Question # 1 I recently purchased a Red Lory for a pet. I have started him on the dry Jory food and apples. What else can he eat and what do lories like best'
A. Windette, New York
Answer # 1 The best course of action is to contact Jory breeders and owners as they know what works. There are also several books you can purchase. I suggest you contact a local bird club or look at ads in this magazine and others to find people who know about lories.
Most lories do well eating a low-iron dry lory food suplemented with fruits. They can also eat tablefood, vegetables and seeds.
Kim L. Joyner, DVM, MPVM Raleigh, NC
Answer # 2 Lories are nectar eaters. Their food is generally mixed with commercial fruit nectars and supplemented with other fruits and vegetables.
James M. Harris, DVM Oakland, CA
Answer # 3 A number of companies produce and distribute commercial lory food, which is often fed dry. Nectar foods, which start out dry and require the addition of water, may still be available commercially. This is an easy start to a diet for lories. Additionally, they often readily ingest monkey chow biscuits soaked in water or fruit juice, they like a large variety of fruits and often will eat bread. When we have lories in the vetinerary hospital, we find they will often eat dry lory diets better if mixed with a commercial parrot hand-
feeding food and water. When I kept lories years ago, I made my own Jory nectar foods up for them. There are a number of similar diets published, and the ones I always thought they liked best included peanut butter. A number of my clients also feed a variety of soft vegetables.
Amy B. Worell, DVM, ABVP-Avian West Hills, CA
Question # 2 My Cockatiel has recently started feather picking her chest and legs. I took her to my veterinarian for an examination and he said stress is what caused the bird to pick her feathers. I don't understand how the bird can he stressed. I think she has the perfect housing and life. The stool exam found no parasites. The veterinarian suggested we put the bird on a hormone drug called HCG that is used for humans. What is this drug? Will it hurt my bird? Does it work' If it is not OK to use, what should I do?
L. Kipp, CA
Answer #1 Indeed, your question addresses the ever complex issue of feather picking that frustrates bird owners, veterinarians and birds alike. In any case of feather picking it is wise to have a complete medical "workup" performed on your bird, including laboratory tests and a physical examination. Radoigraphs, feather pulp cytology, and biopsies may he necessary. Stool exams for parasites should he repeated as negatives do occur when,
in fact, the bird does have parasites sich as Giardia. A complete review of the bird's diet, caging, environment, interaction with people, other birds, and pets may also indicate problem areas that are affecting your bird. A trained bird behaviorist can also he consulted. If all medical causes have been ruled out and environmental changes have not helped, there are a variety of drugs (with or without collaring) that can he tried. Many of these drugs have side affects and often do not decrease the feather picking. HGC is a human reproductive hormone that can in some cases reduce feather picking (and also decrease persistant egg laying). Its use in birds is new and experimental, hut veterinarians using it have not recognized side affects.
While we are tyring to do the best for our pet and aviary birds, we should never lose sight of the fact that these creatures are originally designed to live in the wild. It may he in the bird's best interest to refrain from further complicating its life with drug therapy when
the only negative affect of its feather picking is an unsightly bird, Indeed, the amount of feather picking we see in our captive birds may give one cause to ponder if captivity is truly appropriate for many birds,
Kim L. Joyner, DVM, MPVM