Do Expectations of Our Birds Set Us Up for Failure?

They warned me it was a slippery slope. A week away from my 62nd birthday I find myself a short white balding Jewish guy who’s become a “crazy bird person”. Our apartment is 60 feet long and 30 feet wide or more in places. 
 
In the morning I tend to domestic chores going in and out of rooms organizing, cleaning and while this is going on I have 95g of white feathers following me. And if someone was looking through the window it would appear as though I was happily talking to myself because I’m carrying on a conversation with 95g of white feathers who happens to be in the same room wherever I am.
 
Buy new bird & parrot items & accessories on Windy City Parrot
 
We have a narrow hallway between our living room and kitchen. On the living room end of the hall is a door we normally keep open unless we are cooking. When Popcorn flies into the kitchen she has a play stand on the kitchen table as a designated landing zone. She also has a couple of her own ideas of what constitutes a landing zone including crown molding and the top of the cabinet over the sink – which has some baskets with fake flowers. 
 
She’s allowed to stay on the top of the cabinet, unless she starts chewing on the basket. When she starts foraging on the basket I point at her and threaten to “spank her feathered butt” Without fail she will jump off the cabinet and do a wide U-turn sending her down the hall where she takes a sharp left and ends up on her cage or a soft left and ends up on top of my computer monitor.
 
Unbeknownst to either one of us the other morning the hall door was closed and as she flew to the corner of the kitchen about to fly down the hallway she realized it wasn’t an option. And it happened as fast as a butterfly moves – she somehow stopped in midair, went vertical and spun on her tail like an ice skater, spun 180° without missing a beat – flap flap – she had her alternate landing site picked out and it was just another day in a bird’s life.
 
I was dumbstruck, it was like I suddenly became privy to some secret in nature and of course without a camera when you need it – but then I stumbled across this.
 
 
It’s labeled for reuse with modification in Google search so kudos to ChocoboRyo for capturing this magnificent shot. 
 
It also got me thinking that when it comes down to it, all other pets are terrestrial (grounded) Caged bird keepers (assuming their pet bird(s) is/are flighted) have pets that exist three dimensionally within your home. Top of a birdcage, on the floor, on top of a computer monitor, cabinets – They could occupy space anywhere in almost any surface in your home. So I ask “what are we doing to best accommodate these three-dimensional feathered creatures”? Share your thoughts below.
 
Speaking of landing zones and bird perches, one of our customers recently took delivery one of our beautiful Dragon wood Play stands
 
Large Playgym order thumb
 
She called to say the perches were too thick for her African Grey (the stand has 1 inch – 1-1/4 inch thick perches). Yes the birds nails had been trimmed recently, which didn’t help but I asked for her and her birds patience. We haven’t heard back in my guesses the bird stopped obsessing over the new piece of equipment is now enjoying it. 
 
We hear from a lot of bird companions and one of the problems that we see consistently is over thinking the situation. To illustrate this I would ask that you engage the image below.
 
 
Here we have a lovely model, Popcorn, having just landed on the footboard of the sleigh bed we have in the spare bedroom. Caveat emptor (google it): If I told you on the website that Cockatiels could be just fine on perches in excess of 2 inches in diameter, you probably think to yourself “this bird guy is daft I tell you.” 
 
Yet, here’s a picture of a Cockatiel who comes and goes using a piece of 2 inch diameter lacquered rolled wood, like you or I were walking down the street. She wants to be with me so she adapted.
 
We impose our expectations on to our birds. I can’t have you flying so I need to clip your wings or Please don’t leave the kitchen area because the rest of the place has carpeting or I need to get a cage with lots of horizontal bars to make it easy for my bird to get around it. 
 
Here’s a COCKATOO who didn’t get the memo that “Cockatoos need 1 Inch to 1-1/4 Inch diameter perches.”
 
 
 
That perch is what diameter? Less than 1/2 inch? Does the bird not have internet access? Please email the bird and let it know this is the wrong size perch.
 
Which begs the question, are we setting ourselves up for failure for imposing these (our) restrictions on our birds? Do you get annoyed when your bird lands on your computer monitor because he or she just wants to be where you are, and peels back your computer keyboard keys because you are playing with them so they want to play with them – and drops some not so virtual whiteout on the new 24 inch HD screen? 
 
