To pluck or not to pluck

by Mary G.
(Princeton, WI)

My african grey seems to be in an alful long molt - going on 3 weeks. Also seems to over preen himself at times. He gets about 2 "heavy" spray mist every week. Good diet. It looks like he might be "chewing" some feathers. Please help.

He's around one year old...I know he is a happy little man...good diet...veg, fruits, protein and so on....bites his nails alot too. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

I don't know if this helps, but about "over" three months ago, he had a very bad wing clip - dropped like a dime (I won't tell you what I think of the whole story - I wasn't in the room at the time) and still isn't flighted. I am so worried about him. Like I said, I know he is happy and healthy. Cozmo weights 600 grams.

Thank you in advance for your help.


Comments for To pluck or not to pluck

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Mar 08, 2010
To pluck or not to pluck
by: Linda

Mary, it looks like Tracie got you fairly well fixed up with the articles, and they are very good and informative.

The thing about bad wing clips is that when they cut up into the secondary feathers, the bird is in pain all the time and also drops like a rock and can be injured. All that ever needs clipping are the 6 long primary feathers at the bottom of the wings or the first row. This allows birds to glide to the floor instead of falling, and it does not hurt them at all.

So, some of these behaviors can be coming from the painful wing clip, and it can also be from too much protein or the wrong kinds in his diet. Too much protein causes birds, dogs and cats and other animals to become hyperactive or nervous which leads to all kinds of non-acceptable behaviors.

The organic pellets Tracie carries out here are of the highest quality. We have been feeding our Amazons the Harrisons Course Grind for many years, and it is made using a cold extrusion method which keeps the vitamins and minerals intact in the food. A lot of bird and animal food is made using heat which, as we all know, destroys most if not all the vitamins and quite a bit of the minerals as well. Tracie carries several kinds, and not sure which ones of the organics besides Harrisons uses cold extrusion. That's something you can ask the manufacturers though. Harrisons also makes a wonderful, tasty Birdy Bread mix, and get the Sunshine Factor organic Red Palm Oil to put in it along with 2 eggs (whole or just the whites) and some water. It stores well and is readily accepted. The Red Palm Oil comes cold-packed and has to be set in a glass or jar of warm water to become liquid. It is great for the skin and feathers. Tracie also has that out here, and prices are the best on the internet.

Enjoy the articles and hopefully your sweet little bird will soon be on the road to a better condition. The spray baths a couple of times a week are also great as it gives the birds some of the moisture back winter dry heat takes away.

Write to us later and let us know how he is doing on his pellets and how he is in general.

It is a pleasure to hear from you anytime, and we are always here to answer questions or to just chat about our birdies.


Mar 08, 2010
African grey damaging feathers
by: Tracie

Dr B suggests that you read his Feather Damaging Behavior article for more information on this subject. He can not really help you much more, because he can not examine your bird to help you figure out why your bird is doing this.

Another concern is the diet you have your bird on. You did not mention pellets at all. Dr B suggests that your bird be eating a diet of 80% pellets and only 20% treats. When you look at the dish of pellets, you can see that 20% is not much in the way of treats. Dr B would like you to read the Switching Birds to Pellets article and make sure that the pellets are healthy, not colored and high sugar pellets.

I am sorry you and your bird are going through this tough time. It is possible that the bad wing trim started this behavior, but it could be diet related or another health issue also. Having your bird examined in person by an avian vet would be the best thing you can do.

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