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Plucking advice, how to rule out causes? Please help! GCC

dreameater

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Hi all!!

I have a 3-year-old male GCC who had recently plucked all his feathers around his belly in a matter of days, and I'm looking for advice in narrowing the causes of his plucking. Some background information:

Flock:
Chubbs, 3 years old, GCC
Ozai, 3 years old, IRN
Oscar, 13 years old, Hahn's Macaw
Chloe, 15 years old (estimated), Orange-Winged Amazon
Harvey, 15-30 years old, Yellow-Naped Amazon

Food:
Harrisons Lifetime Pellets
Fresh chop daily

Treats:
Almonds, peanuts

Out of cage time daily: 7-8 hours (I work from home). All birds (aside from Harvey; he's housed separately in the house) interact well with one another.

Vet:
All birds see a vet annually; upon writing this post, I just went to the vet today and got a full work-up of labs done but it'll be a few days before I get results in.

I was out of town for 3 days. My parents take care of my birds whenever I'm gone (I usually have a 3-day business trip every other month) and this has never happened before. All of my birds have a clean bill of health. I came home and my GCC had plucked nearly all of his belly feathers. He seems to be over preening and I would love help in identifying what may be the cause of it. I know in a few days I can see if I'm able to rule out health or not, but I'd like to have some advice in the meantime.

Since the plucking, I've changed the following things:
I give the GCC cage UVB lighting for a few hours each day, though all the birds do hang out by the window, and I adjusted my lighting. I've also increased to 13 hours of sleep right now. I also eliminated sugar (AKA no more fruits as treats) right now.

What I suspect might be the issue:

My GCC has grown extremely attached to my female amazon. They've been nuzzling and preening one another. She is not plucking him (she got pin feathers on his head). I'm not sure if this can cause plucking? I've attached pictures of the plucking, the cage, etc. The GCC and female amazon are NOT housed next to each other. And they don't spend all day together, as my GCC does often sit by my computer and watch.

I am desperate for advice in the mean time, could anyone help?
 

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Pixiebeak

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Wowza , that's got to be the most rapid plucking I have ever seen ...gosh darn it !

Yet it looks like typical behavior plucking pattern , not an obvious oh this hurts internally spot kinds thing....

Very cute pic with him and Amazon. Is GCC DNA male?

I think if was me , and thst bonded to the Amazon. I would move his cage over by Amazon and move all the cages farther apart. The heart wants what the heart wants ..
Hormones and territorial stress the cages are to close together, in my personal opinion. Bonded birds ,like perhaps the Amazon and GCC give the appearance of being need about four feet from other parrots. Id put their cages on one side of room and the other birds on the other side of the room .

It's hormonal spring in my flock for sure.
 

dreameater

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Wowza , that's got to be the most rapid plucking I have ever seen ...gosh darn it !

Yet it looks like typical behavior plucking pattern , not an obvious oh this hurts internally spot kinds thing....

Very cute pic with him and Amazon. Is GCC DNA male?

I think if was me , and thst bonded to the Amazon. I would move his cage over by Amazon and move all the cages farther apart. The heart wants what the heart wants ..
Hormones and territorial stress the cages are to close together, in my personal opinion. Bonded birds ,like perhaps the Amazon and GCC give the appearance of being need about four feet from other parrots. Id put their cages on one side of room and the other birds on the other side of the room .

It's hormonal spring in my flock for sure.
Thank you so much for your response!!

Yeah it was SUPER rapid, gosh when I came home I freaked out. Thankfully I got a vet appointment within 48 hours.

GCC is DNA male with paperwork from breeder, BUT since I got a full panel, I asked my vet to double check. I do think he's male though (I got the ringneck from the same breeder and he has a lovely ring like predicted hehe).

THANK YOU! I wasn't sure as far as placement of cages-- it goes: Amazon, Hahns, Ringneck, Conure. The hahns does not really interact with the others, he's very independent. But my GCC and IRN are pretty close. I will have to rearrange the room but in the meantime I can definitely move the GCC next to the Amazon (maybe rearrange the cage so it's IRN -> GCC -> Amazon -> Hahns). And it definitely seems like hormonal spring is starting... my IRN is showing signs lol..

It's just so heartbreaking!! Gah

Thank you so much for responding those, your flock looks adorable!!!
 

Pixiebeak

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Aww thanks I love my flock ! We have had lots of shifting alliance and dynamics over time.

My girls recently sealed thier bond after the loss of my other girl . I let them move in together , they are so happy, but it comes with more challenges this first breeding season together ...which makes me wish I'd kept caged seperate at night and side by side but still out together all day ...but they are so happy and more content and quieter when caged Together ..so it's a toss up ...will have to wait through this season to really know if I regret or not.

It's just me thoughts and take on your situation. You will have to keep us updated.

And we would all love hearing more about your babies and have join in on fun stuff and helping others from your experience
 

orphansparrow

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Do you think he was stressed because you were gone?

Or maybe something scared him while you were away?

I guess you’ll know over time. I think your guess about him being hormonal + his feelings for your Amazon seems likely as well.

I like @Pixiebeak s idea about moving the cages further apart and across the room. I think it allows them space and that way their interactions can be more intentional and give them more freedom.
Also it’s super cute to see the little guy snuggled up to your big girl :xflove:
 

dreameater

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Hi all!! Just checking in again, Chubbs has stopped plucking and his feathers are slowly coming in! The tests from the vet came back and he had some abnormal bacteria culture from his skinswab so he's also on antibiotics. All other birds' bloodwork came back clean :) It seems it may have just been bad timing + hormones, honestly just a mix of things. But it seems to be going smoothly!! Thanks so much for your help :)
 
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