Disappointed and feeling kinda hopeless.

~Tucker&Me~

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
4,940
Likes
0
Points
36
#1
So one of our lovebirds is a feather picker. Lately, she has been doing really well though, and the feathers have been growing back in, especially on her neck area. Tonight while she was sitting on her cage, I saw her shaking her head and her beak looked red. I went over and her beak was smeared in blood, and there was a bunch of bloody spots on her neck. I picked her up and put her on my knee, where she proceeded to then grab and pull out a nice big fluffy feather :(

It takes so long for each feather to grow back, so it's incredibly depressing and disheartening to see her decide, within the span of a few seconds, to pull out a whole bunch. On top of that, it's really upsetting to see her hurt herself and the blood :(

We are trying a new food in a few days, so hopefully that will make a difference. I feel crappy now though :(
 

PWCorgi

Priscilla Winifred Corgi
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
14,854
Likes
0
Points
36
Age
32
Location
Twin Citay!
#2
First, (((((HUGS)))) :(

What food do you have her on? If it is seed based, definitely try and get her over to a pellet based diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. For some reason this seems to stop a lot of pluckers.

The next thing I would look at (if you haven't already) is moving the cage, increasing mental and physical stimulation (new toys and get out a clicker and teach her some tricks!), possibly a larger cage if those don't work.

I don't know what you have tried and what you haven't, but hopefully you can get it stopped :(
 
M

MyHorseMyRules

Guest
#3
((((HUGS))))

I know nothing about birds except that the African Grey at our store is terrible about plucking her feathers. Sorry you're having trouble, and I hope you figure out how to stop her.
 

~Tucker&Me~

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
4,940
Likes
0
Points
36
#4
First, (((((HUGS)))) :(

What food do you have her on? If it is seed based, definitely try and get her over to a pellet based diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. For some reason this seems to stop a lot of pluckers.

The next thing I would look at (if you haven't already) is moving the cage, increasing mental and physical stimulation (new toys and get out a clicker and teach her some tricks!), possibly a larger cage if those don't work.

I don't know what you have tried and what you haven't, but hopefully you can get it stopped :(
She is on pellet-based food but doesn't eat fresh veggies. For the life of me, I cannot seem to entice her to eat any sort of fresh food... In fact, neither bird will touch fresh food with a 10 foot pole :rolleyes:. I am moving her onto a pellet food which is apparently much higher quality so hopefully that will help.

I have been making an effort to increase stimulation and out of cage time. She used to be quite overweight and is now looking much better so I think we are on the road to 'healthier' lol. The part that is weirdest though is that she wasn't in her cage or being ignored while picking... She was out in her playground, and then on my lap, while getting attention :confused:

((((HUGS))))

I know nothing about birds except that the African Grey at our store is terrible about plucking her feathers. Sorry you're having trouble, and I hope you figure out how to stop her.
Thanks for the kind words :)
 

skittledoo

Crazy naked dog lady
Joined
Sep 27, 2007
Messages
13,667
Likes
5
Points
38
Age
35
Location
Fredericksburg
#5
I wish I knew some advice that might help, but I really don't have much knowledge when it comes to birds. All I can offer though is some ((hugs)) and that I hope this new food will help out
 
Joined
Feb 4, 2008
Messages
7,099
Likes
1
Points
38
Location
Illinois
#6
I don't know if you've tried it or if it will be any help but I got my Conure to eat fresh fruits and veggies by cutting them up, poking a hole through the middle and string through it and hung by his favorite perch. He eventually got annoyed enough by them he would bite it and that turned into liking it.

I also would weave greens through the bars.

I've also had good luck with GoldenFeast. I have to order it online but the birds loved it and I liked the variety.

Goldenfeast
 

PWCorgi

Priscilla Winifred Corgi
Joined
Apr 12, 2006
Messages
14,854
Likes
0
Points
36
Age
32
Location
Twin Citay!
#7
Tucker, I don't know what shipping would be like, but I'm pretty sure I get a pretty good discount on Goldenfeast if you are interested.
 

Fran101

Resident fainting goat
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
12,546
Likes
0
Points
36
Location
Boston
#9
Bigger cage perhaps?
My moms bird had a bit of a plucking phase when we just got him. A new cage and moving around toys did the trick
(Instead of a lot of toys all the time, a new toy rotation of 2-3 every day worked really great for him!)
we have this one, and let me tell you.. it's awesome.
ITS BIG, it's cheap.. and it's easy to put things on top of
BIRDCAGES4LESS.com: Tiki Treehouse™

We feed Harrisons bird pellets and it's a great food as well.

