Simon has started plucking!

Posted By: Simon's Mom

Simon has started plucking! - 11/12/08 11:06 PM

Okay so Simon is officially plucking (I think) On Oct. 13th I had a post that he was pulling out his down feathers. Well we ran out bought a humidifier as we turned on the heaters and that seemed to help, well in the last 5 days or so he has started again, so I have been watching more - he is chewing off the down leaving the quill. He chews them into tiny little balls. I noticed that he is shaving his legs now also! He is mainly plucking on his back and under his wing, a little on the chest. I noticed blood on his beak yesterday and thoroughly inspected his entire body - he doesn't appear to be making any sores but I think he is pulling out the quills - blood or otherwise. I do not have a certified avian vet - everyone listed on-line when I call is not actually board certified. I have found an Avian (not certified vet) by our house that Simon might be going to tomorrow. I have been reading like mad this morning on here trying to figure out possible triggers and approaches. I know the vet is first and for most but I was curious about pasta? They really like pasta, veggies & beans. Could this be from a combo of the heater & too much pasta? I thought it might have been that he was bored with his current selection of toys so I changed them all out and put some of his old fav's back in. Will be shopping today for new things. Any suggestions are great!

~ panicking mom!
Posted By: Beeps

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/12/08 11:41 PM


First don't freak out and panic because Simon can pick up on that. Ignore the plucking. You don't want him to get attention from it!

As you know, a vet visit is definitely in order.

Diet can certainly play a role in plucking. If you're interested, here's a link to a free yahoo group called Feeding Feathers that has a good pluckers' diet in its files, as well as other info on plucking.

Here is a handout from a vet clinic discussing plucking, including tests that can be run. It may be helpful to bring that with you when you go to the vet tomorrow (as it discusses diagnostics you may want to consider):

Obviously, do everything you can to stop the plucking. But a plucking bird does not necessarily mean an unhappy bird. Sometimes the stress of captivity seems to be too much for certain birds to handle.

Don't allow yourself to freak out too much. He will pick up on the stress and make it worse. I know this is easier said than done. My timneh started plucking almost 3 years ago and I was a mess. A humidifier solved her problem, but I've since adopted a mutilating (now only plucking) congo, so I know what you're going through!

Good luck!

ETA: I just reread your post. Is he plucking them off or biting off at the skin? When I did a ton of research on this due to the above-mentioned timneh, it seems that when they bite them off, it's often lack of humidity. I know you added a humidifier, but maybe he needs more frequent baths or a stronger humidifier? They sell humidity sensors you could buy. Also, when they bite them off it takes longer for the feather to regrow generally since the shaft is still in there and will need to molt before a new feather can grow. So you may not see results quickly even if you've solved the problem. If he's picking them out (not biting them off), ignore this edit.
Posted By: ChickenBaby

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/12/08 11:44 PM

I don't have any experience with this but can the heater be drying out and thus irritating his skin and feathers?
Posted By: TiKa's Dad

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/13/08 01:07 AM

An avian vet does not need to be "board certified" to be an excellent vet. You will know pretty quickly upon your first visit if you have a vet you can trust. There are good mechanics and bad mechanics. You need to find "your" mechanic.

As mentioned already. Don't panic and stay pleasant and upbeat around the bird. Even if you have to put on a big act to do it.

Get Simon to the vet soon. smile

Something to read. Feather destruction

Feather picking articles at the bottom ----> Here
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/13/08 01:07 AM

Here are a few listings of certified avian vets I pulled from the AAV website which appear to be in your area (an hour or less). Good luck - a good avian vet and a full check-up and complete blood work is the first place you need to start.

All Bird Clinic LLC
Deanna Shafar
2505 South 80th Street
Tacoma, WA 98409
Phone: 253-475-2611
Fax: 253-983-0000

McDole Veterinary Services
A. McDole
PO Box 24015
Federal Way, WA 98093
Phone: 206-579-5519
Fax: 206-400-1582

Des Moines Veterinary Hospital
James Onorati
21935 Pacific Highway South
Seattle, WA 98198
Phone: 206 878-4111

Exotic Pet and Bird Clinic
Skip Nelson
903 Fifth Avenue, Suite 101
Kirkland, WA 98033
Phone: 425-827-6613
Fax: 425-828-4240

Lee Harris
1530 South Dash Point Road
Federal Way, WA 98003
Phone: 206 941-3900
Fax: 206 941-2164

Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital
Adolf Maas
10137 Main St, Ste. 6
Bothell, WA 98011
Phone: 425-486-9000
Fax: 425-486-9002
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/13/08 01:46 AM

Beeps - I think it was your post I read and why I got the humidifer. How close can I put these to them? I currently have it across the living room maybe 20-30 feet away from them. There is a spot close to them that my dogs won't knock it over but it is within a foot or so of the cage - he wouldn't be able to get to it while in his cage but would have to be moved when he's out.

