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Molting or Feather plucking

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Molting or Feather plucking

Postby Nigan » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:54 am

Hello everyone,,
I'm trying to figure out if my Senegal is molting or feather plucking.

Background info:

My Senegal (Zazu) is 4 years old. I've owned him since he was 4 months old. He is fed a very well balanced diet of pellets and vegetables. He has a large cage and many toys. He bathes himself regularly and takes a few showers with me a month.

About a month ago I noticed a small bald patch forming on his chest. the feathers along his wings, and most of his body really, have become tattered and dull. His eyes are still bright and he still has a big appetite and drinks a lot. I haven't noticed any difference in his stool either. But the spot on his chest has grown larger and larger. Most of the right side of his chest is now bald. The down is growing in but very slowly. I noticed some color feathers returning, which makes me feel better, but I'm still concerned. He has never lost more than a few feathers at a time.

I have noticed that his eyes still look good, his behavior and mood have not changed and he is still talkative and active. Nothing aside from his appearance is different.
I have since started him on a Bird bath spray once a day, and skin and plumage supplement on his food. I've also hung several more shredding toys in his cage.

I should note that up until a month ago he has spent almost his whole life in a basement suit with very little natural light, as I am a student and moved a lot. I recently moved into a new apartment and he now has riverdale phone cases access to a large window. He has been getting much more day light time and more free time around the house/ out of his cage and with me. Which is why I was hesitant to say it was feather plucking, usually that's a sign they don't get enough attention isn't it?

I'm still worried about my boy, he means the world to me, so I want to do everything I can to make sure he is ok. If it is just a molt, then I'll be able to rest a bit easier.

Not sure if it is relevant but we live on the west coast of Canada. So it is fall time here now.
Gender: This parrot forum member is male
Posts: 2
Number of Birds Owned: 1
Types of Birds Owned: Parrot
Flight: No

Re: Molting or Feather plucking

Postby Pajarita » Wed Sep 25, 2019 11:21 am

Welcome to the forum. He is plucking. If you can see the down or the skin, he is plucking. If his plumage looks to have uneven or shortened feathers, he is barbering. Now, at his age, he is now becoming a full-fledged adult and, if he has been living in a basement all along, the problem is, most likely, that he has not been kept at a strict solar schedule because this requires exposure of two hours of twilight at dawn and, again, another two hours at dusk -which is pretty impossible to do in a basement unless it's one of the 'semi' basements where one side is not at a lower level than the ground and his cage is right there in front of whatever window is there.

Bath sprays are no good so, if I were you, I would stop this immediately. Senegals tend to bathe on their own in a bowl (at least, that's the only kind of bath my senegals -had four- ever liked) and they are not really very good bathers but that's the way they are. Also, do not add any type of vitamin supplement if you feed pellets - too much is as bad as too little. And no baths with you unless your showers are always with cold water -warm water strips the natural oils from the plumage and skin and dries them up.

As to birds plucking from lack of attention.... well, captive parrots never get enough attention and I am including mine here. No human can provide the 24/7/365 close company they need to be happy even if they stay home all the time and never go anywhere. But what causes plucking or any other type of feather mutilation activity is stress - and stress can be emotional or physical. And, when it comes to captive parrots, it's usually a combination of the two because we can't reproduce the conditions that nature evolved them to live under in our homes no matter how much we love them and no matter how hard we try. So I suggest that you re-evaluate your husbandry and see where it's lacking: Is he fully flighted and does he get 4 hours a day of flight? Does he get 3 hours a day of one-on-one? Is he being kept at a strict solar schedule or a human light schedule? Is his daily routine always the same (and I do mean the SAME)? Is his diet a good one? (I don't believe that pellets are the best dietary option for parrots but, even if they were, they should never be free-fed).
Norwegian Blue
Gender: This parrot forum member is female
Posts: 17440
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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