Tailfeathers
Contact | Tour
where bird lovers gather
Bird InformationMessage BoardNetwork Home

 

Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Help! feather plucking

  1. #1
    Brand New Egg Mel4fitness's Avatar
    Name
    Melanie
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    21
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Help! feather plucking

    Hello,
    My name is Melanie and I'm new to the board. My budgie, Jimmy, has been picking the feathers underneath her right wing. She picked a large bald spot under the wing, causing bleeding and scabbing. When I finally noticed the balding, I took her to the avian vet. She was put on antibiotics, medical tests were done and a collar was placed around her neck to prevent more picking. After a month, I took the collar off (doctor's orders) and almost immediately she began picking again. I have taken her to the vet several more times and she is unable to determine the cause of the picking. Each time I take the collar off, Jimmy starts picking the same spot within a week. She is out whenever I'm at the house, she is very interactive and has full reign of the house. When I'm at work, I put music on to entertain her. She also has numerous toys to keep her busy, when she is in the cage. I feel extremely bad about making her wear the collar, but it seems to be the only thing that keeps her from picking herself bloody. Does anyone have any suggestions to help me out? Thanks in advance.

    Melanie

  2. #2
    Always Awing Tailfeather featherjinxer's Avatar
    Name
    fj
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    4,776
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    That is such a frustrating problem. I'm very glad you've been going to the vet and doing everything you can to help her, I can't even imagine how hard it must be not to be able to find a reason!

    Here are my first thoughts:

    What is her diet like?

    If the vet has ruled out medical causes (over 90% or so in budgies is caused by parasite/illness), then we can go ahead and try beginning some things to influence desirable behavior.

    Oh, just thought of this- is she clipped? Sometimes, if a clip is done at a certain angle, the shaft of the remaining part of the feather can be poky, and cause intense uncomfort and itching. If that could be the case, trying having the vet reclip her feathers at a different angle. Since it is only under one wing, it could be something like that.

    I would REALLY suggest looking into that first, and I'll wait for your answer before posting a whole lot more.

    Whenever you see her picking at it, tell her "No, that hurts" with a great deal of vocal emphasis and sad face. Be very, very, sad. Budgies will pick up on emotions. If she stops, praise her, and if you see her preening correctly, praise her.

    Post back with your answer about whether she is clipped or not, and we'll go from there

    Welcome to Tailfeathers

  3. #3
    Banned Tailfeather Squawk and Howl's Avatar
    Name
    dani
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    7,290
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    yes, all medical reasons for the plucking need to be ruled out before it is considered behavioral.

    is there anyone in the house who smokes? nicotine residue causes birds to pluck often. here is an article for you to read:

    http://www.companionparrot.com/artic...erpicking.html

  4. #4
    Brand New Egg Mel4fitness's Avatar
    Name
    Melanie
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    21
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    Thank you for your quick response! No, she is not clipped and her diet consists of "parakeet seeds" (For lack of a better word), fruit sticks and millet on occasions. I've tried to give fresh fruit but she won't touch it.

    Thank you again! :-)

  5. #5
    Speaker of the house (the chatty one) Tailfeather Duddles's Avatar
    Name
    Duddles
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,081
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    Welcome to Tailfeathers, Melanie.

    I'm really glad you went to a vet. You're sure it's an avian vet, right? Just asking, because sometimes, people assume it's an avian vet if the vet treats birds, but the vet may not have avian certification.

    I've been told many, many times by my old vet that it is very rare for budgies to pluck for behavioural reasons. It's almost always due to some medical condition if a budgie picks, as featherjinxer mentioned. But I wonder if it's still possible that she was picking for a medical reason before, but now picks out of habit. If that is the case, you'll have to distract her from picking at her feathers. You mention she has lots of toys to play with, and that's great. But does she have chewable toys - toys with rope, rawhide, leather and wood parts she can chew on? Here is an example of a good chewable toy, with lots of chewable parts. Also, it's a good idea to rotate the toys, so that she is always interested, and will be distracted from picking if she is actually picking due to habit. Also, I suppose it's possible that the wound she created the first time around never healed, and got itchy and irritated. My friend has a huge scar from surgery that took place over a year ago, and she says it's still itchy. So if your budgie has a scar, it may be itchy, too, and maybe that's why she is picking at it. I'd ask the vet about what you could use to help that, if it's the case. Human ointments are surely dangerous to use on birds, but I wonder if there is any veterinary product the vet can suggest that would be safe, that woudl be less drastic than a collar.

    The wing-clipping thing that featherjinxer mentioned is also a possibility. If the sharp cut end of the feather shaft pokes into the skin, it is very irritating. That could well be the source of the problem.

    Finally, I'd suggest getting her onto a different diet. I've heard of birds stopping picking after being put on a pellet diet. Have you ever tried pellets with her? We have lots of suggestions for getting birds to try pellets, so just ask if you need advice on that.
    Last edited by Duddles; 08-26-2004 at 07:08 AM.
    * Another long-winded message from the beak of Duddles. *

  6. #6
    Where The Birds Always Sing Tailfeather Birdmad Girl's Avatar
    Name
    Lee-Anne
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    5,947
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    to Tailfeathers.

