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Plucking other birds? [Jul. 23rd, 2007|06:17 am]


[Current Mood |frustratedfrustrated]

I have a cockatiel I adopted somewhat recently, about six months ago. When I adopted him and his mate her crest and neck were completely bald. I figured it was because he was bored, and possibly because she was weak and sick. Blood work ruled out the possibility of iron, sodium, or protein deficiency in him. A bit of bitter apple on her head as soon as they got home stopped him immediately and he was introduced to a variety of toys, allowed to fly, and forage for his food. Her feathers grew back in and he showed no interest in even trying to pluck her until after she was healthy again, at which point he did try to pluck her neck but she pushed him away. They got along very well with my other cockatiels so they are caged with them.

I thought the problem was gone and just kept watching her head until I saw him trying to pluck the heads of my two other hens. One pushed him away but the other would let him preen her and then not move away when he plucked her. I feel horrible because by the time I noticed a spot the size of a nickel right behind her crest was completely bald. I put some aloe on the bald spot and feathers are already growing back in, and I put Apollo (the trouble maker) in an extra cage. I didn't want him to be alone so I put my other hyper boy, Jesse, in there as well. Two days later Jesse was missing several feathers on his neck.

So now Apollo is caged by himself. I wanted to let him out with the other birds while I can supervise but he would fly out of his cage the second I opened the door, fly into the main cage, pluck a crest feather out of the first bird he came to, and fly away again.

The extra cage is lower then the main cage and lower then my eye level because he is a bit too confident. They forage for about half of their food, they are encouraged to fly as much as possible, they are showered daily, they get handled daily, they get to watch about a half hour of TV most days, the radio is on whenever I leave the room, and they have a huge variety of toys that are switched out once a month. Perhaps I overstimulated him?

Clipping his wings is out of the question because he only has one foot and uses his wings to balance himself.

I can find tons of information about birds plucking themselves, but plucking other birds doesn't bring up much information other then boredom or a deficiency in sodium, iron, or protein.

Crossposted to parrot_lovers and cockatiels