by Marla
(Windermere, FL)

My fairly new quaker has been picking at his feathers - he gets a lot of attention; fresh water; fresh fruit and food but is still continuing to pick. He found us 6 months ago and we thought he would have stopped by now but hasn't.

Comments for Marla

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Jul 23, 2009
by: Linda

Yes, the first thing is to take your bird to an Avian vet in your area to make sure she has no infections and/or parasites either internal or external.

Read all the material Tracie suggested,and provide toys for the bird to keep it from becoming bored. Bird also needs a lot of your attention when you are home and time out of the cage to explore a playtop area, perch or just to walk with you around the house looking at things. Make sure diet is one featuring high quality pellets like Harrison's. All seed diets are not nutritional, and bird's skin and overall condition will suffer.

So, a trip to vet should be first on the list, and yearly checkups after that. Good, nutritious food, safe toys. One thing that sometimes helps birds prone to feather plucking is soft cotton rope they can "groom". Only use 100% cotton rope, and you can make a toy just using rope, knots and leave plenty hanging down in easy reach of bird's beak, so she can groom it and play with it instead of her own feathers. Never use nylon or other manmade rope for toys as these are tough and can cause all manner of problems with birds. Use soft 1/4" cotton rope, and plain white is still easy to keep clean by a handwash every now and again. Once bird has pulled all the braiding apart and fluffed the rope out, replace with another rope toy. You can also string wooden toy pieces. For 1/4" cotton rope, you will need a 3/8" minimum hole size. I use Crayola Washable paints for kids to paint my toy pieces, and it is water-based and non-toxic. It DOES wash off some when toys are washed, and this is okay too. The toy pieces will still be stained the color. Do your painting in another room away from bird as it would not be good for bird to get all covered with paint.

Safe wood for bird toys, is Maple and Birch for sure, and I think Tracie has a spot out here that talks about safe and unsafe wood and plants, so check that out. Manzanita is also good for perch material and toy pieces. It is very hard wood, so it will last a while.

Keep us posted,

Jul 22, 2009
Bird plucking feathers
by: Tracie

It is best to take your bird to an avian vet to find out why the bird is picking at it's feathers. We have a few articles on our Parrot Training page on feather plucking and chewing problems that you can read for more information.

Read all the articles when you have time, start with the Bird chewing feathers article first.

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