Why Did My 3 yo Milagold Macaw Start Plucking Out of the Blue?

Richard writes:

 

I have a 3-year-old Milagold Macaw, and his name is Rainbow.

 

Rainbow likes to bite and nibble things, like my clothes, my arm and whatever he can get.

 

How do I get him to stop, my arm has a lot of bruises from this, is there bird training classes for this or do I just tape his mouth close (LOL) please tell me what I should do?

 

Editors note: The Miligold Macaw is a cross between a Blue and Gold Macaw and a Military Macaw. Endnote

 

Learn more about 43 species of macaw parrots here.

 

Mitch R responds

 

Start with clicker training

 


 

and introduce light therapy – we write about it here

 

We have a problem with our own new rescue and we are very careful to stay 6 inches from his beak while always watching for lunging.

 

MitchR

 

Richard writes:

 

Also, she started start plucking out of the blue.

 

I have a 3 half yr old Milagold Macaw and out of the blue he started plucking his feathers, I have taken him to 3 doctors and spent over $2000 trying to figure this out.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions?

 

I have 3 other parrots and they are not plucking.

 

HELP PLEASE

 

Hi Richard,

In order to help you further I’ll need more information.

  • Age
  • Sex
  • Length of ownership
  • Results of recent blood tests
  • Pictures of the bird
  • Picture of the cage
  • Picture of where the cage is in the room
  • Where it is plucking
  • Is there a sleeping cage?
  • History on the other birds.

 

The more information the better

 

Best

MitchR

 

Richard writes:

 

Rainbow is 3 1/2 yrs old

A Blue and gold macaw, 10 yrs old

An Amazon yellow nape, he is 30 yrs old

Senegal she is 10 yrs old.

 

If I forgot anything please let me know.

 

Richard,

 

First I need to ask you after spending $2000 did any of the veterinarians ask you about nutrition, foraging, enrichment and cage perch placement?

Were the bottoms of his feet examined closely?

Your bird is plucking because it’s under unbearable stress.

His living conditions are deplorable and inhumane.

He has no light.

 

The back of his cage is blocked against an open window with the curtains drawn.

 

parrot cage with poor lighting

 

He has one rusted chain that he can’t stand on because it’s too vertical and has paper or fabric with a Uline catalog he has no interest in.

 

He’s offered one forging toy which is a roll of toilet paper, a terrible choice for a macaw, you need something far more substantial.

 

Actually, he needs 20 to 30 toys in and on his cage.

 

He requires forging and enrichment toys made of wood.

 

Chop up some 4-inch squares of two by fours (pine), take action!

 

The only sleeping perch is hardwood and is about 8 or 10 inches off the floor of the cage.

 

This means when he’s on that perch attempting to sleep no matter where he stands his tail is getting banged somewhere which is one of the most annoying things that can happen to a bird – a huge stress trigger.

 

miligold macaw plucking at base of tail

 

This is why he is plucking at the base of his tail (above), it’s become a pain point from all of the tail feathers banging against the cage bars on the low sleep perch.

 

To compound matters, there are no other perches!

 

When he’s out of the cage he stays on the top of the cage door.

 

This is something I could tell because of the poop trajectory.

 

I can also tell you that his feet hurt which is why he’s plucking at his ankles.

 

macaw parrot ankle wrapped with bandage

 

He will move to the top of the cage for a while – not long (no poop up there) but he ends up wrapping his feet uncomfortably around metal only components of the play area atop the cage.

 

This is aggravating his sore feet condition.

 

Your bird is bored, sad and in great pain.

 

He is also the youngest bird of the 3 with the 2 other species known to be jealous and territorial which may also be stress factors.

 

Richard writes:

 

The collar is a stress factor.

Veterinarians cannot fix this only you can.

Thank you for all of your help and understanding of my Macaw, I did most of the things you said except for raising her perch.

With that collar he is not that stable and I don’t want him to fall off.

I am hoping when I go back to the doctors, they can take this off.

Thank you again

 

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year
Richard

 

Try wrapping the perch with vet wrap for stability Richard

​Best

​MitchR

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.

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