Cockatiel pulling feathers

Discussion in 'Caged Birds - Finches, Canaries, Cockatiels, Parro' started by Desirai, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. Desirai

    Desirai Songster

    Oct 12, 2011
    I've taken my 9 yr old cockatiel hen Gabi to 3 different vets over the past 2 years to try and figure out why she is pulling feathers.
    They all seem to say it is stress, however now that the stress is eliminated, she pulls out of sheer habit.

    Sometimes I think I should have her put to sleep because I don't know what to do. And it makes me hurt to see her pull feather after feather after feather.

    Do any of you have experience with a chronic feather picker, and what did you do?

  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Sometimes feather pulling is from a mental condition. Not necessarily stress, but something about the bird make them do it. What type of diet do you have her on? Sometimes a lack of protein can make them do this, but I think in your situation it is a mental thing.

    I have had to put a cat to sleep because she kept chewing holes in her body. I have seen our horses weave back and forth for hours and chew on the walls. Sometimes they just have nervous personalities.

    My cockateil Peep shook for years. Like he was nervous and buzzing all the time. he was terrified of everything and bit everybody that got near him. He chewed his feathers especially his blood feathers. I was constantly finding blood all over the place. He eventually grew out of it, after 12 years. (he is 14 years old now). Finally he stopped shaking.

    I do not know what to tell you about this condition. There used to be a product at Drs. Foster and Smith for birds that you put in the water to calm them down. I don't know if they still carry it, or if it worked. It was homeopathic stuff.

    I am so sorry about your girl. I wish I had an answer for you. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  3. herpsss

    herpsss In the Brooder

    Jul 9, 2011
    Ask your vet about treating with ronnidazole for giardia ( they often pick under wings with this) or if it could be hormonal which can be helped with lupron. As long as shes not mutilating I wouldnt euthanize. Goto assoc of avian vets and find an abvp avian board certified vet to take her too. Good luck! Jenn
  4. Desirai

    Desirai Songster

    Oct 12, 2011
    what is the definition of mutilating?

    She isn't bleeding, but she is going bald around her wings and breast.
  5. Ukiah

    Ukiah Chirping

    Nov 15, 2011
    Feather picking or chewing are behaviors which can have many different origins. There can

    be physical reasons, related to diet or infection, besides psychological. What is her diet like?

    A nutritional deficiency can cause bad behaviors in birds (Such as plucking). Does she get enough

    attention? Parrots crave attention, and if they're not getting enough, may become stressed and

    start plucking their feathers or causing other self mutilation. They need a minimum of 2 hours

    of attention/interaction per day. Some birds need more than that. A couple things I can recommend

    are taking her to the vet, having a full check up and being sure she's healthy. (If you haven't already)

    If she's healthy, and there arn't any medical problems causing her to pluck, Try adding more to her

    diet - such as fresh foods. Fruits, vegetables. I'd also recommend sprouts. Add tons of different foraging

    stations and toys to her cage, and be sure she's kept busy. Whenever your on the computer, washing

    dishes, making the bed - let her set on your shoulder and be with you. My macaw had a feather plucking

    problem. I done all these things and nothing helped. I adopted a conure - problem immediately solved.

    Good luck [​IMG]

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2011

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