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GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

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GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Scotty » Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:32 pm

Hello All,

I have a GCC she's 5 & 1/2 yrs. of age.

I've noticed feathers on the back don't seem to be growing in, not sure if this molting, mites, old age, or what...

She seems healthy, active, and no signs of sickness, I've looked closely and I don't see mites.

Her diet is mainly pellets like TOPs and I'm trying out for the first time, Tropican Alternative Formula.

Of course I supplement all day long, fruits, veggies, she loves rice, but I try to go easy on this, some nuts, hemp, anything healthy I give the bird, mainly organic too.

Maybe it's just age and stress?

In the image you can see all the half grown in, jagged looking feathers, it's more on this side then the other side too...
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BeBe :gcc:
Scotty
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 161
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Pajarita » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:42 am

She is barbering and beginning to pluck and it's never because of age and always because of stress so you were half right [she is also beginning to get stress marks on her feathers -see the black edges to the contours?]. But the stress can be emotional and/or physical and, going by the diet you mention, especially if you free-feed (pellets are never good for GCCs, they are mainly fruit eaters in the wild and pellets are way too high in protein and too low in moisture and fiber for them], there has to be a physical side to her stress because you are feeding way too much protein. You did not mention whether you follow a solar light schedule with her or not but, if you don't or do but not allow full exposure to dawn and dusk, I would say that the poor bird is overly hormonal and suffering and that's why she [do you know for a fact it's a she?] is showing signs of FDB [Feather Destructive Behavior]. My recommendation to you would be to do more research about their wild diet and try to emulate it while keeping her to a strict solar schedule - it won't make things better immediately because an endocrine system that's out of whack takes a long time to go back on track but it's the only way to get her better.

My GCC eats gloop and raw produce for breakfast and all day picking and a measured portion of budgie seed mix for dinner. Just to give you an idea, budgie seed mix has a maximum protein of around 12 0/0 and pellets usually have a minimum of 17 while the Alternative Formula has a minimum of 15 and a very high 9 minimum in fat -budgie seeds have between 4 and 5 only [unless you are talking about High Potency which is even worse than the maintenance in protein content] and you add nuts and hemp which increase the fat and the protein. Her diet is too rich. With birds, more is not better, especially when it comes to nutrition.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11874
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Scotty » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:39 pm

I had a basic understanding to keep protein low, so I thought the TOPS of 13, and the Tropican of 15 would be ok...

Ok, so I'll go less protein, get on a sun schedule to sit outside a little in the morning and more fruits and veggies and less fat and protein...

Thanks Pajarita
BeBe :gcc:
Scotty
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 161
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Pajarita » Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:03 am

Well, when it comes to pellets, you need to consider that they never give you an exact value in terms of protein or fat, it's always a minimum so, even if they state that the minimum is 17, it doesn't mean that you are guaranteed to get 17, you could be getting 21 for all you know [which is a beef of mine with pellets as I like to know exactly what my birds are eating].

Now, putting her outside to get direct sun is wonderful for her because it will allow her to manufacture her own vit D3 and the good hormones [happiness and reward ones] which help with the stress AND the mood but it's not what the solar schedule is all about so, if you already know and I am assuming you don't, forgive me and simply skip the next part.

A solar schedule means that the bird needs to be exposed to dawn and dusk light without any artificial light on for, at least, 1.5 hours every day, both in the am and the pm. This is actually very difficult to do because we are creatures of habit and we automatically turn on the lights when the natural light coming through the windows is not enough so one needs to actually sit down and figure out a plan and stick to it. I'll tell you what I do but take into consideration that the actual time of the day these things happen vary according to the seasons. This time of the year, I come downstairs at 5:30 am and open the blinds and the doors to the cages so the birds can come out [some of them wait a bit until there is more light but some come out right away only they don't fly, they just climb to the top of the cage -they start flying a bit later when there is a bit more light]. I clean their cages and put the fresh food out to them before I turn on the overhead lights which happens at around 8 am [but there is already plenty of light by then]. In the afternoon, I turn off the lights at 5 pm but wait until 6 pm to feed them dinner and, by 7 pm, everybody is already in their roosting perch although not asleep. We had our solstice in June 22, which marked the longest day and the shortest night of the year so the days are now getting shorter which benefits anybody who is switching their birds from a human to a bird light schedule because it's done by the sun and very gradually, just a nature meant for them.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11874
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Scotty » Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:13 pm

I've backed off on all the pellets and for now I'm just giving Higgins Safflower Gold and Lafeber's Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries, conures are listed on the package too for the Lafeber's.

http://www.higginspremium.com/safflower-gold-conure
https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/birdfood/ ... ockatiels/

Of course I also give fresh goodies through out the day, various fruits and veggies.

