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Why does my bird not take care of his feathers?

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Why does my bird not take care of his feathers?

Postby Donny » Tue Sep 10, 2019 9:09 pm

Hello all. I have a (less than) one-year-old Green Cheek Conure named Ozzy, who seems relatively normal when considering green cheeks in general, aside from the fact that he doesn't want to take care of his feathers. He was clipped early on by his breeders, and grew to about 4 months with all of the breeder's other young birds. I have built somewhat of a relationship with him and fed him many fruits, veggies, and a good, diverse diet overall for as long as I have had him. He is a sweet bird but hot headed, I guess you could say. He has some behavioral issues, but nothing that wont be worked on. Anyway, my main concern is his feathers. He doesnt seem to do much preening or grooming on himself, especially not his wings. Knowing the situation, is there any insight on maybe at least why this is the case?
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 1
Number of Birds Owned: 3
Types of Birds Owned: Green Cheek Conure, 2 budgies.
Flight: No

Re: Why does my bird not take care of his feathers?

Postby Pajarita » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:10 am

Hi, Donny and Ozzie, welcome to the forum. Well, I am afraid that poor Ozzie was not bred by a good breeder and that always means issues. It happens very often with GCCs because every Tom, Dick and Harry are breeding them trying to make easy money -they are small, inexpensive, easy to breed even under bad conditions, and there is a lot of demand from inexperienced people -mind you, this is not a criticism, it's simply an observation... people who have never had a parrot or even a bird in their lives choose them because they are cute, small and not usually aggressive - they would not dare go with, say, an amazon but a little GCC seems like the perfect choice for a first timer when, in reality, they are not. At all. But, at less than one year old, Ozzie is still a juvenile so there is still plenty of time to work on his issues.

Now, does he bathe? Because, normally, a bird would always preen after a bath. I have two GCCs, both female (and one of them came from a bad breeder and has issues, too) and the 'good' one, Codee, prefers to bathe in the sink, perching on the side of a large, shallow steel dish with a small trickle of cold water falling inside so she goes in, splashes in it, goes back to perching on the side, goes back in, splashes, goes out. This is done several times and one after the other until she is done and steps down from the rim of the dish. She also bathes in her water dish but she prefers the sink. But the other one, Annie (the one from the bad breeder), does not bathe anywhere as often and only does it in her own water dish (which is also a steel bowl but a bit deeper and not as large in circumference as the one that Codee uses in the sink) so, if Ozzie does not bathe, offer him/her different ways and bowls and see which one he/she prefers and observe what it does after to see if it preens. If it does, don't worry too much about it because, in all honesty, obssessing over things does not work with parrots, you are much better off allowing time to take care of their issues while using impeccable husbandry with them.

You see, the thing is that there are studies that tell us that baby birds that went through stress when very young grow up highstrung and remain like that all their lives. PLUS parrots, being highly altricial, need to learn from their parents or other adult parrots of their own species but a baby bred by a bad breeder would have half-depleted parents, would be separated way too early from them, weaned too soon and kept in a cage with all the other babies instead of incorporating them into the flock so they not only grow up with stress, they also do not learn what they need to learn so they come out with all kinds of abnormal behaviors, the poor things!

The best thing you could do for your little Ozzie is adopt a nice adult GCC from which he/she could learn normal behaviors. My Codee is very patient with Annie and she has come a long way since she first came to me all plucked and terribly highstrung. She has learned to eat gloop and raw produce, bathe and preen normally, is allowing her feathers to grow back and, although she was never hand-fed (which makes her terribly distrustful of humans and completely unfriendly to people), she is no longer afraid of me and has even learned to go back into her cage by herself after coming out to fly every morning (which is something that birds with abnormal behaviors benefit from immensely as flight is the only way birds have of dissipating stress hormones from their bloodstream). Needless to say, the right diet (they cannot be free-fed protein food and the protein level needs to be quite low as they are mainly fruit eaters in the wild), a strict solar schedule with full exposure to dawn and dusk, and a never-changing daily routine that emulates their wild circadian cycle is essential.
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17152
Location: NE New Jersey
Number of Birds Owned: 30
Types of Birds Owned: Toos, grays, zons, canaries, finches, cardinals, senegals, jardine, redbelly, sun conure, button quail, GCC, PFC, lovebirds
Flight: Yes

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