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Post by Ollykins » Tue Jun 12, 2012 7:07 pm

So I know that ringnecks are normally not to be held with other birds in the same cage, but Moustaches tend to be less aggressive. I've had my 9 year old male Febee for about four months now and he was great until less than a week ago. He suddenly started plucking... a lot. The vet says it's a combination of breeding season stress and a small skin infection, so he recommended antibiotics and a cone. I didn't want to stress him out even more with a cone, but would getting him a cagemate soothe his fears? I have a budgie as well but the two ignore each other (though they do live separately because my budgie is aggressive). There's a conure at the local Petsmart that Febee appeared to have bonded with but I'm not sure if it would work...

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Re: Cohabitation?

Post by ringneck » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:09 pm

Hey Ollykins,

I'm very sorry you are dealing with feather plucking. I have to tell you that feather plucking is a habitual habit that is an enigma to us. The truth is, we really don't know what brings about feather mutilation in pet birds. In fact, there are so many theories as to why parrots pluck in the first place such as stress, poisoning, bacterial infections, or boredom. Literally, I can go on and on about why we believe parrots pluck in captivity.

Anyway, the most important thing for you to do is to ignore the behavior when your bird plucks. This means no eye contact, no emotional coddling, or making a fuss about the plucking behavior when your bird is near. I must admit it might be hard on your part to watch your beautiful feathered friend damage his feathers, but this is a step in the right direction.

I believe there was a study done on feather plucking, I had just read this in passing, and it turned out that many of the birds reduced feather damage once their diet was changed. The most important thing for you to do right now is to give your bird fresh fruits and vegetables that are uncooked. This should help the parrot establish healthy bacteria in its gut, thereby helping the bird fight off any infections.

If I were you I would start sprouting seeds, giving fresh carrots, broccoli, and dark leafy greens to help the birds immune system bounce back. You should cube fruits and place them in the refrigerator so you can feed the bird easily throughout the week. It's important the fruit be organic and fresh so the bird can benefit from all the enzymes and nutrients. I'm sure you've heard the saying let food be thy medicine, correct? I believe this to be the truth!

You should avoid sunflower seeds and stick with the premium pellet brand. Though I won't endorse any products here, there are many high-quality pellets that your bird will benefit from! Just be sure to do some research on the brand you choose. Or ask your avian veterinarian for a brand he recommends.

Oh, I almost forgot! I would also incorporate natural fatty acids by providing organic coconut oil too. This can be purchased at Trader Joe's and should be given twice weekly to help the parrot's feathers. This stuff is amazing and really helps the feathers become more shiny and stronger. I believe this can only help your situation.

Another thing I would immediately do is either invest in ultraviolet lighting or build some sort of sun cage so the bird can get the proper amount of exposure to the sun. Placing the bird in front of a window is not good enough as the rays of the sun are filtered out and the bird does not receive direct sunlight. Have the veterinarian check the preen gland as well to be sure it's working correctly. The preen gland releases oils that have precursors that turn into vitamin D once the bird is exposed to direct sunlight. If this gland is not working well it can really upset the balance of the birds skin and feathers.

The most important thing to do right now is to listen to your vet and be sure he runs all kinds of lab work. If everything checks out you should be fine. Be sure to give your bird his antibiotics on schedule to clear any bacterial infections.

I know, now, after all this what is the answer to your question, the answer is I would wait about getting another bird. There is no need to add another bird into the equation until your bird has settled in and plucking has been reduced. In fact, in some situations another bird might make the situation only worse.

I hope this helps and keep your eye open as I have articles on the topic coming soon!

Best wishes :wink: ,


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Re: Cohabitation?

Post by MissK » Fri Sep 20, 2013 9:06 pm

I would also worry the new bird might be stressed from his lifestyle change and commence plucking as well.

Now I have a question about sun exposure as well:
In front of my house the sun shines hot with no shade, and I cannot leave my bird outside alone for fear of him being stolen or molested. It's no fun.
In the back the sun is not so hard but there are mosquitos.
What do you think about putting the bird in indirect bright light, as it comes in through the window with the screen in place, but the glass pane raised out of the way?

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