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Feather Plucking Section

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Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Tue Jun 24, 2014 1:13 am

Feather plucking is a heck of an elephant to swallow. There are so many myths and reasons as to why ringnecks pluck. I am always asked so many questions about the topic and I am dealing with it through Osiris (Alexandrine). He doesn't pluck his actual feathers, he just has a habit of flipping his feathers around. Countless tests and nothing is wrong with him.

I hope this part of the forum can shed light on the topic! :) Would love to hear success stories or your fight and journey with the struggle. I'll be sure to update mine!

Best Wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C
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GeveZe
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by GeveZe » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:12 am

Is she flipping her feathers around? Those feathers didn't like that 4 days ago.
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Donovan
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by Donovan » Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:48 am

Do you think Osiris may actually be doing that for decorative reasons? Maybe it's a mild form of nesting behavior. He's tryin to look cool for the ladies

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:22 pm

Hey GeveZe,
Thanks for posting pictures! That's exactly how Osiris started and it started progressing over the months. I thought nothing of it, did not make a huge deal about it, nor did I question it too much. I just figured he had the odd feather or two that was sticking out.

This sometimes happens with some babies that I raise. In fact, Devri had some odd feathers on her wings but over a few years molted them off. Now she looks really nice. I really did not think too much of it.

Once I started seeing Osiris's feathers kind of curve a bit, I panicked and had him tested for PBFD. Thankfully he came back negative. He is one healthy bird, he just chooses to curl and flip his feathers. I'm going to show you photos of him when he started doing this "feather flipping." Odd, huh?

I added some photos for you to look at.

Best Wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C
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This is when he started messing w/ his feathers...
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See, all normal here. This is the day I got him.
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Tue Jul 01, 2014 8:23 pm

Hey Donovan,

That's what I'm thinking too. I'm trying to rework his thinking. I'm on the planning table right now, but I think i might have a few tricks up my sleeve...ha ha ha ha :lol:

Best Wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by GeveZe » Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:38 am

Thank you so much. I've relieved a little bit. I hope my baby is as healty as Osiris. By the way I started to interested in Alexandrine parakeets with Osiris. He is so cute i do like him. But even indian ringnecks are too big for me. So you should share more photos of Osiris :D

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Wed Jul 02, 2014 4:34 pm

Whelp, here is some information about Osiris thus far. For now, I stopped all seeds and only give him Harrisons High Potency Fine Pellets. Plus, he gets organic fruits/ veggies throughout the day. My other ringnecks are on Zupreem and they love it.

I also give him bentonite clay. A lot of parrots eat clay in the wild and perhaps this will help with calcium or minerals he is not getting. I simply mix a little with soft warm food that I spoon feed to him. Works great with vegetable or fruit puree. Also, from my research the bentonite clay removes toxins. I'm hoping this helps a lot too...fingers crossed!

I am also starting him on dende oil as it has proven to help a lot of parrots. I also talked to a pet store and they gave me some Super Hygliceron. Apparently, a lot of people report its effectiveness. No surprises there as its high in Vitamin A.

I am giving him two extracts too. They are Milk Thistle and Dandelion Extract at the moment. Those two plants have proven to help with so many ailments. I simply ad one drop into his water bowl in spring water (perhaps fluoride is the culprit?).

One last final thing, I am working on positive reinforcement exercises to put a collar on him. We are to the point where he accepts a napkin that I cut a hole into for a few seconds. My goal is to not overstress him but gradually introduce it to him so he can stop this habit if its habitual. Through my journal, I find that he messes with his feathers during the evening and late while the TV is on. I might have to move him to a different room. And oh, I got a baby monitor so I can see what he does when I'm not in the room.

Anyway, I'll update more on his progress with photos over the months.

I'm so determined to get this problem fixed. I'm documenting this so others dealing with this issue can learn. If we all work together then we can understand more about this problem. Dammit I determined to fix this. :)

Best wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C
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My bird's food
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Milk Thistle and Dandelion Extract
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Dende oil and Super Hygliceron
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Osiris as of July 2 2014
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Osiris as of July 2 2014

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GeveZe
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by GeveZe » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:56 am

Thanks it's very informative for me. Börek's feathers' current condition:
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I think it's not getting better or worse .

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by InTheAir » Fri Jul 11, 2014 3:44 pm

Imran, thanks for putting a comprehensive post of the steps you are taking and results. I will be following your progress and wishing Osiris the best.

A couple people I have heard at talks stress the importance of flight and that clipping wings can be a contributing factor to feather distructive behaviour. I think this is another area worth looking in to further.

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:04 pm

GeveZe,

Don't panic or make a big deal about it. Believe me, I feel your frustration :wink: . Sometimes I literally just have to get up and get out of the room. I refuse to let Osiris know that it bugs me :lol: . I kind of act like a bird and just go about my business. You are doing a great job with your little fella BTW. I love the photos and your little guy is so cute! :)

BTW, everything looks the same so far. :) So, from the photo it seems you're in great shape.

