What can i do to help my plucking lovebird?

xsy

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Aug 1, 2021
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Hi, I have an 8 year old peach-faced lovebird who has a feather-plucking habit that started suddenly when he was 1. We took him to the vet and she said that it's not anything medical but rather he was hormonal and without a mate, he was sexually frustrated and therefore resorted to plucking. She suggested we get him toys and give him more out of cage playtime (which I've done over the years) but 1. the toys dont interest him after maybe 5 minutes and 2. he always plucks once back in the cage.

So what else I've done (according to advice on the internet) is to remove any possible 'triggers' such as shreddable materials and nest boxes, attached more toys and provide more veggies and fruit in his diet. Also I've tried to use anti-plucking spray, frequent baths and to place his cage in different locations with adequate sunlight as well. Unfortunately it seems to be getting worse this year but I don't really know why, perhaps it's been getting hotter but he still gets his frequent baths.

So can anyone offer me some advice?? It's really frustrating to hear him scream and watch him pluck at his chest despite what i've tried :(
 

SailBoat

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Jul 10, 2015
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Working with a Parrot that plucks is a lifestyle change on our part. To try something and decide that it does work and go back to what ever you are calling normal life as it can take months even years for a Parrot to change its activities.

Just because a Parrot does not play with a toy does not mean it doesn't. Toys have reasons beyond having the Parrot play with it. Specific toys placed in specific location can provide a Parrot with a hiding place to sleep /rest /nap. And empty cage can and usually does result in a restless Parrot.

Once it becomes a set behavior, finding a way to halt it is likely not going to happen. At this point, the goal becomes finding ways to redirect the behavior to other activities with a goal of limiting the behavior. Out of the cage time can be a huge part of this especially if your Parrot receives very little. Flying is a great way to distract plucking as it demands energy which commonly results in eating and sleeping. Both of which is time your Parrot does not pluck.
 
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xsy

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Aug 1, 2021
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Hi there thanks for the reply!! I've actually kept the toys in his cage and i have a few others which i swap around with every few weeks so that he's not seeing the same toys weekly. As for even more out of cage time I suppose I could squeeze out a little more time (I'm currently a student and I won't be around for the whole day to supervise) to let him wander around the house.

that said, i've been told that he screams more when i'm around supposedly to attract attention and i would let him out in 30 min intervals to have some playtime. would it be ideal if i extended the session duration or increased the frequency of the sessions??
 

Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Plucking is one of the more vexing behavior issues. Kudos for seeking veterinary assistance, but the causes vary widely from physiological to adaptation to our homes - parrots in the wild rarely pluck. Please read this excellent discussion from our Behavioral Forum: http://www.parrotforums.com/behavioral/52217-plucking-search-answers.html

Various liquid sprays are available, not sure any are effective. Please closely check ingredients and only purchase from reputable companies.
 
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xsy

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Hi Scott, thanks for linking the article! Yeah unfortunately, he's always plucked ever since h was 1 and it's probably a habit by now. Hopefully if I can give him more play time then things would be better

Thank you SailBoat as well for suggesting flying exercise. My house is a little cramped but I'll try to clear a small area for him to fly in :)
 

johnbirds

New member
Dec 11, 2020
11
2
Hi, I have an 8 year old peach-faced lovebird who has a feather-plucking habit that started suddenly when he was 1. We took him to the vet and she said that it's not anything medical but rather he was hormonal and without a mate, he was sexually frustrated and therefore resorted to plucking. She suggested we get him toys and give him more out of cage playtime (which I've done over the years) but 1. the toys dont interest him after maybe 5 minutes and 2. he always plucks once back in the cage.

So what else I've done (according to advice on the internet) is to remove any possible 'triggers' such as shreddable materials and nest boxes, attached more toys and provide more veggies and fruit in his diet. Also I've tried to use anti-plucking spray, frequent baths and to place his cage in different locations with adequate sunlight as well. Unfortunately it seems to be getting worse this year but I don't really know why, perhaps it's been getting hotter but he still gets his frequent baths.

So can anyone offer me some advice?? It's really frustrating to hear him scream and watch him pluck at his chest despite what i've tried :(
The only thing I have seen work is a collar but the go right back after removing it. It is near impossible to stop if you let it go on and then try to stop it
 

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