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#60931 - 06/20/07 09:54 PM Severe Plucking Problem  
Joined: May 2005
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Nika's Mom Offline
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NJ
I need some help, to vent a little, advice... anything at this point.

My M2 is a mutilator. This began about a year and a half ago. At first she started with her wings, just shredding them down to sticks. Then she left that alone and went for all her down. She left that alone. Now she is plucking all her new feathers that are trying to come back in. She will not pull out her wing or tail feathers but any others are fair game. Her chest, underbelly, and legs are bald and she is now starting on the front of her wings.

I took her to the vet for a full check up. Everything was ok. But that didnít stop me from traveling to another vet to double check just in case. Again, everything was ok. Neither vet believes in collaring so they did not recommend that. One spoke about putting her on some kind of medication to basically sedate her but I do not want to go that route.

From reading this website and talking to people in my area, I have tried so many different things. We tried the red palm oil and a couple other organic things which I can not think of the names right now. She gets a bath every couple of days but is in the shower with me every morning. She has her own room in which I put a humidifier just in case but thatís not helping. Her diet is pretty good. She eats very little seed and loves a variety of fresh fruit and veggies.

She is hurting herself daily. She screams when she pulls these feathers out yet she still does it. At least 3-4 times a week I come home to find blood droppings all over her cage.

I am so frustrated and sad right now. It breaks my heart. I donít know what to do anymore.

#60932 - 06/20/07 10:19 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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Kim & Lilly Offline
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Hi there. I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is very frustrating, especially when you feel you are doing everything you can.

My U2 Lilly is a "part time" plucker. She has days that she will be fine, then days where she will go crazy and I will find feathers on the bottom of her cage and it has gotten to the point sometimes that she will have small sores on her chest that scab over and eventually heal only to start up again.

It sounds like you are doing all you can. I have done everything you are doing as well. What I did do is I came up with a little vest I made for her out of old T-shirts. I have tried the ones you order and she would have no part of it, but this one she will tolerate and for the most part will leave alone. I can't believe it, but it is working. I take it off every two days to take a shower and her feathers on her chest are growing back!

This does not help the leg and shoulder area, but hey we do what we can.

I am at work, but when I get home I will post a picture of what I have made and how it looks on her if you think it might help in your situation.

Best of luck and hang in there!!!!

Kim

#60933 - 06/20/07 10:26 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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Relle Offline
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Hi there...I went back and read your previous posts and am wondering if this could be related to something with the other 2 birds? Are they still around? (Just thinking if that situation changed - birdie at Grandma's more, etc. that this might have affected her.)

#60934 - 06/20/07 10:28 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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RB2sMom Offline
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I have posted earlier on this subject if you do a search on plucking. I made a number of changes, but the two things that have worked for me is putting Pluck No More in my RB2's water and making sure that he has a wooden toy that he can shred that keeps him busy.


Susanne
Our flock: 2 RB2s
Our herd & rescue: turtles, tortoises, other reptiles
#60935 - 06/20/07 10:49 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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Nika's Mom Offline
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Relle - I was watching my mother's bird for 3 months while she was in the hospital and recovering. She wasn't as bad as she is now. That was more in her shredding days. My motherís U2 she sees almost everyday. We visit frequently. Once he left I thought she would be lonely so I took in my aunt's amazon. She pays absolutely no attention to him and could care less he's even there. I contemplated giving him back but itís a quality of life thing which is a whole other issue.

Kim - For some reason she is afraid of anything we try to put on her. My mother recently puchased a vest for her but we didn't try it yet. I'd like to see what you have come up with.

#60936 - 06/21/07 12:38 AM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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SpockAToo Offline
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You might try watching the Captive Foraging video by Dr Scott Echols. His theory is that one of the reasons birds pluck or "over preen" is that, in the wild, they spend their entire day either foraging, resting, or preening. If they don't have the foraging component in their lives, they tend to over-preen.

Although my U2, Snow White, doesn't have a plucking problem, and she's always been good about playing with toys, I've been trying to teach her to forage as well. I'm hoping to head off any future problems. Now, the only way she gets any nuts in her diet is through some type of foraging device. She still may be getting too many nuts in her diet, but at least she's working for them wink .

I started out by wrapping half a walnut in plain copier paper, tying one end of a leather strap around it with a simple knot, and tying the other end around a bar in her cage. Then I tore the paper slightly, so she could see the nut in the paper. Then I started tying them up without tearing them. In later versions, I put the nut inside a 3 oz Dixie Cup before wrapping paper around it just to make it a little more difficult, and later I even doubled up the cups to make it a little more difficult to get to.

Recently, I've started rolling up a scrunched Dixie cup with a nut inside with colored copier paper, and scattering pine nuts through the paper as I roll it. Then I take two of those "clover leaf"-like plastic disks that I scavenge off her old toys, and I run a leather strap up the center holes. I separate the disks and then wrap the rolled-up paper around the center strap between the disks (and add another nut-laden Dixie cup to fill it out). Then I lace the disks back together with leather through the holes on the outside of the disks. This makes a very cheap hanging plastic foraging sandwich that takes her a couple of days to pull apart and get all the goodies.

Then I bought one of those "Jungle Talk" plastic foraging devices that are meant for treat sticks. Instead of using treat sticks, I shred colored copier paper and shove it in the tube with pine nuts scattered through the shredded paper. I intersperse the shredded paper with nut-laden dixie cups that pack the shredded paper to help keep it from just falling out. So far, this one has been lasting her a couple of days as well, but it's also a bit messy as some of the shredded paper invariably winds up on the floor outside the cage.

