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Hey all, haven't been on here in AGES. I tend not to go on until I need advice, so forgive me.

Over the last 6 months, Cracker our 18 yr old White face Cockatiel, started to "nest" on top of a wooden rack where there is a sheet and some stuffed animals. Strange, he didn't poop up there, he just liked being up there. He is full flighted and has had rule of the roost, even if we went out. His case was popped open and he has been FREE.

He also used to hang out on top of my TV next to a stuffed toy that was his buddy.

About 6 weeks ago, he stopped flying. He only wants to hang out on / in his cage. I've taken him to the Vet and she looked at him and said his heart, lungs, sound good. And his wings spread ok. She said his grip / claws is a bit weak but likely age related. Started him on Meloxicam but he's still reluctant to fly, he just descends when he tries. I'm thinking he may have sprained his wing or hurt himself somehow. One of his wings he doesn't hold out like the other.

We talked about expensive X-rays and such but Cracker I don't think he would do well with it. And at his age, not sure I want to go down that path with money issues.

I thought maybe check his blood for some weird underlying condition, but he eats, poops, chirps, so it's hard to say. The gal said, we could check his blood but that is more to check liver, kidney, etc. She thinks he presents well as she looks at him, but would if we wanted to.

He's not chanting in the morning like he used to and he's not flying. But in all other aspects he seems ok. Is this just the next phase of his life. Right now we've been giving him a small dose of Meloxicam by syringe. I was doing once a day, now we're trying twice a day. Just a small dose to see if he gets a "bump".

Anyone else seen similar case like this? You can also reach out to [email protected] if that is more convenient.

Thanks

Brian
 

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Also, I had changed his food from primarliy seed to Zupreem pellets. My GF mixed it for about a week. But he's on pellets now. I do NOT believe that is why he's not flying................
 

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I would like to say, go back to provide him seeds diet. If he has been on seeds diet for 18 years without problem, why make the change? Cockatiels are very particular about certain thing, especially their foods. I always compare pellets for cockatiels with ham for human, all are processed food. Ask yourself, do you want the same boring ham day after day? Seeds and veggies, plus some human foods such as cooked rices are good enough for cockatiels. I think wide variety of diet with limited fat will be more healthy choice. Of course, many seeds mixtures today already have supplement pellets inside, so, you really don't need worry about nutritional deficiency. And provide cockatiel with calcium and mineral source will help too.
 

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Breeding birds don't poop in the nest, so your old boy's nesting behavior really is true nesting behavior.

A seed-only diet results in nutritional deficiencies, so after 18 years on a mostly-seed diet it's possible that he has some nutrition-related issues. Gout is one of the problems that too many seeds can cause, and might affect his ability to fly and use his feet. The pellets might help fix that, but I would let him have at least some seeds instead of an all-pellet diet, and offer him vegetables too if he'll eat them. The nutrient levels in pellets are formulated to meet the nutritional needs at the most demanding level (which basically means breeding), so the concentration is higher than what a non-breeding bird actually needs. Your boy is only pretending to breed lol.

Instead of putting seeds in the cage for him to eat, you could use millet spray as an out-of-cage treat to encourage him to come out of the cage and be active. Having a few seeds won't wreck his diet, but they could be a powerful incentive to move around more.
 

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Thank your for replies. GF suggested if it wasn't broke why fix it. It was at a "failed visit" with another Vet. Cracker was too jacked up and she couldn't trim his nails. When leaving I asked for the heck of it if he'd benefit from a pellet diet and this was back in May on the 21st. So GF at least thought of transition with some seeds at the beginning, so for 2 months he was on only pellets.

My Avian Vet and I just talked. She said an 80/20 pellets/seeds diet would be acceptable as the pellets really help out with age related issues. So I put some seed back in his feeder and he went right over and stayed there. So I think he was missing the seeds. I put a millet seed snack stick out there about 3 months ago and he went Thunderdome on it. Quickly shaved it down in a day.

I had him on Zupreem, Red, Gold, and Green pellets and he doesn't like the Red ones........... My vet said the colored ones are more desirable though vs. the plain light tan ones.

I'm also giving him Meloxicam every day just recently per doc. It was only a very small dose once a day (she said do twice) but I wanted to see how he'd tolerate it, but I'm now moving to twice as she recommended. But she said if there is no big bump like better wing stretches and a bit of flight, I wouldn't have to keep him on it.

I also thought about "inventing" a nest within the cage to give him a break from standing. I will try to post some progress report in some days to come. I appreciate all your thoughts and advice.

Brian
 

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The colored Zupreem pellets are nutritionally the same as the brown ones, but some birds might prefer the colorful ones just because of their appearance. My guys will eat both kinds, and they like the green ones best and the red ones least, with the brown ones in the middle. These pellets all taste the same so it's purely based on appearance.

If you'd like to give him a "pellet" that looks like a seed ball, get some Nutriberries. It's got the added vitamins and minerals of a pellet, with the visual appeal of seeds. If you're in the US you can contact the Lafeber company and ask for a free sample, so you can try them without having to buy a whole package. There's even a Senior Bird Nutriberry that has additives thought to help older birds, but these are aimed at bigger parrots and I'm not sure how much tiel appeal they have. The classic cockatiel nutriberries are a huge hit with my flock, and it takes them about a month to finish off a 4-pound tub.

