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:( my worst nightmare. [Jun. 24th, 2007|11:57 am]
Featherpicking

featherpicking

[pachyderms]
My quaker, Skipper, is eight years old andI've had him since a baby. His entire life, he has never had any behavioral problems or illnesses. I've been away on vacations before, always leaving him in the care of my parents or grandparents (he likes both and both handle and give him attention). Nothing has ever gone wrong before.
This summer, however, I started a new job two hours away that required me to be away from home four days out of the week. Being away from home and Skipper has been hard on me, but for the first three weeks, I came home to a happy, healthy parrot. This week, however, I came back, and according to my dad, he plucked virtually all of his plumage (his chest, back, legs. everything not on his head, tail, and wings.) in a matter of hours. It broke my heart to come home to see my sweet little bird in one of the states I've always feared the most but managed to avoid.
This was yesterday, and by the time I was home, all vets were closed. So, I called a few local bird-centric pet stores and read a lot of articles online. Using the information I acquired, I tried a lot of solutions. I replaced all toys I threw away and bought some new ones, misted him and let him take a shower with me, gave him some mullet and new toys, and drenched his feathers in a taste deterrent to discourage plucking. I'm going to add a multivitamin to his water, as well, and have my father (he loves my dad) keep him in his office during the day. Tomorrow I hope to go to the vet. This entire time, though, I keep on catching glimpses of him yanking his feathers out. He seems unusually quiet and still, otherwise, and I'm terrified.

Anything else I can do to make things better and stop him from plucking at least until tommorrow? I'm pretty sure the vet is not going to have a solution, as his skin seems healthy and from what I can tell not infected or irritated, and mite-free (we have no other pets in the house).
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Comments:
From: olotusflowero
2007-06-24 07:06 pm (UTC)
I feel your heartbreak. :( My conure is in the same sad state of affairs exactly. I went off to college and was not allowed to bring him with me, and my parents are never home to spend time with him. He's also mite and irritation free according to his vet, and has continued plucking for the past four years. I did all the same things... new toys, bitter sprays, multivitamins, expensive anti-plucking supplements. My parents even bought a budgie, hoping he would be less lonely. These things have helped a little, and at least have eased my worries that he'll overpluck to a disastrous end. The best thing, however, is that I have noticed that simply by spending TONS of time with him when I am actually around, the amount that he plucks noticably decreases. I'm hoping that once I graduate this year I can bring him with me and his problem will diminish and hopefully disappear.

So, on to the advice... spend as much time as you possible can with your quaker when you can. Play with him, talk to him, all that stuff that I'm sure you already do... just keep him around you, on your shoulder, on your finger, etc., for hours at a time if possible. I was thinking of maybe playing a radio with a tape of me talking to my bird when I'm gone, but thus far I haven't tried it. I know it doesn't have much basis for helping, but maybe you could be the first to try it? Lol.

Good luck, and keep us posted. I really do understand the pain that comes from seeing your beloved companion pull out its beautiful plumage.
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