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Hormonal feather destruction

katm89

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Kat
Hi all!
My bird is at it again with barbering/chewing her feathers. I found out this past spring she was a girl when two eggs appeared in her cage initially I thought her barbering/over preening was due to low humidity in the house over fall and winter, but now it seems the barbering begins when the hormones are peaking in fall going into spring.
Anybody have any tips for dealing with a picky persnickety, parrot? I’m misting her 2x a day and giving her baths multiple times a week, rotating toys, not encouraging breeding behaviors and giving her more outdoors time to take her mind off picking herself. It’s driving me nuts ‍. I feel like it’s a reflection on how I care for her and I’m trying my hardest to do everything right. It seems like it becomes a habit as she starts in fall and won’t let up until May/June. I’m at a point where I’m considering a collar/sweater to break her of the habit.
I’ve attached some pictures for reference. Her feathers were demolished within a couple days time.
 

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Icey

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What kind of diet is she on?
That may be a factor. It sounds like you are doing everything you can for her.
She is still adorable and other members will come along to offer good advice for you. Don't get too stressed out.
My cockatoo came to me in pretty sad condition, and I have gradually changed and added to her diet. I won't say it happened overnight but she finally has new feathers coming in.
Has your bird been molting recently?
I hope members can help you more.
Sending hugs :sadhug2:
 

Pixiebeak

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Awww...always so frustrating to deal with feather destruction behavior. A complex issue

Vet exam , often a health issue leads to plucking this location, kidneys, yeast or bacteria overgrowth in gi...

Diet.
I would allow to bathe at will .
I would not mist twice a day....
If you're going to keep misting , need to keep bottle clean, like scrubbing bleaching every few days

Hormones ...not a perfect link to me if this is going on over 6 months at time. Possible, but other factors probably playing in.
 

katm89

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Kat
What kind of diet is she on?
That may be a factor. It sounds like you are doing everything you can for her.
She is still adorable and other members will come along to offer good advice for you. Don't get too stressed out.
My cockatoo came to me in pretty sad condition, and I have gradually changed and added to her diet. I won't say it happened overnight but she finally has new feathers coming in.
Has your bird been molting recently?
I hope members can help you more.
Sending hugs :sadhug2:
Thank you for the supporting words! She’s on Harrison’s pellets. I try to supplement veggies, but she’s not too keen on most. I end up juicing a lot of greens to get her to eat them.
 

katm89

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Kat
Awww...always so frustrating to deal with feather destruction behavior. A complex issue

Vet exam , often a health issue leads to plucking this location, kidneys, yeast or bacteria overgrowth in gi...

Diet.
I would allow to bathe at will .
I would not mist twice a day....
If you're going to keep misting , need to keep bottle clean, like scrubbing bleaching every few days

Hormones ...not a perfect link to me if this is going on over 6 months at time. Possible, but other factors probably playing in.
Thank you for all your thoughts. It’s so hard bc there’s so many different opinions and advice out there this behavior happens always during this time so people have suggested it’s hormone related, but idk ‍♀ my avian vet has run bloodwork twice and a fecal. She’s never done a crop check for yeast, but I could suggest it. I also add a little ACV to her water about every other day to help with yeast.
I’ve heard the misting/bathing would help itchiness so I’ve been upping the frequency. She normally bathes at will in the shower with me twice a week-ish.
 

Pixiebeak

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That's a good thing about forums lots of different advice and ideas and experiences. And advice can be perfect for one situation and not work for another. Its true sometimes that area is because of hormones. Its just such an extended time frame....

When heat is on or there is Xtra low humidity in your home. Then can be beneficial to encourage baths or have a humidifier.

Often dry skin is diet related too, like low vitamin A levels. Does yours eat pellets and or veggies?

Awesome that you have consulted with a veterinarian. Sometimes kidney infection are chronic /subtle...some cases picked up on x ray only. Not that I'm saying that's your issue, and x rays if required anesthesia not to be taken lightly due to risks . Also there is the rarer Girardia ( sp?) And other parasites are rare too..and liver like fatty liver or infection...but if you had blood work with chemistry

I haven't done the acv. Tho I have had I have success with plain Greek yogurt ( gets some controversial blow back, but is safe , listed on numerous parrot safe food lists , some popularity with chicken folks and used in their flocks and cleared by my avian veterinarian as safe )
I've fed a little yogurt ( absolutely no artificial sweetners) for 20 years to my parrots. About a teaspoon a day for five days when on antibiotics , otherwise I do maybe once a month.

How do your parrots poops look? How is weight?

Are there other signs your parrot is Hormonal? Regurgitating, self stimulation, nest seeking? Eggs?

Any seasonal changes in your environment this time of year?
 
Last edited:

katm89

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Kat
That's a good thing about forums lots of different advice and ideas and experiences. And advice can be perfect for one situation and not work for another. Its true sometimes that area is because of hormones. Its just such an extended time frame....