 
What were your expectations when you acquired your bird(s)? A bird in your home is something that is nothing but positive energy and goodness. Perhaps we need to evaluate our willingness, ability and determination for us to adapt to some of the needs these creatures have who occupy our homes. How do we enable our birds to adapt to living in our “human” homes? Please share your thoughts below.
 
Mitch Rezman
CMO WindyCityParrot

Overweight Rose Breasted Cockatoo

Hi from Arizona,
 
I have a Rose Breasted Cockatoo named Poppy. He will be 17 in April and I would like some advice on controlling his weight. His maintenance diet is Zupreem Fruit blend. He also gets cooked food with various kinds of beans, broccoli, egg (white only), some fruit like a berry or piece of mango or apple. I have also used Higgins Worldly Cuisines but he tends to avoid eating the lentils. He could probably use more exercise time on his play stand but there has to be someone to watch that he doesn’t fly off and get into mischief. I use foraging toys but he masters them very quickly so not much foraging.
 
On your web site I saw some coconut oil, or palm oil, I think, that was helpful for controlling weight. Do you have any suggestions that would help and not destroy his wonderful personality. He is extremely intelligent, has a vocabulary of ~400 words and often uses complete sentences.
 
Thank you,
 
Carol Justice
 
HI Carol
 
what is Poppy’s current weight?
 
Mitch
 
His last weight was 516 grams. He is a large bird 13 inches from head to tail.
 
Hi Carol
 
Your bird is significantly over weight, the average weight for a Galah’ is 280 – 390 grams – Poppy is the average length for Rose Breasted C2 but weighs as much as an Umbrella. In that the number represents a 25% overage I would encourage a vet visit at your earliest convenience 
 
 
 
In that I don’t know if your bird is over sized or over weight, I’m concerned about any recommendations. If your bird is over sized thats fine but but a 100 grams overwight could be an indication of a tumor, fatty liver disease or any number of maladies that only a vet check could determine. I don;t want to give you exercise tips and have your bird keel over because of high cholesterol – sorry. 
 
that said, and Zupreem will argue it, but Zupreeem is high in sugar. their argument is that it’s no more than bird get from eating fruit in the wild. My argument is it’s an “added ingredient” sugar will add weight to humans or birds. You might want to move to Harrisons High potency http://goo.gl/TEtw7q 
 
Re :Harrisons High potency
 
USES:
• Diet Conversion: All birds should start out and remain on a High Potency Formula for a period of at least 6 months.
• Special needs: for birds that are molting, overweight, underweight, particularly active, housed in a cold climate, recovering from an illness or affected by liver or kidney disease.
• Weaning Birds: Feed High Potency Formula for at least 6-9 months.
• Breeding Birds: Birds s
 
After 6 months change to Harrisons Adult lifetime – http://goo.gl/s14TdY
 
Hope than helps

 

How Bird Food was Sold More than a Century Ago

 

This catalog from the Max Geisler Bird Co. is clearly pre-1900. The picture is interesting on the cover the little girl offering a parrot of no discernible species would appears to be a cookie or a cracker with the term “Human Talker” above the couple
How can you argue with the power of magic when it comes to feeding your bird? This food claims work for any bird well or sick and improve it’s feathers and voice. It was appropriate for all seed eating birds – according to the label.
At the turn of the 20th century there were not a lot of ways to get entertainment at home thus canaries were very popular as pets because of their singing abilities. If you put a male canary in a cage on either side of the room, you have stereo! This food for the Philadelphia bird food company claims to impart beautiful colors varying from orange lemon, deep orange to reddish orange.

The mixture is a combination of Canary seed, sweet rape, yellow millet and India Maw seed. Surprisingly they do recommend to avoid hanging the cage where current of air will flow upon the bird.

   
Back in the day for only $.20 you could rid your your bird mites, feather lice and body lice. You are somehow supposed to get this stuff under the feathers. It required one application. They also recommended Hartz Mountain bird wash in your bird bath a few days following the treatment. You were to repeat this about 10 days later and not put it on too thickly.
Ad from the Philadelphia bird food company and from what we can tell, this was around 1899. Apparently all you needed back then was a few drops of “bird bitters” to restore new life and vitality into your pet bird. 

