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Old 02-13-2018, 10:50 AM
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Exclamation Young cockatoo plucking chest

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Background for those that haven't seen my other posts - We "rescued" these birds about a year ago from a home where the owner was permanently moved to a nursing home. They were not caged there and apparently ate people food quite often. A dead Amazon Gray was also found in the home. Max (amazon) hates me with a passion, he tries to bite me through the cage when I put food in his bowl.

Baby (~3 y o, supposed to be female) has a growing bald spot on her chest. We got a copy of the book Your outta control bird by
Nikki Moustaki and based on that I'm pretty sure she isn't getting enough socializing, play time, and her diet is lacking. I've started feeding both birds 4 grapes in the morning and 2 apple slices in the evening to supplement the seed mix and pellets.

It's possible the addition of the grapes on a regular basis might have something to do with the plucking. Previously apples were only 2 or 3 times per week. Found this in another thread:


Quote: Originally Posted by itzjbean View Post
..... there was a post made a few months back about changes in behavior and it turned out to be the owners feeding too much fruit. Fruit is good to feed to our parrots but it has a lot of sugar. If fed excessively, it can lead to health problems. ....

Baby screams quite often, especially when my g/f and I are talking to each other from different rooms or arguing but almost never when only one of us is home. I've come to accept that as her wanting to join our conversation but g/f just hates it.

Max (amazon) has recently started playing more with his toy. Both have been more willing than in the past to return to their cages at bed time.

g/f works a split shift and I have 2 part time jobs, we just don't have the time to care for all our critters on a daily basis like we should (including 4 dogs, 3 on meds, 2 that are definitely overweight from lack of exercise) so I'm hoping that someone might have some "easy" suggestions about the birds.

Avian vet is not really an option right now for financial reasons, we just spent almost $1,000 keeping one of the dogs alive.

I think we could handle 1 bird; if it was up to me we'd get rid of Max because he hates me so much, she'd get rid of Baby because of the screaming, but in any case she thinks they're bonded even though different breeds, so if we find them a new home it has to be together. I posted an ad in the rehoming forum but the only interested person wanted us to ship them to Texas.

Last edited by henry0reilly; 02-13-2018 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 02-13-2018, 11:39 AM
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Re: Young cockatoo plucking chest

Iím the one who posted the thing that itzjbeans was referencing; a green cheek had started actually shaking continuously and having extreme anxiety symptoms. I said cut ALL sugar and almost all grains. The bird stopped shaking and went back to her normal self.

Birds donít need fruit, neither do people. There are no nutrients in fruit that you canít get from veggies, just a lot of extra SUGAR. Veggies and sprouts should make up the majority of the diet in my opinion which I get from experts like Jason Crean. I also keep species known for being ďnippyĒ and I canít even remember the last time one of my own birds bit me.

So I would eliminate the fruit and seeds, go with veggies and pellets, but letís start at the top with your plucker.

You start at the vet with gram stains, parasite screen, and blood work to determine if there is an underlying illness. This happened with my IRN Nohea; super simple cheap antibiotic nipped the plucking in the bud within 48 hours.

Then you look at diet, as suggested.

Then look at the skin; is the bird getting enough soaking baths? 2-3 times a week minimum but my plucking protocol is every day.

Then sunlight. Is the bird getting enough direct sunlight? Glass blocks the uv rays needed. If itís too cold to go outside, then itís time to invest in high quality full spectrum lighting. Itís best if you bathe the bird in the sun and let them dry in the sun.

Then you address boredom. Do you have toys that they actually like? Are the cages set up where they can watch traffic? Can you leave the TV on for them while you are gone?

Then the social situations get addressed, but it sounds like you are doing all you can there.


Ok now for the tough part; you have said you donít have money or time for these birds AND they are causing conflict in your relationship. If you donít have the resources, you shouldnít have the birds. You canít meet their needs and it sounds like they are compromising your ability to meet the needs of your other pets and your girlfriend. I donít say this to be mean, I say this to be encouraging. These birds do not fit into your life, and that means that THEY suffer as well.


Did the person in Texas seem like a good Home? Is there a reason you are opposed to shipping? I took my entire flock from Georgia to Hawaii when I moved, and back again when we moved back. Shipping through United or Delta is safe, affordable, and usually less stress on the bird than a vet visit. Iíve shipped my rescues all over the country from Hawaii, and I recently had 4 birds shipped to me from Texas; they get more stressed by me feeding them each day than they were by the shipping.

