Here are just a few comments I have been given by people who responded to my question. Re the damage they have encountered with fabricated foods. I already knew about what overloading can due or cause. have seen it first hand and have dealt with it. Cleansing takes many months in some cases. And you may never be able to fully rehab. Due to somethings building up in the body fat, that cannot not be eliminated. So it was great to hear from others about their own personal experience. And backs up my own findings with the birds I work with. Sure there can be other factors at work, so I cannot blame this solely on fabricated foods. But come on way too many have noted what they are seeing. First has to be my last one. Clive Willgoss Marshalls story has been posted on a few groups. His case was a classic example of fabricated foods linked behaviour. Once removed he changed dramatically and is the base for this discussion. After diet change from fabricated foods to raw fresh foods (Sprout based) diet the changes were stunning. He became a much happier bird and his feather condition was stunning. His owners were very delighted with the results. Having happy healthy birds is a delight to behold Names have been removed for privacy reasons. Quote: ******* ***** Hi Clive. My boy is 14 and a plucker since about age 1. I've never fed him pellets, although he did get fortified food from the breeder, where he lived till about 6 months old. I have tried leaving him unfortified high-quality pellets (TOPS/GoldenObels) when I've gone out of town. Even eating them for a short time (4-5 days) is enough to make him toe-tap and wing-flip. It's a shame, because he loves crunching on pellets. My budgies do get fortified pellets in with their seed, in addition to the wet food I make. Even though I vacuum every day in the birdroom, Ulrich forages around on the floor looking for any pellets they drop and happily eats them when he finds one Jen Vaeri Hi Clive. My girl was never a plucker, but I am a stay at home worker, and she has me in sight 80% of the time. She is kept strictly indoors but is flighted and has the freedom to fly around the house when I can watch her. As to diet, she is on fresh sprouts, quinoa, veggies, a bit of fruit, nuts, and a few pellets. I have to say that sprouts have made the biggest difference in her feather quality. When I saw her in the pet store, she suffered from Mojo Molt. This continued for 2 years after she came home with me, even though I gave her a wider variety of fresh foods, 0 pellets, and daily showers. By mojo molt, I mean her neck was nearly bare for 4 months out of the year! All of her blood work was fine. I started to wonder if somehow she was missing something in her diet, and I finally bit the bullet and learned to sprout. I also added in some natural pellets. She now is in her 3rd year without a mojo molt! I really do swear by sprouting ** ******** Eliminated pellets to a bare minimum and increased sprouted seeds and sprouted beans as their morning feed along with veggies and afternoon feed is more fruit base and they have become calmer and feathers grew back. I feed more fat in the diet than most and they are calmer and don’t get as aggressive as their hunger is more satisfied with healthier fats and not just feeding complete veggies(which are mainly carbs which burn off faster and with the fats they are more content. I’m against strict pellets, I’d pluck too if my diet was based around a pellet which is just ground corn/wheat/rice sprinkled with vitamins. ****** ****** **** When we got my boy he was mainly on pallets and little fruit and veg. I’ve since changed that, and he’s not on any pallets what so ever. On pallets he was more grumpy and aggressive. As a treat (more training) he gets a small amount of seed, and if he doesn’t have a day of seed, omg I have bruises from him. Sunflower seeds especially are additive and just as a person not getting their fix, our babies act the same. **** ******** My female had pellets when she was a baby, (less than a year), when she got to be about 1.5 years, she started wing flipping and toe tapping, acting very anxious, began frantic preening and was slightly aggressive. I was grateful that I found a group 'The Eclectus Connection' that suggested I remove the pellets anything else fortified, or with artificial ingredients from her diet. I did that, and I also added 'Aloe Detox' in her water for two weeks, those behaviors stopped within 3 days of stopping those foods. Since then, it's been as organic as I can find, fresh, my own cooked chops, and trusted bird food outlets with quality products, as well as sprouts that I make. If I ever see those behaviors now--I investigate what might have changed in their diet first ******* ****** My bird's behavior is great. He gets wet food and sprouts in the morning and evening. He eats about 1/4-1/3 C TOPS with a small amount of seed mix and a nut (1/8th seed mix). He sleeps 12 hours. The sleep was the game changer on his behavior. He's not testy with 9-12 hrs sleep. He does not pluck. ******** ******** When I was less knowledgeable about the optimum diet for my Eclectus, I was afraid I was not fulfilling his nutrition needs and had added pellets to his diet thinking they would fill the gaps. I've since been educated and realize that it was unnecessary. When I was feeding pellets, I chose the Goldenfeast Golden'obles because they were one of the only brands I could find that didn't have added vitamin and mineral supplements. Even with a more "pure" pellet, I soon started seeing wing flipping and toe tapping. I didn't experience any feather plucking, but there was some minor barbering. The feather destruction could have been caused by either the pellets or humidity challenges (this experiment took place in the winter when it is VERY dry in my house). I discontinued the pellets once the WF and TT started and they soon abated. It's a little harder to determine precisely when the feather destruction stopped because once the damage is done, it's done and you have to wait for a molt to get a nice new suit ****** ****** I was