Parrot Forum Header Left  
Go Back   Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community > Species Specific > Cockatoos

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 09-24-2019, 09:08 PM
JohnH's Avatar
Senior Member
Parrots:
Sulphur crested cockatoo
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: NY
Thanks: 89
Thanked 188 Times in 77 Posts
JohnH is on a distinguished road
What is she doing

Nearly every day my little noise maker plucks or breaks off a piece of feather then grinds it to dust between her beak and the cage bars. I have a thought as to why she does this but I'd like to hear other peoples thoughts too.

Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JohnH For This Useful Post:
Laurasea Supporting Member (12-11-2019), Scott  (09-24-2019)
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 09-24-2019, 11:04 PM
Scott's Avatar
Super Moderator
Parrots:
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo / RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Thanks: 113,537
Thanked 58,155 Times in 19,326 Posts
Scott will become famous soon enough
Re: What is she doing

Some kind of ritualized behavior?
__________________
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Scott For This Useful Post:
JohnH (12-11-2019), plumsmum2005 (11-09-2020)
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 09-25-2019, 12:39 AM
Betrisher's Avatar
Senior Member
Parrots:
Dominic: Galah(RIP: 1981-2018); The Lovies: Four Blue Masked Lovebirds; Barney and Madge (The Beaks): Alexandrines; Miss Rosetta Stone: Little Corella
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Newcastle, NSW, Australia
Thanks: 10,801
Thanked 9,011 Times in 3,010 Posts
Betrisher is on a distinguished road
Re: What is she doing

Ritualised or repetitive behaviours like this are usually the product of stress of some kind. Since birdie can't tell you what's upsetting her, you can either figure it out by close observation or try changing her life around a bit. Maybe try feeding, cleaning, playing at different times. Don't keep to a schedule, but be a bit more random so birdie doesn't get stuck in a rut. Changing the positions of toys and perches inside the cage might help, as might the addition of new and different ones.

The most important thing for cockies is the provision of chewing material. Since she's an Aussie, it would be great if you could get hold of eucalyptus, callistemon, melaleuca, banksia or grevillea timbers (all plentiful in the US, I'm told). Cockies *love* chomping gumnuts (the fruits of the eucalyptus tree) and if you can get big ones (red ironbark, bushy yate), you can use those to hide food morsels in for foraging.

In the absence of natural timber, see if you can get hold of a raw-wood pallet which has been untreated and unpainted. I use a hole saw to cut 'biscuits' out of the timber, drilling a hole in their middles and stringing them on a leather thong. The remaining piece of holey timber can be put in or on the cage for cocky to chomp on.

Vegetable tanned leather is fun for birds to chew and I have a feeling *this* bird would enjoy the texture as she crushed it in her bill. Craft shops, Tandy leather outlets and ebay are good places to look. My cousin makes prosthetic limbs and supplies me nicely with heavy leather offcuts.

Other options include all kinds of cardboard, egg cartons, fabric bolts and whole root vegetables (check our safe foods section) as well as finer materials like millet sprays and grass seed heads. Don't dismiss the idea of making your bird work for her food by hiding it in foraging toys, either purchased or home made.

Finally, you might consider target and/or trick training your bird. Cockies are mightily intelligent and they really relish being given mind-stretching tasks to do. My Rosetta learned targetting in minutes and it gave me an instant way of getting her where I needed her to be. My Alexes really took to doing little tricks for me and would actually search out the trick toys, virtually asking me to play with them!

The thing is, ritual behaviours are not the healthiest thing to observe in a bird because they usually point to loneliness or lack of sufficient intellectual stimulation. I'm not suggesting for a moment that this is the case with your bird, just that the behaviour needs attention *before* it deepens into something worse.

Do keep us updated with your progress! I hope you see some good results very soon!
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Betrisher For This Useful Post:
JohnH (12-11-2019), Laurasea Supporting Member (12-11-2019), Scott  (09-25-2019)
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 09-25-2019, 04:18 AM
Senior Member
Parrots:
Umbrella Cockatoo- 13 years old
Join Date: Jul 2018
Thanks: 7,166
Thanked 13,908 Times in 5,576 Posts
noodles123 will become famous soon enough
Re: What is she doing

My cockatoo enjoys repeating the same sorts of motions with something in her mouth----she makes tools out of her wooden toys and then attempts to swivel open her food cups. She also has these plastic things on a chain that she moves back and forth all the time (but only with a bit of wood in her mouth). When mine is upset (due to big routine changes or decreased interaction, she will chew her chest feathers the way a child sucks his thumb). Although she has improved some, I can always tell when she is upset, as I will start to find little feathers around when I go to wake her up in the morning.

