- Feb 6, 2010
Parker - male Eclectus
Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Please see my post in the scientific articles section and my attachment of Dr. Jenkins’ article on feather and mutilation disorders. Our rescue cockatoo is now fully feathered. This medical treatment works (along with proper diet, enriched environment, etc). According to an interview with Dr. Jenkins by Chloe Sanctuary, 90% of feather destructive behaviors are amongst hand-fed birds. Of studies done on wild-caught birds up to the 1980’s, they rarely exhibited these behaviors even in neglect cases. We need to change the aviculture industry to co-parenting and NOT removing from the nest early unless necessary (i.e. parents not feeding babies, etc). Ironically, I happen to be in that hand feeding situation right now, but that’s another story for another day!
If your avian vet is not familiar with these medical options, please show them the article. You could always change vets if not amenable or have a virtual visit with one who is.
Feather destruction is so heart breaking… it’s important to explore all the options!
Thank you for this.
I've read the document you've mentioned. Unfortunately ekkies have their own suite of problems beyond your typical parrots.
I could see a situation where handrearing is a culprit: it sets the birds up for a life very different than they were adapted for, generating a whole suite of new issues that they otherwise wouldn't face.
Unfortunately for eclectus, they're also perpetual slaves to their hormones - very unlike other parrot species. Plucking as an expression of hormonal behavior is a HUGE source of feather destructive issues in the eclectus species.
The other great source is poor diet. The eclectus diet is...tricky. Humans do NOT mimic the wild ecletus diet well at all, and when we do it creates behavior problems as well as hormonal problems. They're also very sensitive to certain aspects of their diet, such as excessive vitamins. Some foods, like foods treated with sulphur or salicylates, can REALLY create issues and get you a naked bird in short order.
So essentially, once again you can't quite lump eclectus in with other birds. YES to everything you've said, but its almost TOO generic to be applicable to this very unique species and this unique situation.
my own ekkie is a cyclical feather picker. Always starts barbering right around Christmas, and finishes down to the downy greys by March. The cycle is SO strong and so consistent that it is DEFINITELY hormonally driven - they line the next with feathers. Unfortunately, theres nothing that can be done for hormonal plucker. Hormones express themselves in eclectus in a number of different ways: regurgitation, barbering, searching for dark places to nest in, masturbation, aggression, appetite modification, need for attention...the list goes on. Any indiviual bird may wind up with any combination of these behaviors: some may JUST be aggressive, others may be avid nesting site seekers and regurgitators, others may barber and eat less. Or they may not express much at all.
And of course, theres the learned behavior: attention seeking: bird plucks human screams "NO DON"T DO THAT", bird notices it gets attention. Bird plucks, human screams again, bird gets attention. So a health issue can also become a behavioral issue as well.