giving a couple pellets initially (Harrison’s Lifetime) to our plucker when he rejoined us. However I noticed when I completely removed them he plucked less. Also he gets grumpy when fed cooked food (quinoa, brown rice, spelt pasta) so I cut that out and since mostly raw veggies and sprouts he’s hardly picking and feathering in. Fingers crossed he continues to let his feathers be. ***** ******* I sometimes give Doby Harrisons course pepper but he has a limit. The limit seems to be 3, more than that and he starts flipping and tapping. As far as his plucking, I have not been able to associate his diet with it, I'm not saying its not a possibility, just that I have not seen it. Before he came to me his diet was totally different and that is where he formed his plucking habit so his diet may have affected him initially but by this time its almost hardwired. When I removed brown rice and quinoa the only thing that happened was he acted really hungry all day : ) ****** ******* We agreed to offer Tops pellets during the transition phase with Hachi. He was 19 weeks. He maybe was offered a pounds worth during that period. At almost 2-1/2 we noticed itchy behavior and a divet on his chest last April. Last Oct his plucking became much more severe. Have tried numerous diet elimination items. Currently down to trying removing organic cashews and sunflower seeds. **** ******* Hi Clive, I am absolutely convinced diet has an impact on behaviour. So are our other breeder friends. I personally don’t feed pallets. My house quaker is the only plucker, since she lost her mate. Up in the aviaries we have only one feather chewer in the large parrots and that is a B&G macaw that we have rehomed. This is lessening as we pay him one on one attention. They all have a wide variety of fresh chopped greens / veges and the appropriate seed for size. Additionally we have plenty of foot and beak friendly natural wood toy **** ** ***** *********** I have rehabilitated several pluckers and feather barbers. The FIRST thing I do is get them on fresh food whether they have been on seeds or pellets. I don’t do just one thing at a time so I can’t say “the diet is 65% of the solution” or anything like that, but it’s very important. To me the biggest shock was when I switched my own healthy flock from pellets to fresh; everyone immediately molted a hard molt, and the feathers came in absolutely brilliant in comparison. At the time I had around 30 birds; budgies, cockatiels, gccs, Irns, and Pionus. I still feed pellets as treats just because they love the variety. Same with seeds, though some species do actually need some dry seed and nuts in their diets. To me the pillars of health are flight, diet, sunlight, and mental stimulation/social interaction. Obviously there are other important factors but these seem to be the most vital. ****** *********** Since I removed Pellets from my Cockatiel, Pepper’s diet, his overall behaviour has improved greatly. His feather quality is much better, and he is way more active during the day. Then again, He was on seeds in a not so great environment when we adopted him Seven months ago, so I think allowing him to be a bird and getting him off seeds was also a big part in the change of behaviour. I have barely seen him on Pellets, we switched him to those initially, until I could work on converting him to a Raw Whole food diet *** ******* You should make a short questionnaire. There are free sites you can do it with. That will gather all the information. And I'd be EXTREMELY interested about the results. I also think that wing clipping, and handfeeding together with offering foods that are too rich in certain nutrients which are connected with hormonal behaviour, are the main causes of plucking. In almost every plucking case I've seen these birds are either handfed, wing clipped, offered mainly pellets in their diet or all of the above. Currently I own: 1 x IRN (parent fed, wild) 3 x hahn's macaws (1 handfed, 2 parent fed and tamed) 8 x cockatiels (2 handfed, the rest parent fed but mostly tame) Also I had an illiger's macaw, handfed but not too attached to people. About couple of years ago I lost her unfortunately. All of my birds are fully flighted. Always been. They only get pellets as an ADDITION to their natural diets: For parakeets it's seeds, sprouted and unsprouted, veggies, leafy greens and berries. For macaws it's mainly veggies, fruits and berries, but I also give them nuts daily. For everyone I only give small amount of pellets. My oldest macaw, the handfed one, was the first one I stopped giving unlimited amounts of pellets few years ago (I fed him Zupreem Natural pellets) after he started plucking and becoming aggressive. Not towards me though, but visitors. He was also acting hormonal in other ways, so my best guess was (and still is) that it was hormonal reason behind the plucking. I wanted to figure out why so I tried everything from not being with him, and being with him as much as possible. I tried to keep him with other birds, and in the other room with only me. I even bought him a friend which he ignored (being handfed and attached to people only). I bought him a new toy weekly and changed the toys every day, but nothing seemed to help. He was out of his cage whenever I was at home. Then I thought: could his diet be to blame? After all that's one way birds know in the wild that it's suitable time and place for breeding. His problem is that he can't breed with me, which might make him stressed and anxious. So after researching their hormonal behaviour from literature, I started offering him only foods that were low on fat, protein and sugars. His main diet started to consist of variety of healthy vegetables and a little bit of fruits and nuts. When he started become more relaxed, I started offering him small amounts (like a spoonful) of pellets daily. He stopped plucking. And I stopped giving my birds pellets as their main diet. He is still very sensitive though and will start again if something stressful happens, such as if we go stay nights at my parents place, if he is taken care of by my friends while