Been to top Vet, desperate, bad plucking

Chrissy5

New member
Apr 14, 2020
7
6
Hi,
I'm praying someone may have advice of anything I can try. My 4 year old female conure (turned 4 end of July)has beening seeing a top avian vet 4 times and next appt is next weekend. Per below, please help, desperate bird mom
1. Blood work is all great, even last month, white blood cells checked again and perfect
2. All holistic plucking things failed so now she is on last 2 weeks gabapentin 0.02 and her legs are bare, chest is getting there and under wings, and back is all white feathers. She seemed to stop with it then now is going full force again
3. She used to be pineapple colored.
4. Nothing has changed. We have Been over humidity in house, just me and my hubby, this just started Feb this year when I thought she got a cold from us and nope was fine
5. They gave her a hormone shot, since then it made it worse-told vet that
6. Gets plenty of attention, has big cage, toys (put new ones in every few days), she talks etc. No other pets in house
7. Last month she wasn't eating so I hospalized her only to get pics of her eating great for them. Again went over it all, nothing has changed in our house. Just us, same schedule, same food, she talks, lot of cuddles, etc, even added to her diet per a persons advice and checked with our vet first what we could add in like beans, some bit of bread (doesn't like anything except fruit)
We are over 2 hours from any emergency 24 hour place if she bleeds or picks her skin. Can't get her in sooner.
**Anyone go through this? What do I do? She's my life, I'm on disability and have been sick since 18 now in mid thirties so it's not like I just got sick nor worse. I will try anything. Even drove to the vet sick for her gabapentin at 8 pm at night cause I didnt want her in pain. I had the flu 2 weeks ago.
Thank you, any suggestions please
 

GaleriaGila

Supporting Member
May 14, 2016
14,127
2,821
Cleveland area
Parrots
The Rickeybird, 37-year-old Patagonian Conure
Oh, Chrissy, so so so sorry. We here know how heart-breaking this issue is. If you want to read details, just search for PLUCKING here and you'll find many great threads. Aso, maybe you'd like to see these links?
Certified Avian Vets
If none are near you...
Avian Veterinarians
In my opinion, any of the vets listed here should be better than a regular vet.

Plucking continues to baffle the avian community. I have no solutions but lots of support and sympathy. Lots. Stick with us while you're going through this.
I'm glad you found us.
 

LaManuka

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Aug 29, 2018
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Fang (10yo (ab)normal grey cockatiel), HRH Crown Princess Lilly Pilly (purple-crowned lorikeet gotcha date 28 Oct 2018) & Valentino (budgie, gotcha date 14 Feb 2019 at approx 6mo)
I'm so very sorry that you are going through this, Chrissy5, and I wish I had some ideas for you but sadly all I can give is my every sympathy. I have never had a plucker and can only imagine how distressing it must be.

Plucking can have numerous triggers including some that might have been set in train long before you purchased your bird. Very sadly a number of aviculturalists have begun to identify that behaviours such as plucking, screaming and biting start with babies being pulled from the nest too early and those babies not being taught appropriate behaviours by their parents. It is thought that the lack of early parental guidance and over-dependence on humans, bad hand- rearing practices and forced weaning can manifest itself in behaviours that only become apparent much later. Individual birds with more nervous/insecure personalities can be more adversely affected by what goes on around them.

One of our esteemed former moderators began a thread that may help give some further insight into the issues:


I've linked up the following thread involving a quaker with some fairly serious plucking/self mutilation issues, perhaps it might give you some ideas?


Sadly it is a very complex and multi-layered problem with no real "silver bullet" that will fix. Sending my very best wishes to you and your sweet baby and all my hopes for a successful resolution for you.
 
OP
C

Chrissy5

New member
Apr 14, 2020
7
6
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
Oh, Chrissy, so so so sorry. We here know how heart-breaking this issue is. If you want to read details, just search for PLUCKING here and you'll find many great threads. Aso, maybe you'd like to see these links?
Certified Avian Vets
If none are near you...
Avian Veterinarians
In my opinion, any of the vets listed here should be better than a regular vet.

Plucking continues to baffle the avian community. I have no solutions but lots of support and sympathy. Lots. Stick with us while you're going through this.
I'm glad you found us.
Thank you so much, I appreciate the support. Mine is a board certified avian vet with extra certifications as well so she is the top avian vet. But it is so hard not knowing what to do and they are even not sure as we have done so many tests, I was hoping the gabapentin would work. They said it's not medical but not behavioral either for it to just come on like this after 4 years. Thank you I will read and see. I've been researching as well like crazy and we have done everything I'm finding so was praying someone with personal experience maybe found a way with theirs
 

SailBoat

Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
14,973
1,368
Western, Michigan
Parrots
DYH Amazon
Very sorry that your dear Parrot is plucking. Our Parrot's Plucking started as a result of surgery site and far to much attention on his side to the site. A lack of feathers is a difficult reality for us Humans. That said, other than the time spent, the Parrot does not seem to care.

