Macaw feather picking , help?

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Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by hitz » Thu, 07 Mar 2002 09:44:40



Info:
I have a 15 year old male Greenwing that i handfeed from a baby.
He is the perfect pet except for his feather picking which makes him
look like hell at times.
I work at home and am always there. His cage ( 24' x 36 "x 48 " with a
flat play area on top ) and the door is never closed unless I go out.
I live in a big Loft so he is in one big room with me 90 % of the time.
He usually goes between his cage and the chair by the window or on my
shoulder while I work. If he wants, he can go down stairs and climb on
the perch he has down there or go outside on his chair which he never
does unless I'm with him. He likes having me in site but he is not
obsessed with it by any means.
He eats Large chunk Roudybush, a very small amount of sunflower seed
mix,( just enough to cover the bottom of his 2nd dish) 1 Monkey
biscuits, and small samples of my food that is of a healthy variety,
fruit, or a thumb nail size of misc. stuff ( pasta, chicken, beef,
pizza, bla bla bla, usually as a treat).
He sleeps on the bed at night, and NEVER goes to the bath room out side
of his cage.
He has the full run of the house and never chews on anything but his
toys or cardboard fed X boxes ( the best Macaw toy ever! ).
He gets plenty of sleep, playtime, quite time and affection.

I want to come back as this bird. What a life!

He has always been a slight picker.Not bad but always a few missing
feathers. Usually on his shoulders, *** or under the wings. His
shoulders now seem to be worse. He also seems to mess up some new
feathers when they are coming in on his chest so that they grow crooked
instead of against the body.
There is no pattern to this that i have noticed. Every once in a while I
see him with a small feather in his mouth usually fooling around with it
in his mouth while in his cage. The door is open and nothing has
happened to scare him.
He gets a shower with me twice a week, water only and then dried with a
hair dryer when it is cold. He likes it.

Any idea's?
The Vet has suggested things over the years without any results.

 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by Stanley Kaminsk » Thu, 07 Mar 2002 19:37:11


<snip>

Quote:
> Info:
> I have a 15 year old male Greenwing that i handfeed from a baby.
> He is the perfect pet except for his feather picking which makes him
> look like hell at times.
> I work at home and am always there. His cage ( 24' x 36 "x 48 " with a
> flat play area on top ) and the door is never closed unless I go out.

Isn't that a bit small for a macaw?

--
---Stash

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence
 of the American public." - H.L. Menken

 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by Kevi » Thu, 07 Mar 2002 22:22:49


Quote:

> He has always been a slight picker.Not bad but always a few missing
> feathers. Usually on his shoulders, *** or under the wings. His
> shoulders now seem to be worse. He also seems to mess up some new
> feathers when they are coming in on his chest so that they grow crooked
> instead of against the body.
> There is no pattern to this that i have noticed. Every once in a while I
> see him with a small feather in his mouth usually fooling around with it
> in his mouth while in his cage. The door is open and nothing has
> happened to scare him.
> He gets a shower with me twice a week, water only and then dried with a
> hair dryer when it is cold. He likes it.

> Any idea's?

Have there been any major changes in the household lately? My family
has a Nanday Conure, and when I went off to college he started pulling
some pin feathers. To this day he still plucks one out every once in a
while if he's stressed, or thinks he isn't getting enough attention.
He seems perfectly happy otherwise, it's just become a habit for him
to pick. When he does pick, it's usually while he's sitting on one of
us and he becomes very defensive after doing it. Talking on the phone
is only one of the actions which causes our attention to be taken away
from His Royal Highness.

The only thing I can think of is to see what is causing stress, or
perhaps it's just a habit he's picked up. Do not scold him harshly if
you do find him picking-- it will only cause him to pick more.

Good luck and good health to you and your bird. =)

 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by hitz » Fri, 08 Mar 2002 03:29:43


No, this is the average size Macaw cage for in the home and esp not for a bird
that has free run of the house.
He rarely gets locked in it for more than an hr a day. Heck he spends a lot of
time in his cage when the door is open. Its never been something he did not
like, being in his cage/home.
Quote:


> <snip>

> > Info:
> > I have a 15 year old male Greenwing that i handfeed from a baby.
> > He is the perfect pet except for his feather picking which makes him
> > look like hell at times.
> > I work at home and am always there. His cage ( 24' x 36 "x 48 " with a
> > flat play area on top ) and the door is never closed unless I go out.

> Isn't that a bit small for a macaw?

> --
> ---Stash

> "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence
>  of the American public." - H.L. Menken

 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by Kelly Flyn » Fri, 08 Mar 2002 15:56:03


: He is the perfect pet except for his feather picking which makes him
: look like hell at times.

