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Jack goes to the vet…

  • Abakan (2320 posts)
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    Jack goes to the vet…

    And I don’t know anything more than I did. The vet’s verdict is “it could be anything”.

    With me walking out 235.00 lighter and feeling like the worst mother in the world.

    His solution is to turn a room in my house a playroom for him. While somehow spending

    more time with him. How do I do that? Am I supposed to turn my den into a playpen for birds?

    I hate to say this, but I am a selfish person when it comes to my space and I like my den the way it is.

    Any one have any suggestions? The vet says make shredder toys, ok I’ll make shredder toys. I’m do not believe

    a lack of shredder toys is making him pluck. The main consensus is it started before he came to me.

    So the cause could be separation, dietary, stress, sexual, and some things I can’t remember.

    ARGHHHH help me bird people! BTW I have 11 eggs and they should start hatching tomorrow.

    Enthusiast, Haikugal, Sadie like this
     
    I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.  

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  • 3 months ago #1
  • 3 months ago #15
    • Sadie (3064 posts)
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      1. I am sorry

      I know nothing about birds.  Just horses and dogs.  I have a feeling we have many here who will know.

        Wake up, peeps, their kids go to Harvard and Yale; your kids go to Iraq & Afghanistan.   
    • Magical Thyme (2850 posts)
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      2. 1. is there a physical pattern to where he plucks?

      or is it just generally all over?

      2. Do you have any idea how old he was when the plucking started and where on his body it started?

      edited to add: ok, I found your intro post on him. I see he’s 5 years old and in the bottom pic, his legs look suspect, although it’s after bath so can’t be sure. Is that where the plucking first showed up?

      • Abakan (2320 posts)
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        3. He is 8 or 9 now and I think

        He was just beginning to pluck when I got him in July. I didn’t know whether he was plucking or molting.

        Having never had a bird like him I wasn’t sure. I asked every bird person I know and they all said he was plucking.

        He has plucked the feathers off his back and down is all that’s left. He has plucked his chest to where you can see

        his kiel bone. I am frantic to find the problem and fix it. The vet said I’m feeding him very well and housing him

        well, although it would be better for me of cover my walls with nets an toys and let him live out there. I’m sorry

        but he shits too much for that to happen. I clean enough shit as it is.

         
        I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.  
      • Abakan (2320 posts)
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        4. I was told he was 5 his band says he was hatched in 08

        So I think he has to be 8 or 9

        I am turning the autocorrect off on this computer.

        It makes me look more stupid than usual.

         
        I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.  
      • Abakan (2320 posts)
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        6. Here are some photographs showing the damage.

          

         
        I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.  
        • Haikugal (4801 posts)
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          7. Poor Jack! Was he will the previous owner long and can you talk to them?

            Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!!
          • Abakan (2320 posts)
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            9. So far no I got him from a pet shop.

            They had him about 6 weeks. The person in charge of birds is on leave and

            no one else seems smart enough to read.

             
            I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.  
        • Magical Thyme (2850 posts)
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          11. hmmmm….

          Plucking in an otherwise healthy bird, that starts after maturity and begins in the legs and chest is often sexual, per my avian vet when I lived in Mass (Marjorie McMillan, she’s a consulting vet w/international as well as local vets as clients). They are frustrated because they want to be sitting on eggs. I looked up Alexandrians — it said the reach maturity at 4, so I would have expected the plucking to start in the 4-5 age range, however my experience with Jerry is that can be sexual but also triggered by too much bonding well after maturity.

          Jerry my senegal started to pluck his legs and chest a little last summer, age 20+ and I’m almost certain it’s sexual. After I lost my job, and without my cockatoo Cody, I started letting him spend all his time outside his cage, sitting on my shoulder or arm or head whenever I was inside on the ‘puter.  He also tries to feed me,  attacked Sage a 2nd and 3rd time — Sage used to like to land on my head. So acted jealous, possessive, protective.

          So I backed off how much I let him out and let him be with me, and the plucking stopped. I’m also careful about where I scritch him — I read that under the wings or really anywhere other than the head can be misread as sexual signals.

          My cockatoo had started with her legs and then it progressed to her chest. It started as sexual, but once I moved up here and had my life in all kinds of upheaval, it became stress-related. The problem there was the more I tried to alleviate the stress, the more the sexual aspect was triggered. I never found a successful solution with him.

