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Old 02-25-2019, 02:25 AM
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Exclamation OVERNIGHT Sun Conure Feather Plucking + Travel issues

Hey everyone!

My sunny, Quinn, is turning 5 soon and previously I’ve never had to deal with any behavior issues with her; of course she screams and bites occasionally though, thats expected from any parrot companion

When I greeted her last night she was doing perfectly fine. But today in the afternoon, when I came home around 4 pm, she was BALD! From her chest reaching down to her feet, her feathers are all gone!
I took her out of the cage immediately to distract her but even still, I noticed she would continue plucking and refuse to pay attention even when we tried to distract her with treats and toys.

For context, there hasn’t been a change in our environment; we do have a cat but its already been in the house for a year and a half around her and they never interact. If that were the problem, then I knew the other animal would’ve been the issue.

Its normal in our cage cleaning routine too that we rotate the toys in the 4 years I’ve owned her so I have no idea whats going on. But here, I have a couple ideas:

1) It could be a medical issue that I don’t know about and needs vet evaluations
2) I noticed from the feather pile in the cage that they’re all from the tiny mirror area in her cage (i took the toy out immediately after doing some research)
3) More attention? Our routine was that I took her out every other day for a few hours and the days in between as “rest days” for her since she usually likes the inside

Our other issue was taking her to the vet. She goes into panic mode whenever we use the travel cage or the cardboard box to take her out to go the car. In the time it takes for us to put her in her cage/box to sitting in the car this is what happens:

-We lure her into the cage or box w/ seeds or towel, is usually fine inside the house
-She suddenly starts blinking rapidly and spreading her wings along with a questionable chirping behavior (it almost looks like she’s suffocating, I’ve seen her done it once; when i called the vet they said it was a reaction to stress)
-She’ll fall into a short, “sleepy” stage
-suddenly, BAM! She starts flapping about in the cage and screaming in panic!
-Because we know stress is the #1 killer in birds, we take her back immediately and let her cool down in her cage

Since I know everyone here has a lot of experience with birds, I’m asking you guys for help!! What are some solutions for plucking, and what do you guys do when you take your parrot to the vet!?
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Old 02-27-2019, 01:06 PM
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Re: OVERNIGHT Sun Conure Feather Plucking + Travel issues

Wow, I'm sorry no one has responded to you, so I'll respond and bump this back up for you...

I gotta say that it's extremely rare for a bird who has never plucked before at all (I'm assuming that she has never plucked herself or had any other Feather-Destructive Behaviors prior to this) to be fine in the morning when you leave for work, and then suddenly pluck themselves "bald" by 4:00 in the afternoon...This actually NEVER HAPPENS, and is a serious indication of a serious problem...

I'll go out on a limb and say that something suddenly started causing her extreme, sudden itching or pain all over her body, which usually means the skin, and that is why she just plucked herself bald suddenly, out of nowhere and over the span of 7-8 hours. It could be a parasite (either topical like a mite, or internal), or it could be a topical or internal infections, either bacterial or fungal (yeast)...Those are my best guesses based on how sudden and out of nowhere it was, and how extreme the plucking was in just 7-8 hours...External, topical Fungal/Yeast Infections are a common cause of plucking, but not typically so suddenly...

You have to remember that birds hide any and all signs of illness and pain for as long as they can, it's an innate, natural Survival-Instinct to protect against them appearing weak and puting themselves and their flocks in danger of becoming "targets" of predators...So it's quite possible that whatever caused this has been looming for quite a while, weeks to even months, and finally that day was the last straw, she couldn't take the discomfort or pain any longer...This is one possibility...

****If you have had her DNA-tested for gender and are 100% certain she's a female bird, then the other possibility, which is an emergency and is 100% fatal without quick medical intervention, is that she's possibly Egg-Bound, especially if she suddenly plucked her chest/belly/abdomen bald...This happens quite suddenly and is extremely painful, so this is the most serious possibility, and will require an x-ray to determine if she is Egg-Bound, and just what type of Egg-Binding it is. The Egg can be too large to pass through the Oviduct and be laid, OR the Egg could have missed the Oviduct and been deposited in her Peritoneal Space in her abdomen...Both situations are 100% fatal without surgery. It's possible she could survive for a few days this way before it becoming lethal, but it's extremely painful, and that's why they pluck their chest/belly/abdomen...So if you are 100% sure she's a female then this is another good possibility...

****The bottom-line here is that you need to get her to a Certified Avian Vet or an Avian Specialist Vet (NO EXOTICS VETS FOR THIS) IMMEDIATELY!!!! I'm actually hoping you've already done this and you know what is going on, and we'll get an update from your Avian Vet's Office, because this is not something that you can "wait and see" on, she needs to go yesterday!!!

You live in LA, so you have access to at least a few very experienced, reputable Certified Avian Vets, so if you haven't taken her already, you need to start calling and telling them that it's a possible emergency...Even an Exotic Animal Hospital after regular office-hours can do an X-Ray, Blood-Work, Fecal Test, Skin Swab/Culture, etc., get a diagnosis and do supportive-care until they can send everything to a Certified Avian Vet tomorrow morning, if say she is Egg-Bound and she needs emergency surgery. As far as the issues with her being stressed about going in a carrier, this could be a fatal problem, so if you need to simply hold her in a towel instead of a carrier to prevent the panic-attacks (which is what that is, due to stress), then that's what you'll have to do, because this is potentially a very serious situation that could be fatal...

If this is a situation where she's plucked herself like this suddenly before and you just didn't mention it, then that may be a different story, but if this is the very first time she's plucked herself at all, and she's suddenly plucked her chest/belly/abdomen completely bald over 7-8 hours out of nowhere, then it's an emergency...
"Dance Like Nobody's Watching".
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