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  1. #1
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    Unhappy zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    right so last week thursday i notice zaza acting strangely..

    everytime he preens, he gets a little "start" as if he is sore and rushes to me for soothing.. almost like a running away from the pain type of behaviour, which is totally out of character for him..

    so sunday i give him a nice long bath.. and notice there are areas one on either side of his body.. under his wings towards his oil gland that are plucked bare and covered in red blood spots.. like he has been picking at the feathers growing in..

    so first thing monday morning we off to the avian vet <note there are only 2 that i can possibly go to> she takes a look at him, and says he is plucking although i told her that when i came in.. but she says he'll need to stay until friday <today> so she can figure the cause, but assumes straight off its psychological plucking.

    so me 7.5 months pregnant has to leave my baby had the vet.. for 5 days.. for further testing..

    tuesday she is off sick.. wed too.. by wed i am not happy getting the brush off when i ask how he is.. and get told he is fine.. he is being treated.. but no-one can tell me what for..

    so i fone the vet who is standing in, and he explains that its what the avian vet calls a shotgun treatment, she treats for all<most> of the medical reasons for plucking, infection fungral gives a mite/lice etc spray because figuring out what the reason is specifically is difficult..

    ok ill go with that.. so thursday, she finally gets to "check" him out for the first time, and apparently there is no medical cause, but as my logic works after 4 days worth of treatments surely there should be no bacteria fungus etc left..

    so its been put down to him plucking because something isnt "right" here at home.

    and if he plucks i must just ignore it.. but the plucking has happened at night in his cage, not during daytime hours..

    so i need advice ... what to do.. am i doing the right thing.. that kinda thing..

    he is on harrisons food and gets a bowl of fruit and veggies everyday, warmed food at night.
    his water is filtered and the same water we drink
    his treats are human grade, and nothing too "bad" for him...

    toys/cage , he is in a large cage with different types of toys preening shredding distroying thinking etc..

    his cage and water and food get thoroughly cleaned..

    routine he spends cage time till about 1/2ish then comes out till about 7/8 in the evening, sits and plays in/on his cage while im busy working and when upstairs in the family room he has a playgym with toys where he can see everything and everyone and is a part of daily life.

    he gets bathed every 3/4 days depending on weather <its winter here>

    he has the other birds company during the day, but not close enough to be bullied aggroed etc..

    come night time he gets individual attention and "loves" for about 20/30 minutes before he goes to bed.

    is there anything else i can possibly start/stop doing to stop the plucking if it IS emotional/psychological?

    honestly i thought i was doing everything as right as i could.. and he is the only one of my birds showing any weird behaviours..

    please.. anyone? im desperate here

    Owned by Sweetie <Dirty Lutino Tiel> and Indi <Red-throat Conure> ZaZa <CAG>

  2. #2
    ٩(●̮̮̃̃)۶ Four More Babies Hatched! Skittles's Avatar
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    Re: zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    Hmm.. judging by what you have for him for mentally stimulating toys (preening, mind working etc..) he's definitely not bored. And what you are feeding him is great for him too.

    I think it might be something a little bit more health oriented, possibly bacterial. The way you mentioned he acted like he was in pain, if he's never exhibited this behaviour before, I'm glad you took him to the vets.

    If his skin seems to be irritating/itching him, and it will become more annoyingly itchy when he has new feathers come in, it could be the room he is in is too try. I know during the A/C weather and when the heat is really HOT as opposed to humid, my skin gets really dry and itchy. You could try misting him with a slight aloe vera bath - Fill a water bottle with cold-lukewarm water and add enough PURE aloevera juice (straight from a plant or health store) so you can barely smell it.. and mist him. That will soothe the skin and hopefully keep it a bit more moist.

    Oops I for some reason assumed he was a Quaker... *duh* what type of Bird is he?

  3. #3
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    Re: zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    can i take the aloeplant i have growing, and just squeeze it straight into a bottle and add water, or do i need to boil the leaves in some water and add it like that?

    and is it safe for him to swallow and zaza is a grey CAG.. not a quaker .. i should prob have said..

    thanks.. im beginning to feel like a terrible mom.. honestly

    Owned by Sweetie <Dirty Lutino Tiel> and Indi <Red-throat Conure> ZaZa <CAG>

  4. #4
    Tailfeather pixibubbles's Avatar
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    Re: zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    your vet took him off you for plucking? really?
    no offense... but that seems... odd to take a bird with possible psychological problems away from its owner and family and board it just my thoughts.

    can you get hold of no pluck or cease 6 in 1 there? 6 in one in particular tastes really nasty and has lots of aloe in it to soothe the feathers. it probably wont stop it, but it is a deterrant and might make him think twice.