This promises to restore the song cage birds it will prevent their ailments and bring them back to good health. If given during the season of shedding feathers it will carry the little musician through this critical area without the loss of song. It sold by both druggists and bird dealers or could be mailed to you for $.15.

 
Caperns is another turn-of-the-century vendor of bird care products. It’s probably the broadest selection that we found so far and from what you can see in the labels you were able to buy parrot food for as little as two cents. they offered species specific food for parakeets and even larks.

Caperns was started in England by F. Capern around 1880. Mr. Capern was basically a chemist who also was involved in aviculture which motivated him to found his company.

 
Advice on the proper care of canaries from the end of the 19th century. The box reads that nearly all of the diseases incidental to cage birds originate from various seed or pond mixtures containing “fatal poisons”. 

You could get this product from a druggist for fifteen cents. You could also send the company twenty five cents and get a book on the care of birds with over 100 illustrated engravings of birds & parrots.

Eceltus - African grey- Macaw - white cap Pionus parrots

 

Bird Cage Make Over Winner is Amberly Hoffman

It was interesting to see one of more than a thousand entries from around the country – thank you for the great response. We’ll be launching sweepstakes on a regular basis – Just to perk up those of you who didn’t win, how about a crack at a $100 Amazon gift card. Click here to enter by answering ONE question. 

 
While going through the entry list evaluating needs we realized there were more than two dozen entries in Chicago. After a great amount of deliberation we decided to award the prize to Amberly Hoffman and her African Grey – Jenga. Because this was the first time we’ve done such a sweeps, we thought it would be helpful to be hands on all the way and to create a “template” for future giveaways such as this.

 
 
Amberly had just rescued a seven year old African grey named Jenga. Jenga has been with Amberly for about four months. Upon arriving at Amberly’s apartment, I kept the surprise to myself when I saw a relatively small cage next to a very large play stand in her living room. A cage normally too small for a grey – depending on life style.
 
Jengas Day Cage Jenga’s really big play stand built by Amberly’s dad
No worries, turns out it was Jenga’s “day” cage. Another area for her to hang out with Amberly while watching TV or reading. I removed my hat and jacket and surprisingly, the sweet little Grey stepped right up on my hand & remained there for about half an hour while Amberly and I got to know each other.
 
 
Jenga in his main cage
 
After chatting for a while in the living room. we moved into Jenga’s room that does double duty as Amberly’s sewing room. Amberly has done a remarkable job providing interactive foraging activities for Jenga. The cage that you see is a California Cage no longer being made. , It was popular before buying bird cages on the internet became popular. Most of you who ordered a bird cage from a web store (we have a huge selection:-) in the past 5 or 10 years received it in 1,2 or 3 rather flat boxes, then you assembled it. California cages were delivered just as you see them above (without the seed guards attached).We still call the “welded cages. Amberly’s father had to do some gymnastics with the door frame to get this cage into the room.
 
I was thrilled to see all of the materials that Jenga had to keep her entertained. After talking at length with Amberly we decided the best way to make this work best for her and Jenga would be to “ramp up” foraging opportunities for Jenga as well as working on building the canopy inside Jenga’s cage.
 
With the groundwork laid I will go back to begin selection of bird toys & accessories that would benefit Jenga already terrific, day-to-day quality of life.
 
Mitch Rezman
WindyCityParrot.com

Opinion on best food for Bourkes

Hi,
I have two American Parakeets and two Bourkes parakeets, both male and female, non-breeding pairs. I want to optimize their health as without encouraging breeding. The ‘regular’ keets are more active than the Bourkes. There are several parakeet blends including some Australian blends, can you recommend one that would be good for both species?
 