You are at the very outside from a timing standpoint of having a skin sample tested for a specific bacteria, which is the cause of about 7 to 10% of plucking. If found, it can be treated. Once a specific time is past, the Plucking has become a behavior and there is very little that can be done short of treating damaged skin / reducing infection.

Another 'treatment' is to have very minor amounts of the upper and lower beck blunted (rounded), which will limit skin damage, which that limits infection. Neither are cures, only reducing the ravages of site infections. The Mirco blunting must be done by an Avian Medical Professional as far to much upper and lower beak could be removed resulting in another problems. The procedure is completed in our case monthly.

At some point, it comes to simply excepting her as she is and loving her.
 

kountrylover70

New member
Sep 15, 2021
1
1
Parrots
Lovebird
Hi,
I'm praying someone may have advice of anything I can try. My 4 year old female conure (turned 4 end of July)has beening seeing a top avian vet 4 times and next appt is next weekend. Per below, please help, desperate bird mom
1. Blood work is all great, even last month, white blood cells checked again and perfect
2. All holistic plucking things failed so now she is on last 2 weeks gabapentin 0.02 and her legs are bare, chest is getting there and under wings, and back is all white feathers. She seemed to stop with it then now is going full force again
3. She used to be pineapple colored.
4. Nothing has changed. We have Been over humidity in house, just me and my hubby, this just started Feb this year when I thought she got a cold from us and nope was fine
5. They gave her a hormone shot, since then it made it worse-told vet that
6. Gets plenty of attention, has big cage, toys (put new ones in every few days), she talks etc. No other pets in house
7. Last month she wasn't eating so I hospalized her only to get pics of her eating great for them. Again went over it all, nothing has changed in our house. Just us, same schedule, same food, she talks, lot of cuddles, etc, even added to her diet per a persons advice and checked with our vet first what we could add in like beans, some bit of bread (doesn't like anything except fruit)
We are over 2 hours from any emergency 24 hour place if she bleeds or picks her skin. Can't get her in sooner.
**Anyone go through this? What do I do? She's my life, I'm on disability and have been sick since 18 now in mid thirties so it's not like I just got sick nor worse. I will try anything. Even drove to the vet sick for her gabapentin at 8 pm at night cause I didnt want her in pain. I had the flu 2 weeks ago.
Thank you, any suggestions please
Maybe u should get another bird to keep her company.
 

Kentuckienne

Supporting Vendor
Oct 9, 2016
2,502
391
Middle of nowhere (kentuckianna)
Parrots
Roommates include Gus, Blue and gold macaw rescue and Coco, secondhand amazon
I haven’t had any experience with pluckers. But in case it helps…I can’t remember the name but years back I read a very good book on parrots. The author had acquired a bird that was plucking. She found that the parrot did not pluck after a spray bath until her feathers were dry. So she took the bird with her to work and kept her sprayed, which stopped the plucking until the feathers grew back in. I’ll try to find it. I remember her parrot loved baths, but that’s a lot of wet feathers, maybe getting sprayed/misted the moment plucking starts was a deterrent? I know you aren’t supposed to use spraying water as “ discipline” because you don’t want the bird to learn to hate/fear baths. But maybe in an extreme case…plucking is a very difficult problem and one that only caged (not wild) birds seem to have, so maybe it’s related to anxiety. I hope you find a miracle treatment for your baby…
 

Stitchthestitch

Supporting Member
Feb 9, 2020
518
136
Manchester, uk
Parrots
Albie - Pineapple Green Cheek Conure - Hatch date 14 Dec 2019 - Gotcha date - 4 March 2020
I know this a long shot, but could your bird have a dietary allergy and its present as the skin itching /being irritated and she's plucking because of that?

I'm just thinking, I had a little westie in this morning and his owner told me not to bath him in aloe or oatmeal as he has allergies to these (oatmeal is also dietary as well) and he has chewed himself bloody when he's eaten or been on cotact with either.
 

Kentuckienne

Supporting Vendor
Oct 9, 2016
2,502
391
Middle of nowhere (kentuckianna)
Parrots
Roommates include Gus, Blue and gold macaw rescue and Coco, secondhand amazon
Oh! I found a link from some older posts in this forum. There were pictures but they don’t seem to have migrated. The posts were by a member - in Denmark, maybe? - who made sweaters out of stretchy old socks for her macaw. From the pictures I remember, the bird (a rescue) was growing out new feathers and doing great. Here’s a link to the thread.
 

