Sunny: Tailtrim or more desensitizing? And how?

ChristaNL

Banned
Banned
May 23, 2018
3,559
135
NL= the Netherlands, Europe
Parrots
Sunny a female B&G macaw;
Japie (m) & Appie (f), both are congo african grey;
All are rescues- had to leave their previous homes for 'reasons', are still in contact with them :)
Hi- sorry to barge in (I wrote a looooooong post yesterday but it crashed because I took to long and was logged out agin).


I *really* could use your advice and experience.
(I never had a macaw around before, just a load of african greys, budgies and other small birds, volunteered at a birdshelter for a few years, so anything buzzard/owl/heron/swan-sized is not a problem)



Sunny (10 y old B&G) has been a plucker for an unknown time.
(long enough for her previous owners to give up on her, hoping she would do better somewhere else with more interaction and other parrots for company)
She arrived in my life about 4 months ago as part macaw- part chicken/ penguin look-alike.


The upper part is fine, the wings are a chewed up mess (featherwise - no primaries at all, no selfmutilation fleshwise- luckily!) and have other issues (lost range of motion esp. het left wristjoint which is almost locked and really, really painfull.)
So she gets a lot of therapie for that (only as much as she can handle of course) and supplements and mild painrelief.


Not sure what happened - she has been in fights with the other resident macaw (also a B&G) and because of that removed from that place and when I got to meet her she was in a horrible small cage (but was assured she got out-of-the-cage-time as well) hanging from the ceiling by one toe, just swinging to and fro.


She also had NO tail at all.
One major feather was forming, but broke during transport.
(Yup- a bloody mess. Got her to the vet 48 hours later for tests etc.)

Since then she has been sprouting feathers all over - but also demolishes most of them after a few days/ weeks.


The wingfeathers did great for a while - till they started meeting each other across her back.
With still painfull wings no surprise (yet slightly disappointing of course, we all like a miracle once in a while ;) ) she decided to give them a trim (again).
If someting hurts she wil bite it - over and over and over /as I found out with the first bloodpen.

(maybe that is how the plucking started?)

Not sure if it was the constant feather-feather contact and extra imput she could not take or if the new feathers just don't sit well between the chewed up remains of the other ones...


(Yes .. there has been suggestions made by her specialist of plucking them all out -under general anestesia of course- to make them all grow in simultaniously, but she needs to be in far better condition first and -hopefully- painfree / the wrist is so bad even the experienced avian vet had no hope she would ever fly again.)


Anyway- this is clear: fix the pain before worrying about beauty.


Now there is another thing going on (and the pain is on me :eek: )
She is really fun to work with - and even learning about pressurebiting, so I don't have to grab the baindaids as much anymore.


Yes I am doing things "wrong" (way to intimate) but I need to get up close and personal to help her move her wings.
(manipulating, easy stretches, trying to get her to use them in any way instead of just squeezing them against her body all day long, I spend weeks just massaging the painfull kinks in her neck- and schouldermuscles)
A few weeks ago she started semi-flapping in the shower for the first time - I almost cried!
(She is part duck I think- she looooooves getting soaked )


She is getting more active; is also (re)learning how to play and she loves roughhousing: throwing empty sodabottles around, running after them or a small rubber ball.

Demolishing tissues is a favorite (and try to do the same to my t-shirts)

She would be completely out of breath in about 5 minutes ... no longer!
She even started gnawing on some willowbrances \o/ like a real macaw.


Anyway- I have one problem with all this-
and it has everything to do with me not concentrating enough, but I cannot do more so I need a "quick fix".


Since we are pretty much hands-on a lot of the time and I am trying my best to make every contact as painless, comforting and fun as possible -
she will "out of the blue" vice me.
Sort of a quick warning bite (but she does not break the skin anymore / clever cookie she is!) but hard enough to still hurt.
The beak wil shoot out and CLAMP , sometimes my forearm (Oh Grandmother...what a BIG beak you have...), part of my hand or one of my fingers.
And of course if she is really upset about something she will start grinding.
Not funny!!
(I like my fingers the way they are attached, thank you very much! :eek:)


Since I can be a bit daft at times it took me forever to figure out there was almost always only one reason for this to happen:
her tail got stuck!
(atm there is 1! large tailfeather and she has grown in the smallish triangle that supports the tail, she had 2 large ones- the moment is was no longer a bloodfeather in any way she chomped it off)


It's quite annoying (and depressing): while playing she will walk backwards - and bump her tail against (something)- *bam* beak meets me,

she will sit on my lap, get all acrobatic and starts doing rolls (she experiments with gently putting her own weight on her wings... it is amazing how brave she is) and her tail gets stuck somewhere and CHOMP.
She hangs upside down from my fingers (legstrengtening exercises and fun!)- her tail touches something and she turns into a fury from hell for the next 5 seconds.


It's probably the same as the wings: she hasn't had anything dangling from het butt for so very long - she gets spooked.
(I might be verry, verry wrong here)
So there has been naming it - she knows "tail", touching it after warning her I would do so, warning her if I move past and will likely touch it with a shoulder or so, the greys both find it irresitable and will try to grab it (not helping guys!!) so now thery all spend more time in the cages because they can't mix.


I am at a loss what to do - she is already in hormonal overdrive*, she needed a LOT of good groceries inside her pronto and gets touched inappropriately (wings, legs etc.) a lot -- so more tailtouching/manipulation is really not good for her.


(*She started grabbing her tail (while in her cage) with one foot, pull it to the side and make high pitched wheezy noises (rule 34?).)


soooooo. I wonder: would it be easier for her if I chopped a piece of that feather off? (I won't be ruining her looks all that much ;) )

She would still have some to help her balance, but not run into everything all day long and maybe help her get used to 'the buttextension' without being such a major stressor.