When heat is on or there is Xtra low humidity in your home. Then can be beneficial to encourage baths or have a humidifier.

Often dry skin is diet related too, like low vitamin A levels. Does yours eat pellets and or veggies?

Awesome that you have consulted with a veterinarian. Sometimes kidney infection are chronic /subtle...some cases picked up on x ray only. Not that I'm saying that's your issue, and x rays if required anesthesia not to be taken lightly due to risks . Also there is the rarer Girardia ( sp?) And other parasites are rare too..and liver like fatty liver or infection...but if you had blood work with chemistry

I haven't done the acv. Tho I have had I have success with plain Greek yogurt ( gets some controversial blow back, but is safe , listed on numerous parrot safe food lists , some popularity with chicken folks and used in their flocks and cleared by my avian veterinarian as safe )
I've fed a little yogurt ( absolutely no artificial sweetners) for 20 years to my parrots. About a teaspoon a day for five days when on antibiotics , otherwise I do maybe once a month.

How do your parrots poops look? How is weight?

Are there other signs your parrot is Hormonal? Regurgitating, self stimulation, nest seeking? Eggs?

Any seasonal changes in your environment this time of year?
Hmm maybe I’ll try some Greek yogurt. I’m sure Gumbo would love it! She eats pellets and occasional veggies. It’s hard to get her to eat her greens. I end up juicing a lot and she’ll drink her veggies as long there’s a little fruit in in the juice. Any tips on a finicky veggie eater?

Her poo seems normal. No concerns on her fecal done in April.
I had a baby in February so her environment has changed in that respect, but I’ve tried to maintain normalcy in her daily routine. She seems to finally be adjusting to the new roommate, haha

She has been trying to regurg and self stim. She gets obsessed with going inside our shirts, hiding in cupboards or under covers. Seems like a nesting behavior. She’s also trying to shred everything! No eggs…yet. I first saw eggs from her in April. I didn’t realize Gumbo was a girl though and was giving her boxes to play in. She had other ideas for the box, haha

Really appreciate you taking the time to throw out possibilities!
 

Pixiebeak

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Congratulations on your baby!!!

Well she has had some big changes @

But agree all of that sounds Hormonal. Eggs! How did you handle that?

Well it would be better to be Hormonal than sick or health issue. You've won me over to your theory with all of this information. You've stopped letting her into the nest like places correct? No shirt diving either.

If she is eating quality pellets as her primary diet then she shouldn't have any nutritional deficiencies. But eating some fresh stuff is great for them . Plus a small amount of seed mix, can use as treats and training reward.

There are lots if ideas to help increase veggies. I think offering outside of cage on shallow dishes or using bird skewers to hang veggies can tempt them to forage and explore. We might have sticky thread on ideas or I can link done stuff.

Big congratulations on your baby @ name? Girl or boy?
 

katm89

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Kat
Congratulations on your baby!!!

Well she has had some big changes @

But agree all of that sounds Hormonal. Eggs! How did you handle that?

Well it would be better to be Hormonal than sick or health issue. You've won me over to your theory with all of this information. You've stopped letting her into the nest like places correct? No shirt diving either.

If she is eating quality pellets as her primary diet then she shouldn't have any nutritional deficiencies. But eating some fresh stuff is great for them . Plus a small amount of seed mix, can use as treats and training reward.

There are lots if ideas to help increase veggies. I think offering outside of cage on shallow dishes or using bird skewers to hang veggies can tempt them to forage and explore. We might have sticky thread on ideas or I can link done stuff.

Big congratulations on your baby @ name? Girl or boy?
Thank you :joyful: baby girl named Beatrix!
Yes lots of changes for sure!
I removed the eggs from her cage right after she laid them. She seemed unphased so I figured all was well. Out of sight out of mind maybe?
Since I last posted I discovered Gumbo’s love for snap peas which we have growing aplenty, but I’m definitely going to try the kabob idea. She’s eating Harrison’s pellet, but I want her to get some fresh whole foods too. I’ll keep trying! Thank you again for all your help! Nice to bounce ideas off someone :btc:
 

katm89

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Joined
12/23/21
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39
Real Name
Kat
Congratulations on your baby!!!

Well she has had some big changes @

But agree all of that sounds Hormonal. Eggs! How did you handle that?

Well it would be better to be Hormonal than sick or health issue. You've won me over to your theory with all of this information. You've stopped letting her into the nest like places correct? No shirt diving either.

If she is eating quality pellets as her primary diet then she shouldn't have any nutritional deficiencies. But eating some fresh stuff is great for them . Plus a small amount of seed mix, can use as treats and training reward.

There are lots if ideas to help increase veggies. I think offering outside of cage on shallow dishes or using bird skewers to hang veggies can tempt them to forage and explore. We might have sticky thread on ideas or I can link done stuff.

Big congratulations on your baby @ name? Girl or boy?
And yes we’ve removed all nesting potentials in her cage and no shirt diving!
 
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