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Junior is my 14 year old CAG I have had since he was a baby. He is a very sweet bird, and is very bonded to me. He likes my wife, and will tolerate other people also. I am a busy physician and and always trying to keep him busy, and spend as much time with him as I can. He is a plucker. I hope that over time I can get some tips to keep Junior engaged and help him to less feather picking. 

Thank you

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Glad to see you here! Do you have any pics of Junior for us to see?
There are some avian teas out there that help support feather growth from Greywood Manor. 

Did he recently start to pluck? Hormone or stress related perhaps?

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Sorry it has been a while for some reason I did not see replies and I thank you for them. He has been plucking since he was about 2 years old. He has done better on pluck no more. I do the best I can with him but he is alone most of the day. I am a busy doctor and it is difficult. He reads emails with me in the morning, and I spend time with him when I come home. My housekeeper and wife give him a little attention, but I am not sure if that is enough. I am not sure why he plucks but he has been worked up by multiple avian specialists over the years and it is likely behavioral. Maybe he gets bored, I don't know. I bring home toys and treats, and so forth. I posted a question just now about possibly getting another bird, perhaps a senegal parrot in part to keep him company. We travel sometimes also. I have the housekeeper come at least once daily. He does not do well boarding, even with very friendly bird vet techs. The time he started plucking seemed to coincide roughly to when I got a caique (which I re-homed a few years ago). He seemed to bond with her for a few months, but then did not want to have anything to do with her. This is a recent picture of him. 

EF76BF13-5A6F-442E-9770-940873C66947.heic

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Posted (edited)

There's no guarantee that your grey will get along with another bird, especially having been an only bird for a good portion of his life. Most of my own birds don't really care for the others, but they do love to hear and mimic their vocalizations. 

 

I just downloaded his image, and I think he actually looks really good! Have you noticed if his plucking is seasonal? If so, he could be hormonally plucking himself. Just a  thought.

 

Edited by Greytness
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He looks relatively good now, and thank you for complimenting my little buddy Junior. That is his better side. He seems to have a baseline level of feather picking. Sometimes he will pick more, sometimes less. He has no real bear spots but he picks at his wings to the point he cannot fly for years now. Right now he has some red tail feathers, but sometimes those are gone. I do think it might be behavioral or hormonal. He loves to get petted, but I only give him head scratches for years now in case too much touch incites feather picking behavior. A bird vet treated him with Lupron, an anti testosterone drug. This seemed to help a little but it was variable. 

Thank you for any advice.

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I'm afraid I don't have any experience with plucking so can't advise there. However, if your bird is spending long periods of time in his cage or alone then I would invest in some foraging toys for him if you haven't already. This can help keep him busy as he'll need to work for his food.  You may need to rotate these round periodically so he doesn't find them too easy. If your bird is not used to foraging then you may need to introduce the idea slowly- for example: putting some scraps of paper on top of his food bowls so he has to move the paper around to get to the food or loosely wrapping some treats in paper so he has to work a bit harder to get at it. There are all sorts of foraging toys available these days with varying degrees of difficulty.

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Thank you for the feedback on foraging. Yes, I have tried some foraging toys. I have one in there now. I always try to rotate the toys around. However the paper on the food is a good idea, and maybe I will see if there are more foraging toys on amazon or the like. It is unavoidable in my schedule that there will long periods of time where he is alone in his cage. the toys seem to keep him busy for minutes or an hour, but the periods of time are much longer than that sometimes. Ironically, sometimes he plucks less when I am gone for a couple of days. I bought a senegal parrot in part hoping that at least the calls of another bird in a cage across the room will keep him company a little. 

But one way or the other I am committed to that bird. He's been with me about 15 years now since he was a baby. 

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Two of my greys love to tear up cardboard strips. I usually cut the plain flaps off boxes  I've received. Keeps them busy for a little bit.

Does he like to destroy wood toys? All 3 of mine LOVE that activity. All three love the perch swing that has 3 hanging stainless steel bells. They actually grab onto the side of the cage, pull themselves towards the bars and then let go to make themselves swing.

Edited by Greytness
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He may be bored. Do you keep the tv 9n for him, my birds watch a parrot dvd all day while I’m working.  They also have toy buckets with toy pieces, wood, balls etc wrapped individually in paper with the ends twisted for them to forage with, sometime I wrap treats in there also.  Lots and lots of toys for him to tear apart and wood to chew up.  It is hard once they start plucking it can become a habit. I have one that started plucking last ear and it’s because she is the lowest on the totem pole and doesn’t get enough attention..my other two sometimes bully her away from the table when we’re eating......it’s sad, but I do the best I can in giving her special alone time...😞

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Junior sometimes likes the wood toys. I always rotate toys. He does love to eat doors and furniture. I do  on not leave him unsupervised anymore although he will usually not eat any furniture if i leave him on his cage open. He hangs out the cage. It seems like he will get into the occasional toy for a little while. I will try the strips. I do put a cardboard box on the top of his cage and he likes to tear that up. He has looked a bit better I think since covid we were home more. 

 

The TV is a great idea. It would be weird design given his position in the living room when you first walk in to our house, but maybe put it on the side. I used to keep a radio on. Do you keep the buckets in the cage? In my mind boredom likely is a culprit of the picking, as well as hormonal/jealosy reasons. Do you put buckets in his cage?

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