by Paul D
(Winchester, UK)

Hi and thank you in advance for any advice.
Quick history, I took in this green cheek conure from a family home that had no time or attention for the bird, from what i can gather she (jay-GCC) was mis treated. She came to me as a nervous wreck, trembling, shaking, plucked and generally in a very poor way.

I am home bound due to spinal disability so am able to spend all my time devoted to giving Jay the love care and attention she so rightly deserves. I had her checked over at the vet (bog standard vet, not avian) and she was treated for mites and giardia.

Now she is a normal feisty loving playful green cheek that is never in her cage, has a chest of draws that she adopted as her sleeping area (made birdy safe), me for a climbing frame, a play area and a good rotation of toys. Her diet is well balanced, with fresh fruits and veggies, mixed seeds, a few sunflower seeds but wont let her have to many, pelleted mix and supplements, but alas she still plucks her belly, shoulders of wings and back.

Mites and scaly are out of the equation, but she acts like its mites or something irritating her, she can be playing away quite happily then stop look down at her belly or back and pluck, she is also always scratching which inevitable leads to a pluck or two, she bathes & preens regulary, but as a rule she generally plucks most after a bath, its always her new feathers, she just wont let them grow.

Ideally it would be best for her if i could get her to an avian vet, unfortunately as i am no longer able to work i would be struggling to find money to pay for the bills, had i known i would no longer be able to go back to work i would probably have not taken her on knowing i would not be able to meet and bills arising, but ive always been a bird person and just couldnt bare to see her unhappy when i knew i could give her the love & attention she so craved for and now there is no way we can be parted.

Comments for Itching/Scratching

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Jul 16, 2008
Itchy Conure
by: The Vet

Many different things are known to cause feather damaging behaviors. There is no way for me to tell you why your bird is plucking. However, I can make some recommendations that address possible causes for this behavior.

First, her diet is not balanced. Many birds pluck because of nutritional deficiencies, preservatives in the foods, pesticide residues on the fresh fruits and veggies, and much more. To address the nutritional possibilities, you need to put your bird on a pellet diet. She should eat 80% pellets, and the rest should be mostly fruits and vegetables organic if possible. Pellets are the only way to guarantee that your bird is getting a complete and balanced diet. I recommend only Harrison's.

To address boredom in captivity, I recommend you teach your bird to forage. Foraging should be his primary if not his only method of acquiring food. In the wild birds spend 70% of their time foraging. Your bird should do just as much in captivity.

Low humidity levels in the home will cause bids to be itchy. Be sure your humidity is 60%. Also, you should bathe your bird 2-3 times weekly, and more often if you alternate with a good bath spray such as Avi-x Bird Rain.

Another possible cause for this is pseudomonas infection. IF your bird drinks from a dish rather than a bottle, it is likely that she has a subclinical bacterial infection, usually pseudomonas. You should switch your bird to a bottle and change the bottle every 24 hours. Dishes need to be washed every 3 hours to remain bacteria-free.

What do you use in the cage bottom? You should use only paper. Some litters, corn cob, shavings and other things can cause this problem too.

Does anyone smoke in the home? Tobacco smoke is also known to cause this.

Hope this helps.

Dr B

Jul 15, 2008
by: Lori

My grey didn't pluck his feathers but chewed on them and made them look very ratty. He also scratched constantly. I bought a full spectrum light and Kings pluck no more and also put him on harrisons pellets instead of the colored ones. He looks great and is much calmer.

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