    It is unusual for budgies to feather pick through behavioural issues, as Duddles said. Has your bird been checked for any mites or parasites? Mites are usually detected because they can affect the cere of the budgie, the coloured bit above the beak, and cause it to go crusty. I am wondering if perhaps your budgie had a wound under the wing, and the mites could have irritated it, causing her to scratch and pick there?

    Nicotine, as Dani mentioned, is also a possibility. Birds should never be exposed to smoke. It can irritate the feathers, causing them to pick. The worst part is, for every cigarette they are exposed to, for them it is the equivalent of inhaling about 20, because of the way their respiratory system works.

    I would suggest that you don't ever give up offering fresh fruit and greens. Just because they didn't get eaten one time, it doesn't mean that your bird will ignore them forever. Your bird is on a total seed diet, which is very deficient and does lead to medical problems. Deficiencies in certain vitamins can affect the genral condition of the bird's feathers, beak and feet. Good greenfoods to try are spinach, broccoli, kale, carrots, apple, pineapple & apricots. Keep offering them each day, and don't give up.

    In the meantime, try either converting to pellets, or using a vitamin supplement like BSP vitamin drops by vetark, which are high in vitamins A, C and E. A calcium supplement is also advisable. Does your bird have access to mineral blocks?

  7. #7
    Brand New Egg Mel4fitness's Avatar
    Name
    Melanie
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    21
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    Thank you to everyone who has offered advice, I will try diet modification (pellets and greens), and some new chewy toys. I'm pretty sure the vet is Avian certified but think I will look for others in the area. I'll keep you all posted on the outcome. Let's keep our fingers crossed! I don't want my bird to have a permanent ornament around her neck!

    Melanie

  8. #8
    Speaker of the house (the chatty one) Tailfeather Duddles's Avatar
    Name
    Duddles
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,081
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    Please let us know how it works out. We can all learn from your experience.

    What is your bird's name?
    * Another long-winded message from the beak of Duddles. *

  9. #9
    Brand New Egg Mel4fitness's Avatar
    Name
    Melanie
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    21
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    My budgie's name is Jimmy. She was born in 7/99. She is white and bluish-purple. I named her Jimmy because I thought she was a he

  10. #10
    Speaker of the house (the chatty one) Tailfeather Duddles's Avatar
    Name
    Duddles
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,081
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    Jimmy sounds cute. I'd love to see pictures. If you have some jpeg pics, please feel free to post them in the Pet Image Gallery (the link is on the blue bar at the top of the page).
    * Another long-winded message from the beak of Duddles. *

  11. #11
    Brand New Egg Mel4fitness's Avatar
    Name
    Melanie
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    21
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    I will definitely post some pics soon................Now I have another "dilemma"......(darn it, I thought birds were easy)......I bought 2 "chewy toys" for Jimmy and she is MORTIFIED of them...........she hides behind the mirror in the cage that is there for her.............Do I have a neurotic bird? This does keep her from picking BUT I don't want to be scared of her house.

  12. #12
    Speaker of the house (the chatty one) Tailfeather Duddles's Avatar
    Name
    Duddles
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    5,081
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    I think many birds are terrified of new toys at first. It may help to get her used to the toy by playing with it in front of her, or by letting her play with it outside of her cage. If she is generally afraid of toys, it may be a good idea to buy the smallest ones you can find. It's hard to find chewable toys that are small and non-intimidating to small birds, but one good one is Hagen's birdie pacifier. it comes in two sizes - you could get the smaller one. You could also cut a paper towel roll into rings, and put one of the rings around her perch. Just make sure you use the part that doesn't have any glue on it. She could chew on the paper, plus she could slide the ring all over the place. And it's woudlnt' be so big, so hopefully, she wouldn't be so scared of it.
    * Another long-winded message from the beak of Duddles. *

  13. #13
    Banned Tailfeather Squawk and Howl's Avatar
    Name
    dani
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Oakland, CA
    Posts
    7,290
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Help! feather plucking

    fear is survival instinct for birds- remember they are prey animals- fear is healthy.

    most birds fear new toys, perches, cages, & foods at first. you need to show her they are safe.

    start slow- put toy near cage for a few days. then clipped to the outside. finally inside.

    you can also show the bird the toy nowhere near its cage and play with it yourself!

Remove Ads

Similar Threads

  1. Feather Plucking
    By Bobbalou22 in forum Other Parrots
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 05-08-2008, 03:17 PM
  2. Feather plucking
    By JazzTrance in forum Cockatiel Care, Feeding, Dangers, Health
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 06-27-2007, 12:16 PM
  3. Feather-Plucking =(
    By ConureMama in forum Conures
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-11-2007, 12:46 PM
  4. Feather plucking - what does it look like?
    By Maya in forum Cockatiel Care, Feeding, Dangers, Health
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-16-2006, 12:43 AM
  5. Feather Plucking????
    By BennyBeagle in forum Cockatiel Breeding, Babies, and Mutations
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-11-2003, 06:19 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Message BoardNetwork Home