Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

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MissK
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Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby MissK » Sun Aug 24, 2014 8:48 am

Sooooooo, I think now I get to stop saying I never had any first hand plucking experience. :o

On August 6th several things happened at once:
*Houseguests came to stay for a few days
*One of them spent a LOT of time next to Rocky's cage
*I changed the Food
*I stopped using the computer in Rocky's room in the middle of the night
*All our normal domestic routines were interrupted

That same week, not sure which day, (houseguests are *SO DISRUPTIVE*) Rocky produced a *PILE OF FEATHERS UNDER HIS SLEEPING PERCH*. I had super cleaned the cage early on the 6th so I noticed them, but I didn't really notice which day. Regardless, he made a pile of feathers big enough for me to say "*WOW, THAT'S A LOT OF FEATHERS*." I guess I'm pretty dumb, because that's as far as I thought. There's something going on in our family that brought relatives in town and sucked up all my time. There was no time for anything but tossing food into the cage and running out the door for the best part of a week.

On August 20th I cleaned up the pile of feathers (which had not changed since the day after it was made) and pulled the grate to wash.
One of my houseguests came back, but this time did not spent time in Rocky's room. Two days later I was servicing the cage and I noticed Rocky looks really tattered and his head seems to be a mess of heavy molting. Suddenly I realized he has a *BARE SPOT* with pin feathers at the back of his neck, just below the pink ring. This spot is no molting, for sure. It's quite a small patch, being a small area of the bird, and the exposed area of skin is probably no larger than one of my smaller fingernails.

Of course, as soon as this picture came into focus, I was really quite worried. I fussed over whether he could actually reach that spot to pluck, but since it is on the neck, not the head, I concluded he could. I reviewed recent events and told my relative to stay away from the bird. Sinbad is kind enough to raise a big alarm if my relative loiters in the area, so this is easy to monitor. I have to stress my relative is not unkind to the birds, although he is a little bit dense about standing right in front of Sinbad when he is clearly upset by it.

Being me, I pulled out my bird log book and started collecting the feathers from the cage at intervals and taping them in there with notes about their location and time of the collections. I logged this for 48 hours and came to the conclusion that Rocky had a one (or possibly two consecutive) plucking session while my relatives were staying here, and is now growing the feathers back in, and molting at the same time. The molting seems a little suspicious, as he had molted in July and already put down the tail feathers. But, as molts go, it had been a little light, so maybe this is more of the same. Maybe, too, it is a stress induced molt. I will let time tell me, if he throws down his tail feathers again.

Of course, now I'm paranoid that the recent domestic stress may have allowed him to succumb to any PBFD he might have been carrying but not suffering until now. Wouldn't be me if I didn't look for trouble. So, time will tell there as well.

*A note about the sucking up...... As soon as I suspected Rocky might have plucked himself, I started sucking up and overcompensating. Instead of presenting his foods in rotation, I worried he might not be consuming enough and I offered all the foods, enough for a small flock, all at once. I confess; I panicked. I also offered a dish of foot toys and high value treats right next to the sleeping perch, in case he got an urge to mess with something in the night. I fed him safflower seeds by hand until he would not eat any more. (Did that several times, actually.) I made him a special dish of warm, soaked grains for comfort food. Rocky responded to all this guilt-ridden spoiling with grace. He ate his treat bonanza and went about his business. He really *is* perfect!

So, that's our story of a horrifying isolated plucking incident. From now on I expect I will be quite protective of my bird when people come over to stay. I can't be sure which disruption was too much for Rocky, or perhaps it was the combination. It's reasonable to expect he will be handled with (figurative) kid gloves for a while. This is the first time he has faced such a clear threat with me and I imagine it will take me some time to get over the scare.
-MissK

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Donovan
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby Donovan » Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:29 am

Dogs who have behavioral issues can be walked and played with for about an hour before bedtime and that does wonders for the undesirable behavior.
Maybe it can work this way for birds too...
Like, before bed time, let him out.. play with him.. get him flying around and having a blast, .. wear him out... he might spend his time sleeping rather than plucking....
that is, if plucking were to become a thing for him.

MissK
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby MissK » Sun Aug 24, 2014 10:31 pm

It's an interesting idea. Maybe someone will take that idea and let us know if it works.
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby InTheAir » Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:35 am

I'm so sorry to hear that Rocky has been doing that.
I am really beginning to think parrots shouldn't be pets.
Yes I have heard that a good flighted workout is recommended by some as part of a strategy to reduce plucking. If you want tips for flighted games, or think of any new ones, Dave and I are pretty into flight games and exercising parrots around the house and would be keen to discuss it further. We are irn fitness junkies. :D

umm... I doubt it's pbfd... That sounds silly!

xox to rocky from Nila.

