjoying your weekly bird blog and all the useful info you provide. Thank you very much and please keep up the good work.
It recently occurred to me that I should probably invest in some kind of air filter for the “bird room” inhabited by 2 cockatiels. The room has baseboard heat and no “air conditioning” unit that would move and filter the air. I began my research and found there are a gazillion types of air filters.
Many supposedly emit ozone or some other noxious by-product. It seems that the less expensive ones are not very effective or require very frequent (expensive) filter replacement. Surely you two must have researched this topic at some point? I am hoping you have and that you will share your expert results with the rest of us.
Thank you for all your good work in the bird world!
your zygodactyl footnote