Plucking/molting/what???? Very concerned...


New member
Sep 13, 2017
I moved back to AZ from KY at the end of last year. Over the past several months (since at least June), I noticed that my conure Nibbler has had mainly down feathers showing on her chest (she started losing those feathers shortly after the move but figured it to be partially stress related from the move and partially a molt due to the time of the year), although it does appear some of her yellow and red feathers are coming back. Ever since the move, nothing has really changed other than I can't let her out of the cage as much due to a decline in my health and I had to move into my parents house and my mom doesn't want me to let her out for very long. I keep cuttle bone in her cage, change her food and water regularly, rotate out her toys so she doesn't get bored, and do my best to give her cuddles and attention even when she isn't out of the cage (I spend a lot of time in my room and she likes to watch TV with me even when in her cage). I don't see any signs of mites (I put white paper at the bottom of her cage and checked it in the middle of the night). She gets plenty of sleep and is usually the one waking me up. I was hoping by now to see an improvement, and although I can tell she is molting to an extent from all the pin feathers she wants me to preen on her neck, I dont see many pin feathers on her chest and I'm really worried about her. I've read quite a few other forums and the only thing I have found that I could do differently is try to give her a mist bath rather than just let her bathe in her bath bowl (for some reason she is scared of the mist bottle) and take her outside in maybe her travel cage for 30 minutes so she can take in some of the sun.

I posted a few pictures. Any idea what could be causing this? I would love to just take her to the vet but my health caused me to become unemployed, so until I can get stable again, it's unfortunately not an option, but I want to help my baby! :(


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New member
Sep 2, 2017
Kingston, Ont.
4 Budgies 2 males and 2 females.
Sheldon,Raj,Elsa, Anna and my GCC Joey.
Im not an expert on conures as I just got one but it sounds like it could just be the stress of moving. How long has she been like this? :gcc:

By the way beautiful bird.


New member
May 11, 2017
Surrey, UK
Rio (Yellow sided conure) sadly no longer with us
could potentially be stress from the move, combined with stress of being seperated by bars from you along with boredom of being in the cage causing her to over-preen

why does your mum not want her out of the cage? Seems a bit unfair to your conure unless there's some danger to her. Just wondering is your mother using ordinary house cleaners and non-stick cookware? Is she even aware they're super toxic to a bird?

Saying that if you haven't get a vet appointment just to run a couple tests so you know there's nothing going on behind the scenes.


Staff member
Super Moderator
Dec 18, 2013
Maya (Female Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Jolly (Male Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Bixby (Male, red-sided eclectus. RIP), Suzie (Male cockatiel. RIP)
Hello, and welcome to the Parrot Forums family!

It does sound to me as though the plucking might be a reaction to the combined stress of moving and no longer being allowed out of her cage as much as much as she is accustomed. At this point, I'd usually suggest that you take her to a certified vet to rule out any medical causes. You'd be surprised how many people lose valuable time trying to address a psychological cause when the initial catalyst was actually a physical one. But I understand that a vet is not an option for now. (I'd still urge you to call around, as some veterinary facilities offer payment plans for people in difficult situations such as your own.)

Soaking baths may help relieve any itchiness that could trigger plucking. Not just misting (unless you are misting long enough to soak her to the skin), but straight up soaking. Chamomile flowers (organic) are also good for calming a bird's nerves. Chamomile tea, without added sugar and such and obviously cooled, is also good for this purpose. Just make sure to either brew it from fresh chamomile flowers yourself or at least carefully vet the ingredients of anything pre-made to be sure that it's bird-safe.

Also, try switching her toys around and regularly providing new ones. Try your best to pique her attention and distract her from plucking. And try to get her out off her cage as much as possible. Maybe your mother would be more amenable to this if you mostly took her out in your room? And work on interactive activities. The more distracted she is, the less likely to pluck or barber her feathers... assuming a psychological issue, of course.

In the meantime, here is a link that is full of helpful info about plucking started by our own Allee:
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New member
Sep 13, 2017
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My mom is unfortunately not very big on having animals in the house, which is why she doesn't want me to let Nibbler out much. She is afraid my bird will poop on her floors or furniture, despite the fact that Nibbler is pretty well trained. So at this point I'm just trying to appease her because my only other option was to rehome her but Nibbler is extremely attatched to me and will bite anybody who isn't me.

Ive never actually seen her pluck, just grooming like usual, so it is hard to tell when I need to step in. I can tell when she is vying for my attention, though, and will always drop what I'm doing to hold her for a bit and love on her.

I am aware how toxic nonstick pans and pots are to her, and Ive always done my best to keep her separate from the cooking area to minimize her exposure, and that always seemed to work fine up until now.

I will try and let her out more in my room where it won't affect my mom so much and try to let her soak rather than just mist her. I also am going to let her get real sunlight exposure to rule out any deficiencies there. Thank you all for the input!


Well-known member
Jul 14, 2017
A crossover Quaker Scuti (F), A Sun conure named AC, A Cinnamon Green Cheek conure Kent, and 6 budgies, Scuti Jr. (f), yellow (m), clark Jr. (m), Dot (f), Zebra(f), Machine (m).

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