Dear Tracy
 
We have had very good luck with the Goldenfeast Australian Blend.
http://www.birdandparrot.info/Goldenfeast-Australian-Blend-food.html
Item Id: 31501461270
 
It can be used alone or mixed with Goldenfeast Parakeet mix
http://www.birdandparrot.info/Goldenfeast-Basics-Plus-Parakeet-Food-32oz-food.html
Item Id: 31501461060
 
Beyond that we have a good basic Parakeet mix by Volkman
http://www.birdandparrot.info/Volkman-Avian-Science-Super-Parakeet-bird-food.html
Item Id: 31502331031
 
Another good blend is
Hagen Living World Budgie
http://goo.gl/ZCJRSK
Item Id: 315015010011

How Did We Feed Pet Birds 100 Years Ago?

Lorikeet talking into hand held microphone
 
Featured content – What do they call it these days? Aviculture – Bird Keeping – Caged Bird Keeping – Feathered Companionship – Bird Ownership – Bird Buddies? I’ve lost track. So to those of us who have birds in our lives we pay our due diligence to learn about things like interactive foraging toys, engineered bird food pellet solutions and avian enrichment.
 
The knowledge base (And misinformation) of bird care grows exponentially especially in social media. So much so that sometimes it just becomes “white noise.” One way for me to gain clarity on a subject is to look back at history when times were simpler and answers were not so complicated.
 
Buy birdcage feeder dishes @ Windy City Parrot
 
Humans have been keeping birds as pets for centuries but it wasn’t until the end of the 19th century that commercial bird care products became available. I thought it would be interesting to turn down some of the noise and explore how people cared for birds two centuries ago. Strap yourself into my feathered Delorean & take a ride on the Bird Food Way-back Machine here.
 
Announcements – Congratulations to Jenga , Amberly Hoffmans African Grey parrot who won our Total Cage Makeover Sweepstakes on Facebook. I know that a lot of you are not on Facebook so were telling the story of Jenga’s Birdcage transformation – here.
 
Housekeeping – I think you all know how much I love sharing my thoughts about birds on Sunday mornings. Your responses have been educational and quite rewarding. Many of you have great ideas to share that sometimes get buried in the comment section of the blog or get missed is a link on social media.
Eceltus - African grey- Macaw - white cap Pionus parrots
 
Beginning today we’re going to accept entries for people who would like to see their thoughts appear on our blog. Everyone will get published but only one will win a $25 gift certificate. For starters we will choose winners monthly. Please forward all of your entries to mitch@birdandparrot.info. Small print-> By submitting your entry(s) to Windy City Parrot, Inc. you agree to share all copyrights from the content you are providing with Windy City Parrot, Inc.. By doing so will help ensure the wrongful use of content does not occur.
 
A subtle change we have made in our weekly newsletter is to refrain from providing links to our presence in social media. We feel we all have enough social media interaction That takes up way more time than we actually need to devote to it. Links we now provide in these newsletters go back to our blog or pages on WindyCityParrot.com. It’s easy to comment on the blog and if a comment requires a response I will email it to you so don’t have to remember to come back to the blog in a few days to read my response.

Suggestions for Disabled Indian RingNec

White Ringneck Parrot with food morsel on beak
 
From: 
Cindy Simmons
Subject:
feather health
 
Message:
I was wondering if there is something you might recommend for my Indian Ringneck. I adopted her about a month ago. I don’t know how old she is, but she was thrown out of a moving car and a rescue took her in. At the rescue, another bird bit her and she had to have her foot amputated. I had my lower leg amputated in 2012, so I felt I had to take her 🙂 From what I understand, she was adopted and spent about a year in that home, but the woman who adopted her got cancer and had to give her back to the rescue. She came to me with fuzzy feathers on her body and only a couple tail feathers and wing feathers. Her feathers are looking a bit smoother, but the wing and tail feathers coming in look pretty scruffy. Do you know of any products that might help her? It’s not a plucking problem; I’m just hoping for something that might encourage healthy feather growth. Thanks for any input you can give me. Cindy
 
Dear Cindy
 
It sounds like the bird was not given enough of what it needed while it was in the care of the other person who became ill. Likely she was left alone a lot. Her diet may have been poor, lived in too small of a cage, had no toys, was lonely, I cannot say.
 
Most likely it is a plucking problem, the feathers rarely would come out like that normally. Even if the nutrition was poor.
 
