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Feather picker??

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Feather picker??

Postby sheps4her » Thu Feb 04, 2010 1:14 am

here is a pic of my new charge. I think he may be a plucker since there were some feathers coming in on his chest, and now they are gone. :(

Image

it looks like his right wing was clipped,,

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He is also missing some of his nails..

Image
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Re: Feather picker??

Postby pchela » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:31 pm

How old is he? Do you know his history? It does look like he's plucking from the photo.
"I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF!" ~ Jack Handy ~ Deep Thoughts
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Re: Feather picker??

Postby sheps4her » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:21 am

pchela wrote:How old is he? Do you know his history? It does look like he's plucking from the photo.


He came from a "breeder" who had all of her animals taken from her due to poor care/neglect...so I have no idea as to sex or age. Do you think there is any possibility of breaking this habbit??
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Re: Feather picker??

Postby pchela » Mon Feb 08, 2010 2:13 am

Hi. There are definitely some things you can try to help break this habit.

1 - Diet is really important. He may not accept it at first, especially if he's used to a crappy diet from his old owner (which it sounds like he may have been) but you have to just give him healthy food everyday and eventually he should start eating it. Try eating it in front of him and making a big deal about how good it is. Sounds silly but it often works. Anyway, he'll (or she?) will need a good quality pellet, either Harrisons or Roudybush, something with no dyes. Also, a variety of fresh foods daily, especially orange veggies like carrots and sweet potato and even pumpkin. Also, greens such as kale and any other veggies you may have excluding avocado which you should never give to a parrot. Mine love peas and broccoli and corn etc. Fruit is good too but veggies are better. There is an excellent recipe I use every day that is really healthy and easy to make and all of my birds really love it. It's the first thing they go for in the dish though it took them some time to get used to it. It's called glop and here is a link to the recipe - http://www.companionparrot.com/glop.htm Be sure to add the essential fatty acid! I use Flax Seed Oil as I've read that it has helped with plucking in some birds. This recipe may be the easiest way to get him to eat good stuff. I actually make enough for several days and keep it in the fridge.

2. Make sure he has toys and stuff to keep him occupied. Greys are really intelligent and they sometimes pluck out of boredom and frustration. It may take some time to find out what he likes to play with and he may not even appear interested in playing. Some birds have to be taught to play. If he won't play with anything try to play with it in front of him and really act like you're having a good time. Sometimes just making it clear that they can't have the item is enough to peak their interest. Also, quality time with you and out of the cage will help with boredom.

3. Lighting. Many birds have stopped plucking with the simple addition of an avian UV light, especially if they have been kept in an area with little or no sunlight.

4. Some birds have had success with anti anxiety drugs which is something your avian vet can help you with.

5. A bubble collar, another item you can get from your vet. It simply clips on around the neck so the bird can't reach itself to pluck. It's extreme and the parrots hate them and I'd really only recommend them for extreme cases where mutilation is occurring simply because they seem so torturous for the bird. The bubble collar is better than the Elizabethan collar because it is much easier for the bird to move around and eat etc with the bubble collar. A homemade foam collar can work as well if the bird will leave it alone. You can get foam pipe stuff at Home Depot, it comes in different sizes, and cut it into pieces about an inch or so depending on the size of the bird and just slip it on. If the bird won't leave it alone you can wrap it with vet tape to help keep it in place but be aware that sometimes feathers can stick to it and get pulled out when you take it off.

5. You can also try a humidifier in the room he's in and (even it he hates it) a bath at least once a week, preferably more. Some people mix pure aloe vera juice (not gel) with water and spritz their birds and claim it helps. Sometimes they pluck because of dry, itchy skin.

So, those are some things you can try. Some birds will stop plucking with a few lifestyle changes, other will pluck for their entire lives. I wish you and your bird luck. Dealing with a plucker is no fun. I have one that plucks her tail feathers out and nothing has worked to get her to stop. From the picture, the plucking on your Grey doesn't seem too extreme so there may be some hope for him!
"I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF!" ~ Jack Handy ~ Deep Thoughts
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Re: Feather picker??

Postby GreenBean_Baby » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:35 am

I found the cone to be helpful with my bird for a while, but then it just slowed down his plucking.
A word of warning with the cone, not only can a few feathers get pulled out but the skin gets dry and the feathers under it very unhappy.
If you can work with the bird and allow it time with the cone off and spray some aloe in that area and put the cone back on when it is dry do it. My little guy had such dry itchy skin that when the cone came off he itched himself bloody. I tried to stop him but he just itched too much.

Good luck!
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Re: Feather picker??

Postby Suzzique » Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:08 pm

Greys unfortunitly are #2 right behind too's for plucking. Once it's started it is very hard to stop. There have been some great suggestions already. I have another one for you add red palm oil to the fresh food diet. Greys eat red palms in the wild and the oil is good for thier skin and feathers. Lots of showers and the aloe juice mist are also good for the skin and makes it softer and easier for new feathers to come in. Also add papaya to that list of orange foods to feed. They can have the seeds as well. Though I don't have much problem any more getting Alex to try new stuff I did when he was a baby. I know someone already suggested it but eat the thing you want him to try infrunt of him and make a huge fuss. I use to tell Alex Mmmm Yummy! Then if he seemed a bit interested I would pretend like I wasn't going to share which just made him want it all the more. You most likely wont need to do that part. It's just what I did. Don't give up keep offering stuff. It took 9 months for me to ge Alex to try grapes. Of coruse he loves them now. The glop is good but play with it add other stuff to it. It's a good way to sneek in stuff like mashed sweet potatoes. Oh that is another thing, if he wont take the food raw try cooking it. Try giving the food both warm and cold. Offer it lots of different ways until you find what works for him.
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Re: Feather picker??

Postby pchela » Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:37 am

Excellent advice Suzzique! I can't believe I forgot about the red palm oil. Sheps4her hasn't signed back on. I hope the Grey is doing alright.
"I bet the sparrow looks at the parrot and thinks, yes, you can talk, but LISTEN TO YOURSELF!" ~ Jack Handy ~ Deep Thoughts
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pchela
African Grey
 
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 1281
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Senegal -Pippin
Red Belly - Nicholas
Lesser Jardine's - Rupert
Timneh African Grey - Isabeau (Ibby)
Flight: Yes

Re: Feather picker??

Postby Suzzique » Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:17 am

Yep I just had to order more. I order it online from http://www.swansonvitamins.com/ . I got a 16oz jar of the red palm oil and a 5oz jar of bee pollen and only paid $15 including the shipping. :D
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Suzzique
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Re: Feather picker??

Postby skthurley » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:49 am

Everything that was suggested in the above posts is great!

My green cheek conure came to me a feather chewer.

I changed her over to a natural pellet (she was on a fruit blend), and a high veggie mash, as well as offered plenty of toys, UV lighting and daily baths.

In the few months I've had her, her chewing has essentially stopped. She's going through a molt right now, so in due time I will be able to tell whether her habit has been kicked for sure.

Hang in there and definitely work to trying some of the things that were suggested. Sometimes they work, other times the plucking is a bad habit that cant be changed
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