On 2/28/06, Denise wrote:
> I have had a problem with what I think is "feather lumps"
> with my canaries. Their nails and beak grow extremely
> quickly and I will notice that their feathers are not
> smooth, but a few stick out. The base of the feathers
> that stick out is very thick and if I pull it out, there
> is a lot of white, powdery matter---keratin, I think.
> This substance makes big lumps under the canary's skin.
> Sometimes I can remove them, and other times it bleeds a
> lot and I'm afraid I'll hurt the bird. In all cases, the
> birds have died much earlier than they should have. I have
> noticed that it happens with birds from a particular
> breeder, and their offspring.
> I have a beautiful red factor female I wanted to breed,
> but I can see she has some of her feathers sticking out
> and they are thick at the base. She doesn't have lumps
> yet. Is there anything at all I can do to prevent her
> from getting them like the other birds? I would really
> appreciate any help!
It wouldn't surprise me that their nails and beak grow fast
as they are extensions of the skin and would be related to
the feather cysts that you describe.
To my knowledge there is no known cure for these cysts and
they are heritable and can be passed on to future offspring
of the birds that are infected with them.
Two of the species that I know are predisposed to this
problem are the Norwich and Gloucester canaries due to their
I've heard of some holistic treatments where the diet was
altered and enhanced with supplementation, but really can't
say for sure what was used.
As far as your red factor being used as a breeding bird, I
would wait to make sure that whatever is making her feathers
stick out is not the start of cysts. You would pass this
along with her offspring and regardless of how beautiful she
is, it wouldn't be worth it in the long run.
Good luck with her and I do hope that it isn't what you're