Best Wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sat Jul 12, 2014 9:08 pm

Hey InTheAir,

That's what I'm thinking too. I am going to work on free flying Osiris. Perhaps this might be the culprit too. As of last week we are really getting down at recalling. I hope that will divert his energy elsewhere. He is one little stinker. :lol:

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C

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GeveZe
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by GeveZe » Sun Jul 13, 2014 6:18 am

ringneck wrote:GeveZe,

Don't panic or make a big deal about it. Believe me, I feel your frustration :wink: . Sometimes I literally just have to get up and get out of the room. I refuse to let Osiris know that it bugs me :lol: . I kind of act like a bird and just go about my business. You are doing a great job with your little fella BTW. I love the photos and your little guy is so cute! :)

BTW, everything looks the same so far. :) So, from the photo it seems you're in great shape.

Best Wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C

Oh thank you Imran, It's my first big parrot and I 'm afraid of make mistakes. She is so kind to me. She doesn't want to bite me and she gives me kisses. I want to give her wonderful life =)

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by MissK » Wed Jul 16, 2014 7:59 am

Hi. I found this article by Pamela Clark on the subject of Feather Abuse in Parrots.
\http://www.parrothouse.com/pamelaclark/ ... pluck.html
-MissK

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GeveZe
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by GeveZe » Mon Jul 21, 2014 4:50 am

Thank you MissK.

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:43 am

Hello all,

I just wanted to update my progress on Osiris.

Whelp, I made the dive and put a collar on him. It was a really hard decision I must say. In fact, I was quite depressed about it for a week. After watching him through the baby monitor, it became apparent he flips his feathers as a pastime and during the night. In fact, I think the habit is habitual. Every time I would leave the room his cage is in, he would cling to his cage bars and mess with his feathers. I think it’s a nervous habit.

Anyway, I made the collar myself and it has helped a great deal. I made several different demos, some with plastic in them, others with Velcro. All failed except this simple collar I made with felt--it has two layers.

The first week he hated the collar but now he just does not care (We practiced it through positive reinforcement). He is back to his usual self and is talking and eating a lot. Here are some photos of him and his progress.

Also, I might add, I think this is something i’m going to have to manage for the rest of his life. My overall goal is to remove the collar when he is with me and place it back on him while he is inside his cage.

Fingers crossed gang. :)

Also, the food you see is lentils and brown rice mixed with organic coconut oil. :) He loves it! :)

Best Wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C
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SkyeBerry
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by SkyeBerry » Tue Aug 19, 2014 11:59 pm

Hi Imram - sorry about Osiris and the feather curling. I have not been on the forum for quite some time. Interesting I chose today. I have been working with Skye my blue IRN. He started plucking last year. I am interested in the collar you made. So it is just felt? but it still stands out on its own? Osiris does not try and pull it off? I'll have to give it a try. The vet would rather I not use a collar because there is no (known) medical condition so she figures it is anxiety. But as you realize, it causes a lot of owner anxiety. FYI - I am now trying the opposite of you - reducing the Harrison's and feeding more fruit/veg, seeds etc. Wondering if he is stressed by the lack of variety?
Mary

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by MissK » Wed Aug 20, 2014 12:00 am

Are these birds foraging?
-MissK

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:25 am

Hey SkyeBerry,

Welcome back! It's so great to see you again. :D

Yes, the collar is just felt. We have changed it twice on him. The first round he hated it. He was on the floor of his cage trying to remove it and rightly so! He did rough it up and chew it a bit, but he was never successful at removing it. After a few days, he stopped messing with it. Again, the first collar did take a beating; however, I kept it on until he was used to it.

Now, before I even put the first collar on, I kind of got him used to the idea of having one on. I took paper towels, cut them like a collar and practiced putting it on him. It took several weeks before he accepted the paper towel collar. Once I did that, I tried one with plastic between two felt sheets (was too heavy), one that velcroed (bothered his feathers on his back), and finally my simple felt collar. I found the simple felt collar was the best for him.

Try and use positive reinforcement to get it on. Like I said, it took Osiris a few weeks and a lot of pine nuts before he did let me put the collar on him.

I started with just letting him touch it with his beak, then worked it down his face and neck gradually. The moment he would panic, I would let him pull his head out. Eventually, he became more confident as he knew it would come off the moment he pulled his head out. Again, this was with the paper towel first. Once he mastered that and become more confident I moved to the felt collar.

I used positive reinforcement to ensure I could lessen the stress of having it on him. I hope it helped to reduce it. My overall goal was not to add more stress, especially if his plucking is due to stress. I've seen firsthand many birds that increased their feather plucking, especially in stressful situations. I honestly believe the first few weeks of working with him helped to reduce this.

So to answer your questions:
So it is just felt?
Yes, it had two layers. One disk over another. Not sewed, just placed on top of each other. I took a tea saucer and used that as my template. Perhaps something smaller in your case, such as a larger cup? Then I cut a hole inside the middle about the size of a quarter, but in your case, try a nickel? Make sure it can just barely go over his head if you try it.
But it still stands out on its own?
The first collar did fall down. It looked like Osiris was wearing a dress. Ha ha ha ha. :lol: :lol: Even then, he still did not have access to his chest feathers. In fact, the first felt collar was too large. It was difficult for him to get around. This smaller collar allows him to pick up food with one hand and preen some of his feathers. When the collar did fall down, I changed it as it was old looking.

