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Stuff to try after going to the vet [Aug. 28th, 2006|01:45 am]


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There are many different ways to tackle the plucking issue. There are even different ways to treat the same cause, such as hormones. Here are some of the things I've tried for my birds:

1) Some would suggest Lupron on a regular basis. I'm not a big fan of Lupron as I prefer to do things the natural way. If it's helping perhaps you should try it for 6 months to a year. Meanwhile work on removing hormonal triggers from her environment. Then try taking them off the Lupron permanently, or only using it during the months of the year that they have the most problems.

2) Try meal feeding. In nature they typically eat two large meals a day with few snacks in between meals. When there is an abundance of food it can trigger them to make babies. Afterall, there is plenty of food to provide for them. One method is using small quantities of Harrison's along with lots of good, vitamin-rich veggies. Another great diet to try is the Feeding Feathers Plucker's Diet, which I'll discuss more below.

3) Sometimes birds ingest things they aren't supposed to and it can cause intestinal blockage, plucking, etc. Therefore Dr.Van Sant recommends that you eliminate soft plastic, paper, fibers such as string or cloth, cardboard, and any non-edible toys they ingest from the environment.

4) Essential Fatty Acids every day. I will explain this in more detail with the Feeding Feathers Plucker's Diet.

5) A couple drops of liqui-kelp added to the water daily supplies iodine, a necessary mineral.

6) No petting, or only a quick scritch on the head. Petting them a lot or in certain areas is like flirting with them. They end up thinking you want to have babies with them.

7) As much outside time as possible, at least 2-3 hours a week. This alone can stop plucking in some birds. The fresh air, interesting environment, and sunshine really benefit them. It's good for them for so many different reasons.

8) Daily showers, or if that doesn't work try once a week. With some parrots, especially itchy ones, the moisture of daily showers really helps. It can also distract them from plucking activities. With other parrots the excess "rainfall" makes them think it's spring and time to.. you guessed it... make babies.

9) 12 hours of darkness each night. Excess light maks them think it's spring and time to make babies.

10) Try removing easily shred toys. They can trigger hormones by telling the parrot, "We're shredding, so we must be building a nest."

11) If something causes hormonal behavior- nest building, flatbacking, etc. eliminate it from the enironment.

12) Use a sleep cage if possible and/or get her away from the cage during the day. The only time parrots spend their days wher ethe spend their nights in the wild is if they are on a nest. They start to think of their cage as their nest and this triggers hormones. A sleep cage can be a small cage or carrier. It just needs a bowl of water, perch, and perhaps a toy to snuggle with and chew.

13) Use positive reinforcement to teach her valuable skills, thereby reinforcing your role as teacher in her life... not mate. Teach her to step up onto hand held perches, go into a travel carrier, be toweled, fly to you, go to a specific place, do fun entertaining tricks, etc. Good bird magazine is an excellent resource for learning to do this.

14) Different stations to hang out on throughout the day. This mimics their life in the wild, as typically they'd sleep in one place, forage in another, nap in another, etc. Have an assortment of play areas for them to hang out on throughout the day. This is also a way to keep them off of you and busy doing fun parrot stuff. You are their friend, not their mate, so you don't want them to be snuggled up to you on your shoulder for hours on end. Try boings, atoms, nets, bottlebrush gyms, play gyms, tabletop perches, t-stands, etc. The biggest hits here are boings and bottlebrush gyms.

15) This link on how to not be a tease. Things you should consider no matter what the plucking is caused by. It reduces hormonal stress, which can make plucking worse no matter what the original cause was. http://www.rationalparrot.com/tease.html

16) The Feeding Feathers Plucker's Diet and Regimen. More info can be found at the Feeding Feathers yahoo group located here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FeedingFeathers/

Compilation of what has worked for those living with plucking parrots.

By Gloria, Shauna and Alicia

The first thing to do in the case of a plucking bird is to make an
appointment with your avian vet. You need an appointment even if
your bird was just recently at the vets. Please keep in mind that
just because your bird was healthy at its last vet visit, that was

for that day only and not a week, month or year later. Suggested
diagnostic tools/tests for your vet to run that have been suggested
at AAV (Association of Avian Veterinarians) conferences and included
in some veterinary texts are the following: CBC, biochemical analyses

(AST, CPK, Ca, PO, uric acid,bile acids, GGT, total protein);
plasma electrophoresis; gram stains; DNA probe tests
for PBFD,polyoma and Chlamydophila; parasite evaluation;
+/- radiographs; +/- TRH stim

test or T3/T4 tests; cytology and gram stains of pulp or skin lesion;
culture of pulp or skin lesion; and biopsy for histopathology,
depending on the differential diagnosis.