MissK
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby MissK » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:08 am

You *know* it wouldn't be me if I didn't worry. :D

I don't think he's going to do it again. Of course, I never thought he would do it in the first place. I guess it was just too many strangers in the house for him. Poor little guy. He's DELICATE!
-MissK

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InTheAir
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby InTheAir » Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:38 pm

I hope you're right!
Admittedly I'm fairly convinced that my munchkins are on the verge of succumbing to a host of various diseases at all times too. When they moult I freak out thinking they are plucking and watch every feather grow in for signs of pbfd.

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Melika
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby Melika » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:23 am

Ah so this is the PM. I hope you don't mind my sharing my response so that others in the future can read?

If it's right under the ring in the back, I can't see how it could be plucking. It's the back of their head, so just like you and I, it moves as we rotate our head around and stays behind them.

Image

It's a little blurry but this is what the back of Hane's head looks like. His plucking doesn't show until you get to his neck. I hope that helps a little!

It's good to keep an eye on him though- just keep checking for some pin feathers. :)


The reason I say look for pin feathers, is that, with Hane anyway, feathers that are plucked out take a little time to start showing regrowth but molted feathers usually have pins coming in right behind them.

We had a weird weather change not too long ago and Hane molted again, which was weird since he already had.
Last edited by Melika on Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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I've been called 'birdbrained' before, but somehow I don't think this is what they meant. say:hah-nay

MissK
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby MissK » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:50 am

Melika, thank you. I'm afraid your reply doesn't fill me with happiness because now I'm twice as concerned about disease. I can't get Rocky to sit and pose like Hane. I'm not going to restrain him because I don't think it would be an effective way to look. I guess I can sweat it out and wait or take him in to the vet. I can't forget that pile of feathers under the perch, but on the other hand, his whole head and face look more moth-eaten every time I look at him. There are lots of pin feathers, however, and we did just have a nice little time with him turning his head to I could ruffle the feathers with my breath. It's what we have instead of real touching and sometimes he wants it and sometimes he doesn't. Pity I have mislaid the camera. (again).
-MissK

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Melika
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby Melika » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:05 am

MissK wrote:Melika, thank you. I'm afraid your reply doesn't fill me with happiness because now I'm twice as concerned about disease. I can't get Rocky to sit and pose like Hane. I'm not going to restrain him because I don't think it would be an effective way to look. I guess I can sweat it out and wait or take him in to the vet. I can't forget that pile of feathers under the perch, but on the other hand, his whole head and face look more moth-eaten every time I look at him. There are lots of pin feathers, however, and we did just have a nice little time with him turning his head to I could ruffle the feathers with my breath. It's what we have instead of real touching and sometimes he wants it and sometimes he doesn't. Pity I have mislaid the camera. (again).



Ha, I had to wiggle my thumb and risk a growl and a nip/grab to get him to look down (he hates my thumb wiggling near his belly- HATES it).

It sounds like a heavy molt, from your description. Since you're so worried about disease, you'll have to wait and see how the feathers grow in. But it sounds like the pins look normal so far. ;)
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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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ringneck
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby ringneck » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:12 pm

MissK,

Did you get Rocky to the vet? Perhaps a photo from far away?

I'm really sorry this is happening to Rocky and you. Believe me, I thought it would NEVER happen to me either. We are here for ya!

But inspite of all the hell Osiris and I have been through due to his plucking, I would not change it for a bit. I have learned even more now, especially how fragile these creatures are!

Best Wishes, :wink:

IMRAN-C

MissK
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby MissK » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:42 pm

Well, all, I'm happy to respond that Rocky has not had a moment's trouble with this since the original incident cleared up. In fact, I kind of forgot all about it, he looks so good. So, the end of this story is that house guests don't get to camp out in the living room where the birds live. Small trouble. Houseguests belong in the kitchen, anyway, cooking my breakfast!
-MissK

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ringneck
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Re: Isolated Plucking Incident...... we hope!

Postby ringneck » Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:53 am

Wow, great news! It's amazing how finicky these birds can sometimes be, especially when they have a routine down, huh?

Love the family sleeping in the kitchen part! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: 8)

Best Wishes,

IMRAN-C


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