If misunderstandings about shipping are the only thing standing between these birds and a home that has the time and money to care for them, please let me help you understand the shipping process.

You took these birds in out of the goodness of your heart, thatís amazing. But I hope you wonít hang on to them forever when you arenít able to give them what they need long term. Sometimes our job is just facilitate a bird getting from where they are to where they need to be, and that is an IMPORTANT role!



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Old 02-13-2018, 11:52 AM
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Re: Young cockatoo plucking chest

I know that finding these birds a home where they are the center of attention is the right thing to do. My g/f was the onsite caretaker for a pretty big animal rescue facility for many years and she feels like letting them go would be shirking the responsibility we took on when we accepted them.

I worry about how much worse Baby will get when she reaches sexual maturity.
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Old 02-13-2018, 12:32 PM
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Re: Young cockatoo plucking chest

I think Silversage hit the nail on the head on this one. It is wonderful that you took on these birds when they needed help, but if you cannot afford nor have the time to give them what they need -- which is a monthly supply of toys, daily healthy and nutritious food, vet visits when needed (which it sounds like one is needed), weekly bathing and access to sunlight, then maybe you should have a serious talk with your girlfriend about what is fair for the birds. They live so long -- way longer than cats or dogs -- and in turn it does require a certain level of commitment to keep them happy and healthy.
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Old 02-14-2018, 12:02 AM
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Re: Young cockatoo plucking chest

Yes indeed, SilverSage knocked it out of the park!
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Old 02-14-2018, 02:49 AM
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Re: Young cockatoo plucking chest

Sage advice from the Sage!

In response to the thought of shirking responsibility, try to think of it is understanding the responsibility and that as of right now you cannot fulfill their needs without compromising every other being in the household to which you also have responsibility.
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Old 02-14-2018, 04:51 AM
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Re: Young cockatoo plucking chest

Also consider this; you took in someone elseís problem when they needed a place to go, you didnít create this problem.

Hereís the thing; my family does foster care for actual HUMAN children. Sometimes kids come to our home in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on their back. What they need is a safe place, food, and someone who cares about them RIGHT NOW! Sometimes they end up staying a long time; right now I have a foster brother who has lived with my parents for almost 3 years. Sometimes they stay forever; my two youngest siblings are adopted and there is another adoption going on as we speak, but MOST of the kids move on to somewhere else. Our job isnít to keep every kid forever, our job is to be a safe landing spot when they are in crisis. Sometimes we think we are going to keep a certain one, and it doesnít work out and that is heartbreaking. You canít know what itís like to love someone like family and have them wrenched out of your life; once it was literally because of skin color. Thatís right; our skin wasnít the same color so they took him from us and gave him to a Native family.

My point is that your girlfriend needs to face hard facts; it is not irresponsible to send them to where their needs can be met; what is irresponsible is to keep animals that you KNOW cannot be properly cared for in your home. Plucking is a cry for help. Sometimes humans cannot fix it but most of the time it can be reversed if action is taken even the plucking starts. The fact that it has started BEFORE sexual maturity is alarming. This bird needs help and they cannot get that help from you.

Our first foster kid was surrendered to the state by his grandfather who raised him. Iíll call the kid T. Tís grandpa LOVED HIM, but he developed narcolepsy and was afraid he would fall asleep at the wheel and kill his beloved grand son. So he let him go to someone who could keep him safe. T lived with us for a couple of years (from about age 11 to age 13) and then was adopted by another family. Now he is a Fulbright scholar teaching English in Korea; he THRIVED with his new family, and even though the transition was brutally painful, it was what was best for him. His grandpa loved him TOO MUCH to deprive him. He couldnít meet Tís needs so he did the right thing and found someone who could give T everything he deserved. Your girlfriend needs to realize that she isnít in a position to give these birds the care they deserve, and that means it is CRUEL to keep them; cruel to the birds and your other pets.


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Old 02-14-2018, 05:40 PM
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Re: Young cockatoo plucking chest

It doesn't sound like the two of you are happy, and if you aren't happy changes are the birds aren't either. The stress of taking care of animals when you don't have the time or money can lead to nervous breakdowns. Please, for your own sake, consider re-homing these guys.
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