Feather Plucking/Feather Loss

Rosa

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I'm trying to remember how old this particular macaw is, but I can't. I can tell you however that she has been mated and having chicks for 5 years now. Currently, their nest is blocked off as they will just continue to produce if we don't put a stop to it. I also cannot remember when she started plucking her feathers, but it has been a while. We tried giving her a break from having chicks-nothing, then letting her have chicks- temporary success, changing her diet as much as she will allow it to be changed- still nothing. And yesterday, she either plucked or loss four or five of her tail feathers. I'm concerned but really unsure where to go with her. We have three macaws, she, her mate, and one of their chicks, but she is the only one with this problem. Do you have suggestions?
 

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LifeofRubie

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I believe birds, like dogs, can get bored and start self destructive behavior? We have a couple of members with bird experience here who can hopefully weigh in!
 

Ravenbird

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Do they have a yearly molt like most other birds? When my chickens molt it looks like there has been a pillow fight in the pen. Feathers everywhere. They don't always do it at the same time or at the same time of year, but all birds molt & grow new feathers, most of the time not very noticeable, but you'd be sure to notice one (or 3 or 5) of those beautiful tail feathers on the ground!
 

Rosa

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Do they have a yearly molt like most other birds? When my chickens molt it looks like there has been a pillow fight in the pen. Feathers everywhere. They don't always do it at the same time or at the same time of year, but all birds molt & grow new feathers, most of the time not very noticeable, but you'd be sure to notice one (or 3 or 5) of those beautiful tail feathers on the ground!
I believe our birds molt, at least they seem to to some degree...I don't know if it works exactly the same in the tropics. Tail feather loss as happened before, but I wasn't sure since she was already missing her chest feathers.
 

Tropicalbri's

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Domestic birds (parrots) don’t usually do a full on molt all at once. It’s gradual over time with some weeks being more than others.
My Cockatoo was a plucker when I got her. I started misting her 3 times a week and I changed her diet to a pelleted food (Zupreem and Harrison bird diet). All mine get that along with fruits, vegetables in the morning or a gorp mix I cook up every week. If she is laying eggs you need to up her calcium intake as that gets depleted with egg laying.
Stress also causes plucking and we have used Prozac successfully in treating it.
once they start it’s hard to break that habit.
Misting/bathing them encourages preening instead of plucking and a higher humidity is good for them. For the calcium, I use cuttlefish bone. You can get it at a pet store or farm store.
I would have a blood panel done just to make sure she doesn’t have a fatty liver.
Feeding a seed diet contributes to fatty liver.
Also take in a stool sample so they can check for parasites.
 

Tropicalbri's

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Make some interactive toys for them because boredom promotes plucking.
I fill plexiglass tubes with different openings with their food so they have to work to get their food like they do in the wild.
Also make rope climbers out of the thick hemp rope. They like to climb on that and chew it.

I also put in a coconut for my Macaw to shred and then be able to drink the water. She loves it. It keeps her busy plus she gets the benefits of coconut water.
 

Rosa

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Make some interactive toys for them because boredom promotes plucking.
I fill plexiglass tubes with different openings with their food so they have to work to get their food like they do in the wild.
Also make rope climbers out of the thick hemp rope. They like to climb on that and chew it.

I also put in a coconut for my Macaw to shred and then be able to drink the water. She loves it. It keeps her busy plus she gets the benefits of coconut water.
Thank you! I will definitely look into this. There is no real bird vet here in Suriname, but I will see what I can dig up.
 

JanS

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They're beautiful! One of our African Greys was a feather plucker but I believe it was when we switched him to Zupreem food that he stopped.
Feather plucking can be like hot spots on dogs and once they get in the habit it's hard to break.
 

Rosa

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Tomorrow, I will be back to ask more questions...but I have a lot of work still to do tonight! But thank you for the compliment! I'm not biased:rolleyes:, but they produce gorgeous babies!
 

Rosa

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Domestic birds (parrots) don’t usually do a full on molt all at once. It’s gradual over time with some weeks being more than others.
My Cockatoo was a plucker when I got her. I started misting her 3 times a week and I changed her diet to a pelleted food (Zupreem and Harrison bird diet). All mine get that along with fruits, vegetables in the morning or a gorp mix I cook up every week. If she is laying eggs you need to up her calcium intake as that gets depleted with egg laying.
Stress also causes plucking and we have used Prozac successfully in treating it.
once they start it’s hard to break that habit.
Misting/bathing them encourages preening instead of plucking and a higher humidity is good for them. For the calcium, I use cuttlefish bone. You can get it at a pet store or farm store.
I would have a blood panel done just to make sure she doesn’t have a fatty liver.
Feeding a seed diet contributes to fatty liver.
Also take in a stool sample so they can check for parasites.
So I'm back! I was looking at ZuPreem food; we have something that looks identical sold here...in fact, that is what the ringneck Dream is eating. I can try in on the macaws, but I know in the past when we tried that they refused to eat it. Actually, I think the female Caspiana would have eaten it, but the Male Columbo turned the dish upside and threw it out. He does that whenever he doesn't like the food. He throws the food out; then he starts banging the dish around the cage. Shall I say that our birds are picky. Fruits: they will eat mangos to an extent, bananas are ify, plantains are good, papaya- not really, let me think, they are okay with this orange round fruit here when it is in season, but our dogs eat that better than the birds. The birds take a bite or two and throw it out; the dogs wait under the cage and come and eat it down to the seed, which I have even seen Twilight crack open. Oranges- not really (I don't think I've ever seen them actually eat an orange I put in there). Pineapple-sometimes. So fruits are hard to get them to eat. Now, veggies- they love meter beans and cucumber. They will eat on occasion a tomato, but that is a fruit. They eat peppers and okra quite well. Green leafy vegetables do not go over well with them; not that I blame them since I don't care for them myself.

What is your gorp mix??

Currently, we just closed off the nesting box. I'm trying to remember dates, but I can't. Her last clutch, she laid, as usual, two eggs. Both hatched, but one (I don't know which) died within the first week. The other went to his owner last month at three weeks. The other chick she had this year was a similar deal...two eggs, one hatched the other proved to be cracked so didn't. It went to the same person at almost three weeks. He wanted it right before the eyes opened. Well, its eyes opened the evening/night before we brought it to him. Probably the end of the summer, I will have my brother open the nesting box back up. It usually takes them about two months to start laying eggs once it's open.

How exactly do you mist the bird?

I know where I can get the cuttlefish bone; I will ask my uncle to pick that up on the next city trip.

The only seed they get is sunflower seeds...I will see what I can find out about the blood panel and stool sample, but I don't know if there is a vet that can actually do that here in Suriname.

We have a coconut tree, and it should have coconuts although I haven't looked. I will ask my brother to cut one down for the birds. They usually have one in their cage to prevent them from chewing up their perches so fast. I think they prefer chewing the perches though.

Well, that was long, but thanks!
 

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