The cool thing is that even though Osiris has this collar on, he still loves to take a shower with me. He still gets his normal baths and seems to be fine.
The vet would rather I not use a collar because there is no (known) medical condition so she figures it is anxiety.
I totally understand. You know your vet and you have to do what's right for you and your bird. The good thing is that your bird has a clean bill of health. Does this mean it's time to consult someone who specializes in bird behavior, or let your bird continue the plucking? This I am afraid I can't answer for you because it is your choice. You know your bird and you have to do what's right for the both of you. :)

In my case, I don't want this feather mutilation to continue as I know habits are only reinforced through repetition. My bird can still play, eat, take a shower, and go places with me, but he won't be messing with his feathers on my watch. :wink: :wink: I'm hoping over the years I can phase this out. Especially, because it was only for a few months he started this.

I guess what I'm saying is that so many people have tons of opinions about feather mutilation, some good, and some bad. In fact, most of the people that I find to be opinionated are those who have never dealt with such an issue. :wink:

So what should you do? In my opinion, look to people who have successfully stopped their birds from feather plucking. Try and see what they did, how they approached the subject. Those are the people we need to be watching. Also, ask your vet about what successfully worked with their clients, etc.

Also, I love that you're trying new things about reducing pellets. It is all about trial and error. Perhaps your bird's feathr mutilation might be as simple as a food allergy? Who knows! :roll: Just keep reworking your bird's environment until you find what works for you. Then report it here so all bird owners can learn :OP. :lol: :lol: :lol:

I am going to post some wonderful links to get you going. Also, MissK posted a wonderful link too, you might want to check that out. :wink:

I know, I went on too long! ha ha ha ha ha! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Best Wishes,


IMRAN-C
http://www.moranscritterconnection.com/home/Elvis.html
http://beautyofbirds.com/featherpluckin ... ation.html
http://sarabitheparrot.blogspot.com/201 ... ation.html
http://beautyofbirds.com/featherplucking.html
http://www.africangreyparrotcentre.co.u ... pys-story/
http://www.theparrotsocietyuk.org/veter ... in-parrots
http://www.parrothouse.com/pamelaclark/ ... pluck.html
http://www.auspigeonco.com.au/melbourne ... ather.html
http://www.parrotchronicles.com/askavet ... skavet.htm
http://www.parrotforums.com/behavioral/ ... ories.html

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:35 am

Are these birds foraging?
Mine are. :) All seven of them. All have perfect feathering..it's just my little monster Osiris who seems to be the stinker. :wink:

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by SkyeBerry » Wed Aug 20, 2014 10:09 pm

Hi IMRAN-C,

Thanks for the welcome back but I am only here briefly unfortunately. Sent a couple 'hello's via PM only because they weren't about IRNs. And then, you know, could not help but take a peek and see what I have been missing - answer a question and of course check back, and ask a question or two of my own.

I appreciate any sharing of advice no matter how long - you are the one that has to type it. :lol: I will make sure to check out all the links. I should have added that I was a little incredulous because Skye has worn a collar but I am sure he would take the felt off in record time. The history - The collar was a very light weight plastic one the vet made. It was used for about 10 days when he was two. We think he bruised himself and then picked at the area between his shoulders. It was a guess really. He had ABs, a topical spray, and the collar. When the collar was removed, I worried for awhile but he was fine. The feather plucking started two years later.

Although he did not appear unsettled by the collar - which was a great surprise to both the vet and I - he would quietly work at his new mission in life - to figure out how to get it off! There was no frustration or fear just a mission. Funny thing was, after he had it off, he put his head into a large ring that was in his cage to play with, and he wore it like a medal. He was so proud! Silly bird. He is a conundrum for me. FWI - I removed anything he could get his head into after that. :wink: I also had to make a new collar every 24 hrs or so after the first couple days. Even with the neck hole about 1 cm across he would manage to get his beak into it and start chewing his way out. FYI - you can line the opening of a plastic collar with mole skin. It is very soft. You can buy it at pharmacies. People use it to cover bunions etc that might rub inside a shoe. The vet passed on that info to me.

I am going to try the felt collar. I'll make lots. I'll fringe some, maybe attach something else to play with/ preen. I'll put 4 or 5 on at a time if it seems ok. Anything that will keep him busy. I am definitely not against collars. I personally know people who have birds that leave them on and it works for them. HMMM...I am getting ahead of myself a bit - he is a night plucker - safety issues as there will be no supervision.... To work as a 'true' collar I think I would have to go to the tube type and they look uncomfortable and do limit some movement. I might consider a vest but I worry a sock-type might get caught on something.....and lead to worse things...

I let MissK know in another area that Skye's cage door is open - he sleep in my room - so he can leave as early as he wants in the morning. (I had read a lot of plucking happens just before sunrise) He has pellets and toys but he definitely prefers foraging for 'real' food. He seems happier. I started the higher percentage of pellets 6 months prior to the plucking so I figured it is worth a try to go back to the old way and see what happens. It is a recent change.

Looking at Skye, I do regret NOT putting a collar on him as soon as it started...but then I think about what wearing a collar 24/7 must be like. Believe it or not there are days I do not really notice the baldness. Must be love!

I'll keep checking this section even if I do not post.

My post is longer than yours - no surprise! :lol: Dende(?) oil - similar to Harrison's Sunshine Factor? - a type of Red Palm oil. Had not thought about the Milk Thistle. Do not think I have read about the Dandelion. I will google it...but if you have a good link...
Mary

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by SkyeBerry » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:45 pm

Hi Imran-C

I have read all the links (including those I already new about) - you have some really good ones there!

