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Old 06-23-2019, 08:11 PM
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Concern over down feathers on wings

I have an 20 yr old Orange winged Parrot that I have had for more than a year. He has always these white downy feathers on his wings that I thought might be stress in his previous environment but he has adapted well to our household and he and I are best friends. I have also not clipped his wings in more than a year so I want to make sure this is not a sign of something serious to his health or due to a deficiency in his diet. Any input is greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:06 AM
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Re: Concern over down feathers on wings

They all have an underlayment of down feathers covering their bodies. My BFA usually starts shedding the down feathers about now. As the temperatures rise, they don't need the additional warmth. If you feel the molt is excessive perhaps a visit to the Avian Vet is in order.
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Old 06-24-2019, 08:27 AM
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Re: Concern over down feathers on wings

Bella my African grey had a similar appearance when I first got her. In her case she was a plucker ( and still is) but her wing feathers got better over time.

From the look of your Orange wing I would say your bird is a plucker also. Once birds start plucking it's difficult to get them to stop.

When Bella would groom herself she would almost attack her wings and I came up with the term " aggressive grooming" to describe what she was doing.

There could be something in the environment that is upsetting your bird, with Bella it was a dog the original owners purchased.

I wish you luck in getting your bird fixed up and calmed down.

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Old 06-24-2019, 08:54 AM
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Re: Concern over down feathers on wings

Looks like over-preening/plucking/barbering (hard to say for sure-- could be a combination). I don't own an Amazon though, so in terms of whether they shed feathers when temperatures change, I don't know (nor do I know how much is typical in those cases).

Do you find a lot of feathers on the cage floor? Have you seen your bird preening a lot?
If they are just falling out, that would be a different story, but it looks like they are all missing in places where your bird could reach with his/her beak.

Stress, boredom, diet, environmental irritants, pain and/or hormones are common reasons for a bird to start plucking.

Here are some general things to consider:

If you haven't, make sure you get your bird checked by a CAV (certified avian vet) at least 1x per year (yearly CBCs---aka bloodwork= very important, as birds hide illness).

Make sure you are not using any scented products or chemical cleaners in your home (unless certified avian-safe). This means no bleach, windex, fabreeze, candles, carpet cleaners, air fresheners, etc etc. They have very sensitive respiratory systems and chemicals can also cause them to itch and pluck.

Things that trigger hormones and should be removed:
Prevent access to any dark spaces or shadowy areas (in and outside of the cage)- e.g., huts, tents, low-ledges, under clothing, under furniture, pillows, blankets, bedding, paper piles, drawers, low ledges, boxes, tubes etc.
Only cover the cage at bedtime and uncover in the morning (cover and uncover at roughly the same time each day).
Warm/mushy foods can also trigger hormones, so it is best to avoid these when possible hormonal issues are occurring.

Your bird needs 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly in order to regulate mood, hormones and immune function.

Do not feed human food unless it is in extreme moderation and low in salt/sugar/preservatives. Aside from the risks to internal organs, things like salt and preservatives can cause skin to itch and preservatives in excess can impact behavior.

Make sure when you pet your bird you do not "cuddle" it---you want to pet only on the head and neck--- the rest is sexual and can lead to sexual frustration (plucking can be a sign of a frustrated bird). This rule stands all of the time--it is very important. Birds often crave inappropriate contact from us and indulging this desire can cause them to view us as mates---and that is a whole ball of wax that you don't want to deal with.

Make sure your bird is getting plenty out of cage time and that it is on a regular light/dark schedule (note: too much sunshine can cause hormonal behavior, but not enough can also be problematic).

Make sure you rotate toys in and out and that you give your bird time to acclimate to new ones before locking him/her in the cage with them.

Teach independence and praise your bird when it plays on its own---a bird who has to be with you at all times is going to be more prone to neurotic behaviors.

In terms of diet, seed should be limited---pelleted diets are generally recommended, along with fresh fruit and veg (not too much fruit due to the sugar content--it can lead to hyperactivity, obesity and diabetes in excess).

If you notice your bird plucking, try not to attend to it, as this can be seen as a reward (plucking=attention from the flock).

You can try lightly spritzing your bird with water (make sure there are no drafts nearby and that you never do this right before bed)---sometimes a daily spray down can reduce plucking behavior, but it isn't intended to be a punishment. If your bird doesn't like it, don't force the issue.

Last edited by noodles123; 06-24-2019 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 06-24-2019, 03:19 PM
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Re: Concern over down feathers on wings

It looks to me he/she is plucking also. His/her chest area looks a little "unkempt" to me. As Wes said (Texsize) it could be 'aggressive preening". I would seriously consider a check-up with a Certified Avian Vet,not just a vet who treats exotics. It could be an underlying issue.


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Old 06-24-2019, 09:02 PM
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Re: Concern over down feathers on wings

Lots of great information above.
I'm guessing that your Amazon came to you looking much like the photo. This based on your comment regarding the stress the past owner's dog caused. Stress can result in Parrots over or "aggressive preening," as stated above.

I would recommend that you read the I Love Amazon - ... Thread located at the top of the Amazon Forum, highlighted in light blue. Yes, it is huge, but you will find tons of information for the loving and living with your Amazon.
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