By Brett1964 from Melbourne, Australia
Go to google.com and type in "Why do parrots pluck their feathers."
There are many help sites that can help you find the answer.
I saw a show on animal planet that said birds will preen other birds so if a bird is alone it might over preen itself. Their suggestion was to put a feather duster in the cage with the bird. The bird will fulfill its need to pull feathers by pulling feathers from the duster. You can get feather dusters at dollar stores so it is something cheap you can try before you try getting it a companion.
I have a female Eclectus parrot that pulls her feathers out. I adopted her from a loud vet clinic and I would like to see her get her beautiful feathers back. How can I help her?
Ruby from Buford, GA
Treat your bird like she is a family member. When you have dinner, take a little bit of everything and put it in a treat dish for her. You will soon learn her likes and dislikes. Perhaps the variety will make a difference.
Toys are important as well, what I like to call busy toys, things she can shred and destroy. Also try a mirror, and leaving the TV on where she can see it.
Sometimes you can not break a feather plucker. The last one I adopted stopped when I changed the bird's diet, and gave him lots of handling and attention. Be brave, there is hope. (03/20/2007)
Trust me I know about diet. I adopted a nine year old abused Maximilian's Pionus in January 2000 that had numerous health problems. Unfortunately, while most were treated and cured with medication she has been left with a bad liver due to the poor diet she was given. She has been on daily medication the entire time I have had her, goes to the vet every 3 months for blood tests to check her liver functions and is on a very strict diet. The first avian vet I had treated her condition differently than my current vet and I am lucky to still have her. When he started seeing her in March 2005, Xrays showed her liver to be so enlarged it had displaced all her other organs. He told me point blank that she could drop dead at any time. I followed his directions to the "t" especially diet and now he calls her the miracle bird. While her liver functions are not perfect, they are very close to normal range and the inflammation is under control.
I honestly thought I was giving her a healthy diet, but he stopped everything I was doing and gave me a list of exactly what she could have. I am talking right down to the number of Harrison's High Potency coarse ground pellets she was allowed per day.
As for plucking. It can be diet related, caused from bacteria or stress related. Does your bird pluck in a specific area? Does it just pluck or is it mutilating itself? Have you had the bird tested for Giardia? If it is a stress related plucking, Avian Medicine Chest has a wonderful product that does not make your bird lethargic. It's called Neuroseze. I know several people that have had wonderful results with it and their birds were not affected at all like they sometimes are by vet prescribed "downers".
Sorry for being so long winded. I hope things turn around for your Ekkie. Is it a Solomons? They are so pretty and their plumage looks like velvet so I can understand your frustration. Oh another thing, does the bird get plenty of UV rays (full spectrum lighting)? UV rays are essential for the absorption of certain vitamins that are necessary for healthy plumage.
Good luck to you and keep us posted.
By Dr. Katheryne Aaron R
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