I recommend everyone read these, not only to educate yourselves about plucking and how you might accidentally precipitate it, but also, realize it is a complicated condition/disease symptom. I think there has been a lot of judgement in the past and assumptions of inadequate care when this is often NOT the case. (I am not pointing at this forum :) ) Although there are a few pluckers at our local bird rescue, MOST of the abused and neglected birds are fully feathered! I cannot remember the article I read last year, but the behaviourist mentioned that it was her experience, that most of plucking birds she was asked to consult about, were cared for much better than the average bird, and the owners had obviously spent time and expense to not only meet the bird's needs but create an enriching environment.

Imran-c - have you read Pamela Clark's - Hormonal Behavior: Is Your Parrot A Victim? http://pamelaclarkonline.com/uploads/Ho ... havior.pdf

She mentions a bit more about hormones/plucking/fat in the diet and how they interact. I'll be surprised if you have not, but just in case.

Mary
Mary

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:13 pm

Hey SkyeBerry,

Wow, thanks for the update. These creatures are so complex, huh? It's funny how one day they act normal then suddenly they change. I tend to wonder what goes on inside his head.

I say go for the collar if you had success in the past. I look forward to all your updates as well. Have you made any collars yet?

It's funny how you said you don't even notice the bald spots because you love your bird so much. I can totally relate, but I'm also torn.

It's amazing how much we love our birds and it totally kills me that he is messing with his feathers. Truthfully, I never thought it would happen to me. But, I'm willing to fight and keep my detective hat on until I figure this out. :D

I hope that one day Osiris will look like the stunning Alexandrine he was meant to be. 8) These are such beautiful creatures, really, sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow. :roll:

Also, thanks so much for the article on feather plucking. It was really helpful. It gave me a few ideas that I might want to try. I might cut back on the fat I give him and the carbohydrates. Yikes, so many theories in my head. :lol: :lol: Ha ha ha ha ha! Poor Osiris, he'd be mad if he thought of himself as my guinea pig. ha ha ha ha :lol: :lol:

Oh yeah, I totally agree about birds that feather pluck and people assuming they are abused. Osiris has several cages, loves to relax outside, gets played with, has other ringnecks around him, has tons of toys, eats wonderful food, and spends a great deal of time being loved. He is happy for the most part. :D

Right now I'm trying to get him used to normal preening and normal behavior when the collar is off. As you can see his feathers look so much better. He still loves to hop in the shower with me and can preen his large tail. He is going through a molt right now, or just starting. I can't wait till those feathers drop off from his chest. Also, I see his first black feather of his ring. It's right by the lower beak. :)

Best Wishes,


IMRAN-C
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SkyeBerry
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by SkyeBerry » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:54 pm

Osiris has improved a lot! Lucky you! But then he was just curling not plucking. I am almost afraid to say that Skye has a bunch of feathers coming in - so ssshhhh -keep it quiet - this is when they usually yank them out again. He is picking at some but not to the same degree. I can't remember if I mentioned I am using a spray called Veterycin - no time to check right now or add a link - I also can't remember if it was one of your articles or mine that suggested Aloe Vera juice - diluted - and NOT gel - to be sprayed onto them. I can't imagine it would hurt - I have human grade that can be drank - picked it up today but will research a bit more. Wouldn't surprise me if water worked just as well. :lol: I asked the manufacturer of Vetericyn why I should use their product instead of water and/a saline solution. I will be checking for a response after this post. Do you know anyone who has used AVitech Featheriffic or Avicalm?

My Sunny does not pluck. I have 9 lovebirds and one plucks a bit as the sides of his tail. He will start and stop for who knows what reason. I have asked the Vet about Giardia etc but she does not believe so. I am going to do some more research re: Flagly - treatment for Giardia and other parasites - an article I read stated that some feather pluckers that were consistently negative when tested three days in a row where treated with Flagyl anyway and they stopped the picking.???? Obviously they likley had something. I will discuss this with my vet but she really dislikes giving medications without a confirmed diagnosis. This is why I often research a lot. I need to go in armed. She does keep up to date and she calls avian experts in the United States when she thinks it will be beneficial. But sometimes going in with knowledge creates a better dialogue and possibly gets her thinking outside the box. Regardless, I have a lot of respect for her and am lucky to be near the only avian vet in my province. I also have about 30 finches/waxbills - no feather issues.

re: collar - I am going back/forth about the collar because of the feathers coming in. It is a bit of a catch 22 - protect them or risk unsettling him when he seems to be 'stabilizing.' I'll likely decide in the next few days and let you know.
Mary

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by Melika » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:08 am

I've really enjoyed following this article. I wish I had noticed Hane's plucking sooner! Perhaps it wouldn't have changed anything, or it would have. I don't think I'll ever know. Nevertheless, I have a spunky little parrot that doesn't scream or bite or any other issue to speak of. I often forget he's half naked until I have guests over LOL.

Some of the pluckers I have seen in the past only recover to a certain extent, and some pluck so long that the feathers just give up growing in. Sometimes he has feathers that grow in and almost overnight he'll remove them all... it's a depressing battle if you let it get to you! One step forward and two steps back. I'm just glad he seems happy and occupied. He doesn't over-preen, he'll just decide to remove a feather or two while preening. :roll:
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I've been called 'birdbrained' before, but somehow I don't think this is what they meant. say:hah-nay

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by SkyeBerry » Sat Aug 30, 2014 10:11 pm

Hello Melika and Imram -C and everyone else :)

(Imram-C - should I have started a new thread?)

