Rainbow Lorikeet feather plucking issues

by Judy Greer
(Sterlington, LA 71280 USA)

Ten months ago, my 7 year old Lori started plucking her feathers out. She started by scratching them off to the bare skin on the base of her head. Then we heard her "flicking " her feathers and wings and noticed that she was literally pulling her feathers out with her beak.

We have seen three different Avian vets and had her on allergy shots, cortisone injections, Metacam, Baytril, Phenobarbital and Fluoxetine Suspension. I have changed her food suppliers twice and made her food by a recipe I obtained of the internet (very costly and did not work). Presently, her beautiful colors are gone except for the purple head and green wings and tail feathers. Please, please help me. She's basically a happy bird, but obviously miserable. Thanks for any help!

Comments for Rainbow Lorikeet feather plucking issues

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Apr 28, 2017
Feather plucking
by: Sam

Has anything extra helped? My bird, unknown age but we have had him 8 plus years and how old then I do not know but he was not looked after, has just started to do the same thing and it is moving into winter so I am very worried about him getting cold.The 'flicking' is very evident too. He has a varied diet of Lorikeet wet and dry food plus fresh fruit/veges and Manuka honey in boiled water every day. We have blank newsprint in his cage and a variety of boxes, toys that we change frequently. He is loud and demanding but he is in our dining room/ kitchen area so gets lots of attention and noise he can join in with. He gets out for at least an hour a day too.

Dec 06, 2010
Lori with plucking issues
by: The Avian Vet

I see that you have tried many treatments, but what diagnostics have been done? Skin biopsy, x-rays, blood work, etc.? What is her environment like ? UV full spectrum light, cage location, cage size, changes in the home, exposure to chemicals...? Skin disease in birds can take months to treat. How long were each treatments tried?

Dr B
Feather Damaging Behavior article

Dec 06, 2010
Rainbow Lorikeet feather plucking issues
by: Linda

Well, unfortunately, all the meds she's been given have worsened an already severe problem. Evidently, the Avian vets did not see any parasites on her skin and just decided to treat this as an allergy situation which I think it is too. I think something she's eating, drinking or living around is causing it though, and it will not go away until source of allergy is found and eliminated.

You'll need to take stock of everything she's eating and go over what all is in your home that could cause this. I'm working blind here, so help me out some. For one thing, she needs to be eating a high quality organic pelleted diet in addition to her organic fruit and veggies. Tracie carries the organics here, and if I'm not mistaken, Harrison's pellets are good for Lori's. Check out the organic food section here. Stop giving her all the medicines because they are obviously not working and are actually making a bad situation worse. I also suggest you find a vet who does not rely on narcotics for a sick bird. Those are only given to animals and birds who have seizures. If she starts mutilating herself, meaning once feathers are gone, tearing open her skin, she'll need to be fitted with a collar so she does not have access to herself.

This does sound like allergic reaction, and could be to a food or something in her environment. Birds cannot be around any kind of perfumes including any room deoderizers, scented candles, regular perfume or hair spray. Basically anything in under pressure cans is poison and has to be sprayed outside. People food can cause allergies too, so give her high quality bird food and organic fruit and veggies if available. Use only blank newspaper in the bottom of cage as all the other bedding available is not safe for birds. You can get partially used rolls of blank newspaper at your local newspaper office, and it is very cheap and lasts a long time and is clean and safe for birds.

So, there is something this bird is eating, drinking or living with that is causing this problem, so start looking around, making notes and get to the bottom of this. If she needs a collar, have an Avian vet fit her with one. They do not like them, and if she starts mutilating herself, she will be open to chronic infection and death. Make sure her food and water cups are accessible with the collar on too. Hold off on any more medications until one of those Avian Vets actually comes up with a diagnosis for her problem. Skin scrapings and other tests should have already been done as well as blood work.


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