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The Dreaded Pluck

TwoGreenFids

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Hey friends!

My baby girl IRN, Popsicle, who is about 2 years old started molting well over a month ago. Instead of the quick and crazy molt that our male went through, hers was very drawn out. She seems to have finished now. But she's started plucking the front base of her neck, and her legs. Odd thing is, I never see it. Just looks like she's doing her normal preening routine. She doesn't seem stressed and none of her other behaviours have changed, except a slight improvement in her comfort around the house (we rescued her a year ago and she is still learning to play and explore).

My suspicion is that she's just uncomfortable and itchy from the drawn out molt, which is likely the first she's had. I'm sort of hoping that she'll stop in the next week or two. Plucking has always been a fear of mine, since it always seems that no one really knows how to prevent or stop it. I can't think of anything that would be stressing her out, and we give her a mix of fresh veggies or fruit each day, with the occasional bit of protein. I even make her a special super food every once in a while, which is cooked egg, nutritional yeast, and fortified baby cereal with calcium and iron.

She bathes every day in a bowl full of clean water. Is there something I could add to the water to perhaps reduce the itchiness?

As always, anything helps ☺ Thanks team ♥
 

JLcribber

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Birds do not "itch". Preening is a normal behaviour and they can spend a great portion of their day doing it.

If you notice specific plucked areas then the first order of business is to rule out medical reasons. Especially for such a young bird. It needs some tests to give it a clean bill of health. Then you can start to look at other possible causes. 2 years old is also beginning of adulthood when hormones and instincts start dictating things.
 

Mizzely

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Nutritional deficiencies or too much vitamins can play a role. What forms of Vitamin A and D3 does she get? Also, too much iron for birds can be really bad as they need far less of it than people do.

Some birds are hormonal pluckers too - does she have any toys/materials she can shred in her cage that may distract her?
 

TwoGreenFids

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Thank you for the feedback!!

Pop was recently at the vet, and they said she was very healthy, and ran a load of tests since she was new to Canada. So I'm feeling fairly comfortable with her health. Good to know about itching, I hadn't realized that!! And I appreciate the comment about Iron, I will be more cognicent of that.

I think the hormonal theory makes the most sense. I hadn't put two and two together until you guys mentioned it, but she has been shredding things like CRAZY!! Way more than usual.

My fids don't have cages, but rather perches throughout the house. There are always toys around, including foraging boxes, but it seems what she is attracted to most right now is the roll of brown paper towels. So alright then! If we need to help her satisfy that shredding behaviour, we will happily set out extra rolls for her in her favourite spots :)

We'll see how that goes. Thanks everyone!
 

TwoGreenFids

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..... Sigh..... :sad5:

Despite Pop absolutely loving all the new shreddables around the house, these don't seem to have slowed down her plucking. We even made a new perching tree for her and Habibi, that she loves chewing on. Her hormones seem to still be raging, as she is constantly searching for a nest. She swoops down to claim any open cupboard or drawer the moment you open it. So far we have prevented her from nesting anywhere, because I'm terrified of her becoming egg bound or exhausted from laying. But at this point I'm wondering if I should just let her lay and see if her hormones return to normal? Not sure where to go from here.

Her feathers are bright and lovely, the ones she isn't plucking at least. She is as active and friendly and curious as ever, if not more so. Her appetite has been normal, and her poops look great. Nothing seems off with her health. But the patch of pink skin around her neck is spreading, and now she's plucking a patch from her belly :crycry: I don't know what else to do. Ideas?
 

Monica

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Did the vet check for giardia?

Perhaps take any feathers from the area she's plucking and test for infections? Heck, even taking a slide, pressing it against the skin in that area and testing for infections could potentially work, too?

Did the vet do any x-rays?
 

Rain Bow

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What about an allergy like to a food item? Is there something new she's getting?

If not & it was me I'd be talking to the vet about hormonal changes & if it's a nirmal onset time for allergies. I'm sorry I'm not a bigger help but my little guy is older & I never have delt w/ a pubescent bird.
 

TwoGreenFids

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Thanks guys,

I'm thinking I might visit the vet soon. And so far it looks like giving her a nest has really helped. She's less anxious and aggressive, and actually seems to be plucking less! But I'm keeping a close eye and if it looks like it stops tipping in our favour and starts to get worse again, we're seeing that vet. I don't get any sense that she is ill, but you never know
 

Garet

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I'm not sure if IRNs do this, but could she be plucking to make an eggpatch and/or line her 'nest'?
 

TwoGreenFids

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That's what I was thinking!!!!! Looks like giving her a nest area with soft shreddable materials has really helped slow down her plucking. But now she has started to become very aggressive. She even flew at my husband's face, which is totally not like her! Think we just have to ride out the hormonal storm, and be really careful about when we interact with her so that we only have positive interactions. As much as possible anyway. She's being such a trial! It's okay though, she's not going anywhere. That's my baby right there
 

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Rain Bow

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That's what I was thinking!!!!! Looks like giving her a nest area with soft shreddable materials has really helped slow down her plucking. But now she has started to become very aggressive. She even flew at my husband's face, which is totally not like her! Think we just have to ride out the hormonal storm, and be really careful about when we interact with her so that we only have positive interactions. As much as possible anyway. She's being such a trial! It's okay though, she's not going anywhere. That's my baby right there
She's very sweet, hormones can be tricky in girl birds on the small amount of reading & research I've done. I'm still on the path of taking her in to see the vet, just to be sure she doesn't need more. Giving nesting materials to a female bird can cause the hormones to be worse & can cause the aggression you're seeing towards the hubby.

I hope she stops pulling them out but w/out seeing a vet, I'm unsure that you're going to get all the answers you need.
 
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