(if you made it all the way here: thank you for reading! I am hopelessly longwinded :p )


What do you think??
(or: what would you do?)
 
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GaleriaGila

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What a difficult and upsetting situation. Thank you for taking this bird on.

What kind of therapy are you doing? Is it advised by a vet, or...?
Please don't pull all her feathers out, even under anesthesia.
I would not trim her tail at all.
Is her diet optimal? If so, are supplements needed? Dosage and such can be confusing...

You know what? I'm kind of inclined just to give the bird some space for now. Let her settle, let her decide where she goes, and when... let her just feel safe. I would let her determine her own activities, levels, duration...

After all she's been through, 4 months isn't long, I don't think.

Thank you again for trying to help her.
 
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ChristaNL

Banned
Banned
May 23, 2018
3,559
135
NL= the Netherlands, Europe
Parrots
Sunny a female B&G macaw;
Japie (m) & Appie (f), both are congo african grey;
All are rescues- had to leave their previous homes for 'reasons', are still in contact with them :)
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You are abslutely right off course: 4 months is a relative short time.


Just figured out this is also probably a form of 'displacement biting' - so will look into topics about that.


It's just ... this is really getting in the way of her progress and I don´t want that.
(don´t really care about an occasional chomp or even slight bite, but we are talking about her freaking out almost like clockwork)


There is another tailfeather growing in now, so now there is extra sensitivity where there was already a freaking out birdie.
(I even considered sticking the old feather back on so there is a more solid tailpart - but I have never done that )


Awel- I haven't lost any bodyparts sofar.... ;)
 
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ChristaNL

Banned
Banned
May 23, 2018
3,559
135
NL= the Netherlands, Europe
Parrots
Sunny a female B&G macaw;
Japie (m) & Appie (f), both are congo african grey;
All are rescues- had to leave their previous homes for 'reasons', are still in contact with them :)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #4
What kind of therapy are you doing? Is it advised by a vet, or...?


Sorry- I forgot: I am a trained physiotherapist -
no worries.


I haven't done the extra studie (so not a certified animal-Physio) only because I am incapable of parallel-parking a horse. :rolleyes:
(It's mostly cats, dogs and horses anyway, but since I have not enough horse-handling-experience I can't get in.)




==




https://imgur.com/a/pua6ALA for pictures ;)


(of Sunny, not me)
 
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ChristaNL

Banned
Banned
May 23, 2018
3,559
135
NL= the Netherlands, Europe
Parrots
Sunny a female B&G macaw;
Japie (m) & Appie (f), both are congo african grey;
All are rescues- had to leave their previous homes for 'reasons', are still in contact with them :)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
Well, this one solved itself ... she lost the longest feather (spontaneously) a few days ago.
So she is down to less than her bodylength in 2-gnawed-off-feathers-excuse-of-a-tail.

A lot less bumping into things (which is nice!) - but she still manages to get it stuck while playing ... so there is still some lashing out at me because of that :rolleyes:
( *sighs* I thought these birds were to supposed to be smart and learn :p )


It's amazing how active she is getting compared to her first few weeks.
We've been outside the door (a few steps, still not on street-level) and she loves watching the sparrows in the big bush in my neighbours garden.


The moment we step back in (she insists we leave) she gets rid of the tension by bringing her beak down on/in my arm.
She discovered her beak fits around my forearm (sideways anyway) and she is experimenting with that! :eek:
Another displacement biting-moment we need to work on!


(why didn't I get another nice docile doddering one / oh yea I forgot: you dont always get the bird you want, you get the bird you need .... :07: )
 
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ChristaNL

Banned
Banned
May 23, 2018
3,559
135
NL= the Netherlands, Europe
Parrots
Sunny a female B&G macaw;
Japie (m) & Appie (f), both are congo african grey;
All are rescues- had to leave their previous homes for 'reasons', are still in contact with them :)
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #6
aaaaaaaaaand she did it again :eek:

Sunny is back to having a penguin-butt!

The halved (by herself!) last remaining tailfeather got bumped this morning during play and fell out: split like the old fasioned writing pen-and-ink implements.
I can't see what the remaining stump looks like- it is painfull and she is still really defensive about it.
It happened about 4 hours ago, she got showered & fed in the meantime and is gnawing away at the willowbranches atm, so no clue if the remaining part is stuck in/under the skin or sticking out a little-> would be less irritating and possible problematic, that was a wicked sharp endpiece!


:rolleyes:
I have once again an out-of-balance-bird with a new forming pin-feather sticking out like a wi-fi-antenna (just waiting to get stuck somewhere or bumped against something) of about a generous fingerlenght.
I was soo hoping that the one (half) remaining feather would stick around long enough for the new (neighbour) feather to grow in ... well, no such luck!
No support left for the brandnew one. :(


Maybe I should stick her butt in the freezer for the next couple of weeks? :p
That would really desensitize it propperly for her!




One plus: yes, she squealed like a piglet, but no biting! :40:
.
 
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Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
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Dealing with feather plucking is so difficult, I feel your pain.. it takes so long to get improvement if ever...so many different things people try...the pulling feathers with feet and doing that weazing thing is an OCD thing feather pickers can do, it's self soothes. My quaker is a mild feather picker, (currently stopped) but she over preens and does the same thing... You've done all the things I've read of, new environment, plenty of attention, better food, vet visit....so it's going to take time, it took a lot if time for her to get like this in the first place, so it's going to take alot of time to start seeing improvement too. Keep searching for answers and keep trying! If you find the cure, you'll be a millionaire!!! As you mentioned these birds require extra calories because they burn more keeping warm, and continually growing feathers.. you are doing a wonderful job coping with this. Best wishes!!
 

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