Nutriberries would make a nice, nutritious table top treat that he can nibble on while he's out of the cage. They're not as convenient in the food bowl because birds tend to drop half-eaten pieces on the floor which makes it hard to finish them. With that and some millet spray as an out of cage treat, he'll have some very good reasons to come out of the cage.
 

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The colored Zupreem pellets are nutritionally the same as the brown ones, but some birds might prefer the colorful ones just because of their appearance. My guys will eat both kinds, and they like the green ones best and the red ones least, with the brown ones in the middle. These pellets all taste the same so it's purely based on appearance.

If you'd like to give him a "pellet" that looks like a seed ball, get some Nutriberries. It's got the added vitamins and minerals of a pellet, with the visual appeal of seeds. If you're in the US you can contact the Lafeber company and ask for a free sample, so you can try them without having to buy a whole package. There's even a Senior Bird Nutriberry that has additives thought to help older birds, but these are aimed at bigger parrots and I'm not sure how much tiel appeal they have. The classic cockatiel nutriberries are a huge hit with my flock, and it takes them about a month to finish off a 4-pound tub.

Nutriberries would make a nice, nutritious table top treat that he can nibble on while he's out of the cage. They're not as convenient in the food bowl because birds tend to drop half-eaten pieces on the floor which makes it hard to finish them. With that and some millet spray as an out of cage treat, he'll have some very good reasons to come out of the cage.

Hey Thanks very much for the info. I'll check it out. Funny about the Red ones.
 

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So the other day we're walking the dog, and I said what is the one thing that changed for Cracker. AND, it was his diet, so like some of you suggested, I started integrating his seeded food back into the cup and he seems to be doing much better. We also went 2X a day on Meloxicam. Not flying but much more active and spreading his wings. What also prodded me was a lady posted her young rescue tiel passed and she had him on a pellet only diet. My heart goes out to her. I"m not saying Pellets bad, but in my birds case I think less will be more. I'm thinking it was the diet that has made the dramatic change. So he was on a pellet diet only for 9 weeks. Boy, I wanted to help him but sometimes Men think they can fix things that aren't broken. I am one of those............I will post again in the coming days. Thanks for all the replies and advice.
 

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Pellets are good overall, but an all-pellet diet isn't necessary and might be too much for some birds. It's possible that he might not have been eating as much food as he really needed because he had doubts about the new food, or that he might have been feeling depressed because of the dramatic change in diet. Birds tend to be very cautious about new foods, because there are a lot of toxic plants in the wild and a bird could wind up dead if it eats something unfamiliar. They definitely like to have their old familiar foods, and birds have actually been known to starve to death because they didn't realize that their new food was edible. Just don't overdo the seed at this point, because a diet that's all or mostly seed isn't good for them either.
 

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P.S. Seriously, try the Nutriberries. Most cockatiels love them (although I've heard of a few that refused to eat them), and they deliver pellet nutrition in a package that looks like a seed ball.
 

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Oh no! Only seed diet?! Thats not a good choice, especially for 18 years! Cockatiels need three bowls in their cage: Chop ( chopped veggies and fruit), Pellets ( colorful zupreem and normal are the same for their health) and water.
Giving them seeds in their diet, not as a reward is really bad. They can produce fatty liver desease and have a shorter lifespan. I recommend that you start giving him half pellets and half seeds for a couple of days so they recognize the pellets as food. After some days increase the pellets and decrease the seeds daily. Then, only give them pellets and he will probably start flying again. Also, they can think the stuffed animal is their mate so try taking that away.
hope this helps
Maria :alien:🦜
 

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It is not true that having some seeds in the diet will cause fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is caused by obesity, not by seeds. An all-seed diet is a major cause of obesity and FLD, because this diet is deficient in protein and birds have to overeat to get enough protein. But it's not a problem to have some seeds in a diet that is well-balanced overall.

I suspect that someone here didn't actually read the thread lol. If they did, they would know that this bird is already eating a lot of pellets.
 

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P.S. I have an article on pellets including charts that show the minimum nutrient levels suggested by an Expert Panel on avian nutrition, compared to the actual levels in several pellet brands. Unfortunately Zupreem doesn't disclose detailed nutrititional information so they're not on the list, but you can see that pellets in general exceed the minimum by a pretty wide margin. This is why an all-pellet diet isn't necessary - as long as you're feeding a significant percentage of pellets there will be more than enough nutrients to cover the deficiencies in other foods that might be part of the diet. Our understanding of Vitamin A requirements has changed since the Expert Panel first made their recommendation, so you'll see several brands that are lower than the old recommended amount, and the same may be true for other nutrients. The charts start here: Little Feathered Buddies Health & Nutrition - Pellets and if you scroll down a bit you'll see detailed information for individual nutrients.
 

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It is not true that having some seeds in the diet will cause fatty liver disease. Fatty liver disease is caused by obesity, not by seeds. An all-seed diet is a major cause of obesity and FLD, because this diet is deficient in protein and birds have to overeat to get enough protein. But it's not a problem to have some seeds in a diet that is well-balanced overall.

I suspect that someone here didn't actually read the thread lol. If they did, they would know that this bird is already eating a lot of pellets.
absolutely!!! he said that he had an all seed diet for 18 years!!! you can have pellets and seeds as a normal diet. i was only saying that an all seed diet is rlly bad
 
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