I admit to having had an IRN years ago and when I divorced and took my bird, I had to work out of the house more and he got lonely, even if I boarded him with a friend, he missed me. He developed a plucking problem. It never fully went away even after more attention, taking him to and from work on trips, etc. I tried Pluck No More , which helped for a short while, but after a year it no longer was effective, he was a plucker and I still loved him until he passed a few years ago
 
Since then there have been never products on the market to try and we have heard good results from them.
 
These two products work very well together with pluckers, stressed or upset birds.
 
Featheriffic
http://goo.gl/aB39p5
 
AviCalm
http://goo.gl/o0nC4l
 
These products are also helpful in the same line.
 
AviVita (multiviamin)
http://goo.gl/AX0zdJ
 
Feather-In
http://goo.gl/Nls3rJ
 
A good diet, a new cage, lots of love and attention and hopefully she will recover enough to be a wonderful pet.
 
We also have a section that addresses needs for handicapped birds.
http://goo.gl/TRoZ8
 
Let me know if you have any further questions.
 
Thank you
Catherine
 
Thanks Catherine, I’ll check into those links; I’m really looking forward to looking at the link for handicapped birds. I was told this bird was severely plucked when she came into the rescue after being thrown out of the moving car – obviously she was not cared for. I have never seen her pluck or found feathers in her cage since I’ve had her, but she is easily startled and her wing and tail feathers break fairly often. I’ve got her in a much better cage than she was in before (long and low rather than tall and narrow) and she’s got toys although she isn’t interested in them. I’m hoping with time she’ll become more interested. I’m really hoping that eventually she’ll be able to fly, but not sure that will happen. At least she’s a good eater – she eats Nutriberries, Roudybush pellets, a seed mix similar to a Goldenfeast mix (the bird shop owner puts it together himself), and she loves her fresh fruits and veggies. 
 
I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my e-mail and giving me some good products to try. 
 
Thanks you!
 
Cindy
 
Thank you and I hope your parrot recovers enough for you to have a long and happy time together.
 
Try small toys that are not toys, she might like tiny things, a plastic spoon, a clean popsicle sticks, a straw with paper on it, just lay them out where she can find them.
 
My own IRN loved a small squeaky toy and carried it around everywhere. But I am having a hard time getting them back in stock.
 
Let me know how the progress goes. I can be contacted directly at catherine@birdandparrot.info.
 
Thank you
Catherine

Have We Finally Found a Cure for Feather Plucking?

From Facebook fan last night
“I’ve got a Catalina macaw that has a problem of plucking, I took her to the vet, she has a clean bill of health, now if any one can help with the feather plucking problem, I would appreciate it , Thanks.”
 
From a customer on the West Coast during a phone call this week
“My 14-year-old lovebird began to pluck for no reason at all. We have him on the best foods we can provide like Harrison’s pellets but we had to put a collar on her to stop the feather loss. Nothing has changed in her life and she is fully flighted”
 
From a Facebook fan in South Africa earlier this week
“Hello, I need help please. I get a African Grey Parrot as a gift, but he/she pluck his feathers. I give him stuff to put in his water for stress and pluck it’s feathers. What can I do, please I need help. Thank you.”

Mouluccan Cockatoo with plucked chest feathers
Rule number one
Plucking is a slippery slope. Regardless of the trigger it can be very difficult to stop. This defines frustration. It’s heartbreaking but in most cases it can be solved. It’s difficult for me to offer a course of action that reduces or eliminates feather plucking based upon a paragraph or two of input about the bird so for now I’d like to focus on triggers. There are other triggers but these are a good start.
 
Nutrition
What you feed your bird will have a huge impact on their overall well-being (stating) the obvious. The subject is too broad to get into details here but one of the things we are learning is that citrus fruit may be a fleather plucking trigger. For a refresher course on your birds digestive system and an expanded explanation of the relationship between citrus and plucking, read this blog post
 
No time to stray? Here’s the skinny. When a bird eats, food flows into their crop (which is up by their chest) and stays there for up to six hours before moving into the first stomach. Birds don’t have an acid based homeostasis buffering system like humans, so with a few chunks of a Florida orange sitting in their crop, isn’t it possible your bird may develop what we humans call heartburn – in their chest area? Is this one way a seemingly well-nourished bird begins to pluck at their chest feathers? 
 
