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AfricanGreys.com • View topic - feather plucking

feather plucking

Welcome to the Grey Play Round Table African grey Question and Answer Board. Maggie Wright, author of the Barron's Grey pet manual and creator of the Grey Play Round Table African grey newsletter/magazine, and Lisa Bono, African grey behavior expert, will be the two moderators to answer your questions. Please check out the areas that have already been dealt with... and submit your new questions.


Due to the incredibly high volume of SPAM, the board has been set up so that you cannot submit a question. Instead, please send me your question at merlin@AfricanGreys.com and I will post it for you. Then, both Lisa and I will post responses. Sorry for the inconvenience.

PLEASE send me your questions... we REALLY want to help you!!! merlin@AfricanGreys.com.


Wishing you GREY'T Blessings!
Maggie Wright

Moderator: merlin

feather plucking

Postby merlin » Sat May 05, 2012 12:52 am

Hi,

I have just found your website. Do you have any tips on how to stop feather plucking? I have tried changing toys... given her more attention... moved the cage ect. The problem started when I moved with her from Spain back to uk in a van for two days travel. Then we stayed at two different addresses until arriving back. So, there was lots of stress for her. That was nearly two years ago. The problem is no better now. It's mainly her front [no feathers]and she nibbles on the top of her wings.

On a blog somebody suggested no peanuts? I do give her lots of different things to eat. She is quite fussy, like all greys.

Would be grateful for any help.
Regards,
Maggie.
merlin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am

Re: feather plucking

Postby merlin » Sat May 05, 2012 12:55 am

Dear Maggie,

Anytime you have a grey with feather picking problems, it always is a good idea to have your parrot vet checked before doing anything. That's because so many of the feather picking problems come from some physical cause. I'm sure since it has been 2 years, you have had her vet-checked. Peanuts could be a problem and does cause picking for many greys. What is her diet like? She may be missing certain nutrients. A nutritional profile through a blood test with the doctor could determine if there are nutritional deficiencies issues, plus giardia, aspergillosis, zinc poisoning, and so on. So that is always the best thing for you to do first.

Travel without being prepared for it could also trigger lots of stress, which is a big cause of picking. I know you have looked at many things in your home. How is the stress between you and other household members? Stress can play a big role in feather problems. We know that wild greys "drop" their tail feathers when they are caught in Africa and are under stress. This is similar to other ground feeders, such as doves, that eject their feathers when they are caught by predators. This may be nature's way of trying to help them escape the predators. They may be able to get away if the predator grabbed the feathers.

Therefore, I personally believe that being partial ground feeders, all greys' nervous systems (wild & pet) probably "loosen" their feathers when they are under stress. For example, when my Merlin has a night fright, she loses feathers. This may be a problem that lots of pet greys that are stressed out go through. Possibly, their nervous systems are stressed and the nervous system slightly loosens the feathers in the quills, which feels funny and irritates the bird and then makes it pick. This is another theory of what may be happening. Therefore, lessening stress is very important in a grey household.

Also, since your bird has been picking for 2 years, it may have turned into habit by now. This is much harder to break. You may consider some positive reinforcement technique where you praise and reward her when she is NOT picking.

The hard part is pinpointing the problem. After you have exhausted exploring possible physical problems, you may want to pursue some kind of positive reinforcement tactics to see if you can help her alleviate the habit. Also, try in your mind NOT to see her as a picked bird, but overlooking it.

Good luck. This is ONE of the hardest things to do... you may want to Google-search many different remedies that have worked for others.

Please keep me posted. Hoping this note was a little helpful.
GREY'T Blessings,
Maggie-
www.AfricanGreys.com
merlin
Site Admin
 
Posts: 188
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am


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