    get hold of some silver nitrate powder... it's the best thing for stopping bleeding. with any luck you wont need it, but if he catches a large feather when it is growing you'll be glad for having it for the whole 3 it costs (although one vet gives it me free now). it chemically cautherizes wounds... including blood feathers. even if it cant stop the bleeding totally (which it often will) it buys you the time to get help. like i said... fingers crossed you'll never need it, but on the other hand birds do have accidents and kept dry it lasts YEARS. and tastes horrible lol

    cream, preferably with antiseptic and/or mild anaesetic to soothe. My vet uses Dermisol.
    also bare in mind birds beaks are far from clean... keep and eye out for infection.

    how long you had him? and can you photograph his cage and set up?
    have there been many changes to your home at the moment... anything that could upset him?

    i think its a good thing that when it hurts he runs to you for comfort rather than does it in secret as some birds will.

    can you maybe photogrpah his bald bits? so we can see how bad they are.

    and i hate to second guess a trained medical professional... but you dont sound incredibly happy with this vet. am i reading your post wrong?

    i think i am going to start a plucking post in the general birdie forum... there are quite a few with plucking issues at the momemnt.... maybe sharing a general thread can bring together some support and ideas for us all?

  5. #5
    ٩(●̮̮̃̃)۶ Four More Babies Hatched! Skittles's Avatar
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    Re: zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    I was hoping Helen would write something about plucking (her poor lovie Sparks is going through so much right now )

    To answer your Aloe question, YES you can take it directly from the plant and squeeze it into the container. My lovebirds both eat aloe plants, so it's fine for them (gives them soft tongues too )

    Is Zaza really attached to you?
    Does he tend to throw a fit when you leave him? (whether at night or during the day)
    It just seems weird that he's A) doing it all of a sudden recently and that B) it's happening at night.

    I really hope the vet finds a hint to what might be wrong!

  6. #6
    Tailfeather pixibubbles's Avatar
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    Re: zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    its miserable really what i know about and what i am learning,

    behavioural difficulties and fear of humans after severe injuries? yup
    aspergillosis? sure
    AGY? yep
    biting and attacking people? sorted
    eating disorders? been there
    re-occuring respitory infections? pass the baytril
    plucking? learning that one

    and that's just the fids... not even starting on the mammals lol

    Leandre (love the name ) i gotta ask... i;ve re-read your post again... you dont come accross postiviely towards your vet. is it actually your vet, or just an avian vet.... and were proper tests done? or just treating and watching symptons.

    i forgot to ask... what other birds have you got and how are they? i;m guessing fine as you havent mentioned it...

  7. #7
    The ferretlady Teenager wolfysluv's Avatar
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    Re: zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    Wow. Your experience at the vets brought back some really painful memories for me. I went through the same thing as you. The vet took Tika off me for several days to watch her and figure out why she was plucking. The thing is, the first exam showed nothing obvious. So this could have been behavioral as far she knew. But instead of doing the most obvious tests and going from there, she just jumped right on in there. WRONG thing to do. I did'tn know that until others online told me after I left her. Ya know? She wanted her as long as your vet did. But when I saw Tika was in a cage iwth a collar on (she was tearing her insides out practically), the vet works all day and can't observe her really, the vets reasoning made no sense to me. All I saw was her making things worse. Much ... worse. I won't go on wtih details, but my situation with that vet left me feeling as if everything we were doing was wrong. So I took her home early. Right away, like Helen said, people online were like ... that was not a good decision by the vet.

    What I'm bothered about ... is did I understand that your vet treated the bird BEFORE having a dx?? Dangerous. What is the point of testing later if you get rid of the "evidence". Even 24 hours of antibiotic can make a stain come up negative when the bird actually is still carrying the bacteria. Also giving antibiotics can make a fungal infection, if that is the cause, worse if I remember. Spraying for mites and doing all this invasive stuff? Traumatic for a bird in a vets office if it's already having trouble. Maybe I misunderstood you. If I didn't, I understand why it sounded reasonable when the vet wentto do it. Stuff my vet did sounded reasonable too and I went along with it. I mean who am I, right? So don't worry. We're supposed to trust the experts.

    If I'm to say anything helpful here, its this. No matter what caused or is causing this, the danger here is that with birds that initial overpreening, itching, plucking or picking can start a lifelong bad habit. So even when you cure it, you may be left with a problem if it's not dealt with right away. And believe me, those ocd like picking problems? Not easy to deal with. Your birdy needs a collar pronto and I mean yesterday, so he can't overpreen or pick back there. It's still early enough, plenty early enough, to prevent a life long and very sad problem. Ask the vet for a collar, or go to a new vet and ask them for a collar. DLaura's vet told her that they need to be collared at least as long as they've been picking to help get them on track and stop. At the very least. So even if a cause is found and it's treated, I'd keep him collared for a while. My vet said what Dlauras did, but also said to make sure all feathers are grown back perfectly and all sores are 100% gone before taking that collar off first.

