I’m pinned to the ground by a feathered demon send help!

The names have been changed to protect the innocent
 
“Well Johnny, your father and I have decided since you won’t eat anything that’s good for you we feel is perfectly fine for you to eat French fries and drink Coca-Cola three meals a day until you turn 21”
 
File under “my bird doesn’t like what I give him or her” I’ll make sure that I won’t do anything that would possibly make my bird unhappy”:
 
Inbound communication week of 4/5/15 <-(the 20 of 2015 has been intentionally removed indicating the permanent death of the Y2K bug – google it)
 
My parrot has recently lost feathers that have not grown back. We have never seen her pluck them or evidence of that. Attached are photos. She eats well and is almost 19.
Thanks
Jane Doe
 
sun conure in bird cage
Hi Jane
 
it’s impossible to diagnose things like feather plucking from a single sentence but the image that you attached poses many questions.
 
The perch the bird is on is clearly the sleeping perch which is a solid hardwood  perch slightly undersized because I can see the potential for the birds back nails to irritate the front toes. This is one of the primary causes of bumble foot.
 
Being a dowel perch it also has no uneven surfaces so for lack of a better explanation your birds feet may hurt from spending so many hours on a perch with no uneven surfaces to challenge your birds feet. Dowel perches are not bad in and of themselves they are just not the ideal perch for a bird to sleep on.
 
I noticed some perches in the foreground and a pair of manzanita perches. Because of the toys on the left side of the screen your bird has no way to access those perches and is not motivated to do so because they are lower rather than higher. And less in feeding mode birds will always gravitate to perches and accessories higher in the cage.
 
The few toys that I see in the cage have similar architecture and materials and none of them seem to be frayed which means your bir has no interest in them.  I would seek other materials like palm and coconut to see if you can get your birds attention.
 
The room that the bird cages and looks to be very light and airy but the bird has no privacy which may be an irritant. This blog post about the bird cage privacy canopy explains the concept.
 
I have no idea what you’re feeding your bird. Acidic fruits like pineapple and tomatoes could cause birdie heartburn triggering feather plucking activities
 
 the question you ask a simple, the solution is not
 
girl looking at sun conure that she is holding in her hand
 jane replies:
 
Oh – those are interesting comments.  She usually goes to the back to rest and sleep and there are uneven perches in the front.   She’s very particular about where the cage is located.  We’ve tried other locations, but it seemed to make her upset.  We always keep her well covered at night.  She does chew on her toys and when they fray too much we replace them.  But I take your point about changing them up.
mitchr replies
 
try getting her on a soft rope perch to sleep on and see if that helps
  

Thanks

 Jane replied
 
Actually I tried that once and she jumped out of the cage and hid under the table.  I order more of the manzanita perches from your site and we’ll replace that one.  She has rejected countless toys.  
The perch that she sleeps on in the back, I had specially made to mimic the one from her old cage.  I had to set it up identically because she refused to go in it until then.
 
close up sun conure sleeping on one foot
 
 It took a couple of weeks to transition.  This parrot does not like change.  After Sandy, she stayed with me in a smaller cage in Manhattan because my parents home was damaged (no heat or power, but magically the upper west side of Manahttan had no problems).  
I took off of work to be with her to help her adjust.  My parents never saw her happier when she was able to return home to her regular cage. I suppose after almost 19 years, we just go with her commands.
 
Thanks,
Jane
 
me telling it like it is
 
so what you’re saying is 110 g of feathers is controlling your actions. Kids don;t like to eat their vegetables nor go to bed early. The more you force change the better your bird will be. sometime plucking is simply out of boredom. It can take 1 – 2 weeks or more for a bird to accept a new toy or accessory.
 
Try finding something she likes like millet and strap it to the softy perch. She doesn’t know what good for her – you do. You have to allow her to suffer the consequences of change which may mean locking here in a cage with something she doesn’t like at first.
 
how’s your lighting – do you have full spectrum lighting set up anywhere near the cage?
 
jane being agreeable
 
I do try a few times, I play with the toys outside of the cage first with her, then hang them up, but sometimes they are just summarily rejected.
I’ve had her for almost 19 years, and she’s never plucked before.  We haven’t seen a pile of feathers anywhere, just regular molting.  Maybe I’ll try the soft perch again.
Thanks
 
new subject
 
Shelly C.
Mar 29th, 11:04am
My family loves to cook, but we often wonder if the spices we use are safe for our birds. For example, this morning our banana pancakes which included some ingredients I am not sure about, such as nutmeg, & ginger.
 