I am sure it is a combination of boredom, cockatoo-ness, stress, habit and possible OCD.
You might consider an anti-anxiety or OCD medication to see if that could help (in conjunction with a solid sleep schedule and lots of interaction time).
Once plucking becomes a habit, it is very hard to break (even when the initial stresser is gone). It is almost like someone getting addicted to a substance--the trigger that caused them to start can go away, but the urge to continue to behavior remains.

My "Too" also really likes plastic C-links and certain wooden toys. How does yours do with toys?
Have you had a vitamin panel run to make sure there is no nutritional deficiency?

Last edited by noodles123; 09-25-2019 at 04:21 AM.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to noodles123 For This Useful Post:
JohnH (12-11-2019), Laurasea Supporting Member (12-11-2019), Scott  (09-25-2019)
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2019, 04:36 PM
JohnH's Avatar
Senior Member
Parrots:
Sulphur crested cockatoo
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: NY
Thanks: 89
Thanked 188 Times in 77 Posts
JohnH is on a distinguished road
Re: What is she doing

Sorry for the extremely late reply. Thanks to all for your input.
Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to JohnH For This Useful Post:
Betrisher (11-10-2020), Laurasea Supporting Member (12-11-2019), Scott  (12-12-2019)
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 12-11-2019, 05:15 PM
Laurasea's Avatar
Supporting Member
Parrots:
Neptune blue quaker (MIA), Ta-dah GCC female, Penny quaker female, Pikachu quaker unknown, Orbit quaker unknown, 3 parakeets males, Burt The Burd GCC RIP
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: USA
Thanks: 23,532
Thanked 20,923 Times in 6,826 Posts
Laurasea is on a distinguished road
Re: What is she doing

It's a frustrating and complex problem when you have a feather picker. Thanks for sharing your journey. Cockatoo can something benifit from behavior modify medications. As decided by you and your avain vet.

This article is just a great all around article. Maybe something in it will help you.
https://lafeber.com/pet-birds/stress...ot-companions/
__________________
"When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. "Thomas Sowell
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Laurasea For This Useful Post:
Scott  (12-12-2019)
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2020, 07:59 AM
JohnH's Avatar
Senior Member
Parrots:
Sulphur crested cockatoo
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: NY
Thanks: 89
Thanked 188 Times in 77 Posts
JohnH is on a distinguished road
Re: What is she doing

I know this post is over a year old but the question in my head has come up again. My initial question wasn't a good one. I'm going to try again. Here goes.

Why does my bird use a plucked feather when grinding her beak on the cage? She traps the feather between the bars and starts grinding. When the feather is gone she takes another and does it again. My thought is that she is using the powder in the feather as a grinding compound to assist in grinding and shaping of her beak. She does a remarkable job at re shaping her beak. She also trims her own claws. Ive been hit in the cheek by claw shrapnel from 10ft away.

So what do you think? Is she using the feather to assist in beak maintenance?
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to JohnH For This Useful Post:
SailBoat Supporting Member (11-09-2020), Scott  (11-09-2020)
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2020, 08:56 AM
Senior Member
Parrots:
Lou, Ruby, and Sonu. Fly free Plum, my gorgeous boy.
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: England, UK
Thanks: 2,808
Thanked 5,782 Times in 3,201 Posts
plumsmum2005 will become famous soon enough
Re: What is she doing

Hi hun I have a G2 who pulls and shreds her feathers, she's done it 20 years potentially not gonna stop now. I have given all my birds a good nail trim perch which isn't in their favoured position to sit in as this gives them something good and strong to give their beak a good rub on. Am wondering if she has any dietary deficiency and therefore is trying to gain something from her feathers? There could be a need for a diet change or a supplement but I don't like recommending supplements willy nilly as over supplementation can be as harmful as a deficiency, so with a avian vets approval if at all possible. Have you had a blood test from a qualified avian vet lately? It would be something to consider IMHO. You could ask them to look at nails in case they need a trim but would never recommend beak trimming in normal instances. As recommended above by Betrisher these birds need plenty of toys or safe wood to keep them busy, happy and occupied. It helps curb odd behaviours too! Give her a job to do! My RB2 slides her beak up and down on her cage bars periodically.


