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Recovering Plucker


Mouth226
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Hey everyone,

I thought I ask to err on the side of caution, Rosie is a recovering plucker.  Since she adopted us about 2 months ago it appears some of her feathers are starting to grow back in.  When I give her scritches I can feel pin feathers however she does not let me help her with them, she very politely grabs my finger and pushes it away.  About a week ago I started to notice what appeared to be some baby feathers and some larger feathers at the bottom of her cage and her play stand.  The first time I wrote it off as molting, but I have begun to see more.  I have not noticed any blood at the base of the feathers, but I thought I would ask the group to see if anyone has any ideas.  She is out of her cage about 8-10 hours out of the day with me in my office.  She gets chop in the morning that my wife and I make and pellets in the afternoon.  She has a playstand with toys and in her cage has several toys she can shred/chew although she is not much of a toy bird.  I attached a picture of a few of the feathers I found at the bottom of her playstand.  Is she going through a molt as her feathers start regrowing or is she back on the plucking train?  Any advice would be welcome.  Thanks in advance.

 

Jeremy.  :)

IMG_3775.jpg

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I wish I had advice to give, but I haven't had experience with a plucker. Hopefully someone will come along who does. My Timber isn't really a "toy" bird either, but he will shred cardboard half the day if it's available. It keeps him busy for many hours.

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I'm afraid I don't have any experience with a plucker either. Alfie over-preens himself sometimes so the paler feathers underneath his wings usually look a little tatty. But thankfully he's never developed into a plucker. I only know what I've read and learned from others.

It can be a hard thing to break and can start/be caused by a number of things. Illness, boredom, stress, nutrition. You might find that with the new home and good food/lots of attention etc that she starts to improve and lets her feathers grow back in. But it can also take a minor event to send her right back to the plucking habit. A night fright, something spooking her during the day, changes in the household etc. I know it can be really frustrating to watch them start plucking again- especially after a period of improvement. It's important not to let your bird pick up on your disappointment or frustration if they pluck, as this can easily exacerbate the situation. Greys are very empathetic and can pick up on how you're feeling.

Preening and shredding toys may help. And foraging toys too. Keeping her mind busy might help if the plucking isn't illness related. Greys in the wild spend hours foraging for food whereas when they live with us they get it served up on a silver platter (well... near enough!). So if you know what some of her favourite treats are, you could hide some in pieces of paper so she has to work for them. You can get foraging toys too which she has to work out how to open to get the treat. I have a wooden box filled with crinkly paper and lots of different foots toys that Alfie likes to dig around in. I sometimes put a piece of walnut in there for him to find when he's throwing all the toys around.

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I have taken to making her a few shredding toys, and I do hide treats in cupcake wrappers.  I plan to buy a few of those puzzle toys that hide treats to help keep her mind busy while she hangs with me.  I will look into the preening toys and see if that gives her any relief.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One of my greys started plucking a few years ago, ( her chest)  I realize its a stress thing regarding my long time amazon who is a hog for attention.  I try to give her more special time with me, it has helped. DO NOT try & help with pin feathers..they are quite painful when coming in & you should avoid that area until they have come in naturally. I find pin feathers on my amazon when she is getting head scrunches, but I just go very very light in that area..   Mist them with a mixture of warm water & aloe juice, that soothes the skin.  I also wrap up safe pieces of broken wooden toys & put them in a toy bucket for them to forage thru & chew the paper to get to the inside toy. Folded up paper, junk mail

( envelopes that haven't been opened).  Popcorn as a snack will keep them busy, my grey LOVES uncooked egg noodles, they keep her busy for quite some time crunching & eating them,  put the tv or music on if she seems bored.  Try a bowl of water for her to splash in, corn on the cob to chew on, my grey prefers small cockatiel size toys, not parrot size ones..just suggestions for occupying her in hopes of distracting them. They do tend to pluck when their bored if it has become a habit.  Best of luck & keep us posted.  

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