When doing it right isn't enough.

Posted By: Shanty284

When doing it right isn't enough. - 10/22/17 04:16 AM

Hello. This is a question about habitual feather plucking. I am curious as to whether I should accept that some birds just can't break the habit?
Here are the details:
We share our life with Rio who is an umbrella cockatoo. Rio is amazing and after knowing many birds over the years we feel extremely lucky to have such a sweet and nurturing feathered friend. Rio is around 16 this year. He moved in with us 3.5 years ago after being at a rescue for 2 years. To avoid the sad story I will just say that his life was not always a happy one. His psyche is pretty fractured, yet he is still full of joy.
Rio is provided the best diet which he has to navigate an advanced forage system for, daily exercise, instead of a cage he has an aviary the size of a large bedroom, natural light, 12hrs of sleep every day, as much stuff to tear up as he desires and 4 hours of one on one time with his humans every day. He has had all of this from day one as we are experienced cockatoo lovers.
Despite all that Rio still plucks his chest and back. He is emotionally fragile and I know his main trigger is change. I cannot provide him with an environment that never changes. That is unreasonable. Rio lacks the confidence of many male cockatoo due to the life he has lived.
I continue to believe that as he learns curiosity and builds confidence that his plucking will stop. 2 times he has grown most of his feathers back but as soon as a stressful situation arose he immediately plucked them out. Of course, this is heart breaking to watch.
Other than the plucking, Rio is a very happy bird. Full of life and love. I will love him through and through even if he had no feathers at all. His beauty is on the inside and everyone can see it.
Is it possible that he may never stop using plucking as a crutch? Should I accept that or keep hoping that the next big break through will be that he sheds this habit?
Basically, what I am asking is if we already do most things right for him and he is flourishing, should I still be worried about this habit? I ask because I love him so much and so of course there is a little voice in my mind that says "what if there is more you could be doing?"
Thank you in advance for your opinions on the topic!
Posted By: BE2Cassie

Re: When doing it right isn't enough. - 10/22/17 12:49 PM

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Posted By: Shanty284

Re: When doing it right isn't enough. - 10/25/17 06:32 AM

Thank you smile
Posted By: Beeps

Re: When doing it right isn't enough. - 10/29/17 03:33 PM

My opinion is that the best chance of getting him to stop plucking (given all of the work you've already done) is to completely accept that he may never stop plucking. Easier said than done, I know. But, parrots are masters at picking up on our body language. If you are worried about plucking, the bird can pick up on that. He knows you're worried about something, which triggers anxiety in him.

Parrots shouldn't be captive, and they each deal with the stress inherent in captivity in different ways. Some of the sweetest parrots I've met direct that stress/anxiety inwards and pluck and/or mutilate. Continue to focus on giving him the best captive life you can. Try to include complete acceptance for his plucking behavior and you may find that the behavior stops (and even if it doesn't stop, you gain nothing positive from worrying about it anyway.)

Keep up the good work with him! He sounds very lucky to have landed with you!
Posted By: RB2sMom

Re: When doing it right isn't enough. - 10/29/17 08:33 PM

I have two RB2s...the female does not pluck and the male does. He did not start plucking till he went through puberty and became hormonal at about 4-5 for an RB2. I try to keep him occupied with lots of toys and attention, but he still does it. The vet has ruled out medical reasons. I even tried Pluck No More, which I thought was working, but really did not. So I live with a male RB2 that plucks his chest and under his wings...he does not look too bad like others I have seen. Our female does not pluck...go figure. I tell my birds they are both pretty birds, nonetheless.
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