So...I googled PTSD - post-traumatic stress - and Parrots

Seems a lot of researchers, psychologists etc believe hand-feeding babies and clipping unfledged parrots, keeping a bird without a proper flock, among other things is causing PTSD and behaviour problems ie) screaming, biting/aggressiveness and in particular, feather destructive behaviours and mutilation.

Wondering if you have read anything on the subject and what you think? I have provided two links. Unfortunately, only the first one contains much information. I have sent the MAARS organization an email. Most articles focus on the veterans with PTSD and the rescue birds helping the vets access feelings. If you find any good articles, especially one that discusses how to go about rehabilitating the birds, contact etc, I would love you to pass it on thanks.

http://www.maars.org/news/announcements ... 8/ptsd.php
http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bea ... s-not-sing
Mary

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:32 pm

Hey SkyeBerry,

Thanks for the reply :D . This feather mutilation is quite the "demon" in my house so to speak. I want to pull my hair out trying to figure out what's causing the problem. You know, Osiris was making great progress with the collar; however, Osiris figured out how to curl his feathers a bit higher than his usual spot. Little monster is quite cleaver. I had to add another ring to the collar, this time I made it convex. It has helped to move it higher up the neck. I can't believe that big beak can almost get under his "chin." He is so determined to curl his feathers!

Anyway, I think I'll be doing a collar redesign. :roll: The good thing is that he does not mind me messing with the collar too much. I give him pine nuts to take the collar on and off. I practice this regularly with him as I don't want to stress him out.

I'm going to post more pictures of the updated collar. Also, you can see where he is messing with his feathers. Thankfully he is starting to molt and i'm hoping that gives him a fresh restart. The good thing is his ring is coming in! 8)

Also, Mary, I'll give you some background information about Osiris tomorrow. It's kind of a touchy subject as the person I bought him from--well let's just say, I don't' want to offend them. :oops:

To tell you the truth, it could be PTSD. I'm going to read the links and I'll reply with Osiris and his background information..then you tell me what you think, sound good?

One more thing! I love that you're waiting on the collar for you little guy! That's what's so remarkable about our little family here! We have to keep trying new things and reworking our environment, relationship, tactics, medications, efforts, etc till we figure out what works.

As far as Avicalm, I think one of our members tried it and it turned her normal green ringneck into a yellow looking one. It was remarkable. She is so much like us, she'll do anything for her ringneck. Anyway, I'll see if I can get her to reply to this topic. Fingers crossed...as I know she is busy.

Either way, I'll post a picture of her bird so you can see the before and after. :wink:

I love that you keep your vet "thinking outside the box." In fact, that's what we need to do. If all of us keep working at this problem were bound to find some solution, right?

Promise Osiris's background information coming soon... :)

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sun Aug 31, 2014 6:51 pm

Melika,

I'm glad you enjoy this thread and I enjoyed your thread about plucking vs molting-- simply amazing! I love how you break things down for our members here.

I did not know Hane plucked. I'm really sorry about that! :oops: This disease is so frustrating. I want to get to the bottom of this and find a solution, for Osiris, for me, and for all other bird owners struggling with this.

The good thing is that it's never too late to start the process of fixing this. You got us and we got you--together all of us can make things happen. 8)

Thank you for being here for me, my birds, and all the wonderful post you do on the forum! :)

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by Donovan » Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:11 pm

Find out if bitter apple spray is safe for birds..

If it is, try putting some of it in the plucking area.. make them taste awful.. that might discourage him

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by Melika » Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:41 am

ringneck wrote:Melika,
I did not know Hane plucked. I'm really sorry about that! :oops: This disease is so frustrating. I want to get to the bottom of this and find a solution, for Osiris, for me, and for all other bird owners struggling with this.

The good thing is that it's never too late to start the process of fixing this. You got us and we got you--together all of us can make things happen. 8)

Thank you for being here for me, my birds, and all the wonderful post you do on the forum! :)

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C
Yes, it's been going on for years now. I think I've reached the point where I've accepted he might never stop. But that doesn't stop me from trying!
Donovan wrote:Find out if bitter apple spray is safe for birds..

If it is, try putting some of it in the plucking area.. make them taste awful.. that might discourage him
Generally, if something yucky is on the feathers, a bird will actually try to remove the feathers if it can't be preened off. Some birds have plucked because humans with greasy hands pet them, tobacco residue, etc. So using bitter apple or similar sprays is not recommended. :)

Regular bathing is encouraged though. This way they are busy preening instead of plucking and it keep humidity up on the skin.
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by Donovan » Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:21 am

Melika do you handle your bird?
Could something on your hands be causing it? Lotion, the soap you use, anything.

Or maybe he just likes doing it. It's his style. Actually it's just a habit at this point and since he enjoys his habit there's no motivation for him to want to stop doing it.
Like, smoking. If people didn't know it was bad for them they wouldn't try to stop because otherwise they enjoy it.

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by SkyeBerry » Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:09 pm

Donovan - I know your comment was directed to Melika but yes, I have read it becomes a bad habit - addiction - for some birds. I am pretty sure I read somewhere that when a feather is pulled some epinephrine is released. They get a bit of a 'rush' and for the anxious bird the anxiety decreases. Some people think some birds come upon this fact by accident. But after pulling another feather at some future point, they make the connection.