You should never give your bird the following:

refined sugar
refined white flour
dairy products (with the exception of non or lowfat organic yogurt)
salt (although if bloodwork shows low sodium...occasionally a little
salt in the diet may improve plucking, but if sodium is normal,

then adding salt could harm kidneys)
fried foods
chemical preservatives
chemical dyes
artificial flavoring

We suggest that you start out by NOT offering the following foods to
your bird to see if you see improvement:

corn (found in packaged foods/mixes or manufactured foods...organic
table corn used as a vegetable should be ok, corn causing the most
allergies is dent or field corn)
sweet potato

sunflower seed

IF the plucking CONTINUES then you may also want to try removing the
following gluten grains:
oats in some cases


If plucking stops after taking away the rye, barley, wheat, spelt, kamut and
oats you can try slowly reintroducing them later, after the plucking
has stopped.

Other foods that you may wish to try eliminating would be members of

the nightshade family:
Sweet peppers

After eliminating any foods from the diet, and leaving them out for
several weeks to months, you can then slowly add them back into the
diet one by one, and watch for any reactions. If you don't see any

reaction to reintroduced food, then an allergy to those foods most
likely isn't a problem. IF you reintroduce soy, the recommended
soy is edamame or green soybean which looks like big snap peas. Tofu in
small amounts may be ok as well.

Diet to try is:

Organic WHOLE grains soaked for 24 hours and then sprouted or lightly
cooked (amaranth, quinoa, millet, spelt, kamut, barley, rye)
Organic WHOLE legumes (lentils more protein) ( mung and adzuki are most

easily digested) soaked for 10-24 hours and then cooked. Bring to boil
for 10 min., simmer for 20 min. If you sprout legumes, sprout until you
have at least 1/4 " tails, preferably longer.
Organic greens and veggies in season such as dandelion leaves,collards,

kale, carrot tops, radish tops, dark leafy lettuce, bok choy, celery,
cucumber, mustard greens, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, radish,
beet root, cactus leaves, okra
Organic fruits in season such as apple, papaya,mango, pineapple,

banana, fig, coconut, berries, melon

Finely minced garlic..for a small bird only about 1/8 of a clove,
a large bird 1/4 clove, mixed into food a few times a week, NO more
than once a day.
A small bit of FRESH ginger no more than a few times a week

Supplement with a small amount of powdered alfalfa, you can purchase
capsules. suggested amounts: 1/8 capsule for birds up to 250 g,
1/4 capsule 250-500g, 1/3 capsule 500g-750 g, 1/2 capsule 750g-100g.

Also supplement with a tiny bit of kelp. It's best to add a small
amount of kelp to a recipe that lasts a few days. On a daily basis,
the amount of powdered kelp would be like what you may fit on the
end of a pen. A suggested amount of powdered kelp is: 1/10 of 1/4

teasp. per day for a medium sized parrot...that's how tiny! For a
plucker, you may try giving kelp daily for about 6 weeks and then
after that time give kelp 3-4 days of the week. Kelp can help to
stimulate a sluggish thyroid but it has been found that too much

kelp, or if given daily for a long period of time, that it can
inhibit thyroid activity, which could possibly lead to plucking.
Which is why the small dosage is so very important!

A quality refrigerated cold pressed flaxseed or hempseed oil

An unrefined palm oil a few times a week instead of the flax or
hemp seed oil
Sea Buckthorn Oil
Quality probiotics
A squirt of apple cider vinegar on fresh foods (approximately 1/4
teasp birds up to 250g, 1/2 teasp up to 500g etc)

Raspberries. You can use fresh or frozen..thawed. Mix a few daily
into fresh foods.Put through food processor is you need to.

Veggie Magma or Berry Green powders
Hemp protein powder

A holistic approach is usually needed so besides diet

Take parrot outside for at least 20 min. of sun and fresh air, more
is better, weather permitting of course. Be sure that your bird has
adequate shade on sunny days.

Daily exercise. Have your bird walk, maybe go up some stairs. Flap
its wings on a hoop. If it flies, work on flight training. Supply
plenty of activities and projects in its cage to keep busy/active.

Bathe your bird several times a week. If it doesnt' like baths,
don't force them but gradually work on making bath time a good thing.

A recipe to help with skin inflammation and itching is
1 TBS. Hylands Calendula spray

1 Tsp. chickweed extract, non-alcohol or add a few drops boiling
water to evaporate alcohol
Put into 2 cups water, keep in fridge up to one week.

Another version that may be easier to obtain is:
1 TBS dried calendula herb

1 TBS dried chickweed herb

Steep each herb in 1 cup of water for 5 minutes. Combine and
store in refrigerator for up to one week. Use several times
a day for 5 days. Stop for 3 days to determine if another dose

is needed.

Plucking can also have behavioral challenges. You suspect your birds
plucking is behavioral then we suggest you sign up to the PBAS list
run by Susan Friedman Ph. D


If you'd like me to expand on any of this, I can. If you're overwhlemed by it all and don't know where to begin, I can help you with that as well.

[User Picture]From: angry_crab
2006-08-29 07:47 pm (UTC)
yes, of course.
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