My 2.5 yr. old cockatoo plucks itself
by Chris Haydel
(New Orleans, LA )
My 2.5 yr. old cockatoo plucks itself when I don't give it all the attention she demands! ???
My vet told me to quit spending so much time with my G2(2.5 years old) and she might stop plucking herself. I know that cockatoos are affectionate and mine is handfeed so that makes it crave even more attention, I would assume. I could not lock her in a cage and ignore her. I told the experienced vet this. (This would seem to me to be more cruel.)
She gets a very balanced diet along with my other two birds. She began plucking her leg feathers after my having her for about 9 months. 1.5 years later--She has now allowed the left breast to grow back, but the right breast and under her wings remain bare. I have noticed that she plucks when I don't give her all the attention she thinks she should get. (Am I being emotionally blackmailed?)
I am with her about 10 hours a day, after a full time job, to the extent of my not exercising as much as I did before I got her. (Yes and no, in as far as using her as an excuse not to exercise.)
She even comes to bed with me for up to 4 hrs. a night. I tried less time in bed with her, but she will not let my fingers go. She has to be transferred after she has slept for a while and is a bit lathargic, at which time, she willing steps up to her perch. Because of what seems her reason for plucking, that is when I don't give her the attention she deems necessary, I strongly believe it is not a blood disorder.(The vet agreed with this thinking.)
For 3/4 of a year I have had her on the anti-anxiety white power, the Harrison pellets, and have even tried the spray stuff that is made of grapefruit rhine (not bad enough a taste to stop her). She takes head baths out of her drinking bowl on Saturdays (sounds rediculus), when I do not go to work. She is happy and wants me to use the blow dryer to warm her up and dry her off. (Party time!)
Other than that, I will give her a shower bath in my hands in the shower about once every two weeks, because she cowers from being misted.
I know that there are many reasons possible for why a bird plucks itself, and we cannot explain all of them. (Species most noted for plucking: cockatoos, African Greys, macaws, and cockatiels)I know that it has been called a psychogenic disorder.
After having said all of this, is there anyone out there who might have an insight into the why of it all or an idea I have not tried as of yet? I feel like I need to start a 12 step program: I am not in control of when my bird plucks itself, etc. PA= pluckers anonymous