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Old 12-16-2014, 11:22 PM
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Talking and then there's Sweet Pea ....

On a toy-buying-trip I stumbled upon yet one more plucked Quaker... but where Clover had "only" plucked her chest (and thereby found my bleeding heart), this poor Quaker - named Sweet Pea - has exactly the feathers Clover is missing, but no others. The top of her wings, under her wings, her entire belly all the way to the root of the tail: completely plucked.

She looks like a chicken in the freezer. The worst: her legs long, wide blood-encrusted gashes on both of them. That's how I met her. She had belonged to a 90 year old woman who passed away. Her family members "had taken pity on the bird" and took her in. I mean.....they locked her in a room by herself and gave her birdseed and water. Nothing else.

Between mourning her previous owner and being in total isolation, Sweet Pea took her rage out on herself. Finally someone found it in her heart to dump her at the bird store, where they took her in and medicated her, trying to get her wounds to close. I tried for 6 weeks to find someone to take this poor wretch, but she is so awfully angry she won't sit still for a second. She clenches the bars of her cage and viciously bites her toys and anything that comes close to her.

I saw her last Saturday and was happy to see that the gashes had closed and all that remained were a few crusts, but she was raging as usual. I could hear her screams when I walked in the door, and this is a large store.....and she's in a closed room with the boarders....

I went in to visit, as usual. I was aghast. She had slashed herself again. One of the owners came in and sadly said that they don't think she'll ever settle down. They handed me a glove to see whether I could get her to come out. So it was the birds (the boarders), Sweat Pea in a rage, and me. I opened the cage door. After a while she flew out and landed on the floor.

I don't know if this was by design, or whether it was just "one of those things", but a large red/green macaw freed himself from his cage and climbing up on it said "Hi, I'm Clover". Sweat Pea was as shocked as I and promptly stepped up on my hand. We looked at each other. I was bracing for the bite that didn't come. Instead, she started talking. Moved up to my shoulder, snuggled up to my face, and stayed.

She's moving in on Friday. I'm getting her after work.

Yes, she'll be quarantined. Yes, she'll be in another room. Yes, I know the chances that she'll continue the slashing are great, but I just had to try. They gave her to me because they didn't think anyone else would be willing to take on what might well be a big heart ache and a revolving door at the avian vet. Maybe I can get my own room there and if I rent it by the month it'll be cheaper?

So now let me have it. The advice. She's moving in, so don't try to dissuade me please, my mind is made up. HOWEVER all well meaning advice is more than a thousandfold welcome! Throw it all at me, I will filter it and try all suggestions. One at a time



Clover, Sweat Pea, Pepita and Rocky's Mom.

(I'm also the mom of Lana, Buddy, Ruger, and Midnight) Dog/Dog/Dog/Old cat
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Old 12-17-2014, 02:24 AM
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Re: and then there's Sweet Pea ....

Can I just give you a hug? I have never had a plucker or slasher, but I am glad your have this baby. My advice is to do your best to trust her even though she bites. Birds have incredible vision and can literally see the capillary action in your skin and tell a lot about your emotions that way. When I forced myself to trust my latest rescue, Mel, things took a huge turn for the better. I had to tell myself over and over "She isn't going to bite me, and if she did it wouldnt matter" and think of her as a trusted pet instead of an unknown beak. I still use caution and dont do the things I KNOW will get me bitten, but I make myself calm and trusting before I approach her. She was very isolated before she came to me, and very misunderstood. I can't WAIT to hear more and get to know your new baby! Pictures??
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:10 AM
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Re: and then there's Sweet Pea ....

Thank you for taking Sweet Pea in. I'm glad there are people out there that can do the pluckers. I haven't had to take a plucker yet...but that's probably next. I'm just giddy that she is going to a new home where there is love.
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Old 12-17-2014, 08:20 AM
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Re: and then there's Sweet Pea ....

Awww...God bless you for taking in Sweet Pea! You were meant to be hers! Keep us updated...
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:08 AM
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Re: and then there's Sweet Pea ....

Thank you for taking her! Although sometimes they do continue plucking, just getting them on a good healthy diet and giving them lots of TLC will stop that behavior. My Mom had a goffin that had her chest, wings, back and legs all plucked when she got her from a rescue (my Mom wasn't a "bird person") but this bird leaped from her cage onto my Mom and immediately started preening her hair and giving kisses. The person who ran the rescue was totally amazed that this bird was being so sweet as no-one could handle her. After 2 years of TLC and a good diet she was completely feathered out and an entirely different bird! She was my Mom's baby and LOVED to snuggle. Moral of the story is, TLC and a healthy diet can work miracles. Good luck with Sweet Pea!
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Old 12-25-2014, 07:01 PM
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All my rescues: Pepita, Rocky and Eva, my Quaker Parrots Clover and Sweet Pea, YNA Willie Buttons, and TAG Coca.
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Re: and then there's Sweet Pea ....

Sweet Pea, a.k.a. "Mr. Peabody". She/he has been with me for 5 full days now and the stories I could tell are many. I'll limit it to just one! On the first night when I covered his cage, he very clearly said "good morning!". I know he was convinced it was the right thing to say, but I had to laugh very hard. He was a bit embarrassed but insisted and said "Good Morning" several more times. I wonder what else he says, because he has not uttered a word since.

Very cage aggressive on one hand, and a total sweetheart once I have him away from the cage.

When I got him the wounds on his legs went from the top of his leg all the way to the bottom where you can still see the deepest bites. He was bleeding, but I think it was because he was picking on the crusts. I have found two newly plucked feathers in his tray on the second day, but no new slashes on his legs. This is what he looks like today, 12/25 after giving him a bath once a day, and lubricating his legs with a special cream I got at the bird store.

He has absolutley no feathers under his wings. The 3 outermost flight feathers are trimmed so short that I could barely detect them.

I think his tail looks funny. It is fanned out permanently. He weighs nothing, I can't even feel him sitting on my shoulder. He also seems very weak, but still not as weak as when I got him 5 days ago.

- Why do his feathers look so greasy?

Please freely comment on what I should try, what I should do (the vet appointment is on Monday 12/29, I couldn't get one earlier). All your advice is very much welcome.




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Old 12-25-2014, 07:12 PM
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Re: and then there's Sweet Pea ....

Poor little thing! I don't have much advice except to say thank you and lots of love goes a long way.
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Old 12-25-2014, 08:16 PM
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Re: and then there's Sweet Pea ....

You mentioned the bird store medicated Sweet Pea, is it possible they sprayed him with something to curb the plucking? That may be why his feathers look so oily.

From what you described, Sweet Pea has been through a lot of transitions and bad experiences, that may be why he started plucking, but a thorough exam by an avian vet could pinpoint or rule out underlying medical issues. If he has had a seed only diet, he may have vitamin deficiencies which can aggravate the plucking.

In my experience, quakers are a little slower to accept change than other species. When I brought my female quaker home, she was plucked bald in places, her legs were razored clean, and she was mutilating feathers and skin. She was in a constant highly agitated state. A few things that made a difference for her, was sitting near her cage and reading softly to her, playing music for her, and putting a small waterfall next to her cage, the extra humidity was helpful and the sound of running water had a calming effect and helped encourage her to bathe often. The Av vet I took her to suggested an aloe mist spray and an organic pellet based diet. Changing her diet was challenging, but I started to see results after a few weeks.

All birds are different but when all their needs are met and they are getting the care and attention they deserve, they will start to thrive and that is such a wonderful reward. Good luck to you and Sweet Pea, I'm looking forward to watching his progress.
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