Have you read any of the behaviorist oriented articles which try and look
at all the possible different causes and 'cures' for feather picking?
There are a few sample articles at www.companionparrot.com in the
'article' section.

In any case, every bird is a bit unique as to what started it and why it
continues. It may have been caused by a physical issue, an injury, an
internal problem originally and then become habit over time. It could
still be caused by some medical problem. It could be an allergy, low
humidity making skin dry or 'psychological' (ie: to help you 'think' about
it, many people/humans self mutilate for a variety of reasons. Some pull
out their hair, some use sharp objects to cut themself with, etc.) It
could be nutritionally based.

The best thing to do, is to attack this problem as methodically as you can
and don't give up. Try and eliminate every 'cause' that you can think of.
If you feel 'confused' where to start, start by reading everything you can
get on the subject. LOts of articles have been written by behaviorists
such as Sally Blanchard, Phoebe Linden, Liz Wilson and others. Ask
questions, ask your vet questions, or if you don't feel comfortable with
your vet, find another. Keep a log as to when you MIGHT see the bird
picking. And take photos of the bird's current condition and past them in
the notebook, date it, so you can reference the condition visually later.
Sometimes improvement is slow, and having photos and written descriptions
are valuble.

You may, or may not, find hiring a behaviorist helpful. If you do, check
out their history, credentials and any articles they may have written. You
should feel comfortable with their philosophy and ideas and they should be
open to questions. They should also be willing to 'stick it through' with
you as the case progresses. Any smart behaviorist or vet knows change is
not going to happen overnight and should be willing to stick with you as
long as you two can work together productively/comfortably. I personally
recommend Liz Wilson and Phoebe Linden. You can find their contact info
and articles of material they've written at sites like
www.originalflyingmachine.com or www.companionparrot.com . I also
personally like both those magazines which have produced great articles on
feather picking.

So besides the journal, photos and descriptions of bird's activity,
surroundings and habits (much like you typed here,) I would start with a
visit to the vet. It sounds like you may have done this already. Did you
feel comfortable that your vet looked at all possibilities? What were some
of the suggestions and how did they work out?

If the vet says the bird is healthy and has done testing to your
satisfaction to eliminate any cause of the picking being medical, and to
make sure there is no obvious illness or infection,
internal or external, that might still be causing this, then perhaps the
original trigger is gone (it sounds like this is a long multi year, off
and on problem,) and its now habitual. In which case I would make sure the
bird is getting the best, most nutritionally dense (and emotionally
interesting,) diet possible, plenty of exercise and bathing (4-7 times a
week, he's a macaw, its not possible to overbath them. :) A good 20 minute
misting every day of the week, first thing in the morning, helps
moisturize the skin and keeps the bird busy preening in a healthy way
usually, and keeps the feathers in top condition. Its also exercise and
helps use the bird's energy up, which is important.) Basically all the
basics, including lots of toys to play with, pick, preen and comfort and
occupy his time rather than pick.

Again, try and log all the times in your memory that you can, when the
picking was bad. Does it only happen in the winter when skin is dry and
might be itchy? Maybe only after eating one food? Maybe only when ____
happens? Or maybe you can't see a pattern, and that's ok, but keep
logging anything you might think would be useful. This is going to take
patience, dedication and lots of thought and consistency. Many times the
cause isn't initially clear, or its a habit that takes a lot of time and
work to break. No one has an easy answer, or consistent answer. All you
can do is try and make a list of anything that might be a cause or
anything that might show improvement and just find out what works for you.

Good luck, everyone here is good at suggestions so I hope you get plenty
to start thinking about.

Kelly

 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by hitz » Sat, 09 Mar 2002 00:24:55


Thanks for the advice!
I have done most of what you suggest ( except behaviorist ). This has been
long term. I have read everything I could get my hands on, but as you list
below, it can be from many things. One thing is a definite. Birds do not
feather pick in the wild.
I think this is more out of habit now so i plan to give more exercise and
bath more frequently and see if this has any effect.
Not a better Greenwing (bubba) is on the planet, and I hope to figure this
out to make him perfect :)
Thanks again.
Quote:

> : He is the perfect pet except for his feather picking which makes him
> : look like hell at times.

> Have you read any of the behaviorist oriented articles which try and look
> at all the possible different causes and 'cures' for feather picking?
> There are a few sample articles at www.companionparrot.com in the
> 'article' section.

> In any case, every bird is a bit unique as to what started it and why it
> continues. It may have been caused by a physical issue, an injury, an
> internal problem originally and then become habit over time. It could
> still be caused by some medical problem. It could be an allergy, low
> humidity making skin dry or 'psychological' (ie: to help you 'think' about
> it, many people/humans self mutilate for a variety of reasons. Some pull
> out their hair, some use sharp objects to cut themself with, etc.) It
> could be nutritionally based.

