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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Unhappy Older Cockatoo Plucking

My girlfriend's older (almost 40 YO) sulfur crested cockatoo has started plucking.

She started years ago, but it was always just a little bit, hardly anything to worry about. Lately it's started to become noticeable, she's started plucking her shoulder and her chest a little bit. She pulls young feathers out and squishes the liquid out and eats it.

She's plucking to the point where she bleeds now, does anyone have any pointers on how to get her to stop/how to reduce it back to where it was before? She's getting just as much attention and love as ever. The only thing is my girlfriend switched from working nights (she was primarily at home with Skipper(the 'too) during the day) to days (she's at home with Skipper at night now). Is it possible she'll stop when she gets used to the new schedule? She plucked a blood feather today and my girlfriend's freaking out >.<
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 06:48 AM



 
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It could be getting worse because of the schedule to be honest. If she was home during the day to see her and was off on a night then she could sleep while she was out. Birds need a lot of sleep, so coming home and getting her out at night isn't really ideal all together. By squishes the liquid out, you mean the blood right? I'm assuming you mean she's pulling out the blood feathers? Does she have much to get on with in her cage? Like foraging toys and shredding toys? And does she have a routine? What is her diet like?

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 07:56 AM


 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EntwinedSpoon View Post
My girlfriend's older (almost 40 YO) sulfur crested cockatoo has started plucking.

She started years ago, but it was always just a little bit, hardly anything to worry about. Lately it's started to become noticeable, she's started plucking her shoulder and her chest a little bit. She pulls young feathers out and squishes the liquid out and eats it.

She's plucking to the point where she bleeds now, does anyone have any pointers on how to get her to stop/how to reduce it back to where it was before? She's getting just as much attention and love as ever. The only thing is my girlfriend switched from working nights (she was primarily at home with Skipper(the 'too) during the day) to days (she's at home with Skipper at night now). Is it possible she'll stop when she gets used to the new schedule? She plucked a blood feather today and my girlfriend's freaking out >.<
If she is actually eating parts of the feather she is pulling out this normally indicates a deficiency in the diet.

I would suggest a trip to an avian vet to have blood work done just to rule out underlying illness and also to see if there is a part of her dietry requirements she is lacking in.

I know a lot of the time it is down to calcium.

Does she get much sunlight, direct sunlight though not through a window?

EDIT- or does she have an avian lamp?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 08:29 AM Thread Starter
 
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Yeah I was thinking it was the schedule too. She gets home at 4 pm though so there's still daylight hours to be spent out of the cage, just not as many as before.

I'm not sure exactly what she eats. Some sort of seed/pellet mix. She also gets shared food whenever we're eating. Veggies, cheese, crackers, bread, apples, bananas, etc. She is also given Cuttle bone on a regular basis But she mostly just grinds it into a powder that ends up on the ground.

Her routine used to be getting let out at 7 and being out of the cage til 2-2:30, then it was work time So she went in the cage. Now the routine is not getting let out til around 4 and she's out til about 10:00.

All of her sunlight is through a window in the winter, the cage is in front of one. For the summer she has a harness. We get about 6 months of winter here though.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-22-2014, 02:51 PM


 
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I suspect it is more likely to be the change in routine. Most birds don't like changes in their normal daily routines and Toos can be some of the worst for stressing with change. I know mine get upset if I feed them in the wrong order as do my Lorikeets. I will often get a nip from one of my Lorikeets if I feed them in the wrong order.

10pm is abit too late to have the bird out of the cage, she will be missing out on valuable sleep.

I would also suggest that it is not Calcium deficiency as such that is the problem but a lack of Vitamin D. Without sufficient Vitamin D a bird cannot assimilate Calcium properly and Vitamin D comes from direct sunlight. This does not just apply to birds but to all animals including the human animal. If you get 6 months of winter I suggest the birds gets a Vitamin D supplement during the winter period. The lack of sufficient Calcium can cause big problems, particularly with toos who seem to require more calcium than many other parrots. With a lack of calcium (through Vitamin D deficiency) can cause birds to go into convultions and they can actually die from it during a fit. I have known of one that went into cardiac arrest and was given CPR to bring it back. That was caused by a Vitamin D deficiency, the bird was kept inside. The problem ceased when the bird was put onto a Vitamin D supplement and has never had the problem since.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 04:45 AM



 
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I completely agree with Kate. A big help for that would be to use an avian UV lamp (not a reptile one, it HAS to be specifically for birds) over her cage

- Alexandrine parakeets Holly, George, Koda & - Crimson rosella Kasumi Orange winged Amazon parrot Paulie
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 02:10 PM


 
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Please, not 'over' the cage but way above the cage (I've known of two birds that went blind because of UV lights over the cage). As to her plucking, in my personal opinion, it's because she is all alone all day long, a terrible thing for any parrot but much more so for a cockatoo but I don't know how it can be solved if the owner needs to work... Could she find a birdy day care or have somebody come over and spend 2 or 3 hours with her during the day?
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
 
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I don't think there are any birdy day cares here. She'll be in a room with lots of other birds during the day when we move in together in the summer, though.

She won't eventually get used to the shift? From what I understand, she used to have a schedule similar to now when my girlfriend was in high school. After that, she worked evenings but she recently got a promotion so she works days.

I'll definitely look into UV lamps
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 01-24-2014, 02:21 PM


 
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Contact local rescues and bird clubs, there might be a bird lover who would not mind sitting with her for a few hours during the day -even for free!- especially if it's just for a few months.
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