Then I wonder about other spices in other dishes. Is there any trusted resource that you recommend to reference or overall people food lists? So much conflicting info is found on the internet that I don’t know what to trust. Thank you.
 
cherry headed conure parrot eating flowers in tree
cherry headed conure
 
new subject
 
We just wanted to say hi, I’m David Jones and this is my 10 month old “Blue Headed Pionus” we believe to be a male at this time his name is “The Shriek of Araby”, but the vote is still out…!!  He is sweet and naughty at the same time.  Any tips on what to do when they shriek.?
 
Thanks David
 
blue headed pionus parrot
 
Hi David
 
Yes birds will shriek because birds will be birds. One of the things you can try something called a “redirection” have a big pot in a wooden cooking spoon in a place that you get to easily that is out of sight of the bird.
 
Keep in mind you have to let the bird shriek 10 or 20 minutes a day to let it out of the system but if it’s incessant what you can do is when they begin to shriek,
 
Grab the kitchen pot in a wooden spoon and place it in a room outside of the birds vision. When the bird begins this shriek go into the other room and bang the pot – Bam – Bam – Bam.
 
The bird will be silenced out of pure curiosity but just for a moment. In that moment you want to come into the room that the bird is in with a high-value treat (sunflower raisin whatever) they like and offered to the bird in a high voice with lots of positive praise for being silent
 
Let us know how it works for you
 
mitchr
 
Q. My parrots love eating any kind of fruit or juice,
nuts or seeds, but aren’t interested in any other kind of food I think is good for them. How can I change this?
 
close up african grey eating watermelon
 my opinion
 
The problem is that it’s not a balanced diet as they’re not getting enough protein.  I would advocate to introduce a product like LeFeber’s avi- cakes. They are mistaken as a treat but offer 100% nutrition to your bird because they contain a high percentage of pellets.
The pellets are wrapped with seeds and nuts and fruit held together with molasses. In addition to the Higgins seed blend that our cockatiel Popcorn fees on regularly she goes through a package of avicakes about every two weeks.
 
Because of molting and reproductive activity is as well as the stress of changing daylight we use a saltshaker to sprinkle a mixture of avian vitamins and a calcium supplement on top of the avicakes. The light dusting sticks to them because of the molasses thus providing her with all of the nutrition she needs confirmed by our avian vet who sees her about every three months
 
Can the Hagen Prime be given Eclectus. Eclectus are EXTREMELY sensitive to vitamins. They CANNOT be given the MANMADE supplements. ALL vitamins MUST be organic
 
male eclectus parrot preening
 
Hi Don
 
we advocate not to give eclectus vitamins at all organic or not because of their elongated digestive systems. The only way to know if your bird is vitamin deficient is to get a blood panel workup at the vet
 
Pellets work well but if you;re having trouble converting you might like this Eclectus parrot mix from the Volkman seed company
 
written by  mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing
your zygodactyl footnote

Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I am not sure that all plucking is due to boredom. My 20 year old Grey started plucking about 5 years ago. After a number of avian vet visits reassured me that her food balance, weight and lab work is great and I rotated her toys (some went untouched for months and all were left outside her cage for months so she would adjust to them) and she eventually played with them, I realized that she seems to pluck during the winter but by spring she lets her feathers all grow in again. Could it be hormonal? I agree with all your other advice. (Gabriella eats about 80% Hagen’s Tropican and 20% fruit, veggies, treats (avicakes, nutriberries, nuts, etc. No more than one peanut a day- sometimes less.
    I also have just adopted a 20 year old African grey who was bare chested, bare shouldered and bare legged. I have had her for five months and it took 4 months to switch her over to pellets. I got her a bigger cage. But in that 5 months her feathers have begun to grow back – and they are RED. I am thinking of renaming her Robin. Someone told me that they are red because the follicles were damaged. I am her 5th or sixth owner and we are still developing a trusting relationship; she doesn’t bite me as much any more and will get off her cage and walk over to me and around the house, checking everything out – she is so curious.

  2. Please give us your opinion of our IRN and cockatiel’s daily diet:
    breakfast
    Hagan pellets, avicake, and nutriberries,
    a bite of banana -IRN eats

    ALLDay: Hagan Pellets available

    Dinner:
    cooked frozen corm and peas and plain pasta
    Fresh Market coleslaw with cranberries and small amount of chicken salad(??)
    IRN eats dab of FMkt chicken salad and sometimes a small bite of hamburger or steak.
    Cockatiel only nibbles at meats.

    They will not eat greens, etc. Cockatiel used to nibble little carrots and broccoli but stopped.

    I do not like to feed IRN chicken salad but my husband disagrees….what is your opinion.

    Also, my IRN has very delicate feathers that break easily and do not feather properly. She normally has no tail or wing feathers. I adopted her when she was about 3 and is not about 14.

    I use Avicalm and Featheriffic.

    They are both happy and talk. We take them with us when we travel…they are our babies.

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