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!