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Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

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MissK
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Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by MissK » Fri May 16, 2014 6:47 pm

Hey IRN breeders, I know you all have a lot of knowledge and experience, so would you give me some guidance regarding my tail feather sheath problem? True, the feathers are on a Budgie, but I'm hoping you'll give some opinions anyway. I'd like to know if there is something in the diet or environment contributing to this problem, and likewise if there is any change I could make to help her.

Since I got this bird, juvenile, a year and a half ago, she has trouble losing the sheath off the fresh tail feathers during the molt. Photos below.

When the problem was first evident I tried to get the sheath off for her and the entire feather came out. Honest, I didn't pull hard. Upon dissection the feather seemed to just fall apart and there was a good amount of flaky or powdery black material. I couldn't decide if it was disintegrated feather or old blood. It was dry.

Since then she did not have any feathers like that, but when they come in the sheath remains on longer than it should. My bird starts to look more like a porcupine in that area. She is housed with another female Budgie. Their cage is about 31"x19" x33" high, or thereabouts. She eats a parakeet/cockatiel seed mix, though I know she mainly picks out her favourite millet. She likes her fresh greens (kale, collards) but usually ignores the fruit and other veggies. There is a bath available, though I don't think she has ever used it. Out of five Budgies, she is the only one with this problem. I have not used the heat or AC in the house for at least a month, so I imagine low humidity is not a problem. Today was rainy, so the house humidity is 58%, for example.

In the photos I took today, admittedly not in the best focus, sorry, you can see the sheath is very long and there are three tail feathers so affected. The tip of the feather coming out the end is normal, and when I picked away some of the sheath, the feather exposed was normal as well. I am afraid to use too much pressure or hold the bird too long. She isn't really tame for holding like that and she starts to pant; I don't want to hurt her. For this reason I don't think my helping her is the solution. Eventually the sheath will come off, but it is on there really a long, long time. Here are the photos:
Image

Image

Image

Image
-MissK

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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by AJPeter » Sun May 25, 2014 12:11 pm

Amazing no breeder has picked up your story MissK, maybe they are on holiday?

clawnz
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by clawnz » Sun May 25, 2014 1:19 pm

I am No Breeder and No Expert.

Quote:
When the problem was first evident I tried to get the sheath off for her and the entire feather came out. Honest, I didn't pull hard. Upon dissection the feather seemed to just fall apart and there was a good amount of flaky or powdery black material. I couldn't decide if it was disintegrated feather or old blood. It was dry.

This I would say Black powdery material was dried blood. And sounds like the development shut down early.
No other matter in a feather should be black. And yes tail feathers do pull out easy. It is a safety issue.
But they should still need a reasonable tug.

As your other birds are Ok I would go with a underlying health issue causing harder than normal keratin development. Interesting that it only seems to be tail feathers that are an issue.
Red Palm oil can help with skin condition and feather.

MissK
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by MissK » Sun May 25, 2014 8:22 pm

Clawnz, thanks for weighing in.
AJ, I was amazed the good folks of the Forum had not really stepped up to help. :( Surely somebody has seen this before!
-MissK

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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by AJPeter » Mon May 26, 2014 11:12 am

Sometimes MissK all it needs is gentle reminder and they flock in, ie "view new posts" only gets a response if a new post is posted does that make sense?

clawnz
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by clawnz » Mon May 26, 2014 7:21 pm

Actually! Thinking about this after reading it again, I would tend to think more like follicle damage or similar.
Due to the dried blood in the undeveloped shaft. (The production line stopped). If there is dried blood in all of these feathers that the keratin is not breaking off of. Production was cancelled.
As development stops the keratin hardens. Does this sound possible? After all it is the feather developing that breaks the keratin open as well as preening.
But preening only works when the keratin is ready to come off.
For some reason the development is stopping before this.
As it is just the tail I go with damage over health.

MissK
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by MissK » Mon May 26, 2014 7:51 pm

Well, as mentioned, we just had the dried blood and disintegrated feathers on the first time round.

Subsequent molts, including this one, the feather emerges normal eventually. Since my original post the tail feathers are now all free. They are mostly normal, but some of the strands (what do we call that part? Each strand that comes from the shaft?) - some of the strands are not holding in the correct formation and look a little stringy. Precedent suggests they will eventually look normal.

The bird's flight appears uncompromised and she seems perfectly fine otherwise.

I am largely ignorant of what goes into making the feathers and the sheath. Are they not both made of keratin? Except for the first instance of the blood and disintegrating feather, I would be inclined to mark this a grooming issue. However, breaking the sheath was fairly difficult for me. I realize the bird has a sharp beak to use, but she seems not to have any trouble with her many other feathers.....
-MissK

clawnz
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by clawnz » Mon May 26, 2014 9:57 pm

If that is the case do you think she is getting better, as the development has improved.
Here a couple of links I have in my book marks that may help you figure out keratin and feather growth.

http://www.2ndchance.info/molt.htm

http://birding.about.com/od/Bird-Glossa ... eratin.htm

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm ... 9&aid=2776

MissK
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by MissK » Mon May 26, 2014 11:12 pm

This is her third (?) molt with this going on. She improved from molt #1 (a juvenile molt) to #2, but remained the same from #2 to #3.

Thanks for the links.
-MissK

MissK
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by MissK » Tue May 27, 2014 7:01 am

:D
Molossus, thank you for giving your opinion. Maybe I can relax about it. Maybe I can send you just a photo next year and you'll think I lost my marbles......
-MissK

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ranechild
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by ranechild » Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:42 am

Well, the thing on my mind is whether this budgie has damaged follicles. Not that I know anything about it, but if he was in a cage with many other budgies at, say, Petsmart, this could be the budgie that got picked on. Maybe tail pulled out by other birds... Maybe damage has been done. Theorizing.

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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by AJPeter » Fri Jun 27, 2014 1:16 pm

In our pet shop the budgies would line up to gang bang some poor individual, and it woud sit there without tail feathers, when my hen was laying she had a bare bottom the vet said the feathers would grow back if the folicles were not damaged, and they have, what a relief!

MissK
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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by MissK » Fri Jun 27, 2014 8:24 pm

Fair point. We may never know. It may always be this way. :o
-MissK

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Re: Problematic Tail Feather Sheath

Post by AJPeter » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:38 am

Hallo Miss K it is so nice to have a post that Is not scam, but l cannot help you, search the IRN site there might be some info available,

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