I've been taking BeBe out daily for like 10-15 minutes at like 9:30 or 10:00am to get some sun.

And you mentioned barbering and beginning to pluck, but I've never noticed any of this, just the usual looking cleaning and grooming going on is all I see... Hmm

THANKS
BeBe :gcc:
Scotty
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 161
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Pajarita » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:22 am

I hope you are not free-feeding either one but, in any case, the Higgins is way too high in fat [min 9] and the nutriberries are a little high in fat, too ]min ] but the worst thing is the ingredients, first one is dried corn, something I don't feed to any of my birds, and it has soy, which I don't feed to any of my animals as well as all kinds of chemicals in them.

Now, taking a bird outside is a wonderful thing as long as it doesn't stress the parrot out because, I repeat, the most important thing with birds that are exhibiting signs of Feather Destructive Behavior is to stress them out.

As to seeing them barbering or plucking... well, I tell you, when it comes to barbering, you would not see anything different than what it would look like a completely normal preening because the motions are exactly the same with the difference being only in the degree of pressure they use in their beak. It's the way the feathers end up looking that tells you they are barbering. And, as to plucking, I have three birds that pluck and I have never seen any of them doing it - but I know for a fact they do it because they end up with missing feathers :lol: See the little grey spots that show between the green on her back? Those are 'holes' in the plumage where a green feather should be covering the gray of the down. And do you see the uneven edges to the contour feathers? Like teeth on a saw or a curve that goes in -like a 'sad' mouth- instead of going out -like a smile? That's the barbering.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11874
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Scotty » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:51 pm

When I posted this, all I had was the TOPS and Tropican in the house, so I needed to get something, and the Higgins Safflower Gold and Lafeber's Tropical Fruit Nutri-Berries, was the best I could find locally.

I always thought with free-feeding, this was something you didn't want to do with a dog as example, but with a parrot it's not a problem, because they'll only eat when hungry, not like a dog that will never stop... Hmm

So if I'm not suppose to leave a bowel of food in the cage, then how should a green cheek be fed?

BeBe is picky little thing, doesn't want to eat anything healthy I try and give her, so trust me, I'm trying to do my best to give her only good healthy foods, but it's not easy.

So trying to make some goop/cooked up something etc., not going to work, she won't eat much of anything wet or mushy.

Locally the shops around here aren't good, so I'm going to have to order anything real fancy and healthy online, any suggestions?

THANKS
BeBe :gcc:
Scotty
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 161
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Pajarita » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:58 am

You are absolutely right about the reason why dogs [or cats] should never be free-fed but I am afraid that you are missing the reason why parrots should not so let me explain my reasoning to you and you decide if I am right or not. The problem is not whether the parrot will eat all day long but what the parrot will choose to fill its crop with.

There are all different species of parrots and all have different diets, some eat more grass seeds [like cockatiels and budgies, for example], some eat more nuts [like macaws], some eat only nectar and pollen [like lories], some eat more fruits than anything else [like most conures], etc. GCCs happen to eat mostly fruit which means VERY low protein and fat and VERY high moisture and fibre. They do eat seeds but the seeds they eat are what we call 'green seeds' which are the seeds inside the fruit they are eating or grass seeds which are low in protein and fat. Parrots, like any other animal, need protein for breeding [egg yolk is very high protein and this is what the baby bird uses to grow inside the egg] as well as for life [muscles, feathers, energy, etc] but protein for herbivores is not found easily or in abundance in nature. Birds don't eat raw beans [they are toxic] and even if they do find an entire field with a crop of sunflowers, the crop is available only once a year so nature gave them a craving for it and 'programmed' them to eat and eat and eat whatever source of protein they find until there is no more. THIS is the problem with free-feeding them high protein food!

I have parrots and I also have passerines that are natural seed-eaters [canaries, finches and a cardinal] and the difference in what they crave and choose to eat first and most of is clear. Feed the same thing to a parrot and to a canary, say, a bowl of seeds, a leaf of romaine lettuce and a piece of apple, and the canary will ALWAYS go for the lettuce first while the parrot will always go for the seeds! I give my canaries a leafy green portion that is twice as big as they are and they will eat the whole thing by the pm but I can only get the cockatoo and the little ones [budgies, plets] to eat a decent portion of the greens without trying. See what I mean? It's not that GCCs will not eat fruits and veggies if you free-feed them seeds or pellets, it's that they will end up eating way too little of them and way too much of the protein food.

I do free-feed my parrots but not high protein food. I give them large portions of gloop and produce for breakfast and all day picking and, for dinner, I give them a measured portion of their seed/nut mix -enough for them to fill their crop well and a tiny bit extra, just in case they are hungrier that day. This way, I ensure they eat low protein, low fat, high moisture and high fibre while still providing enough protein.