Skye update - he was doing well and had about 30 feathers on his chest....and yep, this morning they are gone. :cry: So I am going to make some notes ie) possible changes in routine, if I thought he had good sleep etc and see if there becomes a pattern. I have not decided for sure - but I might collar Skye at night. I was afraid to check but he did have a couple big feathers coming in - they looked like spears piercing the skin - seeing them it is a wonder more birds don't pick at these...which leads me to my next bit of research - I want to learn all about moulting - I have done some reading, but what I cannot find is the moulting pattern of a ringneck...so, if anyone knows???...
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:04 pm

Okay, my apologies for not getting back sooner.

Here is some background information on Osiris. When I got him, he was roughly two months old. The lady who hand fed him kept him isolated from the other Alexandrines. I don't know why she did this; however, I think this did more harm than good.

Personally, I like to keep all baby birds together so they can grow together and know that they are birds. I think many people honestly believe that isolating the chick makes a "better" pet. Anyway, that was the first fault.

Secondly, Osiris was weaned really early. I don't know how he was weaned so early but it shocked me. He was weaned around 8 or 9 weeks. The babies that I wean usually start around 10-13 weeks old. I always let the babies set the pace, personally, I don't think this was the case with him.

What was the result of this early weaning? He begged for food constantly for almost six months. In fact, every time he saw me he would bob his head and beg for food. Of course, I complied to his begging as I hoped it would reduce his stress. That being said, I don't think I've EVER had a baby parrot that cried so much. Honestly, I thought his crying would continue forever. It was constant and relentless. I definitely found this odd. Also, he was so clingy and calm in my presence.

The last thing was that his wings were clipped before he ever learned to fly. He was clipped at around 8 weeks old. :/ I always let my babies fly for two or three weeks before I clip. It's such an important aspect of their development. Now, thankfully his wings are growing out and I'm going to help him learn this.

I might add also that the breeder was scared of the babies too. I could tell he was quite new at hand feeding. In fact, he totally did not understand their body language. It was like he was scared to handle them. I went over the feeding tank and just picked them up. I know babies don't bite at this age so I was really amazed at his fear of them.

When the babies would open their beak, he would gently flick the beaks in hopes the birds would understand not to "bite." An open beak to him (the owner)meant something threatening, when in reality it's a ringnecks way to beg for food, show acknowledgment, or want attention.

Now let's move into what could have been my fault.

- When he was roughly five or six months old I had to leave for a trip. He did not pluck his feathers while I was gone, it started months after.
- Also, I moved into a new home too. We had a lot of construction too; however, I kept him in my old home until all construction was done.

Anyway, that's some background on him. :)

Best Wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:45 pm

Hey Donovan,

Ha ha ha ha! I tried listerine and it did nothing. I tried it two times--he just continued...but i must say it killed his sweet berry smell. :) I love the way Osiris smells...he smells so sweet. :)

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:22 pm

SkyeBerry,

I'm so sorry he picked his feathers out. Sometimes I can't understand what's in their minds, huh? At least he knew not to pull out his blood feathers.

It's funny that you mentioned molting! I am currently shooting a video of Devri and Archimedes molting. I've been shooting it for about a month so far. I just have to wait for the final result, plus compose the music and edit down the video. :)

For the pattern of molting this is what I've seen over the years, again..this is not scientific, just my observation. :)

Mine usually start with the wings first, then start the chest feathers, and the head and tail feathers start at the same time.

Have you tried a high-carb diet for your ringneck?

Best Wishes, :wink:

IRMAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by Melika » Sat Sep 13, 2014 1:33 pm

Donovan wrote:Melika do you handle your bird?
Could something on your hands be causing it? Lotion, the soap you use, anything.

Or maybe he just likes doing it. It's his style. Actually it's just a habit at this point and since he enjoys his habit there's no motivation for him to want to stop doing it.
Like, smoking. If people didn't know it was bad for them they wouldn't try to stop because otherwise they enjoy it.
I had to refrain from replying for a bit, as I was a little offended by the question, sad to say. I'm sorry. The answer is no, it isn't something from my hands. And since I myself am allergic to scents, etc., it also isn't a scent in the environment. I wish it were something so simple. In addition, the areas where he plucks are not touched as he only ever allows petting on the head anyway.

As Skyeberry was pointing out, it is believed that it might indeed 'feel good' over time. They believe cockatoos in the wild place ants on themselves and allow them to bite the skin. Some think that plucking (in cockatoos anyway) might be related to this behavior. http://www.birdsnways.com/wisdom/ww35e.htm

As has been noted, plucking is such a complex behavior and there is so much we don't know about parrots in general to begin with!

Opposite to Osiris, Hane was abundance weaned by an experienced hand-feeder (me), allowed to stop on his own, and fully fledged before ever getting a wing-clip.
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ellieelectrons » Sun Sep 14, 2014 4:07 am

ringneck wrote:Here is some background information on Osiris. When I got him, he was roughly two months old. The lady who hand fed him kept him isolated from the other Alexandrines. I don't know why she did this; however, I think this did more harm than good.

Personally, I like to keep all baby birds together so they can grow together and know that they are birds. I think many people honestly believe that isolating the chick makes a "better" pet. Anyway, that was the first fault.