I have other foraging toys that I've purchased as well. As a matter of fact, just yesterday she finally figured out how to get past the top of a hanging acrylic foraging toy in her cage and was rewarded with a Brazil Nut for her efforts smile . That toy had been there for well over a month without her figuring it out.

I hope Dr. Echols' theory is correct, but regardless, the foraging devices definitely keep her busy.

#60937 - 06/21/07 01:23 AM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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sikonawt Offline
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captive foraging is a great idea!

also consider providing preening toys if you aren't already. My U2, Harvey, is a plucker... but she has been getting better in part because she has toys to busy herself with and absorb some of her preening time. We've found that Harvey goes nuts for soft cotton rope (untreated!) ... we bought her a toy that featured some of that and hung it in her cage, and she usually goes right for it whenever she has some in-cage time. Just this past weekend we bought another toy to hang by her window perch and some extra rope to put in her nighttime cage.

The window perch toy was a big hit right away... she preened it for hours on the very first day! The nice thing is that because she is gentle with it, the cotton rope lasts a long time unlike shredding toys. We've noticed her plucking more near the window lately, so we hope this new toy will make a big difference. She was fearful of the nighttime cage toy, likely because she is more protective of that area. After a few minutes of introduction though she realized it was just some soft material and not some scary snake =)

Good luck!

#60938 - 06/21/07 06:08 AM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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Kim & Lilly Offline
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This is the first and only thing Lilly has tolerated. Really easy to make too!

http://community.webshots.com/album/559555985wKnpJR

Keep us posted..Kim

#60939 - 06/21/07 03:08 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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GoosesMom Offline
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http://www.thesockbuddy.com/

I use the sock buddy for Goose. We've used it for about 2 months now. I mist her with it on during the week and take it off on the weekend to do a soaking bath. Then once she's dry I just put on a new one. She figured out how to push it aside a bit, but it helps a little. I would definitely recommend trying it.

~Tiffany and Goose


~Tiffany and Goose
#60940 - 06/21/07 03:37 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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I've made the vests Kim is making. Katie did freak a bit to start with. It is not easy getting the first one on. At least it wasn't when Katie was so new to me. They adjust, and it gets easier. I found the old shirts worked best. She didn't like anything made out of new material. I've been using the sleeves to old sweatshirts. Just putting two slits in it. I also went to using a collar. In my opinion I had no option. I can live with pulling feathers out, the mutilating gash in her chest I cannot. Everything has healed again, but the collar stays on. The captive foraging dvd I would recommend also. My vet also said for me to put all her food into foraging devices. I haven't really been able to follow that completely, but I do put all her treats and pellets into foraging things, not her oatmeal <img border="0" alt="[laughing]" title="" src="graemlins/laugh[1].gif" />
Be careful not to fuss over it, you don't want to draw attention to it.

#60941 - 06/21/07 03:44 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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Nika's Mom Offline
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Her cage is filled with toys daily. Foraging toys as well. I too fill paper cups up with goodies but I wrap them in tissue paper for her to rip up. She also has little paper purses I fill up daily. Some days she plays with every last toy but that happens maybe twice a week. The other days her cage is how I left it.

We received the "feather protector" in the mail yesterday. Besides the fact that it was too small, there is no way she will let me put anything on her that I have to put her wings through. She's not comfortable with that.

Kim, your idea looks interesting. How do you tie it? I would think my M2 would pick at the knots.

#60942 - 06/21/07 04:35 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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Kim & Lilly Offline
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Yes I have ordered things like what you mention and she had a fit when I tried to put her wings through, so I gave up on those types of things.

The t-shirt is very soft and I just tie the first ties around her neck behind her head (which she did try and successfully untie the first couple of times) but I made the tie length shorter so it was harder to untie.

The second tie goes under her wings and ties on her back in the middle of her body.

The third tie goes underneath her tail (make sure you do not cover the vent area) and then tied on the top side of her tail.

Most of her wing feathers cover the ties, so she doesn't bother them too much. The important thing is I think that is it comfortable for her and does not hinder her in anyway.

She will still pick and it, but it has really helped in my particular situation.

I hope I explained it well enough, if not I can try to get some pictures of it on her from the back so you can see where I have the knots.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Kim

#60943 - 06/22/07 12:57 AM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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Paula0442 Offline
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Hi Nika's Mom.
Mine is back to pulling feathers again too. They were filling in so nicely and now my little bugger is trying to ruin it. My vet suggested a mild sedative too, though I haven't tried it yet.

The e-collar just doesn't work. She can't get to certain places but she can get to plenty of others. She's even trying to get her tail feathers out this time, though she's not getting them out YET.

The t-shirt idea is great, but Bo would have that ripped up and torn off within minutes.
A friend told me about a spray to apply that really worked for hers. Things like that always put my guard up a bit though. Has anyone else tried it? I can't remember the name at the moment.

#60944 - 06/22/07 04:32 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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Nika's Mom Offline
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At this point I will try anything. The t-shirt idea is good. I know she will try to get it off if she even allows me to put it on. I guess patience is the key to trying this one out.

Paula - I too am hesitant about spraying anything besides a little aloe and water on her but I just might try it. I don't think it can hurt as she is getting progressively worse.

Maybe another visit to the vet will spur something but Iím strapped and spending money I donít have is something I canít do right now, especially if I get no ideas or results out of the visit.

#60945 - 06/22/07 04:37 PM Re: Severe Plucking Problem  
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GoosesMom Offline
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I spray Better Bitters on Goose if she's chewing a lot. There's nothing bad in it, and it tastes horrible! You might want to try that. It is clear so there's nothing to stain her pretty feathers and there is no residue either. We get it at PetGoods.

Here's a link: http://www.bird.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=513170+001

~Tiffany and Goose


~Tiffany and Goose

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