Thanks John - I know I am a worrier - he doesn't see this, I save it for work when I can't watch him like a hawk and give him something else to do.

EM - Deanna Shaffer is not certified per her office which is no longer All Birds Clinic. I was excited when I found her info on-line as she is in between my work and home. A McDole is not taking new clients.

Okay we have an appt. with James Onorati on Sat! YEAH this guy is the cockatoo expert and is the vet for Molly Rescue! Which is an A+ for me. He specializes in Too Plucking! That couldn't be any better! Thanks EM

I am doing a little dance! LOL

Back to reading all the articles you guys have left for me.

Thanks so much!
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/13/08 01:48 AM

Good deal Simon's Mom! Please keep us updated. smile
Posted By: TiKa's Dad

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/13/08 02:02 AM

Janet to the rescue again! smile

I'll do a happy dance too, what the heck! smile
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/13/08 02:22 AM

I will be on here on Monday! I was really pleased just with the conversation I had with the office. Hope he is as good as his people sell him to be. Hope that makes sense.

The Vet the I took Azul to wasn't as thorough as I would have liked her to be. Of course at the time I didn't know that. But she handled him well.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/13/08 03:41 AM

SM...between now and Saturday, make a list of questions that you have. That way, you won't forget anything you want to ask while you are there. A good AV will appreciate that, AND take the time to answer all your questions. And don't be afraid to ask questions - that's how we all learn!
Posted By: Beeps

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/13/08 04:52 PM

As for how close the humidifer can/should be, since you're going to the vet in a couple of days, I'd put that on my list of things to ask if I were you! As long as the bird can't get to it in its cage, I don't see why it couldn't be closer, but there could be things I'm not thinking of.

I did some searching and found a site with humidity meters: That way you could tell if the humidity by the cage is higher if it's 1 foot away as opposed to 20 feet away.

I keep my humidifier in the corner of my living room. My birds' cages are around the perimeter of the living room. My caique's cage is probably 1 foot away from it, whereas my greys' cages are closer to 15 feet away.

I think this is a trial and error kind of thing, unfortunately frown
Posted By: dontgetshocked

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/15/08 04:31 PM

This is generally a sign of some sort of behavior problem,something that is stressing them out.That said, I highly recommend buying and using Pluck No More along with the Feather Shine product to get rid of this problem while you analyze what started it.Here is the link;
Posted By: Charlie

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/15/08 05:54 PM

I highly recommend buying and using Pluck No More along with the Feather Shine product to get rid of this problem while you analyze what started it.

Are you serious? LOL
Posted By: TiKa's Dad

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/15/08 06:27 PM

Are you serious? LOL

That is my line. frown

Pluck No More
Revolutionary New Product!


There is no magic potion. I wonder what the vets cut is on the sale?
Posted By: Charlie

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/15/08 07:21 PM

Well, I have no first hand knowledge of this product but I know one thing, if it could "take care of this problem", we would not need a website like Mytoos!
Posted By: Donnalee

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/15/08 11:23 PM

Exactly! Pluck No More probably works as well as the Breast Enlargement pills I just seen on eBay. I have no first hand knowledge of either. ; )
Posted By: MagnusG2

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/15/08 11:26 PM

I have a close friend here in denmark who ordered Pluck No More from USA, and it DOESN'T work!!

How old is Simon? Is he reaching sexual maturity? Because my G2 Magnus suddenly started plucking this May, and I took him to my AV for a full work up to check for anything physical. But he was as healthy as could be and the AV was pleased with his diet and everything else I told him I did. I took several points of actions, and long story short: I think it was a mixture of early maturity and low humidity. He was very confused at the time and it was clearly that he had a hard time handling all the hormones. I started more often rotation of the toys in his cage, removed his food bowl and started Captive Foraging. No more free buffet! LOL! Now he has to work for his food....use his brain to get to it. I bought lots of green plants and got the humidity back up, I bought more toys and intensified his training. I gave him Aloe Vera in his water and I sprayed him with Aloe Vera. The first week after his very traumatic trip to the vet we moved his cage into the study where my boyfriend works (he works at home). He stopped plucking and hasn't done it since and now he is fully feathered. I will never know for sure why he did it, but I keep my fingers crossed that he won't ever start again. I think I take very good care of him and my vet thought that too and I was sooooo frustrated because I didn't know what was wrong.

Good luck to you and Simon. I hope you will get it under control.
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/16/08 12:04 AM

A few years ago someone I knew attributed the use of Pluck No More to the death of their cockatoo. NOT the product itself - BUT. PNM has a calming effect on birds. Because her cockatoo did calm down considerably after she began using PNM, she was not aware that the bird had also become ill, and chalked up the changes she was seeing to the the calming effect of the product, rather than illness. It wasn't until the bird became very ill that she realized something was terribly wrong and she lost him. She carried alot of guilt because she felt that if she hadn't started using the product, she would have realized that the bird was ill much sooner, which could have saved his life. Just something to think about.

