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Hormonal Plucking maybeeee????


Checking out the neighborhood
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I have a senegal parrot, she is about 5 years old now and about a year ago, we woke up to feathers covering the bottom of her cage.... first i called the the university which has a veterinary emergency room, they said yes, this seems like an emergency, and luckily my own vet was able to squeeze us in immediately.... so here we go, i take my down down covered bird to the vet right away. I'm just shocked, i thought for sure something was seriously wrong, how could a bird remove all of her chest and belly and underwing feathers overnight if something wasnt seriously wrong??? so we take blood (the vet), we do xrays, we do a fecal, we do anything that i can think of to pay for possible... nothing is wrong!!! The vet mentioned she may be hormonal, that sometimes birds get a little hormonal that time of year and her heaviest plucking was around her legs, and lower belly sort of area (areas that may touch eggs to keep them warmer). So the vet sets her up in an E collar, which she immediately became "paralyzed" in for hours as birds sometimes do with e collars and eventually when perched at home again, this just made all of her plucking efforts geared towards her neck, plucking that now was happening non stop in front of me, at night, all day, because the collar just bugged her this much. So we switched to a sock buddy, she plucked under her wings more.... so we switched to a fleece collar with a high neck, this was ok, but she got really depressed, stopped playing with toys, had trouble flying and climbing... meanwhile, we are routinely visiting the vet as needed, all of this over the course of about 6 months. So then the vet puts her on some medication (its almost like xanax or something, i didn't personally like it at all), and my drugged up, sad little bird sat in her cage until her feathers grew back, and finally they did.... so we wean the drugs off, we remove the collar, and she's cured!!! no more plucking at all!! not even over preening!! it's a freaking miracle!

the miracle lasted a couple months (maybe 2 or so), and we wake up one morning and again, the cage is covered in feathers, and she is full blown back to plucking, all the grown feathers, gone. no more yellow feathers, no more chest, leg, belly, underwing, lower back, or neck feathers anymore. So another trip to the vet, same tests. Everything looks good EXCEPT she feels a little pudgy on her lower belly and the xrays show her pelvic bone area beginning to spread slightly (but no egg being produced thank god). So she's definitely hormonal. So a coupel vets come in and while we've already tried a bunch, they have a chip that's been tried in parrots lately that releases a small dose of hormones to keep them balanced (similar implant to a microchip procedure), so i say, yes, lets try that. so we get the chip and they also give us more drugs for her water and we put her soft collar back on and go through the ringer again..... so finally, same thing, eventually we get her feathers back in and we try to wean it all off and take the collar off and she's cured again!!

But here we are for a third time a couple months later, feathers covering the cage, she's plucked her chest down to the skin now, and i don't know that i can put her through more e collars and drugs... she is so so so miserable during that process, and as a result of her hating e collars/sweaters so much, she can't grow feathers back around her neck where the collar drives her the most nuts.

I don't at all mind having a bald bird, as much as i miss how beautiful she is when fully feathered, nothing about the way she appears would bother me as long as she's healthy.... but i can't stand the insane manic behaviour that begins when she starts plucking, she can't stop for anything once started, she goes into this full blown mood of plucking and frantically flying around and jumping from place to place until her beak and feet are burning hot and she's panting. i just can't stand that which is why we always end up in the same cycle of collars, drugs, vet tests.... but it's just no way to live for her, and i feel like there just has to be something better that i can do for her if i can find out what triggers her to even start.

so does anyone have a similar hormonal bird that acts similarly when plucking??? what did you do to break the cycle for your bird? is there something i can change about her cage at night to prevent this from beginning? (sorry this is so long, thank you so so much for anyone who made it to the end of this tirade).