I've also heard feather plucking is caused by lack of humidity or something, so maybe providing a bath or spray everyday if they like that?

Other than that.. It's just everyday things. He hasn't plucked in years but it's constantly like entertaining a toddler

He likes to eat different foods (he gets 70% pellets, 20% fruits and veggies and the rest is just OTHER!) most healthy human stuff is great for birds so he gets a bit of everything! HE LOVES pasta, waffles, popcorn and chicken (go figure. lol)
and the rule is NEVER USE A BOWL. If he eats, it goes in a shoe box that he has to rumage around to get food, or in a toy (he has many really ghetto but effective box toys made of tissue paper boxes and filled with things, and bell toys with compartments)
We leave the TV on when we go out (he likes MTV and music channels)

Privacy. this is a big one. We couldn't figure out WHY such a spoiled bird was still plucking or stressed until my mom figured it out one day. He just needed some privacy to escape all the noise and stuff or just a spot to hang out and be alone (similar to a dog and their crate)
so we got him a happy hut!! We hung it up in a corner and hung up a towel in front of it and let me tell you, HE LOVES IT! It's like his bed room in there. It's the one thing we don't move around at all.
Perhaps a pair of huts or a nest box for your two?

Cockatoos are..complicated lol to say the least, so you might not even have to change all that much for your lil guy. but lots of **VIBES** I know how frustrating it is!
 
Joined
May 6, 2008
Messages
1,945
Likes
0
Points
0
Location
Minnesota
#10
Bigger cage perhaps?
My moms bird had a bit of a plucking phase when we just got him. A new cage and moving around toys did the trick
(Instead of a lot of toys all the time, a new toy rotation of 2-3 every day worked really great for him!)
we have this one, and let me tell you.. it's awesome.
ITS BIG, it's cheap.. and it's easy to put things on top of
BIRDCAGES4LESS.com: Tiki Treehouseâ„¢
I second this. My birds weren't plucking, but were exhibiting other destructive behaviors - seed throwing, fighting, etc. I tried moving the toys around every few days and that worked wonders. I now have about 12-15 toys that get rotated in different combinations every 2-3 days. And bigger is ALWAYS better when it comes to bird cages. Drs. Foster and Smith also have some great ones for a decent price. Plus, they'll ship anywhere, and as long as you choose the 10-14 day option, it's cheap.

I have this: (for just two parakeets!)


Good luck! Birds and behavioral issues are really hard, it seems, because they're not as easy to work with as dogs, at least to me. :(
 

~Tucker&Me~

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
4,940
Likes
0
Points
36
#11
Do you have a pair of lovebirds? It's a little strange for a bonded lovebird to pluck itself.
Yes, a bonded pair. It's the female :(

Bigger cage perhaps?
My moms bird had a bit of a plucking phase when we just got him. A new cage and moving around toys did the trick
(Instead of a lot of toys all the time, a new toy rotation of 2-3 every day worked really great for him!)
we have this one, and let me tell you.. it's awesome.
ITS BIG, it's cheap.. and it's easy to put things on top of
BIRDCAGES4LESS.com: Tiki Treehouseâ„¢

We feed Harrisons bird pellets and it's a great food as well.

I've also heard feather plucking is caused by lack of humidity or something, so maybe providing a bath or spray everyday if they like that?

Other than that.. It's just everyday things. He hasn't plucked in years but it's constantly like entertaining a toddler

He likes to eat different foods (he gets 70% pellets, 20% fruits and veggies and the rest is just OTHER!) most healthy human stuff is great for birds so he gets a bit of everything! HE LOVES pasta, waffles, popcorn and chicken (go figure. lol)
and the rule is NEVER USE A BOWL. If he eats, it goes in a shoe box that he has to rumage around to get food, or in a toy (he has many really ghetto but effective box toys made of tissue paper boxes and filled with things, and bell toys with compartments)
We leave the TV on when we go out (he likes MTV and music channels)

Privacy. this is a big one. We couldn't figure out WHY such a spoiled bird was still plucking or stressed until my mom figured it out one day. He just needed some privacy to escape all the noise and stuff or just a spot to hang out and be alone (similar to a dog and their crate)
so we got him a happy hut!! We hung it up in a corner and hung up a towel in front of it and let me tell you, HE LOVES IT! It's like his bed room in there. It's the one thing we don't move around at all.
Perhaps a pair of huts or a nest box for your two?