As with any product one considers using, check with your avian vet first.
Posted By: LeAnn

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/16/08 08:44 AM

Yeah I would take him to a vet!
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/16/08 08:01 PM

Simon's Mom, how did the appointment with Dr. Onorati go yesterday?
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/17/08 09:40 PM

The appt went great. Love Dr. Onorati! He owns an entourage of birds also! I showed up with a full list of question, Simon's schedule, food and of course he loved that! He added it to his file. We will not know the results until tomorrow afternoon. He gave him a Vitamin A shot, told me to get full spectrum lighting (as this also started when he was not going outside anymore because of the weather change). Doesn't think it is the reason but could help. Also he told me to buy flax seed oil (this is expensive!) and Olive oil and mix 1 part Flax seed to 4-5 parts olive oil and drop a couple of drops on his food everyday. He thinks this will help as well.
He really loved Simon. He thought he was the sweetest and very forgiving. He was happy that Simon doesn't mind towels at all. I just about died when he told me he drew blood from his juggler! OMG I can't imagine Simon sitting sill for that! But he took him out of the room to that, which is good I would have made Simon nervous. I think he thought I was a little OCD with questions but didn't mind at all. Simon did so well on the way there as they are a hour and 15 min from our house. When we got there we put Simon in a cat carrier to take him in that of course had his 3 fav toys in it and a blanket he loves to play with when out. He did awesome in there! I thought he would have freaked out. Of course everyone in the waiting room wanted to talk to Simon and thought he was adorable! They were talking to him and he would bob his whole body left and right or up and down. We also noticed Simon doesn't make a peep when we are out of the house. He has been out a lot we just never payed attention to it. That was the longest road trip he has taken.

Don't worry guys wouldn't buy that stuff!

We have moved the humidifier in between their cages.

As for your question Magnus Simon will be 2 in Jan.

So I will be on here tomorrow afternoon as soon as I have the results.
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/17/08 09:59 PM

well they just called! I'm on my way to go pick up Anit-biotics as he has a bacteria infection. They were going to send of the culture and have them break it down to figure out which one to give him but seems how he sneezed yesterday they are going to give us one to start on and then will find out if we need a different one once the tests come back. :-(
Posted By: Beeps

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/17/08 10:18 PM

Thanks for the update! It will be interesting to see if the vet thinks it's the bacterial infection that's causing the plucking.

Keeping my fingers crossed that you get everything cleared up quickly!
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/17/08 11:28 PM

Yes, thanks for the update. We'll be anxiously awaiting the test results and fingers are crossed here too that it's something that will clear up quickly!!

One concern. You mentioned that you put Simon in the carrier when you arrived at the vets office. Was he free in the car for the ride there? If so, that is very dangerous for Simon. He should be in a travel carrier, even for a short distance car ride, strapped in, ideally in the back seat (because of front air bags). If you were to be involved in an serious car crash (God forbid of course) it could have even more grave consequences for Simon if he's lose in the vehicle.
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 12:24 AM

EM I understand the concern and thank you I really never thought about the accident factor.

He was on me in the back seat, that was his first time in the carrier, to the vet and in the car for an hour or so each way - so I sat with him in the back with toys and love to minimize the stress. Didn't want to add to the plucking. We were happy that he didn't freak in the carrier and will be looking into one for Simon as this was a cat carrier with no perch or anything and I can't mount one in case I need it for the cats. It was just a quick fix in case there were a lot of people and pets in the waiting room.

So we have the two antibiotics to give him for 14 days and they will call in the next 3-5 days when they get the results back. Will defiantly let everyone know how he is doing with the meds and the results.
Posted By: TiKa's Dad

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 01:25 AM

I wish you lots of luck with the meds. That's always the worst part for me. smile
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 01:32 AM

I am still at work and haven't got try the meds yet. This is the first time any of my kids have been ill. So we will see how this works. He usually doesn't like new things unless I try them first so I might have to choke down some sweet potatoe baby food YUK!!! I HATE SWEET POTATOES :-((same color as one of the antibiotics) and try the switch a-roo with the syringe. The other one is milk color and that will work for me. But of course I will try without pretending like I'm eating it also. A video camera would be most entertaining tonight! LOL
Posted By: EchosMom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 01:40 AM

SM, I know some people do, but I don't use perches in my bird carriers. I've noticed that standing on a perch in a moving vehicle (turns, bumps, etc) makes it difficult for them to stay perched. And they usually give up and then the perch gets in the way of them standing and moving around. I just fold up a nice towel in the bottom and they travel very well that way.

