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To oil or not to oil..

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To oil or not to oil..

Postby Shelley » Tue Aug 07, 2018 12:49 pm

A week ago I rescued a Citron cockatoo from a sale. He didn’t go through the sale as the SPCA pulled him because he self plucks. I couldn’t see him return to where he came from so I made a private sale with the owner.
This isn’t our first cockatoo but it’s our first plucker. For lack of better term..
I asked a few simple question. Like age and name. They couldn’t tell me either. They bought him as a breeding male. He didn’t want to do as they wanted so he ended up at the sale.They were calling him Clyde..well he’s not a Clyde. We call him Rio..
We’ve had him a week and we’re in love.. he talks, everyday says something new. Loves rubs, and kisses. It’s his loss of feathers that were concerned about. Hubby and I are retired so we’re together a lot throughout the day. He sits on my chair back for all meals, and we sit outside on the veranda for our afternoon snack. Goes under the gazebo on hot days when moms looking after the other farm animals. With his log to debark..and his sister Jade to pester. Only in his cage when he decides. Except at night. He didn’t liked the tv remote to have as many buttons when he was left out at
Now that you have some idea of his life here now there isn’t a real reason to pluck..
Spending so much time with him I did notice he takes his hard biscuit type food and breaks it open and proceeds to rub it on his skin. I think he’s itchy. We have talked to our vet. She says give him time to adjust to his new home. If he continues take him into the city 2 hours away and see an avian vet who can draw blood, and see if there’s other issues. Then we can follow up with her.
We just don’t want at this time add more stress for him.. he’s just settling in with our life.
He has no soars other than where his wing attaches to his body. He has an open sore there. I take a q tip with medicated cream and apply it. He doesn’t like that but I’ve managed so far without being bit.
I was thinking of trying a cream, or oil (coconut..olive,) (but there not natural to his body as I did read on this site) on some part of his body..hubby wants to try and bath him.
We raise peafowl. And heritage chickens. So we’re not totally new to birds and handling but are aware that he’s a totally different degree of bird. Stressing him to do something he’s not use to will set us back. We’re only a week into our lives together..
We’re not against the vet either but like others we feel the vet should be a visit after we try a few some simple things at home first. Just what to try we’re not sure..
thank you for taking the time to read this, any advise would be appreciated .. Shelley.
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
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Types of Birds Owned: Perlie Conure
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Re: To oil or not to oil..

Postby Zorro_the_bhc_2015 » Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:48 pm

would baths or a bird bath spray help?
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Re: To oil or not to oil..

Postby liz » Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:57 am

I open a vitamin e capsule and spread it real thin on Rainbows feet. He has such dry feet that he sometimes picks them until they are raw. The oil helps heal while he does not like the taste to pick at them.

This is not easy with a 33 year old bird that knows her own mind.
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Re: To oil or not to oil..

Postby Pajarita » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:21 am

Hi, Shelley, hubby, Jade and Rio! Welcome to the forum. I don't agree with using commercial bird sprays or any kind of oil on a bird's body. Baths are a great idea because cockatoos simply LOVE baths and anything that gives them pleasure, helps with plucking and self-mutilating [the sore under his wing is self-made].

Now, you don't say how old he is or how long he has been plucking although I suspect the answer to this is 'a longish time' because he has already progressed to self-mutilation [which is never their first choice]. I will share with you what has worked for me BUT I might as well tell you right off the bat that, in my personal experience, cockatoos [or any other large species] that have been plucking for a long time never really stop. This doesn't mean that there will be no improvement because, if you do everything right, there will be and you can take that to the bank! And, as a matter of fact, you need to try real hard because self-mutilation is dangerous - there are birds that have died from hemorrhaging overnight and that have had to be put down because they have bit into their own bones so, if the open wound under his wing doesn't heal, you will need to take him to the vet for an e-collar so as to stop his constant picking at it.

Cockatoos are very hard birds to keep healthy and happy because they are short day breeders [which makes them what we call 'hormonal birds'], they require a very wet fresh food diet [pellets are not really good for them] and are extremely needy [but this should be easy to take care of for you because you are home all day long]. So let's go into the details!

Hormones: now, when we talk about hormones we refer to sexual hormones mainly but, in reality, the 'cure' for a 'hormonal bird' is nothing else but the way that ALL birds should be kept because it affects much more than just the production or not production of sexual hormones and it's at a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk. Nothing mysterious about it, simply following nature's rules for them: up with dawn, to bed with dusk with no artificial light during both twilight events and no exposure whatsoever to artificial lights before the sun us up or after the sun is halfway down to the horizon. This does not only take care of their sexual hormone problem but also keeps their endocrine system healthy and in good working order which also means a good immune system, cell regenation, restful sleep, adequate circadian cycles, etc. all the way to the healthy production of the 'good hormones' [the 'happy' and the 'reward' ones'] which, in turn, will directly affect the depression?, anxiety? that made him start plucking. If you want to do your own research on this, put in your search engine: avian photoperiodism, avian endocrine systems, avian reproduction.

Diet: in my personal experience and with the exception of species that eat nectar, cockatoos are the parrots that need [and appreciate] the wettest diet. They are the only parrots, with the exception of the tiels and the budgies, that go for their 'salad' [leafy greens] before anything else. I don't feed pellets because I don't think they are the best dietary option for any parrot species - I've observed wild parrots feeding and have been doing research on their natural diets for over 20 years and have long ago reached the conclusion that pellets are not, never were and never will be the best dietary option for parrots. I can elaborate on each of these points -and will if you so wish it- but, as far as a list goes: they are way too dry, too processed, have low quality ingredients and soy [a big no-no with any animal as it's a known allergen -which could be causing the plucking, too!- aside from their side effects on thyroid and sexual hormone production], don't have a known level of protein [it's always a 'max of' or 'no lower than'] and have man-made vitamins in them which we now know the body cannot use the same way as natural, food-derived ones. You can do more research on this by going to ornithology books and field biologists reports on the species dietary ecology crossreferencing the species place of origin flora. Now, what you feed is up to you but I will tell you what I feed mine: gloop [a dish made out of human grade, organic whole grains cooked al dente, pulses thoroughly cooked, some flax seed -and sesame at times- and mixed with chopped frozen veggies], accompanied by a fruit, a veggie and a leafy green [a different one each day of the week, every ten days or every other week -it depends on the item itself but I never feed them collard greens or parsley and I feed them only blue curly kale and then only every other week or so as it's too high in sorbitol].

As to their neediness and need to be out of cage and with people for many, many hours during the day, it seems to me that you are already doing this very well so, unless you want me to elaborate, I will leave it at that.

But, I will tell you one thing: the bird you see now is not the bird you will end up with. For one thing, he is on his honeymoon stage [when they are at their best behavior] but, for another, the right light schedule and diet do wonders for them!
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