Green Cheeked Conure ripping out blood feathers

by Kathleen

HI-- I noticed that my 3 yr old GCC has been pulling out a good number of the new feathers that were coming in. He's in a pretty heavy molt. Make that extremely heavy. I just looked.

I've noticed him remove the odd one here an there over the years (at least i suspected that was what was happening, as i'd find a keratin sheath & growing feather stuck to a cage bar or the window behind the cage), but today I took 9 tiny little keratin sheaths with growing feathers from the bottom of his cage. I had just changed his paper yesterday.

There are bare patches appearing on his legs. It's not too noticeable unless he stretches out. At first, I thought our Hahn's had turned her feather destructive habits on the GCC. She picks. The GCC has never looked like this before.

He is eating normally, if maybe a bit more. We feed Bird Paradise dry food blend for munching in the cage. That is a pellet based food with dried fruits, veggies, nuts and herbs. They also get breakfast and dinner, consisting of either egg, fruit, veggies, chicken and rice or some other nutritionally sound food. I add Palm Nut oil to any warm food to help with my Hahn's picking habit. They get baths almost daily and trick training sessions for positive interaction.

Any advice?

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Aug 22, 2011
Conure pulling blood feathers
by: The Avian Vet

This could be a nutritional problem. I understand you are feeding pellets, however, this is an off brand with no basis for being a good diet, other than Bird Paradise saying so. They are not avian nutritionists. I would recommend switching to an organic pellet food such as Harrison's to eliminate the possibility of allergies to preservatives, and other artificial ingredients.

I think that your bird is actually exhibiting feather damaging behaviors and I feel that they are medical related not a behavior problem. You need to have him examined by an avian veterinarian.

Feather Damaging Behavior article

Dr B
Find an Avian Vet

Aug 20, 2011
Green Cheeked Conure ripping out blood feathers
by: Linda

I can tell from your voice that you are trying your best to feed your birds well, and this is not the case here.

Never feed meat to a bird and get both of them onto an organic high quality pellet like Harrisons found here. Harrison's is Avian Vet endorsed, and has kept my Amazons healthy for about 20 years now.

The only other additions needed with an organic, high quality diet are about 10-15% organic fruit/veggies which means small amounts only a few times a week.

The mixes you are feeding are making your birds nervous which happens with incorrect diets. The meat and eggs you are feeding is causing a dietary imbalance which is causing erratic behavior in both birds. Plainly, they are getting way too much protein at the expense of the other vitamins and minerals their bodies need. If diets are not chanced to correct diet for a parrot, you will begin to see more physical problems than you are seeing now in form of sickness, fat on body, and generally poorly feathered, low energy, cranky birds.

Before changing birds to correct diet, they both need to be examined by an Avian Vet to make sure that there are no physical problems causing these abnormal behaviors or other physical issues. Here is a link used to change birds from all seed diets to an organic pelleted one, and you will probably have to use this as your birds are spoiled to eating the wrong foods, and will take time to change over to the organic pellets. Article was written by an Avian Vet, so it is good advice all the way through:

Switching Birds To Pellets article

You have been doing what your thought was best for your birds, and now you need to understand how simple a diet they really need. Too much of a good thing is too much and causes many problems with both health and behavior.

Thanks for writing,

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