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
This happened to a bird we used to have and the vet suggested one of those cone shaped collars, but the conclusion by the vet was that it was bored. We did have toys and stones and things, but I think he needed a "friend". We gave him away to someone with birds, and he took their feathers off too! Some say once they start this there's no stopping it. If you can, get it a mate and see what happens. (12/18/2006)
First of all take your bird to a vet that specializes in birds. I am guess that your bird is stressed, and needs some major TLC, and time. Try playing the radio for your bird, I keep the music channel on for our parrot when we are gone or out of the house in summer. Do you have the bird in the most used room of the house, where he can see and hear everyone? That will help, too. (12/18/2006)
What are you feeding your bird? Sometimes diet is a problem. If an avian vet checks the bird and says she is healthy then there are a few things you can try. Provide lot's of stimulation for her. They do need things other than seed for their diet. My parrots eat just about everything I do, except the following which are poisonous: cherries, chocolate, avocado, caffeine, and alcohol. Don't allow a lot of dairy either. But scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, veggies, and such are a good place to start. All my birds love pizza crust. When I go grocery shopping I hit the salad bar, and get a little bit of many things for mine. They are carnivores also, so a few chunks of turkey or chicken are a nice treat.
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)
By Linda Datavs
You are not paying enough attention to your bird. They need lots of care and attention. I found a male Ecletus in my yard. He is now my pet and a full time job. If you don't have the time maybe you should get her a mate or give her to someone that has more time to spend with her. My bird is not pulling his feathers out, but I am thinking of getting a mate so I am not the "mate" which he thinks I am. (03/26/2007)
I beg to differ with some of the diet advice given. I realize in the wild parrots eat nuts, seeds, etc., but a domesticated parrot does not get the same exercise, therefore diet is something that should be carefully monitored. Fruits and veggies are great as long as they are healthy. Apples, pears, peaches, etc.
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.
I have 2 birds at home and have done a lot of research when it comes to issues and problems they may have. Your bird is probably plucking out its feathers due to the stressful environment it was previously living in before you got it. You should take it to the vet, but you can cover it's neck and body with a tube sock. Just cut holes for the wings. I saw an Eclectus like this at a pet store and it deterred the bird from plucking. (06/23/2007)
Psychotic, that is, undeserved guilt, of a complex nature, loss of self-esteem. These types of parrots, the types that pull out their own feathers, should never be harnessed as pets, etc. (10/16/2008)
By Dr. Katheryne Aaron R
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