Few or no foraging opportunities
In the wild your bird can spend 3 to 5 hours a day searching for food. At home something is always waiting in the dish that is easily accessible. What else are these birds doing with the intelligence of a two-year-old child while you’re at work and they are alone all day? These are animals that have rational thoughts and can reason including being able to pre-plan events into the future. Boredom is the number one trigger of plucking. Watch the video at the bottom of this page to see what I’m talking about
 
To this you say, hey I love my bird and I give my bird all the toys he or she wants. I put a new toy in the cage every week! This begs the question – when you introduce the new toy do you rearrange all of the toys so the bird is pleasantly distracted and now has something to do (while you’re at work all day) or did you just add one new toy that your bird is now obsessing over? The law of unintended consequences at work. Obsession leads to stress which leads to plucking. 
 
Buy probiotics for birds
 
Foot health
Is your bird sleeping on an abrasive perch? Over a period of 30 years a bird will spend more than 100,000 hours on their sleeping perch. A soft rope perch relieves foot stress and gives the bird something to pluck it other than feathers. More information on soft perches can be found here.
 
It’s important to have at the very least, three different textures of perches so you birds feet are always being challenged. They are on their feet 24/7, this is a very important cage provision to check that you have these. For more details, please read this blog post on perches.
 
Windows
A birdcage should always be placed against at least one wall to help provide a feeling of security. Placing a birdcage facing a large picture window can help provide your bird with both entertainment and be a pleasant distraction but before doing so we suggest that you spend some time looking out of that window to ensure that raptors aren’t soaring or migrating through the area. You bird has great eyesight and does not understand the concept of glass. The site of a distant bird of prey can be quite stressful and could lead to plucking
 
Lack of privacy
Parrots are prey animals and their existence in the wild is based on the 60/40 rule. 60% of the time they are searching for food and 40% of the time they’re trying not to be food. When your bird is in its cage it wants to feel as comfortable as you do when you close the window blinds, and pulled the covers over your shoulders and fall asleep.
 
You want your bird to feel comfortable and secure in its cage. You should have so many toys the top third of your cage you can barely see the bird. This will provide areas your bird can hide behind thereby giving them a sense of security. Read more on the bird cage privacy canopy here.
 
Another privacy issue, does your plucking bird feel threatened by other birds or animals in the house? Birds are flock animals instinctively anticipating certain group behaviors. If your cat, two dogs and your ferret don’t interact like a flock of Sulfur Crested Cockatoos milling about in a grassy area, your bird may be stressed out by the dynamics of all of those relationships, which may need to be examined. As an example your bird might feel fine in the upper portion of its cage with your cat on the floor but if your cat moves above the birds head, your bird might be instinctively anticipating a potential attack.
 
Flight
Flighted birds are healthier birds. There’s lots of well-adjusted birds with clipped wings but from the birds point of view it’s quite an unnatural feeling. They can feel off-balance while walking, lacking the ability to have 100% of their balance using their wings.
 
The rough edges on the remainder of the largest feathers on their body after being clipped can be an irritant and may lead to plucking.
 
A flighted bird is a confident bird. A bird who has lost the ability to fly may feel threatened (unable to escape danger like another animal in the house) which could be a stress trigger.
 
Sleep
A sleep deprived bird is a stressed bird. A bird kept up late at night because of a loud TV is not a happy bird. If birds don’t get 10 or 12 hours of undisturbed sleep each night they can get grumpy which leads to stress. Make sure you cover the cage nightly. 
 
The dynamics of other birds and pets in the household
The recent introduction of a new bird might make an older bird jealous, they can be pretty obvious but the interaction of your bird with your cat, two dogs and a ferret might be a little more complicated. You bird might be very comfortable with your cat lurking about on the floor but if your cat were to jump to a place that puts the cat in a position that’s higher than your bird, this could be stressful as an example. You want to examine the dynamics of the relationship between your bird and other animals.
 
Speaking of relationships
Changes in the attitude of the human flock within the household can negatively impact a bird. Humans arguing can be stressful. Divorce has sent way too many birds into rescues. The addition of a new baby or an elderly relative comes to live in can all trigger stress related plucking.
 
