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    KMSRyana's Avatar
    KMSRyana Posts: 142, Reputation: 26
    Junior Member

    Jan 4, 2007, 11:58 AM
    Cockatoo damaging itself
    About 6 months ago a friend bought my son a cockatoo for his birthday. The bird is a rescue animal, who's previous owner was very abusive to him. We've overcome the fear issues he's had and he's a very pleasant bird. However, he has one "renegade" tailfeather that grows in sideways (I'm guessing from prior abuse). He attempts to trim it or pluck it (not in front of us, but when he's alone) and ends up trimming off ALL of his tailfeathers. My understanding is that they take several months to regrow. Is there any way to get him to stop doing this? Or it just something he's going to do and he's always going to be without full tailfeathers? Thanks for any help you can provide!!
    botsford's Avatar
    botsford Posts: 2, Reputation: 3
    New Member

    Jan 5, 2007, 09:29 AM
    I've kept cockatoos for many years and yours is a common and frustrating problem. Unfortunately the causes can be complex. Feather plucking is a never-ending source of articles in both parrot magazines and veterinary texts. The causes can be emotional, physical, dietary, hormonal or a combination. It has been likened to stress related nail biting in humans. Even when the apparent cause of the stress is removed the "habit" remains. You may want to check with an avian vet in case something can be done about the errant feather. If you are lucky it is just the irritation from that feather that is triggering the rest of the plucking. My best advice is to provide him with a stable routine environment with regular attention, a varied diet, and a rotating variety of boredom relieving toys and chewing options. Regular access to bathing either in the shower or with a spray bottle can also he helpful. These are some of the most easily addressed of the suspected causes. Breeding frustration is unfortunately the one other frequently cited cause of plucking.

    Good luck with your new companion, they are very charming and intelligent birds.

    brandy681's Avatar
    brandy681 Posts: 295, Reputation: 26
    Full Member

    May 26, 2007, 09:31 PM
    Feather plucking can bee a habbit for normal birds or birds that have been abused before. It is a hard habbit to break but there are remedies, you can buy Cockatoo or bird books that will explain some remedies for you to try and I highly recommend it! If his tail feathers are growing in crooked this could be from abuse too or from tail feathers who have been pulled from the owner of the bird and it is growing n crooked. I would take the cockatoo to the vet to ask them if they can possibly cut the tail feather straight so that it will grow back normally and not crooked. This may also be a cause that he is pulling it out is that it is growing in crooked, so I would ask a vet about it.
    mrssittingduck's Avatar
    mrssittingduck Posts: 151, Reputation: 24
    Junior Member

    Jun 16, 2007, 03:42 PM
    The vet may prescribe a head coller as with dogs when they have stitches this prevents them from preening and bioeng able to pluck however it does not stop them from eating ;)

    Also there are detterants that you can buy from lps's that can be sprayed on in order to try and deterr them a bit like nail bite lotion...

    The vet could also remove the feather and make it grow back straight with a slight nick of the skin as stated however I don't think this would perhaps solve the problem outright as it would have turned into a habbit,

    A bit like when somebody loses a leg but still gets an ichy foot , those feelings are hard to get rid of... it can turn into a phsycological problem even if it wasn't one to begin with!

    Also if you are feeling brave you can pull the feather yourself with a very quick sharp movement, if done quickly it will not hurt the bird and the feather should start to regrow within 3 weeks... I don't know if this will make the feather grow back straight but I know it will at least stop the annoyance for a week or so until the pin feather starts to grow back and it doesn't have to wait for the bird to go through a moult before it regrows either so it is more quick... pain free and itch free...

    Also another thing to help him is to use johnsons baby shampoo a mild solution iof this mixed in warm water and mist spray him, this will soften any shafts of new feathers that come through and enable them to come away quickly without the itching..

    Hope this helps you


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