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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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    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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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    Thanks Bill, we haven't taken her to a vet yet, but mentioned it to the vet today when we brought our budgie tweety there. He mentioned she may have a behavioural problem and need a collar and that we can make them ourselves as well. We dont have avian vets nearby, so this vet is the closest thing to a good vet that can see birds and examine them properly. I did mention that she does it even when she is outside of her cage and happy, she just has some bad habits. I'm going to see how we can possibly make a collar for her or try to find pure aloe vera gel. I can't find red palm oil here, though I wish I could. She gets extra outside of cage time though to keep her happy.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    Whoops it was Helen and not Ellen, sorry about that. I hope you find some of the aloe or good red palm oil to give to them. Do the conures like baths? Tikki takes it least 4 or 5 baths a day because the little poop just cannot stay out of water. If you dare turn on a tap to fill up something with water he is right there flapping in it. Have you ever tried to take them in the shower with you. Tikki loves his showers as well. They bought him a shower perch and he sits calmly watching them shower and then they have to turn the nozzle towards Tikkis perch and he takes a long soaking shower. I have read that they pluck sometimes right before they are ready to molt and bathes do help the skin feel better. I also know you can feed part of aloe leaf to them but I think only the inside lighter colored flesh and not the skin or the darker gel right below the skin. I have watched videos of them eating the entire leaf but somewhere I read to only give them the lighter aloe jel inside and not the darker jel close to the outside of the leaf. We never did this because we can find pure aloe here on Amazon and give it to Tikki and use it on us as well.

    Here is something I stole off another bird site that talks about Aloe

    This plant, also known as the medicinal aloe or burn plant, can be found growing in arid climates (climates lacking sufficient water or rainfall). It can be used for a large variety of animal and human ailments, from skin to even digestive problems. Just the gel alone from the inner leaf of an aloe plant can greatly enhance the healing process of a wound. It can also help prevent infection and scars. The gel is able to soothe and relieve the pain from burns, cuts, bruises, insect bites, blisters and even blemishes. This is due to the painkilling properties of the magnesium, lupeol, and salicylic acid found in Aloe Vera plants.

    In parrots, this natural healing agent is used to treat their skin problems. While some ointments may have toxic side effects after being used on our parrots, aloe is safe, natural and even hypoallergenic. Some evidence shows that it can even be effective if sprayed on some feather plucking parrots. This can be due to the soothing property in aloe gel that helps itchy skin, which may help prevent some parrots from plucking. Aloe Vera is also known to be used for digestive problems, and even to soothe the pains of arthritis.

    Properties:

    Amino Acids – contains 20 of the 22 amino acids that human bodies require, and it has 8 of the essential ones that the human body cannot create on its own. These 8 essential amino acids are Tryptophan, Isoleucine, Methionine, Leucine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Lysine, and Valine.

    Nutrients/Vitamins – A, B, C, E and Folic Acid. Aloe Vera is one of the very few plants that contain most of the B vitamins like B1, B2, B4, B6, and Vitamin B12.

    Minerals – Magnesium, manganese, zinc, phosphorous copper, chromium, calcium, sodium, potassium and iron.

    Aloe Vera works best when used fresh and from the plant. It needs to be used straight after harvesting as it can break down within 20 minutes. Aloe Vera Gel comes in convenient forms these days however, and can be bought in stores all over the world. If you don't have your own Aloe Vera plant at home, you may want to buy a bottle of some to keep handy just in case. Make sure the gel is pure, with nothing added to it.

    You can also make a solution of Aloe to put in a spray bottle for spraying on your birds. To do this, you just need to mix Aloe Vera juice and distilled water in a spray bottle. Four parts water to one part Aloe is a pretty good solution. Remember to find the purest possible juice when you go looking for it. This spray is also good for feather plucking birds because the taste of the Aloe and the dampness from being sprayed discourages them from plucking.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    Thank you so much Deanna or the information on Aloe Vera. I really want to try it for Rico now. This is the product my partner purchased from the health food store, which we haven't opened yet:

    https://www.lifestream.co.nz/product...aloe-vera-mist

    I am concerned about the added ingredients in it. I used to work in a pharmacy a long time ago and learnt a lot about ingredients in skincare products, and some of the ingredients in this aloe mist are put in skincare products that are for toning the skin or getting rid of pimples. Like witch hazel. Hmm, on the website it is even saying we can use it as toners, so maybe it isn't suitable for parrots. I'll save it misting ourselves in summer time.

    Which aloe do you recommend from Amazon? I may possibly be able to order it and get it shipped here. I've purchased from amazon USA many times in the past. I think Australia became strict in the last year or so about buying stuff from overseas, but I think they have just added a tax or something.

    Oh and yes, rico loves to have baths, just like tikki. I dont think she has had 4 baths in a day but she has definitely had two baths on the same day. She loves to find a big bowl of water and splash around in it. Her friend Nico is a bit more shy and only bathes from time to time. Wow it sounds like tikki has fun in the shower too, that is very cute! We haven't tried taking her into the shower, because we use soaps in there for ourselves and I worry about her getting into the shampoo bottles etc. But I might se if one of us can try it, like a fake shower without soaps for us and removing the bottles and then bringing Rico inside to see if she wants to join in. I'm just concerned about her biting though lol because she bites hard.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    Oh, I forgot to mention, a few days ago my partner did purchase one product to stop feather plucking:

    https://www.petcircle.com.au/product...top-pick-spray

    I did make him return it and get his money back though because the product was past its expiry date anyway. But thought I would check what you all think of this product? The main ingredient is denatonium benzoate. I dont even know what that is, apparently it has a bitter taste so that the bird will taste it and not pluck herself. But I've read reviews online that for some birds it just makes them want to pluck more to get rid of whatever taste is on their body. I dont think I will get this product again, but thought I would check. It may be the same as products available overseas under different brand names.

