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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. We've had our lutino cockatiel for almost 4 months now. We got her when she was about 7 weeks old. I was just browsing online for any clues as to why she behaves the way she does. She is much more clumsy on her feet than our first cockatiel, Mo Mo, and she has a slightly different build to him and quite a small head. Sometimes I feel she has involuntary movements where she spreads her wings like an eagle but it looks like she doesn't mean to do it.

I came across the avian.web.com website which had a tiny section on lutino cockatiel syndrome which I have never come across before. Basically signs include:
◦Baldness, on crown
◦Hemophilia: uncontrolled bleeding
◦More prone to disease, appear mentally retarded or undeveloped
◦Lack of coordination, appears drunk
◦Falls off perch at night
◦Bruising/bleeding wing tips, abdomen, pectoral muscles, prone to trauma and falling, many genetic problems
(mainly due to overbreeding particularly when this mutation was still new and rare. In general, lutino cockatiels are stronger nowadays)

I suspect Mazel has the lack of coordination, appears under developed, and baldness of the crown but I don't know how serious this condition is or if there is anything I can do about it. I will take her to the vets for a check but I was just wondering whether anyone has ever heard of this syndrome or knows a little more about it.

Many thanks.
 

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I have 2 Lutinos and the only thing on that list they have is the bald spot/lack of feathers behind their crest. Besides that, they are perfectly healthy.

Lots of breeders are properly breeding the Lutino mutation these days, which means it is less likely they will have any problems.. I do remember reading about problems when the Lutino mutation first started being bred, but it is much better now.

Edit:

Babies tend to be really clumsy, they get better with time and as they grow up - my youngest Cockatiel, who is also 4 months old, is still clumsy and he is a Normal Grey.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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There were major inbreeding problems with lutinos when the mutation was first developed, but breeding practices have improved since then and the only current issue that I know of is the tendency to have a bald spot. But it's still recommended to not breed two lutinos together to be on the safe side. Do you know what your bird's parents looked like?

Females tend to have narrower heads than males so it's possible that her head size is normal. But it does sound like she might have some kind of neurological issue that isn't necessarily related to being a lutino. Birds can have birth defects and problems related to injury or poor diet in infancy, just as humans can. It's best to have her evaluated by a vet.

The bald spot is probably genetic and permanent. Any cockatiel mutation can have a bald spot (including the normal greys) but it's much more common in lutinos. It's just a minor cosmetic defect though, not a symptom of a major medical issue.
 

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My lutino exhibits all that except for falling off his perch at night. We didn't get him from a reputable source, so we think he was probably inbred or from an incest pair (whether the pairing was accidental or not). He is extremely goofy in the way he acts socially and the way he moves about. This is all very ironic because he is a very beautiful bird..you'd think he had some real good breeding in him.
 

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My lutino must be lucky, she has none of those symptoms, not even a bald spot. :eek:
 

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The involuntary wing thing sounds like she is just bat-birding :) She is also only a baby still (did you hand raise her by the way? I don't let budgies go to their new homes before 8 weeks let alone cockatiels!) so she will be clumsy too
 

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All my babies were clumsy at that age...in fact my hubby specifically bought Snowball (my wf cinnamon male) because he was clumsy at that age and reminded him of me. Snowball and all my other babies grew out of it, it just depends on the bird at what age that happens. The spread wings thing is called bat bird or eagle and is very normal for tiels to do. I would say that its not very common for lutinos to have any more issues than any other mutaiton now and she will grow out of most things. I have found my boys to be more goofy than my girls as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for your replies. Some reassuring comments:D She may just be clumsy as she is still quite young I suppose. She was hand fed but not entirely by me-I did do the last couple weeks of weaning. I know I got her slightly earlier than my pearl tiel Mo and he was never unsteady on his feet. Her owner at the time needed more cage space as the parents were already nesting. Mazel was the only chick that had survived from her hatch. I got to see her mother who was a very light pearl. Her dad at the time was nesting on new eggs. I will still take her to the vets for a check up.
 

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If her mother was pearl then Mazel is definitely not the product of two lutinos. The mother doesn't have the lutino gene at all. It's possible that her parents could be siblings or that there's just something "off" about her one way or another, but it doesn't sound like lutino-specific inbreeding is a problem here.
 

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Your cockatiel's behavior is normal. All my birds do the eagle pose, but I know what you mean. Sometimes I think my lutino babies are a little...dumber. But I think they just have more eccentric personalities than my other babies. More to love about them :)
 
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