Secondly, Osiris was weaned really early. I don't know how he was weaned so early but it shocked me. He was weaned around 8 or 9 weeks. The babies that I wean usually start around 10-13 weeks old. I always let the babies set the pace, personally, I don't think this was the case with him.

What was the result of this early weaning? He begged for food constantly for almost six months. In fact, every time he saw me he would bob his head and beg for food. Of course, I complied to his begging as I hoped it would reduce his stress. That being said, I don't think I've EVER had a baby parrot that cried so much. Honestly, I thought his crying would continue forever. It was constant and relentless. I definitely found this odd. Also, he was so clingy and calm in my presence.

The last thing was that his wings were clipped before he ever learned to fly. He was clipped at around 8 weeks old. :/ I always let my babies fly for two or three weeks before I clip. It's such an important aspect of their development. Now, thankfully his wings are growing out and I'm going to help him learn this.
Hi Everyone

Just thought I'd add my thoughts to Imran's comments here. I don't have any experience in the area of plucking (and I hope it stays that way) but I went to a parrot conference several months ago and a session run by an avian vet backs up a lot of what you are saying there Imran. He said that early socialisation for parrots (with other parrots) is extremely important for their mental wellbeing. It's okay if they're handraised but it is much better for their mental development if they are around other birds especially during adolescence, otherwise your bird can think it is a human and get very confused and distressed.

Although Janey doesn't pluck her feathers, we have had other significant behavioural problems over the years partly due to our own ignorance when we first got her but I believe some of them are due to the same things you've described with Osiris. We brought Janey home from the breeders at 6 weeks of age and were told she was FULLY WEANED! I didn't know any better at the time, but you are right, that is way too young. She begged for food constantly just like Osiris. Sometimes I found it cute but other times I found it distressing because it was so constant. She was also clingy. I also got her wings clipped when she was too young. She had learned to fly when I got them first clipped but she hadn't been flying long enough. The reason I got her clipped is she would fly to the ceiling fans and I couldn't get her down from there because we have high ceilings... but it really was way too young. I'm extremely lucky she can fly so well now that I no longer clip their wings.

I was wondering if you'd tried those "preening" toys? eg. http://www.myparrotshop.com/hanging-toy ... d_354.html

Also some articles from Pamela Clark if you haven't seen them yet:
http://www.pamelaclarkonline.com/upload ... artOne.pdf
http://www.pamelaclarkonline.com/upload ... rt_Two.pdf
Pamela also does online behaviour consultations would could be useful. She has had some success re plucking, however she did say it was more likely to be successful the earlier you treat it.

I was also reading something a while back that indicated that putting things on the birds' feathers to discourage them plucking them wasn't a recommended treatment method. They gave a good reason but I'm sorry I can't remember it now. I'll repost if I remember it.

Best wishes.

Ellie.

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by SkyeBerry » Sun Sep 14, 2014 10:40 pm

Well...I posted a nice little reply with links etc and ...poof...obviously took too long when adding links and doing research because I was automatically logged off. :o :(
I will repost tomorrow hopefully.

Ellie - thanks for articles and toy suggestions - Not new to me but those are good ones.

In the meantime, any thoughts on this? I always worry about choking hazards. http://www.estarbird.com/products/Ring- ... BZ7fPmwL4Q
Mary

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ellieelectrons » Mon Sep 15, 2014 4:51 am

Hi Mary

When I was on holidays in Melbourne, myparrotshop let me see through their premises and they informed me that they are selling out of all of their cotton toys because some birds will ingest small amounts of cotton (however not all birds will) and this can cause a health problem. So, I guess if you are unsure steer clear? Do you know if your bird swallows cotton?

Edit: I actually wondered whether giving toys made out of feathers (other birds) would be helpful? I don't know if that would encourage or discourage plucking. What do you think?

Ellie.

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by InTheAir » Mon Sep 15, 2014 2:21 pm

Hi Mary,

Something like this could be a safer alternative to the shoelace toy http://www.myparrotshop.com/hanging-toy ... _1077.html
Ellie got one for my birds and Sapphire preens it and kneads it with her feet the way she acts when she climbs in my hair.

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:33 pm

Aw, Melika don't be mad. :wink: I always say text is a lot like a dagger it's how you catch it that matters. :)

Ellie, I have to check the cotton thing too. Osiris is chewing his collar a lot, it's like he loves to roll the lint in his mouth. :/ Bird's can be so silly. Other than that he is making wonderful progress. I'm a huge proponent for dealing with the issue of feather plucking right away. I'm hoping this will stop it. Also, I am going to fly him so hopefully that will help too.

SkyeBerry and InTheAir, wonderful links! I think I'm going to get toys like that for Osiris! You two are amazing! :mrgreen:

Best Wishes, :wink:

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:34 pm

SkyeBerry, also I'm so sorry your post got lost! I hope you do post it when you have time !:)

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:54 am

Whelp, my progress is great thus far! :) For those that happen to stumble upon this thread, here are my techniques. Remember, this is NOT a cure for feather plucking / mutilation. Rather, this is a way to MANAGE it until you can get to the bottom of the issue. The great thing about it is that Osiris (My Alexandrine) does not have the opportunity to pick at that area when i'm not around.

For a quick guide here are my techniques that worked for me....

1) Use positive reinforcement to help your bird put on an E-Collar. I made mine out of felt as it was soft and cheap. Besides, it only takes a few seconds to cut a new collar.