    Rico pretty much has bare legs now. I can see her skin on both her legs. The upper part, I mean, which should have her feathers. Yesterday I had her outside of the cage for most of the afternoon in the lounge room. She was happy. She rested, she ate her fruits and seeds and pellets, she flew around, she had a blast! And come bedtime, she was still cranky to go to bed and did her usual routine of climbing the cage bars and flapping her wings and shouting for at least 25 minutes. When I was preparing dinner, probably she heard the sounds and started shouting again. I have to be so quiet when I'm trying to get plates out and so on so that she won't hear it. Her friend doesnt seem to have an issue and seems the same as the others, just tries to settle down for bed. It is only Rico out of everyone who is like this. I feel like she is a 5 year old child who never wants to go to bed every night.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    We use the real aloe leaf off a plant that we can buy in our health food store here usually and store it in our refrigerator but also bought this from amazon last time we bought it, https://www.amazon.com/Real-Aloe-Who...NrPXRydWU&th=1

    I was a little concerned with the potassium sorbate they use in it for keeping it preserved but read all about and it is safe. You use to be able to buy this spray from Harrison bird company called Rain which worked great for skin issues on birds but they quit selling most things except the pellets these days. The Rain spray had potassium sorbate in it to preserve it as well. We only sprayed it on Tikki a few times when he was molting and it seemed to sooth his skin a little bit. With Tikki he hops into so much water everyday that even if we spray it on him he is in the sink flapping around within a few hours of getting sprayed with it. He like I said cannot resist running water.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    Today I purchased aloe vera juice from the health food store. This is the product:

    https://www.naturalhealthorganics.co...nic-500ml.html

    It also has the potassium sorbate that your aloe vera has too. And it also specifies citric acid and sodium benzoate in the ingredients too. I do wonder if those two are also safe? I haven't opened it yet. I asked about red palm oil at the health food store and they did not have it. She didn't seem to know what it was either. It was a franchise health food store though. I think there are two more locally owned health food stores around so when I get the chance I'm going to ask there too.

    If we want to use the aloe vera juice how do we put it on rico? Should we mix it with water in a spray bottle and mist it on her? or rub it on her with our hands? Did you dilute the aloe juice when you used it or used it pure?

    I ordered one collar from birdsupplies.com. It will come from the USA, so I'm estimating in three weeks it will hopefully arrive.

    https://birdsupplies.com/collections...=6920858828859

    It's a neckband. My partner saw it and wants to try it. I also ordered two collars from a local online pet shop too:

    https://www.petshopdirect.com.au/sho...or-medium-blue

    Got that size, and a small too. Hopefully this helps. The local ones should arrive by early next week at least. She comes to the lounge room every afternoon with time out of the cage. But either its taking a long time for her feathers to grow or she is still plucking. I dont know how to make her happy. My partner noticed yesterday that she had plucked a little bit at her back too. And Nico the smaller conure seems to have a tiny amount of plucked feathers on her chest. I dont know if she plucked herself. I think when it happens it must be happening at night. And rico has plucked nico's head feathers in the past. I dont know what is going on. My partner recently swapped nala and iki into another cage in order to change their feeders so their old cage, which was bigger, is now available, so he has started to organise toys in there and is setting it up for the conures. We dont know if being in a smaller cage made her do this or not. We only moved them to a smaller cage because in a larger cage they never used their perches. They would climb to the top of the cage and just cling to the cage bars and they would poop like that too so the poop would dribble down the bars and we got concerned that they inhaled that poop. In the smaller cage, they dont hang, they use their perches. And Nico hasn't been sick in the smaller cage either. She eats a lot more too. Rico still hates bedtime. She screams and screams when its bedtime too, when everyone else just settles down and grabs a snack etc. She climbs up the cage bars and flaps and flaps and flaps her wings. If I can I will try to record a video of her when she does that or the bad territorial leg pluck.

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    Re: Rico keeps plucking herself

    The citric acid would be fine because actually it can be used for treating birds with Avian Gastric yeast but I am not too sure about the sodium benzoate but I did google it and it too is used to treat birds with AGY. Interesting because this is what Boomer had and I never heard of treating it with sodium benzoate and wished I did because I could have tried it. I do think the aloe you bought you bought would be good. Its funny but years ago I had two cats and one of them would suck all the gel out of Aloe plants I brought home. I would get so mad at her but to her it was like a yummy treat to bite the leafs and suck out the juice. I gave up buying aloe with her around because I was nervous about her eating all that aloe but she always seemed perfectly fine. We would give Tikki the aloe juice in a spoon and he would lick it off the spoon. Just a little bit, maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of it a few times a day. We also mixed it little bit, maybe a teaspoon in spray bottle and misted him with it and then sort of held him and rubbed it in a little bit to get it on his skin. But honestly he took so many bathes everyday Carissa never worried about any sticky or dried up aloe on his skin. I think internally will help from the inside out but not sure.

    I love that first collar your partner ordered and hopefully it works. The other one is pretty nice as well! Neither would have worked on Tikki because he wasnt plucking his chest feathers or body but was barbering his tail feathers. He basically twisted them trying to shear off the tiny feathers coming off his tail feather shaft. He damaged them so badly he couldnt fly anymore. It was scary because we were afraid he was going to break them and bleed but thankfully he twisted them so much they just fell out. We were blessed when the medicated bath stopped him from doing it. It was so hard to watch him doing this and it was like he just couldnt stop doing it for some reason. I feel for anyone like you and your partner who has to see there loved bird doing this to there beautiful feathers.
    Fly Free Boomer, we will forever love you.

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