> The best thing to do, is to attack this problem as methodically as you can
> and don't give up. Try and eliminate every 'cause' that you can think of.
> If you feel 'confused' where to start, start by reading everything you can
> get on the subject. LOts of articles have been written by behaviorists
> such as Sally Blanchard, Phoebe Linden, Liz Wilson and others. Ask
> questions, ask your vet questions, or if you don't feel comfortable with
> your vet, find another. Keep a log as to when you MIGHT see the bird
> picking. And take photos of the bird's current condition and past them in
> the notebook, date it, so you can reference the condition visually later.
> Sometimes improvement is slow, and having photos and written descriptions
> are valuble.

> You may, or may not, find hiring a behaviorist helpful. If you do, check
> out their history, credentials and any articles they may have written. You
> should feel comfortable with their philosophy and ideas and they should be
> open to questions. They should also be willing to 'stick it through' with
> you as the case progresses. Any smart behaviorist or vet knows change is
> not going to happen overnight and should be willing to stick with you as
> long as you two can work together productively/comfortably. I personally
> recommend Liz Wilson and Phoebe Linden. You can find their contact info
> and articles of material they've written at sites like
> www.originalflyingmachine.com or www.companionparrot.com . I also
> personally like both those magazines which have produced great articles on
> feather picking.

> So besides the journal, photos and descriptions of bird's activity,
> surroundings and habits (much like you typed here,) I would start with a
> visit to the vet. It sounds like you may have done this already. Did you
> feel comfortable that your vet looked at all possibilities? What were some
> of the suggestions and how did they work out?

> If the vet says the bird is healthy and has done testing to your
> satisfaction to eliminate any cause of the picking being medical, and to
> make sure there is no obvious illness or infection,
> internal or external, that might still be causing this, then perhaps the
> original trigger is gone (it sounds like this is a long multi year, off
> and on problem,) and its now habitual. In which case I would make sure the
> bird is getting the best, most nutritionally dense (and emotionally
> interesting,) diet possible, plenty of exercise and bathing (4-7 times a
> week, he's a macaw, its not possible to overbath them. :) A good 20 minute
> misting every day of the week, first thing in the morning, helps
> moisturize the skin and keeps the bird busy preening in a healthy way
> usually, and keeps the feathers in top condition. Its also exercise and
> helps use the bird's energy up, which is important.) Basically all the
> basics, including lots of toys to play with, pick, preen and comfort and
> occupy his time rather than pick.

> Again, try and log all the times in your memory that you can, when the
> picking was bad. Does it only happen in the winter when skin is dry and
> might be itchy? Maybe only after eating one food? Maybe only when ____
> happens? Or maybe you can't see a pattern, and that's ok, but keep
> logging anything you might think would be useful. This is going to take
> patience, dedication and lots of thought and consistency. Many times the
> cause isn't initially clear, or its a habit that takes a lot of time and
> work to break. No one has an easy answer, or consistent answer. All you
> can do is try and make a list of anything that might be a cause or
> anything that might show improvement and just find out what works for you.

> Good luck, everyone here is good at suggestions so I hope you get plenty
> to start thinking about.

> Kelly


 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by Don Bruecher » Sat, 09 Mar 2002 02:06:54


Do you only have 1 bird?  Is it possible he is being irritated by the pin
feathers and is trying to remove the sheaths, and is wrecking the feathers
in the process?  Do you help to remove the sheaths off the pin feathers as
they come in?  My***atoo cannot get them off by herself and spends a lot
of time scratching her head or rubbing her head on stuff when she has new
feathers coming in - of course this makes her crest look like hell, so I
usually help her out a bit with them.

--

-------------------------
www.donsworld.org

Because I care - this message has been scanned with Norton Anti Virus on the
way out!

Quote:

> Info:
> I have a 15 year old male Greenwing that i handfeed from a baby.
> He is the perfect pet except for his feather picking which makes him
> look like hell at times.
> I work at home and am always there. His cage ( 24' x 36 "x 48 " with a
> flat play area on top ) and the door is never closed unless I go out.
> I live in a big Loft so he is in one big room with me 90 % of the time.
> He usually goes between his cage and the chair by the window or on my
> shoulder while I work. If he wants, he can go down stairs and climb on
> the perch he has down there or go outside on his chair which he never
> does unless I'm with him. He likes having me in site but he is not
> obsessed with it by any means.
> He eats Large chunk Roudybush, a very small amount of sunflower seed
> mix,( just enough to cover the bottom of his 2nd dish) 1 Monkey
> biscuits, and small samples of my food that is of a healthy variety,
> fruit, or a thumb nail size of misc. stuff ( pasta, chicken, beef,
> pizza, bla bla bla, usually as a treat).
> He sleeps on the bed at night, and NEVER goes to the bath room out side
> of his cage.
> He has the full run of the house and never chews on anything but his
> toys or cardboard fed X boxes ( the best Macaw toy ever! ).
> He gets plenty of sleep, playtime, quite time and affection.