2) NEVER just put the collar on. It took a few weeks to get Osiris used to it. I did this gradually as I was sure not to stress him.
3) I found Osiris gets nervous when I leave the room or late at night--that's when he picks his feathers or curls them.
4) Once you get the collar on, be sure to keep it on for a few months to help eliminate the habit or at least stop your bird from getting to the area that he picks at.
5) Once the bird is accustomed to it, go back to positive reinforcement to remove it and place it back on..keep working on this...over and over and over and OVER :O)

6) Now that he readily accepts the collar, I take it off when I handle him and put it on when he's back inside his cage. This gives me more time to figure out what is causing the issue.

7) I might add, that when he picks at the area when I'm handling him, I'll move my hand or distract him. Now he does not bother the area too much when he's out with me...:)

8) Again, this is NOT a cure..just a functional fix...here are the updated photos.

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C
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Yup, he's molting..started on his wings. :)
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sun Dec 07, 2014 7:25 pm

You should know this is my approach now that his collar is off.

Here's an update on Osiris! His feather's look amazing! He had one small backslide, but I quickly put the collar on for three days and he stopped. I bet I'm going to have to do maintenance like this for the rest of his life. I did stumble upon some information that did help a great deal! For those who are looking into feather plucking remedies, hopefully this helps!

1) I stopped all pellets! That's right! Every single brand I tried did absolutely nothing! Even those brands endorsed by avian vets. So what do I feed him now? The staple of his diet is brown rice or basmati rice that is uncooked.

2) I stopped all fatty foods--even coconut and red palm oil. No more sun flower seeds, peanuts, safflower, etc..

3) Fresh raw fruits given in abundance. Lots and lots of fresh fruits daily and bananas and carrots are part of his staple daily.

5) No more dairy products like cheese, milk, or yogurt.

6) Stopped all meat, with the exception of occasionally some scrambled eggs.

THE HOLY GRAIL in my opinion is step 4!

4) Gave him baking soda water for one week, then plain water for another week. Did this for quite some time. Baking soda is a natural fungal killer--I was amazed at the results! I did this just in case he had Candida. I had to try this and it worked wonders!

I took one teaspoon of baking soda to three cups water. Made this fresh daily when he was drinking this mixture.

I would spray him with baking soda water and some apple cider vinegar water too once or twice a week.

The spray for the feathers was the 1 teaspoon of baking soda to three cups water and 1 teaspoon braggs apple cider vinegar.

6) I found that anything with soy bean oil or flesh would trigger him to start mutilating. For this reason, I removed all beans from his diet.

7) I removed all toys with colored dyes. All his toys now consist of natural fruit woods or safe trees. No longer do I let him occupy himself with chewing for a pastime for play. Now we play other games like fetch or work on recalling instead.

8) His wings are now grown out! We are working on his flight as he never had the opportunity to fly.

I'm still perfecting this but I wanted to post an update for those looking to stop their parrots from plucking. I'm tired of all the fake products on the market and endless theories, yet no PROOF of a cure. :roll:

It's always people wanting money for a cure, I hope to change that one day! :twisted:

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND I AM NOT A VET! I HAVE MADE CHANGES THROGH MONTHS AND MONTHS OF SELF RESEARCH!


Best Wishes, :wink:


IMRAN-C


P.S. I added a few photos! :) My little monster Osiris is getting his ring! Woot! Woot!
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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by SkyeBerry » Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:09 pm

Hi...I am here really quickly. Wanted to supply this link to a specific article for this thread but also this dr.

IRMAN-C - this fits in nicely with what you are doing. I also have other stuff to support your efforts but proof is in the results...feathers and a happy bird.

http://www.2ndchance.info/selfpluck.htm

Also ensure you click on the link at top - "Explain this image" - more info there - have to leave computer now so no chance to read those additional links
Hope to have time for discussions soon

If you like the content of this article, he has others for Parrots - I enjoyed the one on Talking - Have not read others - literally just found this site

Also - note the Texas Vet Authority is trying to shut him down - Read why he is not available at this time if you are interested.

If I cannot get back soon ...Merry Christmas.

Congrats again on Osiris.
Mary

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by ringneck » Sun Dec 21, 2014 4:12 am

SkyeBerry,

Thanks so much for the reply and thank you for the link!

I have seen that page before! I love it! It has such great information. I think it's so sad they are trying to shut him down! That's just crazy! :roll:

Merry Christmas 2 you too! :)

Best wishes, IMRAN-C

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by MissK » Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:25 pm

I exchanged some email with Dr. Hines a few years ago, don't remember why. I found him quite nice. I also wrote a letter to the body that wants to squelch him, and received no reply. I like his site and I wish him all the best, as usual.
-MissK

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Re: Feather Plucking Section

Post by YashVala » Mon Jun 06, 2016 11:06 pm

Hey Guys, I'm new here.. :) Last Year, I adopt an IRN named Mitu.. He Is real Cute :x .. But for the past week i noticed he losting his feathers around his neck and on his head... Please help me i'm so worried about my Feathered Friend :((

Here are some pics of him..
05112015735.jpg
IMG_20160607_103716.jpg
IMG_20160607_103716.jpg (33.66 KiB) Viewed 4503 times
IMG_20160607_104616.jpg
IMG_20160607_104616.jpg (38.58 KiB) Viewed 4503 times
Thanks
Yash

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