Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman
Stacey W. relates:
Hi! I have a beautiful 2 1/2-year-old caique named Sir Herbert (Herbie for short).
And he has been exhibiting increasingly excessive scratching over the past months.
HISTORY: I’d previously took him to the vet (when he started plucking feathers) and his vet believed it was mental and boredom and he’s on Zylkene 75 mg. Then his feathers started darkening. His vet diagnosed him with high cholesterol.
Turns out due to social distancing, I was home more and was sharing my snacks with Herbie too much.
So his vet restricted his diet to just pellet food.
Now the excessive scratching.
I bath him by soaking him with water via a spray bottle once a week.
And when I play with him, there’s a lot of dry skin droppings on my clothing.
He’s a very happy, playful bird, which is why I think he has excessively dry skin.
He’s also plucking feathers and has two very small thinning spots on his back wings.
But wanted to get your advice first on what I should get and how to administer it.
I really believe Herbie just needs some relief from dry skin.
And, if I do use one of these, how do I cover his eyes and beak when spraying him??
I’ll get to some dry skin solutions shortly, but first:
Vetoquinol Zylkene Behavior Support Capsules Small Dog & Cat Supplement 75 mg – Really?
I’m sure I’ll get blowback for saying this “your vet’s a buffoon.”
re: “Then his feathers started darkening.”
Never a good sign, feathers on all parrots should be bright!
Let’s break this down.
Nowhere on any label of Vetoquinol Zylkene does the word “bird” appear.
“Capsules can be administered once daily, whole, or opened at mealtime.
Please follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian.
10 lbs & under: 1 capsule daily
11-22 lbs: 2 capsules daily”
To put this in perspective, even a small breed of dog like a Maltese weighs between 6 and 9 pounds.
Caiques weight ranges from 5 to 5-1/2 ounces
That makes the average Caique’s body weight just 4% of a Maltese dog.
You don’t need a veterinary degree to see this is the first part of a very bad plan.
What exactly is Zylkene?
Hydrolyzed Milk Protein (Bovine)
What’s it used for?
Milk proteins can induce symptoms associated with gastritis including abdominal pain, vomiting, nausea, early satiety, failure to thrive, gastrointestinal bleeding, and obstruction. Patients with milk protein allergy-induced gastritis can present at any age from the neonatal period to adolescence. Read more
What else is in the capsule?
- Magnesium stearate
- Titanium dioxide
- Delivered to your bird all at levels that are 25 times higher than recommended for an animal the size of a caique.
The $64,000 question is how does this stop dry skin and feather mutilation?
Please halt giving this witches brew to Herbie.
If you don’t already have coconut oil, obtain a small vessel from your grocery store.
Microwave about a teaspoon in a small dish for 5 seconds (10 max) then temperature test with a finger.
Pour over Herbies daily diet.
In the meantime send me a pic or 2 of Herbie’s cage to see if we can make some positive environmental changes.
If you don’t see an improvement in feather coloration or skin dryness, reach out in 30 days.
Best of luck.
Hi, I have one more Herbie question.
Herbie masturbates regularly, like every day; usually multiple times a day.
His vet said that that was okay, as long as it doesn’t bother me.
And it doesn’t bother me.
My question is, am I depriving him by not getting him a mate?
I’ve been told by bird experts (at bird shows) that since he’s 2 1/2 years old, that it’s too late to introduce another bird into his environment.
(He’s a white-bellied caique.)
Would you please share your expertise?
Should I be concerned? Is he frustrated?
Should I start saving up for a female mate for him??
(But, not looking to start a nursery though…would that be the case, if he had a mate…babies? )
Two’s company three’s a crowd.
Getting a mate for Herbie may demote you from pet bird companion to zookeeper.
Masturbation is normal and fine but you need to inspect his vent area to make sure there are no abrasions, swelling, redness, or infections at least once a month.
To complete Herbie’s care let’s install a light 6 inches above his cage.
Place it on a timer for 12/12 hours on/off.
Read more about that here: How Pet Bird Keepers Get The Lighting Thing Wrong
Please, keep us in the loop with Herbie’s progress