Green Cheek conure Shredding his Tail Feathers

by Gemma
(Brisbane Australia)

We have recently rescued a lost Green Cheek Conure who is approximatley 2 yrs old. He was very affectionate and cudly when we picked him up. He has been very afraid of toys, large logs, and well anything bigger than his head. He does not play with toys at all and just sits either on the highest brance in his play cage or on your shoulder. We also have a 9 month old Alex who lives in the same area. Both birds have their own play cage and sleep cage as well as their own gyms. Due to the size difference we have different areas for them however they talk to each other accross the room. Within the last week the Conure has begun to shred his tail feathers at first i thought he was preening however now his tail feathers are shreded almost to the point that some are now non existant. i am really worried as this may be stress related and i want him to be happy. Is there any advice for how we can stop this behaviour. I have tried to get his attention on small toys and other things which does not seemed to have worked and also left the room when he does it so that he does not think it attracts attention. I am desperate for some help and advice as he has become a member of the family.

Comments for Green Cheek conure Shredding his Tail Feathers

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 14, 2013
Green Cheek conure Shredding his Tail Feathers
by: Linda

You mentioned this bird is a rescue and rescue birds always come to us sick with something. Being outside is dangerous to birds not used to all the forms of bacteria, fungus and external or internal parasites.It's dangerous for wild outside birds too, but they have adapted somewhat to it and can live longer though they all succumb to infections and parasites sooner than later.

Please have him examined by an Avian Vet ONLY right away. All new birds and especially rescues have to have a comprehensive exam with an avian vet the first few days they are with us. Your bird could have multiple issues going on here, and you will not know what they are or how to treat them until an avian vet does the exam. Have bird tested for bacterial and viral infection, have a fresh stool sample to test for parasites and have him examined for external parasites because lice and mites are too small to see without aid of magnification. Have some basic bloodwork done to see how organs are functioning.

I think Tracie covered all the other issues like toys and diet. Birds are terribly afraid of toys and even birds who play with toys are afraid of new ones. The fact the bird is probably suffering from who knows what can also have an impact on how be is behaving. Please have him examined right away because your other bird is being exposed to whatever he has on a regular basis. If he has infections, your other bird will also get them. If he has parasites, the other bird may get them if they are the external variety.


Feb 14, 2013
Bird chewing feathers
by: Tracie

This is always tricky. If the bird is scared of toys and yet needs toys to keep him from being bored, you just have to take it slow at introducing new things.

Often birds the shred feathers like toys that are easily shredded, but some like to chew leather strips and preen rope toys too. There are some feather plucking remedies out there that are homeopathic and may help calm the bird.

When introducing a new toy, lay the toy near the cage for a day or so, then attach it to the outside of the cage and see if the bird reacts. If it is scared of it, then put near the cage again and get it used to seeing that the toy isn't going to harm him. My mom had to do this with her African Grey.

Below are some helpful articles:

Feather Damaging Behavior article

Switching Birds To Pellets article

Click here to add your own comments