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Let us know a little about yourself! Tell us about your birds and why you are here.

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Post by Enephis » Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:50 am

Hello everyone.
I've been lurking around for the last few days and really appreciate all the nice info.

I live with one ringneck, Dodo. He's a vibrant grassy green. He was an adult when he came in several years ago, and a very messed up one at that. I don't know anything about his past, so it remains a mystery. He came with a habit of clipping his feathers and I have to be careful whenever new ones grow, so it doesn't result in a bloody mess. The only (not really) positive side of it is that I don't have to clip them. He will twist and break any flying feathers as they grow. He has a permanent duck butt.

Aside from that, he's very easy to live with. Got over the initial fear of strangers, doesn't scream much and he hasn't seriously bitten anyone in years. He will allow me to touch him anywhere, but doesn't like to be scratched or stroked.

I'm here because we (I) set a goal: To get his feathers back and staying. I want him to be able to fly again. It's rather odd to see a bird falling, and I'm getting tired of his short behind. He's a sweet, gentle guy and I love him to pieces, but life would get much easier if he didn't need me carrying him from one perch to another.

Anyway, nice meeting you all. I'm going to read some more for now, but expect to see me around. I'm happy I found this place.
Last edited by Enephis on Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Introduction

Post by ellieelectrons » Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:57 pm

Hi Enephis

Welcome. I'm glad Dodo found you! Well done.

When you say "clipping his feathers", does that mean he is pulling his feathers out himself? If he's been doing it for this long I would say it is going to be hard to "untrain" but certainly worth trying. You mentioned the vet, what does the vet say about it.

My understanding is that feather plucking is caused by boredom, stress, diet or disease. You can talk to your vet about these things.

If it is bordeom, the only ideas I have for you is:
- train him to forage - see viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11701
- you could think about getting a second bird for companionship when you're not at home (although this is risky at his age and can make your bird less sociable with you)
- foraging toys such as the mazy munch
- training him to do tricks such as turnarounds

If it is stress or anxiety, I have heard of something called AviCalm. I have never used it and I don't know if it is equivalent to vitamin supplements, drugging your bird or giving it a calming cup of tea... so I wouldn't buy it without thoroughly checking it out.

As for diet, there are lots of threads dedicated to what you should feed your bird.

You should probably rule out disease first with a thorough checkup from an avian vet if you haven't already had one.

Best wishes Enephis and Dodo!


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Re: Introduction

Post by Enephis » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:38 pm

Thank you so much, Ellie!

Dodo literally clips, breaks his feathers. He doesn't pluck (pull) them out, never did. I can only guess what caused the behaviour, since he came with it. There have been ups and downs, he occasionally grew his tail back (so beautiful) and many feathers on his wing, but mostly he just clips his primaries and secondaries short. He only does it to those, and his tail.

You're right about the plucking. I guess what he does is a variation of it. It's not that life threatening, as long as he doesn't break a blood feather.

We've consulted with the vet several times. He inspected him, analysed his poop, feathers and everything. The lil' guy is 100% healthy considering the test results. And I believe them, since he shows it. His beak looks nice and shiny, as well as his feathers, clear eyes, nothing running out his nose and all that.

He gets fruits and vegetables (mostly greens), an occasional nut or some seeds. I'm considering giving him some bee pollen, but he doesn't seem too keen on it. Here and there he gets a handful of medium bird seed mix, but apart from sunflowers and hemp, it all just ends up on the floor. We've tried many things over the years and I find he's happiest with this. He'll take fruits over seeds any day.

My guess is that stress is what made him do it and a combination of stress and boredom is keeping him at it. I'm doing my best to keep him busy and included in things, even if it's just watching TV. But there are those things that seem so little to us and count so much more for them. Like when I go somewhere for a week and can't take him with me. I know that when I'll be back, he'll still be there, but with a few feathers shorter. It was just a week, but we lost several months progress. It's stress at separation and boredom with just being there and having nothing else to do but sit and eat, since I'm really the only one who interacts with him. Things like this make him a bit paranoid and for the first few days I can't leave out of his sight without him yelling. I'm guessing this adds up on the stress factor and adds up on his paranoia. He calms down eventually and we're back to normal schedule again. But feathers take a while to grow.

I'd love to get him a companion, but with his attitude, I'd rather not risk it. As for tricks, I'm still teaching him basic manners and how to be polite by not chewing on my sweater. :mrgreen: Love the foraging idea though and will definitely look it up, thanks.

Oh, and sorry for the length of my posts. I find it best to share as much info as possible and if anyone who is kind enough to read through finds something to think about or if you have any more suggestions or comments, I'd be glad to hear it.

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Re: Introduction

Post by pinkdevil » Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:45 pm

Hi Enephis.

Sounds like you and Dodo have a fairly strong bond.

Foraging ideas are great. So many simple things you can make as well. Sometimes I pick a handful of long grass from our back yard, tie both ends with another strand of grass so you have what resembles a bon bon kinda thing happening, then push bits of fruit/veg into the middle and 'cover' up by pulling the grass back together, (does that make sense?? Trying to explain what I do). The birds have fun pulling apart the grass 'basket' and find treats for their effort. Other times I wrap treats in bits of brown paper and they shred into it.
Bird safe wood with holes and grooves drilled into it and push seed or treats into them. They get to do a bit of destructive shredding as well as something to eat.

Foraging ideas are great for an alternative to eating food from a bowl. Gives them something to occupy their mind, exercise as well as use their wild instincts to search for food. In the wild, a bird spends a fair amount of time searching for food where as we provide it for our birds in a nice clean, handy, no effort bowl. :)

If you look at most zoos, they provide some form of foraging for their animals by placing food in random places, shoved into gaps of wood, rock etc to try and keep their animals from being bored and becoming self destructive as well as imitate a natural desire to search for food.

If your bird has to search for food for aprox 6 hours of the day, that is aprox 4 hours less in the day if he was eating from a bowl, to think about giving himself a haircut. :wink:

Sounds like you have done well to get him to trust and bond with you, like he has. :)

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Re: Introduction

Post by kyria » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:50 am

Welcome to the family .. looks like you are in good hands here. :mrgreen:
Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins. {Pro 10:12}
God Bless


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