I'm gone, or if he suddenly gets larger amounts of fruits, nuts, pellets or seeds. But otherwise he doesn't. I have managed to keep him calm and happy. He seems so much relaxed and doesn't attack visitors. *** ********* One of the many reasons we don't feed pellets. We've had necropsies done on past birds that have died because of pellets. And behavior changes are always associated with diet and training. We've had lorys, parakeets, cockatiels and macaws all have extreme behavior changes due to eliminating pellets from their previous diet. Pluckers are very prone to continue plucking due to pellets. I liken pellets to feeding McDonald's. It can't be helped but have health and behavior issues. ******* *********** So what are your guys's thoughts on tops pellets? I've never used them. I used to feed zupreem for obvious reasons I don't anymore. Currently feeding pretty bird but I'd like to switch to a pellet that doesn't have dyes in it or fillers. Tops is supposed to be organic and non-GMO I'm wondering if anybody's used it and how their Birds reacted to it if they liked it or not. I had my blue and gold get really sick and almost died the only thing that I changed was I took zupreem out of his diet and he got better *********** ******** We tried Harrison's pellets for Mojito for about a week. Not only did he not seem to like them, but whenever he did happen to give in and eat a little, wing flapping and toe tapping would follow a little while afterward. Fortunately he has never plucked, though he does preen aggressively, like most Eclectus I've seen. He's been a little more aggressive recently, so I'm wondering if there's more to his diet I need to cut out. It might just be because he's aggressive when he's close to his cage and play gyms though, he's very possessive of his cage. That being said, diet has definitely made a change in behaviour in my experience ***** ***** **** Eckies are so specific on their diet Tho and alot of them don't take to a diet that involves pellets too well. I took my boy off pellets and he gets veggie and a small amount of fruit plus sprouts and nuts only as a training treat. I've noticed a big behavioural difference and difference in his plucking too some making the change. My boy was (probably can't know 100% as I don't know how full history) was clipped before he fledged and I'm guessing hurt or broke his wing and it never mended properly so now he physically can't fly and you can see a difference between his wings when you lift them. One doesn't have a full range of move. ****** *********** I've told this sad story many times because it clearly makes an important point about feeding a total pelleted diet - especially one of the ones with the worst ingredients on the market. A few years ago a man called me for advice about his 12 year old Eleonora's cockatoo. A few years before his cockatoo started plucking and the feather destructive behavior turned into skin mutilation. His vet couldn't help at all. The mutilation got worse until one day the cockatoo turned back and ripped off two of his toes. The veterinarian suggested that he euthanize the bird. He called me to ask me if I had any suggestions about saving his cockatoo. His veterinarian had never asked him about the bird's diet. That was my first question. He bought the cockatoo from a breeder who was a distributor for Pretty Bird and told him that should be the bird's total diet. He didn't realize that he shouldn't have trusted her information. The food has so much crap in it - chemicals, menadione, artificial food coloring, with absolutely nothing that is healthy for parrots. Do I believe that feeding this pelleted diet as the parrot's total diet was the cause of this cockatoo's problem - WITHOUT ANY DOUBT IN MY MIND! Source Undisclosed. For very good reasons I was asked to not say who this was from. But it is an honest quote. Dr ********** has over 30 years’ experience in birds. He is world renowned as a bird veterinarian & nutritionist and has M.A.C.V.Sc. degree in Avian Medicine. Also has a passionate interest in many bird species Has advised us against using pellets even but all the pellet manufactures will always pump up there products one of the major manufacturers here in Australia said just a week ago in conversation that after they process the pellets there is no nutritional value left in them at all and they have to be added back in through supplements synthetic vitamins minerals and food colouring but every one has there own opinions and has to do there own research to find what you are happy with but so far I am and our Avian vets not the one above are all happy and impressed at how our birds are seen improvement in egg laying and seen plucked birds stop plucking just from removing birds from pellets We feed a good quality Australian grown seed freshly sprouted seed daily along with fresh fruit and veg and greens and cooked pasta and rice etc ******* ********* The positive changes in my bird’s behavior since moving towards a 100 percent raw diet is proof enough for me. Like a kid hooked on junk food, he is still at times demanding the processed pellets, but every summer we improve thanks to the high quality, local farm-fresh produce that is available. Eclectus and Toe Tapping ****** ******* Mine did this and I immediately stopped all pellets and gave only fresh organic food. He quit by the next day. Clive Willgoss I have only had one Toe tapping seen, with any of my 4 Eclectus. And that was Jack, when he may of been around 8mths old. I had cracked some Macadamia nuts for them. And I was feeding a bit at a time to the 4 of them, when he decided to just fly to the bench and help himself. He would of got 4 to 6 nuts. I think it was the next day or the day after that, I caught what looked very much like Toe Tapping. It cleared by the day after, and have never seen any more signs. So my conclusion was that Macadamia nuts are far richer than any of the other nuts I feed on a regular basis So in conclusion. Those who have accused me of being a TROLL. Suck it up. I hope you have read these comments and have learned something.