Cockatoos are..complicated lol to say the least, so you might not even have to change all that much for your lil guy. but lots of **VIBES** I know how frustrating it is!
I have heard cockatoos are quite a handful... And I think my lovebirds are tough :eek: lmao. I actually just recently upgraded their cage to that exact one you posted :D and their cage was moved to a much better spot in the house with more action and more people walking by. That has already made a very obvious, positive difference. I never considered the privacy thing, I will definitely give that a try, as well as moving the toys around more often. At the moment they are moved around about once a week when the cage gets cleaned. I do try to use the bowl as little as I can. I know foraging is really important to them so I have tried to incorporate it into their toys and cage. I will try to do so even more though.

I don't know if you've tried it or if it will be any help but I got my Conure to eat fresh fruits and veggies by cutting them up, poking a hole through the middle and string through it and hung by his favorite perch. He eventually got annoyed enough by them he would bite it and that turned into liking it.

I also would weave greens through the bars.

I've also had good luck with GoldenFeast. I have to order it online but the birds loved it and I liked the variety.

Goldenfeast
Thanks, I am going to try stringing them up. I string up popcorn and cheerios every once and a while for treats but I have never tried it with healthy foods :)

Tucker, I don't know what shipping would be like, but I'm pretty sure I get a pretty good discount on Goldenfeast if you are interested.
I am definitely interested! Thank you so much. I have heard really good things about Harrison's bird food and was considering trying that... Do you know if the two are comparable in terms of quality?

I second this. My birds weren't plucking, but were exhibiting other destructive behaviors - seed throwing, fighting, etc. I tried moving the toys around every few days and that worked wonders. I now have about 12-15 toys that get rotated in different combinations every 2-3 days. And bigger is ALWAYS better when it comes to bird cages. Drs. Foster and Smith also have some great ones for a decent price. Plus, they'll ship anywhere, and as long as you choose the 10-14 day option, it's cheap.

I have this: (for just two parakeets!)


Good luck! Birds and behavioral issues are really hard, it seems, because they're not as easy to work with as dogs, at least to me. :(
Thanks, I am definitely going to make an effort to move toys around more often. It is so true, I find them much more complicated than dogs.

Thanks so much everybody for all the advice, I really appreciate it :) Here are the things I am going to try now after reading all the advice.

1. Rotate toys around more frequently (and get a few new ones.. *I* am bored with these ones now :p)
2. Make more forage toys, more often
3. Switch to higher quality pellets (either goldenfeast or harrisons)
4. Make a privacy spot
5. Try to persuade them to eat fresh foods

Also, the news is not ALL bad... Lately, we have made huge leaps and bounds with yellow bird (I refuse to call her by her name... I hate it but we never changed it when we adopted her so I affectionately call her 'yellow bird' now :lol-sign:). Since getting her ages ago, she was never really human friendly and drew blood when you went near her. So she was already getting limited exercise and interaction before I left for uni... While I was gone, as a result of no one else having the balls to go near her, she basically never got out. My mom also put them on a diet of only seeds (she didn't know it was bad), and as a result... Yellow bird became quite fat, lost the ability to fly, became more of a plucker than she already was, and was even grumpier to handle.

Lately, she has lost some weight, is tentatively doing small flights (2 feet-ish) and has become more hand friendly. My dad and I had this idea for how to make her friendlier and it has worked amazingly.

Basically, we ask her to 'step-up', and if she does step up, we love-talk her and make a fuss and make the whole interaction really pleasant. We only hold her for a brief period of time then return her to her play gym on her cage. If she bares her beak and acts threateningly when we offer a finger, we immediately back off and leave her alone. From doing this, we have found that she makes a much more obvious display when she wants to be left alone, instead of lunging suddenly and biting us. In addition, now that she knows we wont force anything, she seems way more comfortable and actually chooses to step up more often, which is great :D Because of this, she has been getting out way more then she used to and is really getting a lot more interaction and exercise.

Anyway, if you read all that you get a cookie lol.

Thanks again for all the help guys :)
 

~Tucker&Me~

Active Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2005
Messages
4,940
Likes
0
Points
36
#13
Granted I am kind of a bird beginner, but have you tried adding toys the birds can destroy? Ours LOVE stuff they can rip to shreds--toys made of paper, etc.
I did try adding more of those but I found that the female would stuff them all in her feathers and become nesty at the bottom of the cage. At her lowest point, she would just sit down there and pluck feathers and add pieces of paper to her 'nest'. I am a bit hesitant to encourage anything that could be used as nesting material :eek: lol.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2014
Messages
27
Likes
0
Points
0
#14
I also have the same situation. Good thing I found this helpful thread. I am a new bird lover/owner. I will try all these advises.
 

Members online

No members online now.
Top