Emeral

Active member
Sep 16, 2021
63
121
Parrots
Hanhs Macaw
Hi,
I'm praying someone may have advice of anything I can try. My 4 year old female conure (turned 4 end of July)has beening seeing a top avian vet 4 times and next appt is next weekend. Per below, please help, desperate bird mom
1. Blood work is all great, even last month, white blood cells checked again and perfect
2. All holistic plucking things failed so now she is on last 2 weeks gabapentin 0.02 and her legs are bare, chest is getting there and under wings, and back is all white feathers. She seemed to stop with it then now is going full force again
3. She used to be pineapple colored.
4. Nothing has changed. We have Been over humidity in house, just me and my hubby, this just started Feb this year when I thought she got a cold from us and nope was fine
5. They gave her a hormone shot, since then it made it worse-told vet that
6. Gets plenty of attention, has big cage, toys (put new ones in every few days), she talks etc. No other pets in house
7. Last month she wasn't eating so I hospalized her only to get pics of her eating great for them. Again went over it all, nothing has changed in our house. Just us, same schedule, same food, she talks, lot of cuddles, etc, even added to her diet per a persons advice and checked with our vet first what we could add in like beans, some bit of bread (doesn't like anything except fruit)
We are over 2 hours from any emergency 24 hour place if she bleeds or picks her skin. Can't get her in sooner.
**Anyone go through this? What do I do? She's my life, I'm on disability and have been sick since 18 now in mid thirties so it's not like I just got sick nor worse. I will try anything. Even drove to the vet sick for her gabapentin at 8 pm at night cause I didnt want her in pain. I had the flu 2 weeks ago.
Thank you, any suggestions please
When my birdy got sick and vet visits terrified her and me...........I bought a dozen of basil and some other potted herbs (to put under her perch....) At first, she didn't react. But oh I was so thrilled to see her walk over to nibble some. Then she became interested and destroy one big plant per day............for about a week. By then, she recovered. I think it was a good distraction and some vitamin from the herbs that helped.
 

Emeral

Active member
Sep 16, 2021
63
121
Parrots
Hanhs Macaw
When my birdy got sick and vet visits terrified her and me...........I bought a dozen of basil and some other potted herbs (to put under her perch....) At first, she didn't react. But oh I was so thrilled to see her walk over to nibble some. Then she became interested and destroy one big plant per day............for about a week. By then, she recovered. I think it was a good distraction and some vitamin from the herbs that helped.
Ps. When I am tense or sad, my emerald would come to me. When I laugh, she mimic my voice...he...he...he..

Emotional contagious as we are, when she got tangled in her new toy and I scream, she also screamed in panic. Thus when I came to my sense, I acted like it wasn't any danger, she immediately calm down. That helped getting her out of it.

So, I was thinking that as a pack leader , one may have to appear relaxed in front of one's sick bird. Maybe watching a movie while cuddle up...appear to be relaxing for your bird to see and follow might just do the trick.
 

MsKista

New member
May 5, 2021
6
1
Hi,
I'm praying someone may have advice of anything I can try. My 4 year old female conure (turned 4 end of July)has beening seeing a top avian vet 4 times and next appt is next weekend. Per below, please help, desperate bird mom
1. Blood work is all great, even last month, white blood cells checked again and perfect
2. All holistic plucking things failed so now she is on last 2 weeks gabapentin 0.02 and her legs are bare, chest is getting there and under wings, and back is all white feathers. She seemed to stop with it then now is going full force again
3. She used to be pineapple colored.
4. Nothing has changed. We have Been over humidity in house, just me and my hubby, this just started Feb this year when I thought she got a cold from us and nope was fine
5. They gave her a hormone shot, since then it made it worse-told vet that
6. Gets plenty of attention, has big cage, toys (put new ones in every few days), she talks etc. No other pets in house
7. Last month she wasn't eating so I hospalized her only to get pics of her eating great for them. Again went over it all, nothing has changed in our house. Just us, same schedule, same food, she talks, lot of cuddles, etc, even added to her diet per a persons advice and checked with our vet first what we could add in like beans, some bit of bread (doesn't like anything except fruit)
We are over 2 hours from any emergency 24 hour place if she bleeds or picks her skin. Can't get her in sooner.
**Anyone go through this? What do I do? She's my life, I'm on disability and have been sick since 18 now in mid thirties so it's not like I just got sick nor worse. I will try anything. Even drove to the vet sick for her gabapentin at 8 pm at night cause I didnt want her in pain. I had the flu 2 weeks ago.
Thank you, any suggestions please
Okay, I'm sure some people will not receive this information well, but my green cheek conure was In such a cycle of plucking/scratching. As the stick feathers grew in, it seemed to bother him more than other birds.. itchy, sore maybe.
After many $$$ vet visits, $$$ tests, and parrot club members' opinions,
I finally got a solution from a lady in South Dakota who raises chickens.
here it is: Warm water plus epsom salt. Then soak 5-10mins.
it was super hard to do bc he didn't like to be held down and time goes by so slowly! Surprisingly, once I slowly got him in the warm water up to his neck, he calmed him down and sat quietly.
You might get bitten, but it's worth it. I saw immediate results. 🤷🏻‍♀️
chicken people use 2 cups to a tub of water. I used my small pot with like 6 cups warm water, and maybe 1-2 tbs epsom salt.
Good luck!
 

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