Major Plucking

katie_fleming

Member
Oct 30, 2012
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Jasper (6yr old Solomon Island Eclectus Parrot)
Hi all, it's been a long time since I've been on here. I mostly use Facebook parrot groups now for faster replies but I was hoping to maybe get some other insight here!

For the past 2 years, if not longer Jasper has been plucking his down feathers. At that time I brought him to the vet and did blood work and everything was normal except for low calcium.

For the past year or more he's been plucking blood feathers. I've been at my wits end trying to figure out why and how to help him.

He had more blood work done and again just low calcium which I continue to supplement him for. He mostly plucks blood feathers during the night so I tried covering his cage for about a month to see if maybe something was spooking him. That didn't work. I also moved him into my bedroom to sleep in his little cage in case it was separation anxiety and that did nothing.

I also tried moving him into my bedroom for a few hours of extra sleep before I would bring him back to his big cage because I'm in a small apartment he doesn't have his own room. That didn't work for plucking.

I also tried increasing the number of showers a week. He hates being misted did so I tried 2 showers a week with maybe one mist if he'll let me otherwise he flies out of the shower.

I have increased his coconut oil and I give him red Palm oil 2 or 3 times a week. I also have worked with someone in a different group to change his diet for the past 4 months and really have have a basic diet to try and see if any foods are causing problems. No change in plucking.

I give him chamomile tea before bed every night too.

I just started hemp seed oil this week his vet had suggested hemp oil but when I called to find out the dosage and which one they never called me back. I really do not like his vet they've never been helpful and laughed last time saying "he's an Eclectus, if only he could tell you what's wrong".

I also just spent $80 on a collar for him that I just got yesterday so I will begin attempting to train him to put it on but given that he's refused his harness the entire year and in the summer when it was finally warm enough to go outside I have 0 hopes.

I'm really at a loss for what else I can try. He does pluck during the day sometimes (down mostly) but again it's mostly during the night.

In the past 4 months he's plucked over 200 blood feathers alone. I've kept a diary of his weight, what he's eating, and how many feathers I wake up to find at the bottom of this cage each morning.

He still loves to do training, he's happy, he talks all the time, he flies, he's extremely hormonal so maybe that has something to do with it, otherwise he seems completely normal other than the fact he's plucking nonstop.

I'm posting this here in hopes that someone might have a suggestion that worked for them or maybe yeah any advice. Thank you so much, I feel like I'm completely failing him.

As for where he plucks the feathers, it's all over his body.
 
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saxguy64

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Welcome back, Katie! You've been missed! I'm so glad to see you, but gotta say, I didn't ever expect to be hearing about Jasper plucking. You've done sooooo much with him, and he's absolutely amazing. I can't help but smile every time I see one of his videos. I'm still in shock from reading your post.

I wish I had some words of wisdom about the plucking, other than familiarity. It's so complex. Sometimes people find answers and get it under control, and unfortunately, sometimes they don't. I know you'll continue the search for answers for sweet little Jasper. Best I have to offer are many prayers that you find something that helps. 🙏🙏🙏 As far as failing him, I think all of us who want the best for our fids feel that way. I know I do, more often than not, but I keep trying my best every day. For all that you have done and continue to do for Jasper, if you're failing him, there's not much hope for the rest of us!

You might remember me and my first ekkie, Patches. He was a long time plucker for many years before I got him. I never did find anything that changed it. Believe me, I tried. Among other things, we figured out he had thyroid issues, and I gave him meds every day for it. No change. He was still perfect and beautiful to me, feathers or not. He was so happy, and I feel good that he knew he had his loving forever home for the time he had left. His horrible past caught up with him and my one in a lifetime boy failed very quickly. He passed in my arms on the way to the second vet when my regular had done what he could. He made arrangements with a facility better equipped to save him. Only an hour away, but it was an hour too long.
 
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katie_fleming

katie_fleming

Member
Oct 30, 2012
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Montreal, Canada
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Jasper (6yr old Solomon Island Eclectus Parrot)
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Thank you so much for your reply :) I am so frustrated with everything not working. I'm honestly in the position of thinking I picked the wrong "pet" (baby). With the low calcium issues that tormented him for years before I could find a vet that knew what the issue was, now this. I'm just always in fear for him and never knowing how to help. It's hard to enjoy him when every day it feels like he's got problems.

You mention thyroid. Is that a blood test? What were the symptoms? Someone else mentioned this to me in passing.

I appreciate your encouragement, I really do. I'm thinking I might just have to force the collar on (he's definitely not going to accept it) so he'll stop pulling his blood feathers. I live alone. Can you towel a parrot and put on a collar by yourself??