    I think the fact that your birdy is only picking near it's oil gland might be a red flag of something physical ya know? that is not where the habitual pluckers typically start from what I've read. If it's physical, and thats a big if, that would be awesome. Treamtment, some short term collaring, all fixed up.

    You enter a horribly difficult decision now. Do you get a new vet? Do you go all out testing, or do it little by little? Do you go back to the vet at all? If I go back do I do it now, or wait until the birdy calms down? It's so hard to know what to do. I think you should try a new vet for one thing, ya know? Get another opinion? And tell them outright, you do not want to do invasive testing, keep them overnight, etc. Ya know? You don't want your bird to think everytime you take it to the vet it's going to be hurt and left. If that doens't start mental issues with a bird, I don't know what would if done enough. Go read online the physical causes of plucking/picking. Then write them down. Bring them with you, and see what the new vet says. Tackle testing for those systematically looking for most common causes first. You can do a feather biopsy, skin scraping, swipe of the mouth, fecal, ad all sorts of things without any stress to your bird. That can tell a bunch right there, ya know? Giarida, fungus, and lots of other common problems can be ruled out (or in). Maybe you could look at doing a single blood draw after that if nothing shows and the problem perisists. That blood draw can see if there are any basic infections going on, etc. Sometimes they can get enough blood for an electrophoresis test and that shows a lot.

    I'd google "picking bird [then insert a word like back, anal, tail, or something like that]" and see if posters talk about a single common cause of that specific type of picking. That way you'll have somewhere to start with testing if you choose to test more.

  8. #8
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    Re: zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    Pixie Bubbles : Silver nitrate, very little chance of my getting my hands on that, ive resorted to using cornflower if something DOES happen. he has just recently started to learn to fly so there have been a few accidents.

    Ive had him for 1.5 years, he is still a baby in my eyes, i can get a cage photo and set up picture a little later today without a problem. he is still in his "baby" cage the one i bought when i got him and i have yet to find a supplier of cage here i like and importing is a very expensive option.

    i can also try get pics of the bald bits, might be a little unclear but will give you an idea.

    Honestly im not thrilled with her diagnosis, a diagnosis given 4 days after treatment just doesnt seem like its going to be accurate.. know what i mean?

    Skittles: so they can eat it too? the aloe.. how much can i feed, im ALWAYS looking for something new and healthy to feed. about the attachment, honestly he is attached, but not TOO attached, he is the bird that is happy sitting and playing, keeps an eye on where i am, but doesnt scream for me if i leave the room and can quite happily stay with other family members without an issue.

    our night time routine is normally this. indi <conure> gets put to bed then zaza sits with me on my shoulder , some of the very rare shoulder time he gets because of his size and his inclination to love my ears a little too roughly. he will then get about 45 minutes worth of cuddling scritching kissing and just general loves from me.. he'll then climb down to where i have his bowl of peacan nuts stored and give me a kiss, ill then take 3 halves walk to his cage , he'll up off my shoulder climb into his cage.. take one nut from me the rest go into the bowl and i'll start closing him. he'll give me a kiss g`night thro the bars before i put the last covers on and thats that. since last thursday its like he is scared of his cage. and our night time routine has been thrown off completely.. he didnt want to go back into his cage at all. this seems better last night and routine is back..

    Pixiebubbles: honestly im not thrilled with her at all, as per my bill no tests were run unless she never charged me for them, so basically a treating and watching the symptoms.

    I personally have 3 birds, a 7 year old tiel a 3 year old conure and a 1.5 year old grey. my mom in the same house has a 2 year old grey.

    as for changes, well there has been some changes, there had to be unfortuently, i have a baby coming. BUT since being pregnant ive bought a doll that cries, and gotten them all used to the idea of a baby that will cry and needs my attention, which they've all take to. theres been some furniture moved around, but thats been done with as much care for the grey as possible, because i KNOW how sensitive they are.. hell ive read all the books on it..

    Wolfysluv: thanks for your advice, honestly im loath to resort to a collar JUST yet, I am def hoping the medical treatment has solve the problem and from what i can see he hasnt plucked since being home, but im keeping as much of an eye on him as i can.

    thanks for all the responses.. im worried.. he is still not 100% and still sleepy, which i simply dont like. he is eating well, his mess is ok, but just not himself.

    Owned by Sweetie <Dirty Lutino Tiel> and Indi <Red-throat Conure> ZaZa <CAG>

  9. #9
    The ferretlady Teenager wolfysluv's Avatar
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    Re: zaza.. plucking.. advice needed urgently

    I love your night time routine. Sounds really nice.

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