My 10 yr old umbrella cockatoo is over preening

by jeanette

I recently brought home this sweet bird. HIs owner had passed away and he has a lump like a soft fatty tumor under his abdomen. i took him to the vet and they will run some tests to see if it is a tumor or a hernia. whomever cut his feathers last did and awful job and they may be itching him. when will these grow back?

i dont think he has ever flown because of his hesitation to jump and his crash landings when he does. unfortunately his feathers arent cut for gliding. he cries at night for about five minutes then goes to sleep when i ignore him. he tried to attack me one time while me and my boyfriend were playing with him. he likes my boyfriend more than me for some reason. i think it is a male because or his dark brown irises. hes also bitten my lip when i was giving him kisses also normally he likes kisses and will make kissy noises when he wants one.

he tries to only poop in his cage although when you gotta go you gotta go and were not always home.. he understands the word no very well. he steps up and down no problem. could the over preening be because of the horibbly cut feathers? its only on one side of his body though. could it also be from stress from a new home and owner?

his diet is diverse and he eats very well. he is not aggressive, just in those couple incidents. he talks alot and dances and i take him outside with me a lot. he meets lots of people and is very very friendly to them. i have never owned a bird before, noone was lookin at this sweetie in the shop because of his lump and i purchased him and the large cage for 200 dollars. i wanted to at least give him a chance and he is a very good bird.

i am a female though so i dont understand why he likes males better! ive done a lot of research, i just really dont want him to start plucking his feathers out.

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Oct 18, 2011
My 10 yr old umbrella cockatoo is over preening
by: Linda

As an addendum to Tracie's answer, I'm followup with few other points.

1. When someone cuts the feathers up too high, the bird is in chronic pain. They also drop like a rock, and can be badly injured including broken bones. When feathers are trimmed, only the 4-6 long primary flight feathers at the end of each wing should be clipped. There is no need to clip up any higher as this cripples bird and hurts ALL the time. He will not grow in new feathers until he is ready to molt again, and birds do this twice a year. Once his flight feathers are back in, do not allow anyone to trim them like they are now because this is called butchering.

2. Be respectful and empathetic about his need to grieve the loss of his last human companion. This process can take a while, and should never be rushed just so you can play with the bird. Grieving for parrots is as serious as it is for humans, so please understand that some of these behaviors are coming from being so sad and lonely without his usual human caretaker. He'll let you know when he's no longer grieving.The infection he has going on is also taking its toll. He does not feel like playing because he is not healthy,

3. The other issue is his health, and being moved into a new scary environment is very stressful. He has an infection and the lump is just a symptom of a deeper infection. Make sure he's only seen and treated by an Avian Vet because the dog and cat vet is not licensed or trained to treat him and they do not understand how to prescribe meds and usually overdose birds. Birds have no fat, and overdoses of meds go directly into liver to be processed and sometimes cause liver failure, so please ONLY an Avian Vet.

4. The overpreening you're seeing now could very well turn into a more serious problem. His wings hurt all the time, and maybe he's trying to get new feathers in which causes some itching. He can be given shower baths not ones in the shower either. Use a plastic plant sprayer that is new and has never been used. Put filtered warm not hot water into it and make a little rain shower for him. This helps with new feather growth as new feathers coming in behind the old ones itch a lot. Give him a good rain shower once a day if it's not too cold. It house is cold, then leave off the shower. Taking him into the shower with you is dangerous in that when he comes out all wet, he's likely to get a chill and possibly pneumonia. You're dealing with an older bird whose immune sysem is compromised by grief, new home and an infection that has not been taken care of yet. Please view him as a sick bird who needs your quiet concern and love and worry about all the rest when he's well again.

Let us know what Avian Vet has to say,

Oct 18, 2011
Cocktoo over preening and has a lump
by: Tracie

If you are not taking your bird to an avian vet, then please Find an Avian Vet to examine your bird. Between the lump and feather destruction behavior, you really need a vet that specializes in avian care. Dog/cat vets often accidentally kill birds due to lack of experience.

Your avian vet will be the best person to answer all your questions, because he/she will be able to examine your bird and talk to you in person. Please read our Feather Damaging Behavior article written by an avian vet.

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