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Discussion Starter #1
This is Molly, one of the other cl cockatiels. When I got her, she had a chew perch (picture included) that was down to the metal core. Being that the metal was ribbed/edged, I was worried about her feet, so I replaced it with a cuttlebone. But I don't know if she's using it (few small chips in edge), and I was wondering about her beak (picture also included).

Should I put it back in? Try to find another to replace it with? From what I infer, this bird got very little mental stimulation, and most new things frighten her. For example, the first time I put in a sprig of millet near her food dish, she didn't eat for 12 hrs. : /

Thanks for answering all my questions!
 

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An overgrown beak indicates liver disease. She should see a vet to get a liver chem panel screening..an old, experienced, member recommends using lactulose in conjunction with herbal extracts. Lactulose you need a prescription for, but the herbal extracts can be bought from the supermarket. You can use milk thistle and dandelion extract daily at a ratio of 1 drop of each extract per 3 oz of water.

Using the extracts is not a cure, but it is meant to give the liver a boost to buy you some time to correct the problem. You can start the extracts, but the diet needs to be corrected to get real results. Take a look at our diet sticky here:
http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=27479

Ultimately, if the diet is not corrected and the liver is further strained the bird will eventually die from liver failure.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. Molly (around 2 1/2 yrs old, or so I've been told) was on the Forti-Diet (kaytee, cheapest at walmart) and the boys were on Universal Blend (Wild Harvest, also cheap at walmart). I've gotten them on Fiesta Max, which I thought I'd read was an okay one to feed cockatiels, but after combing through some pages here, it seems that's not the case? I've been introducing foods from the cockatiel cottage page:

http://www.cockatielcottage.net/tablefoods.html

And while the boys have at least nibbled on the stuff I've given them, Molly has not.
 

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I gave you a link to our diet recommendations in my post above. If you click the link and read through that you will learn A LOT! Tiel diets are seed-based, but a seed-only diet will cause liver disease and malnourishment. You'll end up with a very thin bird with an overgrown beak and possibly an ugly yellow wash over the feathers.

Try to introduce pellets and green vegetables to your birds. Pellets you can leave in the cage all the time, and vegetables you can offer twice a day, leaving them in the cage for 30 minutes before disposing of them.

A diet change is the ONLY thing that can fix this problem and prevent the problem from occuring in your other birds.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did read it, let me re-phrase...

Fiesta Max is mostly seed based with some pellets, and I switched them to it thinking it was decent/better then the all seed mixes they were previously on when I got them. I'd read (somewhere?) that the budgie mix is often easier for them to switch to because the pellets are smaller.

From combing around the food and nutrition section, it seems a lot of people have several different feeds that they mix together for their preferred blend, yes? That this isn't any one bag that is going to be the solve all end all?

I completely understand the concept of only seeds=fatty liver=death, but I have not had these birds long. How long after a diet change should I be able to see a positive effect?

As for the others, Karl already has a terribly overgrown beak that the lady would trim. I've included a picture of his, a testament to 5 yrs(ish?) on all seeds. It looks like when you peel a layer of your thumbnail and it leaves that rough layer.
 

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It is normal for beaks to peal some but that does look a bit extreme to me. I'm not an expert on the issue though. As for seeds, a lot of people have different preferences, but I think overall, a quality seed mix without fillers- dried fruits, etc, - that is just seeds is preferred. It is often hard to find those though. I order mine on line. Then you can purchase pellets separately. I got some free pellet samples from Roddybush by going on their website and asking. Not sure if they still do this- it was about 7 months ago- but they sent me 2 nice sized bags to see which my tiel liked better. I remember reading others on here were able to purchase sample packs too to test out. Nutriberries are also a good way to give your tiels nutrients. They have the same nutritional value as pellets but look more like seeds. I break them up and sprinkle with my tiel's seeds. He likes them a lot better than regular pellets. Nutriberries can be found in most pet stores.
 

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This is my Allie when I got her in May:


And this is her now:


Some in between/transition you can see:



This was about a month ago, you can see her long beak here:


This is about the length it was when I got her:


I sprinkled seed on top of some pureed veggies to get her to eat greens:



Now, it is quite obvious Allie had some other issues other than her liver disease. She has broken wings, deformed feet...had Vitamin A deficiency, STILL HAS liver disease.

How her progress has gone is that: I started her diet change as soon as I got her..she is about 6 years old so her diet had been bad from the time she was hatched. I began treating her with the extracts about 2 weeks after bringing her home. I started offering her veggies in the form of pureed/heavily processed. I sprinkled seed on top of her veggies first; once she ate that well I mixed the seed into the veggies..and eventually I weaned out all the seed from her veggie dish.

So in 6 months she has gone from a raggedy, skinny, liver-disease ridden bird to a pretty feathered, still a bit thin, and a more slowly growing beak. So she still has liver disease, but it is very clear to me that it is getting better. Her beak is growing slower and her overall condition has improved.

Side note: When/if you do pick up herbal extracts, they are about $10 a bottle but they last a very long time (I have had mine since February). Be sure to get the alcohol-free extracts.

I recommend Higgins Cockatiel Supreme Seed:
http://www.foryourbird.com/page/foryourbird/CTGY/higscock

And almost any pellet will do, but I avoid brands like Kaytee. I use Zupreem because it is all my flock will eat. An alternative to pellets is nutriberries, but they are a bit more expensive to buy. They are basically little pre-hulled seedballs that are coated with vitamins; they are supposed to be the equivalent to pellets as far as nutrition is concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info and pictures!

Where can I find out how much shipping is on the site you linked me to?

