Down plucking

Doscar

New member
Aug 18, 2021
3
8
Parrots
Oscar a 13 year old blue gold macaw.
Coco a 21 year old African grey.
Hello all. I’m new here. I have a 12 year old B&G macaw he was a rescue I don’t have much history on him but I have had him for the last year and a half. His diet was horrible I am pretty sure it was just sunflower seeds and potato chips. Now he is on a pellet diet with fruit and vegetables on the side. Since I’ve had him he has molted 2 times and never stops plucking his down every day it looks like it snowed in the house. The only time he stops is when he runs out of down then a week or two later there it is again. I give him showers weekly the rest of his feathers look fine but this constant flow of down has me a bit concerned. Has anyone else ever had this problem? I can’t find anything about it anywhere. I’m taking him to see an avian veterinarian this Friday. Any info would be awesome. Thank you.
 

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Bekki

Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2021
40
33
Parrots
Loki - Sun Conure
Mango - Sun Conure
Ruby - Camelot Macaw
Hello all. I’m new here. I have a 12 year old B&G macaw he was a rescue I don’t have much history on him but I have had him for the last year and a half. His diet was horrible I am pretty sure it was just sunflower seeds and potato chips. Now he is on a pellet diet with fruit and vegetables on the side. Since I’ve had him he has molted 2 times and never stops plucking his down every day it looks like it snowed in the house. The only time he stops is when he runs out of down then a week or two later there it is again. I give him showers weekly the rest of his feathers look fine but this constant flow of down has me a bit concerned. Has anyone else ever had this problem? I can’t find anything about it anywhere. I’m taking him to see an avian veterinarian this Friday. Any info would be awesome. Thank you.
Welcome to the group! I'm new to having a Macaw, so I don't have much knowledge to share, but I do know that my Ruby is having a very LOOONG, molt, so I can understand your concern. It looks like you were able to get into a CAV. I'd be curious what feedback you received.
 
OP
D

Doscar

New member
Aug 18, 2021
3
8
Parrots
Oscar a 13 year old blue gold macaw.
Coco a 21 year old African grey.
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Welcome to the group! I'm new to having a Macaw, so I don't have much knowledge to share, but I do know that my Ruby is having a very LOOONG, molt, so I can understand your concern. It looks like you were able to get into a CAV. I'd be curious what feedback you received.
Oscar has done this down plucking thing since I got him out off the situation he was in at his former home. The avian vet thinks he may have just formed a bad habit from stress in the past, she also said to make sure he has plenty of toys and stuff to tear apart as he may be doing it out of boredom. So I got him a few more thing to tear up to try to keep him busy but it hasn't worked as of yet unfortunately. I work 4-10 hour nights a week I spend as much time with him as I can and hopefully when I get back to a normal day shift I can spend more time with him to keep him occupied and this down plucking don't turn into full blown plucking.
 

Bekki

Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2021
40
33
Parrots
Loki - Sun Conure
Mango - Sun Conure
Ruby - Camelot Macaw
When I got Ruby she had just started plucking a bit, and the CAV gave me a heads up about it. I think having quality interactions with her helps, as I can't get her out of cage during my work at office days as much as she would like.

One thing that I think also helped was having a variety of toys. When she came home with me she had never been given a "shredding" toy option (they were too messy). So when I offered up a shredding toy she showed zero interest. So I, in true weirdo fashion, showed her using my own mouth how to shred. Now she LOVES IT. She takes great pleasure in shredding things or chewing shredded filler paper. So I stuff her toys with the shredder paper for her to pull out and I've made some newspaper braids that I put a treat here or there inside of to encourage foraging. Her current favorite toy is her "book" which is an old phone book that I let her have during her out of cage time and she tear up the pages, then tears the pages into strips. She gets very excited when I get out her book.

She also had her "hard chew toys", toys that include wood, shells, coconuts etc. I subscribe to the bird toy box from Bird Tricks (it's pricey - but I was able to make it fit in my budget), then I rotate toys and I keep the good "pieces" left from her old toys and after a few weeks offer them up as foot toys during her out of cage time (so I can supervise her).
 

Bekki

Supporting Member
Mar 31, 2021
40
33
Parrots
Loki - Sun Conure
Mango - Sun Conure
Ruby - Camelot Macaw
When I got Ruby she had just started plucking a bit, and the CAV gave me a heads up about it. I think having quality interactions with her helps, as I can't get her out of cage during my work at office days as much as she would like.

One thing that I think also helped was having a variety of toys. When she came home with me she had never been given a "shredding" toy option (they were too messy). So when I offered up a shredding toy she showed zero interest. So I, in true weirdo fashion, showed her using my own mouth how to shred. Now she LOVES IT. She takes great pleasure in shredding things or chewing shredded filler paper. So I stuff her toys with the shredder paper for her to pull out and I've made some newspaper braids that I put a treat here or there inside of to encourage foraging. Her current favorite toy is her "book" which is an old phone book that I let her have during her out of cage time and she tear up the pages, then tears the pages into strips. She gets very excited when I get out her book.

She also had her "hard chew toys", toys that include wood, shells, coconuts etc. I subscribe to the bird toy box from Bird Tricks (it's pricey - but I was able to make it fit in my budget), then I rotate toys and I keep the good "pieces" left from her old toys and after a few weeks offer them up as foot toys during her out of cage time (so I can supervise her).
Oh and P.S. - He is beautiful so feel free to share more pics!
 

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