I am so sorry about Patches. My heart hurts reading that :(
 

chris-md

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Hello katie,

Welcome back. Saxguys right, youve been missed!

Low calcium is definitely something you need to address, qs you know. Im curious what youve done so far to try to correct that? What sort of diet tweaks have you made exactly?
 
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katie_fleming

katie_fleming

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Oct 30, 2012
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Hi Chris! Nice to "see" you again :)

He's always had calcium (CalciBoost) in his water for years. Now I use the AviCalcium on top of his snacky time (so I know he's getting it vs not drinking a lot of water)

On his very simple diet right now he's getting kale (mixed with fruit so he'll eat it), more celery, more mung beans, etc.
 
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katie_fleming

katie_fleming

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Oct 30, 2012
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Jasper (6yr old Solomon Island Eclectus Parrot)
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Plucking_Announcement.jpg
 

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sfreitag

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Jan 13, 2011
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Sorry to hear of the plucking. It’s obvious you love him but I’m sure it’s frustrating too! Have you tried giving him seed? I know that’s not a popular suggestion however an Eclectus breeder once told me a lot of Ekkies pluck due to not getting enough fat. All of his ekkies were fully feathered, I know your giving him coconut oil and palm too but you might want to try seed. If you do pls make sure it does not have any added vitamins to it or artificial colors. I like Volkmans Eclectus blend. I give it to my girl but only in the evening. She gets chop in the morning and afternoon along with topps organic pellets. I hope you and your guy get some relief! He is lucky to have you!
 
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katie_fleming

katie_fleming

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Oct 30, 2012
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Jasper (6yr old Solomon Island Eclectus Parrot)
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Sorry to hear of the plucking. It’s obvious you love him but I’m sure it’s frustrating too! Have you tried giving him seed? I know that’s not a popular suggestion however an Eclectus breeder once told me a lot of Ekkies pluck due to not getting enough fat. All of his ekkies were fully feathered, I know your giving him coconut oil and palm too but you might want to try seed. If you do pls make sure it does not have any added vitamins to it or artificial colors. I like Volkmans Eclectus blend. I give it to my girl but only in the evening. She gets chop in the morning and afternoon along with topps organic pellets. I hope you and your guy get some relief! He is lucky to have you!

Hi! Thanks for your reply. Yes, Jasper gets seed daily, it's his "snacky time" before bed (aka birdie crack lol). For the past 4 months we reduced it to millet only but I just restarted his usual one that I make (slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, millet).

Appreciate your thoughts
 

WingDing

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Well, just as soon as I mention that Toby's plucking is on the downslide, I notice about 20 down feathers under his play stand. I didn't notice them yesterday. He's been doing the plucking literally 6 feet behind my back. And today, every time I look at him, he is picking at his feathers: shredding his flight feathers or plucking his down feathers. It's heartbreaking.

Katie, I may understand a little where you are. I'm really having a hard time not getting emotional over the situation. He's such a beautiful bird and is just tearing himself up. I know I have to make a decision to not get upset. It is happening, yes, but Toby is healthy and seemingly very happy. Right now, he is behind me begging for a shower. He crys a little and then dunks his head in the water bowl. "Water! Brrrrrrrr!" he says to make sure I know what he wants. Funny guy.

I'm going try everything I can to help him like you have. I'm reading through all the past posts I can on here and the other forum and will see what I find. If we have any breakthroughs, Toby and I will let you know.

Best wishes to you and Jasper!
 
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HeatherG

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Apr 25, 2020
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Well, just as soon as I mention that Toby's plucking is on the downslide, I notice about 20 down feathers under his play stand. I didn't notice them yesterday. He's been doing the plucking literally 6 feet behind my back. And today, every time I look at him, he is picking at his feathers: shredding his flight feathers or plucking his down feathers. It's heartbreaking.

Katie, I think I understand where you are. I'm really having a hard time not getting emotional over the situation. He's such a beautiful bird and is just tearing himself up. I know I have to make a decision to not get upset. It is happening, yes, but Toby is healthy and seemingly very happy. Right now, he is behind me begging for a shower. He crys a little and then dunks his head in the water bowl. "Water! Brrrrrrrr!" he says to make sure I know what he wants. Funny guy.

I'm going try everything I can to help him like you have. I'm reading through all the past posts I can on here and the other forum and will see what I find. If we have any breakthroughs, Toby and I will let you know.

Best wishes to you and Jasper!
What a smart bird! By that I meant “water! Brrr!”
 
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