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Dear Parrots magazine,

PBFD – is there a cure?

It was about two years ago when we bought our cockatoo and he was a real clown and always kept us in stitches with his antics and although he didn’t speak a great deal, he did come out with some really funny sayings that he must have picked up from our two sons.

Skipper, as we called him soon became a great part of our family and was loved by everyone including our close neighbours. He brought so much laughter and pleasure into our family and it was hard to comprehend that a little bird like skipper could have such an effect on us.

We bought him from a private breeder who told us he was hand-reared and was so tame that he would run around the house climb all over us, he was just an amazing little bird.

It was about two years ago that we noticed he had lost one or two feathers, but no new ones had grown back properly, just a little broken stubble. As time went on we become more concerned about his feathers, as he started to look quite dishevelled and we thought there was clearly something wrong with him. After about a year he had lost most of his flight feathers and obviously couldn’t fly and can only walk and climb around, although he still had his spirit and comical personality, there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with him apart from his feathers.

This was the time, we thought, to see a vet, which we did, but the news wasn’t good. Skipper was diagnosed with psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD). We were devastated as told that this was an incurable disease and there was little that could be done. As a result we read every book and publication we could find and although there seems to be a test, there is no cure for most birds with this disease and they normally die. We Lost skipper six months ago and we miss him so much.

As there is no cure for PBFD, we urge any potential owners to be very careful where they buy their birds from as only by careful selection can we reduce the risks of this awful condition.

Sally Goldsmith, by email




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