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Thread: Rico keeps plucking herself

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    Hatching marroqui's Avatar
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    Rico keeps plucking herself

    Hi everyone,

    I wrote this post on my thread that introduced rico and Nico the conures, but its possible no one has seen it as I recently posted an update on them so if its ok I have started a new thread on them but regarding an issue with Rico the red bellied conure and just reposting my question about her.

    She keeps plucking herself and we don't know how to stop her.

    On her legs, on the part that should still have feathers, there are no feathers, just her bare legs. And she has plucked from her belly area too. Some of the red is gone because of her plucking. At first we think she was trying to pluck herself for nesting material. But she actually plucks herself when she is trying to give a warning. Like if she sees our full hand and doesnt like it she makes an angry sound and then goes and plucks her leg. Like a bad habit. Do you have any suggestions of how to stop her doing that?

    My partner rang the lady that we got her from who is also the lady we get our bulk seeds and French millets from. She said it can be from a variety of things such as stress, boredom, or lice. We are ruling out lice, mites etc as they are indoor in the house. I am thinking half boredom and half wanting to bully and being bossy. The lady suggested aloe vera spray, rather than a pet shop anti-feather-plucking product. My partner just went to get some but when I read the ingredients he didn't get pure aloe vera, as there aas a bunch of other things in the ingredients like ethanol, witch hazel, vitamin e etc. So I said not to use that until we get pure aloe. He has put iodine on the plucked areas from time to time but I dont know if it has made her stop. Maybe she doesnt go and pluck at night anymore but she still does the silly behaviour of leaning over to her leg and biting it for half a second to give a warning to back off.

    We give her as much attention as possible. She does like to be outside with her friend but unfortunately they can't be outside 24/7. And she HATES bedtime. No matter what time bedtime is she will keep screaming for at least 45 minutes after the blankets are on everyone and the lights are out in the birdie room. The other birds, even the other bigger ones will start to settle once they get their blankets and either go to their sleeping spots or have a small snack etc. But Rico will shout and shout. I dont think she lets the others sleep for at least the first hour of darkness. We used to put a small light near their cage but that only worked for a short while last year, but doesnt seem to work anymore.

    We rang the Spanish vets too but no one has answered the phone so might try again in a few hours to see if they have recommendations too. Rico has always had a behaviour problem since maybe a few months after she came here. She also plucked the feather of her friend's head too awhile ago and they were separated for awhile then put back together again.

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    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    Tikki plucked himself for a bit one winter and my daughter bought him a light that acted like sunlight. I cannot say if it was UVA or what kind but it was the one that the vet recommended to give them light in the winter. She also bought him a little bird heater which he still has a loves to cuddle up next to when the weather is a little cooler. He plucked his chest feathers almost out before we took him to our vet. The gave him a medicated bath with what I think may be F-10 but I am not sure. I do know whatever that bath is it sure did make Tikki stop plucking. She also told Carissa to give him a pea sized dab of organic red palm oil which he licked right off our finger, he loves it. This helps from the inside. I think Tikkis plucking was from lack of light because it was a very bad winter here and he got no sun for months. Since its winter at house perhaps a nice bird light might help our Rico like it did Tikki.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    Thanks Deanna for the information its really helpful. Poor little Tikki. I am glad he stopped plucking. I remember you mentioning F10 in the past as well. I'll look into that more. I wish I could find the red palm oil here. You have always mentioned how great it is and how the vets there recommend it. We have a reptile lamp in the birdie room now for the days where there is no sun and it brightens up the room a bit more but is also not directly on the birdies either. I think it is a UV lamp too. I am not sure what to do about Rico. We bring her into the lounge room most days for a few hours and let her and Nico be outside of their cage. Sometimes they do not even fly. They just sit. Perhaps they just like knowing they are not inside a cage But I wish they would fly around more. We have to sometimes push them to fly so that she gets tired and won't start screaming when it's bedtime. As I type this I feel like I am writing about a child lol. And I am not sure when she plucks but I think it is at night because when we watch her during the day she isn't plucking unless its that habitual warning pluck. And she doesnt stop the bad habit of picking at her leg when she wants to give a warning. Next time I will try to take a video of that and put in on here. Which bird heater do you use? And does tikki have it all night? We dont have the heaters in the birdie room on at night. I only hope that the blankets keep them warm through the night. We do put a few layers. And during the day the oil filled heater is in there to keep them cosy.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    This is Tikki's heater, https://www.amazon.com/Pet-Products-...10893891&psc=1

    He LOVES it and snuggles right up to it. I am not sure what kind of light that birds need but you really need to make sure it isnt coated with any kind of Teflon. Carissa used her turtles light for Tikki after her poor turtle got killed but she knew it was not coated.

    It is so awful when they pluck there feathers and we think it was Tikkis first really hard molt that caused him to twist and overpreen his big feathers. It was his wing feathers and they were all twisted and ratty looking. The medicine bath always works for our birds and I honestly do not know what it is but once Ellen said it probally is the F10 because that is what the avian vets do over in the UK where she lives. It stopped Boomer after his first bath from ripping out his chest feathers and it seemed to be the perfect thing to stop Tikki from barbing his feathers too. Its a miracle medicated bath as our vet calls it.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    I think Deanna meant to say Helen! She lives in the UK. I am Ellen. I live in the USA Midwest!! I have never used F10, nor had any birds pluck, over the many years I have cared for them.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    Hi Ellen, yes I did figure that when she mentioned the UK that she was referring to Helen . Deanna thank you for the link to the heater. It does look good, I wish I could give ti to the lovebirds too but I worry that they will chew it and hurt themselves. But it might be suitable for the conures. It sounds like Tikki really loves it. I do remember now it was you and Helen who mentioned the f10 in one of my other posts. I do not think Rico is plucking herself at the moment, apart from her silly habit when she wants to give a warning. But I don't think she's doing it at night however, I think she is molting. I really wish I could learn more about this medicated bath, I think it would be perfect for Rico. Her feathers still need to grow in she is half bare in some areas.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    A vet, or somebody with a lot of experience with plucking with birds would be of help. It is really hard to get the bird to stop it. I suggest this answer because with experienced people, it will be cured faster. Poor Rico is hurting herself and I wish that she wouls stop this habit. A breeder couls know, local animal shelter, bird refuges,

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