Can you describe what constitutes a normal daily diet for her please?
__________________



Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to plumsmum2005 For This Useful Post:
JohnH (11-09-2020), SailBoat Supporting Member (11-09-2020), Scott  (11-09-2020)
  #9 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2020, 03:40 PM
JohnH's Avatar
Senior Member
Parrots:
Sulphur crested cockatoo
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: NY
Thanks: 89
Thanked 188 Times in 77 Posts
JohnH is on a distinguished road
Re: What is she doing

The feather plucking started when her first owner past away. He had her for 13 years and then he was gone. I have had her for close to 3 years. I initially had her checked by an avian vet. The vet did some tests and said she was healthy. A year later i became ill and spent 21 days in the hospital. That didn't help her mental state. She has started letting her feathers grow out since my original post. But every so often i see her doing the beak grind with a feather. I'm really curious why she uses the feather.
Her diet consists of 6 different foods.
1- nut and seed mix
2- veggie pellets
3- fruit pellets
4- daily pellets
5- fresh green beans
6- treats= dried fruit and spray millet.
She seems to eat close to equal amounts of each. Slightly less of the fruit pellets recently.

She gets plenty of activity with me. I bring her with me often when i leave the house. She enjoys trips to the local farms. I also adopted two parakeets that keep her company when I'm not home. Believe it or not they all get along. The parakeets play in and around her cage all day. It's quite entertaining to watch them interact.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to JohnH For This Useful Post:
Scott  (11-10-2020)
  #10 (permalink)  
Old 11-09-2020, 05:26 PM
Senior Member
Parrots:
Lou, Ruby, and Sonu. Fly free Plum, my gorgeous boy.
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: England, UK
Thanks: 2,808
Thanked 5,782 Times in 3,201 Posts
plumsmum2005 will become famous soon enough
Re: What is she doing

Quote: Originally Posted by JohnH View Post
The feather plucking started when her first owner past away. He had her for 13 years and then he was gone. I have had her for close to 3 years. I initially had her checked by an avian vet. The vet did some tests and said she was healthy. A year later i became ill and spent 21 days in the hospital. That didn't help her mental state. She has started letting her feathers grow out since my original post. But every so often i see her doing the beak grind with a feather. I'm really curious why she uses the feather.
Her diet consists of 6 different foods.
1- nut and seed mix
2- veggie pellets
3- fruit pellets
4- daily pellets
5- fresh green beans
6- treats= dried fruit and spray millet.
She seems to eat close to equal amounts of each. Slightly less of the fruit pellets recently.

She gets plenty of activity with me. I bring her with me often when i leave the house. She enjoys trips to the local farms. I also adopted two parakeets that keep her company when I'm not home. Believe it or not they all get along. The parakeets play in and around her cage all day. It's quite entertaining to watch them interact.

Thanks for coming back hun. Gosh that's a lot of pellets and am wondering if there are any artificial colours/ingredients in there? Sugars, artificial ingredients etc will promote unhealthy behaviours such as this and possibly extend hormonal periods. It could be that your girl is trying to reabsorb the nutrients in the feather?

I feed my G2 Harrison's, it's one of two organic pellets, the other is TOPs. Can you increase her fresh intake to include lots of different veggies which should be the major portion of her daily diet? I make a chop which can be produced to an agreeable coarseness, I realise that not every bird likes this consistency though. As with us it is important to feed the rainbow in terms of food choices. My girls get a very small proportion of seed and nuts. Our birds in homes do not expend the amount of energy that a wild bird does and therefore it is necessary to closely monitor the amount of 'fatty' foods they consume.



I would ask you to make changes to her diet and see how things are in a few months down the line. I have suspicions of dietary weaknesses but am not a vet so would ask you to please go take her for a health check/bloods. I lost my boy Plum a couple of years ago which was mainly down to poor diet in his early years so feel very strongly about trying to feed them correctly. :-)
__________________



Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to plumsmum2005 For This Useful Post:
JohnH (11-09-2020), Scott  (11-10-2020)
Reply

Lower Navigation
Go Back   Parrot Forum - Parrot Owner's Community > Species Specific > Cockatoos

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On




Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.