Plucking & Staying Bare

by Hollie
(Balt., MD., U.S.A.)

A bird I am about to rescue has plucked all of her chest feathers (her wings and tail feathers are beautiul).
I was told she is a Green Winged Macaw, but having raised many birds I do believe it is a Scarlet Macaw.
My question is that since her cage is constantly dirty (only paper changed every 3months or so),never really scrubed down. And the fact that I know she has had an improper diet. Will the feathers ever grow back with time, love and proper living conditions?
And is there anything I can do to help this poor animal?

Thank You Very Much,
Hollie M. Kelly

Comments for Plucking & Staying Bare

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Sep 02, 2009
I started the question.
by: Hollie

I will have her in my care very soon. An appointment has already be set up for the last wk of this month. I will keep eveyone updated. Thanks guys you are the first to answer my questions without any attitude and give real help. Like I said I have own birds before and have plenty of friends who think I am nuts for taking this one but I think she really needs the help, I just never owned a Macaw. So to reiderate, I will keep everyone updated as I know more, and thanks again.


Sep 02, 2009
Rescue a plucking bird
by: The Vet

It is possible that these feathers will grow back, but it is also possible that they will not, even with all of the right care. I recommend that you have this bird worked up completely by an avian veterinarian. Have blood work, x-rays, cultures and a good physical exam to start with. For more info, read the Feather Damaging Behavior article.

Dr B

Sep 01, 2009
by: Amy

I think you have a good chance with this bird. First step will be to rule out a medical reason for her plucking. Find a good avian vet you can trust with her care. Once you get her home and improve her living conditions and her diet, and give her a lot of attention, she may begin to improve slowly but surely. I adopted my Grey in similar condition. Filthy cage, a diet of sunflower seeds and peanuts, plucked, and he had a dingy orangy tail, instead of a bright red one. I brought him to my vet for tests and a check up. When I was assured it was most likely a behavioral issue, I started him on Pluck-No-More and of course a healthy diet and lots of attention. Fresh veggies and fruits,Roudybush pellets and a sunflower and peanut free seed mix, and some warm moistened monkey chow with organic red palm oil, Sunshine Factor mixed into it. Red palm oil is also very good to mix in their warm food. After 6 months on his more nutritious diet and Pluck No More, and of course a lot of attention, he was fully feathered! So, if you really work with her, there is hope that she'll improve. There is always the chance that she will continue to pluck, in which case you'll have to love her and accept her as she is - still beautiful and lovable. Good luck with her and enjoy her! Let us know how things work out.

Sep 01, 2009
by: Linda

Hi and thanks for writing. How you tell a GW from a Scarlet is the Scarlet's face is bare, and the GreenWing has little lines of feathers on it. The GW is also a much larger boned bird with a larger head and beak. The clean or feathered face will do here.

Bird needs a trip to an Avian like Yesterday! She needs to be thoroughly checked out for infections, parasites, inside and out. She also needs some bloodwork done to see how her organs are functioning. She probably has some moderate to severe vitamin deficiencies, and so have liver, kidneys and heart checked with bloodwork.

After she has had her trip to the vet, then her living area needs to be cleaned up and kept that way. Get her onto a diet of organic pellets like Harrison's, and the organic veggies they recommend. No vitamin/mineral supplements are used with the Harrisons diets. Also, Tracie carries the pellets and the Birdy Bread Mix out here. Use the Sunshine Factor organic Red Palm Oil in the mix along with egg whites not yellows. It is easy to make up, and will help birds who are changing over from an all seed diet to pellets. In this case from an all crap diet to real food.

As for feathers. Depending on how long this has gone on, most of her feathers should come back in. However, after they have plucked so many times, there will be bare spots here and there where the feathers stop putting out shafts. My own Amazon has permanently bare patches in places around his neck where his mate plucked brand new feather shafts out, they bled, and never came back in after several times of this. They live in a cage together with a divider in the middle now.

So, it is a difficult call on how many feathers will or will not come back in.

Get the bird to a vet for a complete exam, and she may require a collar for a while to stop the plucking which is now a habit. Bird may not like this, and make sure cage is large enough where food and water bowls can be accessed with the collar on. Try and use as small a one as possible as bird will be stressed by it.Talk with vet about this and the stress it can cause.

How horrible to see such a beautiful, sweet precious bird treated like this. Keep us posted on how bird is doing as we will want to keep up with this one, and if we can help further, please don't hesitate to let us know.


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