One Of My African Greys Has Been Losing Feathers And It Is Getting Worse

2 African grey parrots
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My husband and I have two 14-year-old African grey parrots.


We bought them from a pet store that sold only parrots when they were chicks.


They seem very healthy – have good appetites, play, scream, etc.


However, one of the birds has been losing her feathers and it is getting worse.

We took them both to an avian vet who told us the bird whose feathers are falling out had a vitamin deficiency so we have been stepping up both their pellets and we are giving them avian vitamins (as suggested by the vet).


Nothing has worked and I am worried she is going to lose all or most of her feathers.


Can you suggest something we might do so this doesn’t happen.


The vet told us that we can’t do anything but I want to do everything possible to avoid feather loss.


Any advice you can provide is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Rita P


Dear Rita


Did you get your birds when they were babies from that store?


They are now 14 and one is losing feathers? Is the bird pulling them out or are they not growing back in after they are molted out?


Has the bird been tested for Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD)?


If you are feeding primarily pellets you don’t need added vitamins, too much can be toxic. Has it been determined what vitamin is deficient?


Thank you very much for your response.  


Yes, we bought our parrots from the store when they were chicks and have had them since then.


Although we have been feeding them pellets, we were also giving them other types of food and the vet suggested that we change their diet to include more pellets. We told him that we were also giving them vitamins and he didn’t comment that we shouldn’t.  I believe he said the deficiency was vitamin A.


Neither bird does any type of feather plucking and I haven’t really paid attention to when they molt.


I have not had our bird tested for that horrible disease; I assumed the vet would have suggested that we do this if he felt this might be the cause of the feather loss.


Because our bird is still behaving the same, eating well, playing, talking, flying, I can’t see her being sick.


I am going to follow up with my vet on this, although I know there is nothing I can really do if she has this disease.


Thank you very much.





Dear Rita


How long have you noticed that feathers are missing and not being replaced?


And the vet says they are not a result of being pulled out?


I had a cockatoo that would pull out her cage mates feathers. Very annoying.


Are there patches of bare areas? Are there down feathers showing? Or bare skin?

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He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.