Air flow
If the cage is in the path of any drafts, even a slight bit of cold breeze that they cannot avoid can stress out a bird, summer or winter. Airborne mold spores from humidifiers can also lead to respiratory distress.
 
Dry heat
The same dry air that you and I experienced during the winter when our furnace is running is shared by our birds. We have to make sure their feathers get wet in the winter even more so than in the summer because of the drying effects of forced air heat, Dry air makes you and I scratch our dry skin and can lead to feather plucking for basically the same reasons.
 
Injury 
Not all plucking triggers are emotional. A flighted bird that hits into a wall or window may appear to get up, shake itself off move on – once again a defense mechanism. A fragile chest made of hollow bones can bruise easily. 
 
As one bird behaviorist posted in the thread about a bird who crashed into a wall the words were something like “get those birds wing clipped immediately because a flighted bird in your home is like a Ferrari on a basketball court” or something like that. “Sure lets chop off their feathers to ensure safety”.
 
Here’s a hypothetical – your bird lives and sleeps in the family room. You sleep in the upstairs bedroom. Is it possible you might not hear when your bird gets “night frights” late one night and your un-flighted, clipped bird falls off a perch falls onto the floor of the cage or flaps its truncated wings furiously sending it into the wall of the cage in the darkness?? Now your bird may have an injury you know nothing about – which becomes a plucking trigger.
 
Speaking of Injuries
How often you examine your bird?. Let me guess your bird will not let you hold or towel him or her, and easily freaks out. So I’m guessing you’re going to wait until your bird does injure itself, or there’s a need to rapidly evacuate your home while you are frantically gathering family photos. which is when you’ll calmly & patiently teach your bird to accept the towel?
 
Another hypothetical 
Not only do you not physically examine your bird regularly you don’t examine all of the toys and accessories very often. So a small shard from a cracked piece of wood on a bird toy poked your bird, but you didn’t know it until you see your bird plucking in the area of the injury.
 
Sexual frustration 
Humans clip off wing feathers, place bird in cages isolated from other birds which denies your bird the instinctive natural urge to mate or bond. Once again a possible stress trigger. Here’s possible solution.
 
Do you know how many times we’ve heard something like “I thought my bird was a male for the past 11 years until she laid 3 eggs yesterday”. Your bird may be hormonal and developing eggs. Carrying eggs (a male bird is not necessary for egg production) can be stressful physically and emotionally. 
 
This is one of the reasons that we stress to have your bird sexed. Doesn’t it earlier than they instinctivley expect. make sense to know if your bird is a female or not so you can watch for signs of brooding?. An egg bound bird (with a body that won’t release the eggs) can make a bird go from healthy to dead in a short time. 
 
The egg laying cycle especially in an unnatural environment like a birdcage can be stressful and may lead to plucking.
 
Winter and changing light cycles
North America just confounds birds what with things like winter and darkness coming hours earlier than they instinctively expect. One more stress trigger Read more about that here
 
Illness
How do you know if your bird is actually sick? The only accurate way to do this by weighing your bird regularly, preferably on a weekly basis with a digital scale. By maintaining a simple log, rapid swings and weight gain can indicate illness or may be developing eggs. Illnesses are stressful and may trigger plucking. If you have you bird 30 years, for the cost of $2.00 a year or so a good digital scale will more than pay for itself – find scales here.
 
New water bottle 
You want to eliminate poop soup so you introduce a new water bottle, problem solved! What if the water bottle scares the dickens of your bird. It might not show it, but just be stressed and begins to pluck.
 
New stuff in general
The list is endless, what is benign to you and me can send shivers down the spine of your bird. A new hat that you hang up on the coat rack. A new picture on the wall across from the birdcage. A new piece of furniture or the rearrangement of furniture. A new throw rug in front of the cage. It’s important to watch for reaction to these small but important change in your bird’s life. 
 
Any of these things can trigger stress related feather plucking. This post has been a good place to start. There is no one cure, there is no one trigger – but I hope the identification of some of these triggers will help with your detective work.
 
Although not a panacea we are getting rave reviews about a product called Avicalm. You can find more about AviCalm here. BTW there are no ornithological records of parrots plucking in the wild.

 

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