My Umbrella plucking

Mammad

Member
Apr 21, 2020
29
4
Parrots
double yellow head Amazon, African grey
My Umbrella is plucking

hi everyone,
sorry for my bad english :D its my 3rd language
my 3 years old umbrella (Casper) is cutting his feathers to small pieces for more than 3 months now, took him to the vet tested for mite, worms, salmonella and skin diseases all came negative and his blood test was normal too, he is active -playing talking shouting- most of his food is pellets and sometimes McDonald kids meal :rolleyes:
takes daily or next day shower with water only and no drying process. plus he is getting his daily sun light
got him a huge cage with lots of toys to be busy with but still cutting small pieces from all over his body except main wing feathers and tails and keeps chewing them.
i read most of the plucking threads here done most of the except putting him on drugs which i hope i dont reach this level.

Please help :51:
 

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Last edited:

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,145
472
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
I would make sure he gets 12 hours of sleep on a routine (bed-time/wake-up) and in a quiet place. Hormones could be starting to slowly kick in (won't probably go full-on until 6-8 years) but it could be partly to do with the beginning of that transition.
Be very careful with cuddles-- I know they love them and want them, but really try to stick to petting on the head and neck only. Stroking and snuggling is sexual to them and can lead to anxiety and other behaviors.
Make sure doesn't have access to shadowy spaces (e.g., boxes, low shelves, piles of blankets/pillows, piles of paper etc)---these areas mimic nesting hollows and can aggravate behavior as well.

You might see if you can find him a replacement "fidget"-- my cockatoo came to me with an over-preening issue and she really liked these plastic c-links. I tried getting her the BIG ones though, and she hated them. she likes to twirl these in her beak.

Diet-- make sure he isn't getting a lot of sugar (remember- fruit also is sugary in excess), salt or preservatives. Don't ever give him a full Happy Meal lol (I'm SURE mine would LOVE that) but it's way too salty.

Last medical thoughts--- did they swab the area he is plucking to see if he could have some sort of skin infection/yeast? Did they take an x-ray (just in case)---It's a common issue in cockatoos to start feather barbering but I am happy you had blood work done etc, because it's very important to rule out medical issues. It's probably behavioral at this point, but if there was a blockage or enlarged organ or something, they could probably see that in an X-ray.

Don't draw attention to the behavior when it happens--don't try to stop it in an obvious way or you can teach them that feather chewing=attention.

Don't punish them for it either (as that is also giving attention) but it could also make anxiety worse (if that's what this is...sometimes they are just bored and not getting enough activity).

AS A LAST RESORT (if this gets really bad and he starts to obsess over it) they do have anti-anxiety medications that can help with birdy OCD, but make sure you get it from a vet that knows a TON about parrots because some meds that they use for other animals can damage a birds liver etc.

*****Have there been any changes in your home? A new baby? New house? New furniture? New cage? New cage location? New job? New wife/husband/gf/bf?******This could also be a huge part of it if things have changed recently.
 
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OP
Mammad

Mammad

Member
Apr 21, 2020
29
4
Parrots
double yellow head Amazon, African grey
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thanks noodles123 for reply,

very helpful tips i really appreciate it.
i'm always petting him on the back and under his wings :eek: (its time to stop that)
regarding medical test all done except for the x-ray, they said its most probably behavioral
no big changes done other than the cage replacement wich i did last week to give him a bigger space and more toys.
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,145
472
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
It's probably behavioral - definitely no petting in those places lol--under wings=particularly stimulating (yes...they seek it out, but don't indulge it because the older he gets, the worse it will get if you continue). Petting under wings, wrapping them in towels, stroking their backs etc is all sexual for an adult bird, and since yours is getting older, you will have to get him adjusted to head/neck petting instead.

Was this happening before the new cage?
 
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Scott

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noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,145
472
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
Was he ruining his feathers BEFORE the new cage? Either way, as you already know (based on previous pots)-- you are setting yourself up for failure if you keep touching a cockatoo in places other than the head and neck---but just curious. The new cage could have "tipped the scale" if you didn't notice it before, but definitely stick to the advice above either way.
 
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Mammad

Mammad

Member
Apr 21, 2020
29
4
Parrots
double yellow head Amazon, African grey
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Was he ruining his feathers BEFORE the new cage? Either way, as you already know (based on previous pots)-- you are setting yourself up for failure if you keep touching a cockatoo in places other than the head and neck---but just curious. The new cage could have "tipped the scale" if you didn't notice it before, but definitely stick to the advice above either way.

yes he is doing this before the new cage, so i got him a bigger cage and more toys last week only, he plucking for more than 3 months now.
i stopped petting his back and under his wings for 3 days now and he doesn't like that at all :(

is a temporary collar a good solution until he forgets this habit?
 

noodles123

Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
8,145
472
Parrots
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
You are likely his sex partner in his eyes--you are damned if you do, and damned if you don't. You can always try a collar, but in some, that would be more upsetting. Either way, the whole thing will take an adjustment period.
 
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Mammad

Mammad

Member
Apr 21, 2020
29
4
Parrots
double yellow head Amazon, African grey
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #11
i'm getting good result with the soft collar (new feathers are growing nice and clean), but he is annoyed with it :(
he doesn't want to play with me anymore, he is playing with my wife and kids only, i do remove the collar when showering him and putting it back when he is dry, hope this gets easier and he forgets to pluck again.
 

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