> I want to come back as this bird. What a life!

> He has always been a slight picker.Not bad but always a few missing
> feathers. Usually on his shoulders, *** or under the wings. His
> shoulders now seem to be worse. He also seems to mess up some new
> feathers when they are coming in on his chest so that they grow crooked
> instead of against the body.
> There is no pattern to this that i have noticed. Every once in a while I
> see him with a small feather in his mouth usually fooling around with it
> in his mouth while in his cage. The door is open and nothing has
> happened to scare him.
> He gets a shower with me twice a week, water only and then dried with a
> hair dryer when it is cold. He likes it.

> Any idea's?
> The Vet has suggested things over the years without any results.

 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by hitz » Sat, 09 Mar 2002 09:20:55


Only the one bird, but I prean him every couple of days or more.

He is wreaking a few pins when they are about half way into being feathers.
They then grow crooked and stick out.
My vet thinks he is just bad at preaning on these feathers.

Quote:

> Do you only have 1 bird?  Is it possible he is being irritated by the pin
> feathers and is trying to remove the sheaths, and is wrecking the feathers
> in the process?  Do you help to remove the sheaths off the pin feathers as
> they come in?  My***atoo cannot get them off by herself and spends a lot
> of time scratching her head or rubbing her head on stuff when she has new
> feathers coming in - of course this makes her crest look like hell, so I
> usually help her out a bit with them.

> --

> -------------------------
> www.donsworld.org

> Because I care - this message has been scanned with Norton Anti Virus on the
> way out!


> > Info:
> > I have a 15 year old male Greenwing that i handfeed from a baby.
> > He is the perfect pet except for his feather picking which makes him
> > look like hell at times.
> > I work at home and am always there. His cage ( 24' x 36 "x 48 " with a
> > flat play area on top ) and the door is never closed unless I go out.
> > I live in a big Loft so he is in one big room with me 90 % of the time.
> > He usually goes between his cage and the chair by the window or on my
> > shoulder while I work. If he wants, he can go down stairs and climb on
> > the perch he has down there or go outside on his chair which he never
> > does unless I'm with him. He likes having me in site but he is not
> > obsessed with it by any means.
> > He eats Large chunk Roudybush, a very small amount of sunflower seed
> > mix,( just enough to cover the bottom of his 2nd dish) 1 Monkey
> > biscuits, and small samples of my food that is of a healthy variety,
> > fruit, or a thumb nail size of misc. stuff ( pasta, chicken, beef,
> > pizza, bla bla bla, usually as a treat).
> > He sleeps on the bed at night, and NEVER goes to the bath room out side
> > of his cage.
> > He has the full run of the house and never chews on anything but his
> > toys or cardboard fed X boxes ( the best Macaw toy ever! ).
> > He gets plenty of sleep, playtime, quite time and affection.

> > I want to come back as this bird. What a life!

> > He has always been a slight picker.Not bad but always a few missing
> > feathers. Usually on his shoulders, *** or under the wings. His
> > shoulders now seem to be worse. He also seems to mess up some new
> > feathers when they are coming in on his chest so that they grow crooked
> > instead of against the body.
> > There is no pattern to this that i have noticed. Every once in a while I
> > see him with a small feather in his mouth usually fooling around with it
> > in his mouth while in his cage. The door is open and nothing has
> > happened to scare him.
> > He gets a shower with me twice a week, water only and then dried with a
> > hair dryer when it is cold. He likes it.

> > Any idea's?
> > The Vet has suggested things over the years without any results.

 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by WhitBar » Mon, 11 Mar 2002 11:38:42


my***atoo has been picking since i got him, i've tried bitter apple spray, he
got a taste for that, i tried boundrey for dog's when they bite at themselve's
it worked for a little bit but wore off,i found out that they are dry feather's
and that they are irritating him. i'm buying somthing that a vet recommended
called cease, i hope i spelled that right.i'm having trouble finding it.i thout
that it was a habit he picked up from lack of attention but i work at a pet
store and he's with me all the time, so i know it's irritating him..good luck
with him,, let me know
 
 
 

Macaw feather picking , help?

Post by JewelOfTheGna » Tue, 19 Mar 2002 11:46:21


go to www.featherpicking.com for great info