GCC plucking, overpreening, or off-season molting?


New member
Jun 5, 2020
Kai (2002-2004) Blue budgie who lived too short a life </3
Kona (short term care until 6/2021) - GCC
I am "boarding" GCC Kona for a few months while her owner is abroad. She has been losing feathers since (and before) she arrived with me, even though it's not time for her usual molt according to her owner. She was with someone else for ~3 weeks before coming to me, and that person really neglected her - had her in a dark room, didn't let her out, etc. Her owner and I figured she was stress molting from that experience and it seemed to be slowing down, but now it's picked up suddenly and I fear she may be plucking.

The one shred of hope I still have is that she's lost feathers on her head and neck in addition to body and wings. But as most of those pins have grown out, she's now losing more contour/covert feathers (woke up to 10 or so in her cage) and a tail feather, and they don't seem to be dropping very symmetrically. For example, she's growing in both #2 retrices, plus one #6 (all lost before she came to me) and she just dropped a #4 this morning. She's also growing in primaries 4 and 5 on one wing (also dropped before she came to me) and none (that I can tell) on the other.

Some of her back and wing feathers look over-preened (black edges), but none of the feathers she's dropped show signs of mangling, breakage, or blood. They seem to come out with little provocation when she preens or bathes, though she does like nibbling on them a bit after they're loose. I haven't detected other signs of stress or illness - poop's fine, weight steady, gets vocal at sunset and occasionally has a few minutes of screm time here and there during the day but hey, she's a conure, and as far as I can tell it's just contact calling because she's in the other room - nothing frantic or neurotic.

Is it possible she's going through another molt since her last one in August/September? Any other tips on catching early stage plucking?

Additional info :gcc:
Age: ~2 years
Diet: Roudybush maintenance and zupreem pellets, nutriberries, veggies/cooked beans/grains (some days more than others). Weight consistently 57g.
Lifestyle: Clipped, rarely flies. Mostly independent, spends a couple hours with me each day for cuddles, training, supervised sunshine, and ambient same-room attention. Still learning that toys are fun, so maybe a bit bored?

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