Good luck with the meds!!
Posted By: TiKa's Dad

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 02:05 AM

Trickery only works the first few times. smile You may have to do the dirty deed of force feeding the meds. It's important that she gets the full dose and the complete dose. smile You'll git er done.
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 06:13 PM

Trickery doesn't work at all! He's scared of the syringe. Okay so when I picked up the meds the directions were to put it in the corner of his mouth and give it to him. Sounds easy enough! HA HA HA HA What a joke! We got all the meds last night and half of them today. I have never had to towel Simon before and every time he has been toweled for the vet visit or to get clipped and what not I wasn't around. So the toweling wasn't hard (don't know if I'm doing it right) and he doesn't get mad about that - but he keeps on flipping his head all over trying to bite and attacks the syringe! I tried giving it to him while he was attacking the syringe but that ended up on the couch. HOW DO I DO THIS? I need a mideval rack to strap him down! GEEZ Suggestion? Thanks
Posted By: TiKa's Dad

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 06:35 PM

Had a feeling you'd be asking. smile

Here is some toweling videos to start.

Episode 5 Toweling
Episode 6 Toweling II

Lots of discussion on giving meds. Just type meds in the search box.
Feeding MEDS thread
Another feeding MEDS thread
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 07:44 PM

John I only have a computer at work and they have exiled streaming video and personal media! So all the cool pics and videos on this site I can't get into. Sometimes I can watch if they are directly emailed to me.

I have already been searching, reading, copying and pasting my own little advise manual. We are going to try so many different things.

We are starting tonight with cooked mashed carrots, then butternut squash and peanut butter.

Going to give Simon one of the syringes tonight to handle a bit, very supervised of course. He hasn't learned to chomp too hard on things when he is mad as he bit me last night for the first time but not hard enough to pierce the skin and he didn't break the syringe that he chomped on. So I thought tonight we will try to hide it in food and let him play with a syringe until he feels comfortable with it.

I have also called the vet and talked with one of the nurses there who is on a 4 month regiment of this and she is the one who gave me the carrot & squash idea. She says they gave us extra doses knowing this was going to happen.

Will update tomorrow and let you all know how this worked for us!
Posted By: TiKa's Dad

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/18/08 09:16 PM

How the heck do they expect you to goof off at work if they block youtube!! laugh

I mean do research. smile
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/19/08 09:13 PM

Okay so last night I tried, organic baby food, carrots, apple-blueberry or plum-blueberry, macaroni & cheese all of which he wouldn't eat w/o the meds. I think he is on to me. LOL We are going to buy sweet potatoes tonight and I'll try mashing those. I got him to eat the meds in mashed potatoes! go figure - the med he doesn't like is orange! I think he wouldn't eat the carrots & macaroni is they are the same color IDK. Mashed potatoes work but I don't want to give him that twice a day for 13 more days! WOW. I did cut it back to about a tablespoon worth of potatoes but still too much starch. Trial and error I guess. I don't want him to become defendant on Mashed potatoes (could he with only 2 tbls a day?) But it was stress free and I like that!
Posted By: TiKa's Dad

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/19/08 09:28 PM

You do whatever it takes to get those meds in for 13 days. Never mind the starch. Give him smaller amounts with the full dose.

It's important to get them in, stress or not.
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 11/19/08 09:54 PM

Thanks John! I can give him the full dose of both in a tablespoon of potatoes. Which I thought was a miracle as one is orange! I was worried about the starch thing.

IT works great for us as he is not stressed and I'm not stressed!

I am still going to try some other things and see if something a little healthier will work, but until I find something else I'm going home tonight to make more mashed potatoes!

I am officially a slave to Simon! LOL
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 12/01/08 10:58 PM

I just realized I never got back to everyone to tell them what the diagnosis was. Simon has Ecoli! Which totally scared me, I was asking how he got this, out of the list of food I took where do you think it came from. He doesn't eat any meat so it couldn't have come from that! Come to find out they naturally have Ecoli and sometimes it gets over produced and presents itself. Today is the last day of anti-biotics and we have a follow up on the 20th. Of course I will come back and let yah know the outcome! Sorry for the delay :-(
Posted By: RB2sMom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 12/01/08 11:35 PM

You can also get E. coli from vegetables that have been contaminated. At least you know the cause and treatment should take care of it.
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 12/11/08 07:54 PM

Update Simon's re-culture says he is good!!! YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH
Posted By: Beeps

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 12/11/08 08:09 PM

Thanks for the update. Did he ever get better at taking his meds?
Posted By: Simon's Mom

Re: Simon has started plucking! - 12/11/08 08:40 PM

we had no problem if they were in about a tbls of mashed potatoes. I tried putting in his veggie and bean mix but he got weird about eating anything orange after tying just to give him the meds. He has since went back to eating his butternut squash and carrots. So we are good. Thanks for asking!
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