Now, as to a GCC being a picky eater... well, it's all a matter of timing, preparation, observation and persistence. I only have one now, a female named Codee, but I had four of them and although all came to me as seed junkies, they all transitioned easily to a healthier diet -and very fast, too! In my personal opinion and experience, GCCs are excellent eaters! They are not on a level with cockatoos or amazons but they are pretty much up on my 'good eaters' list. Timing because they are hungriest at dawn so this is the time when you give them the healthy food. Preparation because they are all individuals and some like a chunk stuck between two bars, some like things cut smaller and skewed, some like things chopped or sliced and put in a bowl, etc. Observation so you can figure out what the bird likes best and persistence because, to a parrot, a new food is not familiar until it has seen it 1,000 times! And I firmly believe that persistence is the problem with people who say their bird will not eat something. People tend to try giving them, say blueberries, once, twice, three times and even ten times but then they stop convinced the bird will never eat them - like when you say 'It's not going to work' but it took me five years to convince an African grey to try blueberries even though she got them once a week throughout the entire five years and all birds love them to pieces. Now, I will admit it's easier for me because I have a number of birds so the new ones see the older ones eating and they eventually will try the new item [parrot see, parrot does] but eating their food in front of them does the trick, too!

As to BeBe (I don't know if you pronounce it Beebee but, if you do, that's the name I am called by my family :D ] not liking wet or mushy things, I believe you! My birds don't like mushy or wet, either! But gloop is not mushy or wet. It's a dish made out of cooked grains but the grains are cooked al dente so they retain their shape and integrity, remaining separate one from another (think of parboiled rice] and I drain them very thoroughly as well as the stuff I use from cans which I also rinse under running water very well. What I am trying to say is that, if I put a ladleful of gloop in a colander, no water will come out of it -not a single drop!- BUT all the ingredients are infused with water so as to make the dish high in moisture so as to emulate the same water content of the diet they would get in the wild - see what I mean?

As to getting 'fancy' stuff online... I no longer order much online because even my regular supermarket [Shoprite] has most of the stuff I need for their diet (they have a 'healthy aisle' with organic stuff and such] and I round it up with stuff from Whole Foods [like the black lentils or frozen organic blue curly kale which I cannot get in Shoprite but you can make it with regular lentils and no kale, too]. The only things I order online are things I cannot find easily like naturally dried, no sulfites, organic apple chips, for example.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11874
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Scotty » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:05 pm

Well I'm not going to argue with you about being right or wrong, you are certainly more knowledgeable... ;)

I have been persistent, so I will try even harder, now that I see the 1,000 times perspective, LOL...

Do you have a good gloop formula for GCC?

Yes it's pronounced as BeeBee, and that is your name/nickname?

Since I haven't been 1,000 times persistent, is it better I just give BeBe fruits and veggies during the day, and then some seeds at night? Because if I throw in seeds during the day, no way is BeBe going to touch much else, all though she does like fruit, but I'd like to see her eat more vegetables, I'm assuming because they are just as healthy as getting fruit?

Thank you so much Pajarita for all your words of wisdom, greatly appreciated! :)
BeBe :gcc:
Scotty
Conure
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 161
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure
Flight: Yes

Re: GCC - Feathers On The Back Are These Ok?

Postby Pajarita » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:50 am

I recently tried to make a gloop for the little ones - and I say 'tried' because it did not come out as good as I wanted it to be although the birds are eating it without a problem. But my GCC [which is paired to a male peachfront conure] eats the same gloop the larger birds eat and that has kamut, wheat kernels, oat groats, hulled barley, spelt, black and/or red rice and black lentils. The grains are cooked and cooled and then mixed with frozen veggies [I don't thaw the veggies, I mix them in frozen so as to retain the most nutrition]: chopped broccoli, peas, carrots, corn, diced butternut squash, white hominy, baked/boiled/nuked sweet potatoes and one extra ingredient which could be chopped blue curly kale, chopped artichoke hearts, beets or chopped green beans - and, sometimes but not very often, palm hearts. To this I add a bit of flax and sesame seed and voila, a nice gloop! I bet you anything that if you make something similar to my gloop and mix in a sprinkle of seeds into it, she will eat it in a matter of three days! They all love gloop because the grains look like seeds to them...

And yes, Bibi is the nickname I've always been called by my entire family... actually, when I was back home, everybody did, neighbors and nuns at school included. It took my husband a while to get used to calling me that because I was introduced to him in USA and, when I told him that I answered to Bibi, he said that it was a dog's name [I think he was thinking of Fifi :lol: ] but, once he met my family and saw that everybody called me that, he also started using it.
Pajarita
Norwegian Blue
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 11874
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

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