Petco carries these Higgins feeds, are any of them close to the one you linked me to?

http://www.petco.com/shop/searchresults.aspx?Ntt=HIggins&N=49%2030&Ns=P_Price|0&cmref=Pet%20Type&cmrefv=Cockatiels&cmrefr=5000&cmrefid=49&cmrefpf=1

Also, his beak might be cracked more then usual because he might be going through a molt. He's been growing in some new feathers on his wings, and in the last 24hrs he'll fluff and little downy ones will go everywhere. I'm still getting used to what's normal. : / But I did keep chickens for a long while, and it seems pretty simlar.
http://www.talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=35679&highlight=molting
 

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BJKnight. how wonderful what you have done for this poor bird!
Obviously a rescue but was it a tiel rescue? or shelter? or?
 

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Karl definitely is affected with liver disease as well. He also appears to possibly have a Vitamin A deficiency.

The Higgins Sunburts looks decent, but still seems to have some fillers in it. But if that's the best you can do then it'll work. On the website I sent you: you can add the seed to your cart (you choose how many pounds) and then go all the way through check out process before paying. That will give your your price with shipping, so you won't have to pay or place your order before you know.

For Vitamin A deficiency: Purchase Beta Carotene capsules. These capsules you can pull the "shell" apart and dump the powder out. If you tiel likes millet spray, you can lightly mist a spray of millet with water from a mist bottle. Then you can get a cheap makeup brush from the dollar store and "paint" the carotene onto the millet. Hang the spray in Karl's cage and will get some Beta Carotene while eating it; then his body will synthesize as much Vitamin A as it needs from the powder. :)

And parsley: I found Allie one day as I was browsing Ebay Classifieds. Her ad was way out of the search radius, so it was a miracle for me to have seen the ad. She was located about 30 minutes from my hometown..which is about a 5 hour drive from me. She was for sale with 3 other cockatiels..she was listed as "a crippled whiteface hen" for $40. So we went to North Texas, gambled in the casino across the Oklahoma border, and picked Allie up on the way back home.

So yes, Allie is a rescue, but on a personal level. The town she was located in would not have given her vet care; and even if they did the vets around there are incompetent.

Here are the photos from the orginal ad (permission granted for use/not copyrighted):

 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well, it's morning here, so I'm trying the veggies for breakfast tip. Trickery shall be next when I pull out the blender.

Is the beta carotene species specific, or is it like these?
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Spring-Valley-Beta-Carotene-25-000-I.U.-Softgels-Dietary-Supplement-100-ct/10533300

What about this beta carotene spray for reptiles? It's already in a spray bottle, but if it's bad for them then I'll stick with the tablets.
http://www.petco.com/product/108570/Zilla-Vitamin-Supplement-Reptile-Food-Spray.aspx?CoreCat=OnSiteSearch

I'm going to probably go with the Sunburst, the shipping on the other stuff is crazy!

Also, is there anything I can do with all this extra feed(besides chucking it)? When I pick up the new stuff, it'll mean I have three extra different bags sitting around my room. Homemade treat sticks? Craigslist?
 

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So the local Petco didn't have any Higgins, but it did have Zupreem. I picked out the one with cockatiels on it, as well as a small bag of nutriberries. Everyone's been eating it fine, but they've been leaving the yellow "banana" pieces behind. Does this matter? The pellets are all nutritionally the same regardless of color, yes?
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Well, Molly is trying to eat the yellow ones, but their odd shape causes them to boomerang away. : / I wonder if she's doing it on purpose... If she just left her head down they'd at least stay in the dish. The round ones she bites, sets down, then continues eating.

I've also included a picture of Karl's other side, and Gary beak, because while he isn't near as bad as Karl, he's been on the same diet for his (2 yrs?) life, and has some chipping as well.
 

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Hi Frizzle, just want to give you the following advice: :)

Do NOT buy your tiel's food from Walmart---there is a reason why they can boast the lowest prices on their goods. Stay away from Wild Harvest. They tested positive for melamine contamination a few years ago and they had to do a recall. One of the products to be recalled was a seed stick for cockatiels. They import their ingredients from certain countries to keep costs down. The Kaytee brand also did TWO recalls this year---once due to high levels of vitamin D and later due to Salmonella in their food for small rodents. So I personally don't trust Kaytee. You can click on the link below to see a thread regarding brands from Walmart and my very detailed report on it all:

http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=32644&highlight=Wild+Harvest

I believe ZuPreem is a good brand and I always highly recommend Harrison's which is what Sunny is on---it's the only brand that boasts 100% organic bird food. As to seeds, Sunny is on the Hagen Gourmet Cockatiel Seed Mix which I also trust to be a good brand. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yup, I've bred & raised mice in the past, and figured that the "Don't buy small animal products from Walmart" applied to birds as well.

*Just to clarify, the Walmart foods that the birds were on was because that's what their previous owners could afford.
 

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Annie, Totally Organics pelleted bird food is also 100% organic too. So now Harrison's has a competitor. :)

And Gary doesn't looke nearly as bad, but it does look like he may have some issues going on as well. Herbal extracts in all their water, along with Carotene supplements, Full Spectrum Lighting (FSL), and diet changes would benefit all of these birds.
 

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Annie, Totally Organics pelleted bird food is also 100% organic too. So now Harrison's has a competitor. :)

And Gary doesn't looke nearly as bad, but it does look like he may have some issues going on as well. Herbal extracts in all their water, along with Carotene supplements, Full Spectrum Lighting (FSL), and diet changes would benefit all of these birds.
Oh really? I've never heard of Totally Organics. I wonder if it has made its way to Canada yet? Maybe it is cheaper than Harrison's? I will have to call some vet clinics to inquire. :)
 
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