          I would suggest trying backing off the handling, leaving him in a situation with many distractions — other single birds around him — and toys.  Outside can work really well as there are other birds and things going on for them to watch. If possible, finding him a partner to bond with.

          I’ve also seen on some videos that some people have had success making them clothes from a sock. They pluck at the sock and leave their feathers alone, giving them a chance to grow back. But I would expect most birds to freak out at the process of being “dressed” in a sock.

          • Abakan (2320 posts)
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            12. I'm practically convinced it's sexual…

            I should have already gotten his girl. The girl in charge of birds went on leave.

            Apparently no one else knows anything and can’t read a clip board. So I have

            to change what I can at the moment and move ahead. I have faith this will stop

            if I have to get one of those birdflower cones and put it on him, to break the habit.

            When it isn’t quite so cold Jack and the others will be living outside. I got an aviary

            from CL and I have this large corner cage on the back porch. Every one outside!

             
            I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.  
            • Magical Thyme (2850 posts)
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              14. I just looked at your OP again and realized you wrote it was just starting

              when you got him. And the pic looks all over, versus just legs and chest. So it may well have started at the pet store and it could be lonely stress, especially if he was bonded with his prior person. In that case, I’d agree with your vet in spending more time with him.

              It’s a tough situation because one thing I learned from Cody is unless you have a good idea what’s going on, there’s no way to know which to do…distance yourself a bit and wean them off you, or bond more. Wrong change could make it worse.

              Either way, I still think finding him a friend may help. Are any of your other birds kept near him? Has he shown any interest in interacting with them, even just side by side in their cages?

              I just remembered that a couple decade ago Bennie, my first senegal, started to pluck for a short time. He was a wild-caught that I rescued from a bad situation. Although he was barely tame, he spent a year hanging with me a lot as he would sit on a wall lamp over my desk while I worked (I was free-lancing from home at the time — I was laid off ~6 months after getting him). I didn’t realize how bonded he was until I got contracted back full time. He started to pluck just a little, so I kept my eyes open. When Jerry turned up, I brought him home and it saved the day for Bennie, who stopped plucking and never did again. And then Jerry started a little bit after Bennie died, and I started letting him hang with me a lot more and that stopped it for Jerry.

        • NVBirdlady (3774 posts)
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          13. Oh god that photo breaks my heart to see them pluck.

          nobody here (reno/Carson City) seems to be able to pinpoint why it starts. I’ve been told more than once if someone ever figures out why they begin to pluck, they will become very rich. I don’t have any viable solutions, other than a cone or perhaps one of those flight suits. We always discuss this at length at the bird club. 

          I hear you about the bird poop and my vacuum gets a daily workout.

          President Trump. Thanks DNC, HRC, DWS. #StillSanders. #NoDAPL  #NoKXL Giant Meteor 2020
          • Eggar (1585 posts)
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            16. & nothing laying a damp rag

            laying down on for 15min. or such won’t bring up.  At least the poo-poo-crete is water soluable :)

             

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    • Haikugal (4801 posts)
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      5. When the weather permits maybe an enclosure outside for a change? How long have

      you had Jack? He’s new if I remember correctly right? I’m sorry to hear he has a problem and I know what it feels like to pay vet bills and still not have an answer. :hug: You’re a good Mom!

      You answered most of these questions while I was typing…

        Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!!
      • Abakan (2320 posts)
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        8. I am thinking of bringing the outside cage inside.

        It’s much larger and maybe he needs more room along with his shredder toys. I just don’t know

        where to put it. I’ve had him since July.

        He wants to be on me 24-7 and while I love him I can’t do that. He is currently sitting on my shoulder

        chewing holes in my “don’t blame me, I voted for Bernie” T-shirt.

         
        I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.  
        • Haikugal (4801 posts)
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          10. Hmm..would giving him a stuffed 'you' complete with an old, smells like you

          t-shirt work? :shrug:

            Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!!
    • Eggar (1585 posts)
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      15. I know of

      Most the time when the plucks show up in A.Greys that it pertains to more of a dietary allergy and more times than not reducing the amount of exposure to sunflower seeds can eliminate the problem. Definitely not in all cases I have come across, but sometimes it can be the case.

       

      Every bird species is entirely different, though, in what can be the cause of ailments, so testing out minor changes in their environment would seem good practice until the malady is eliminated. Personally for me, I wouldn’t take a bird to the vet for the issue of the plucking alone and would just keep attentive to any other changes in mood, strength, or weight (being more pressing factors of concern) I have had a few naked Greys that have remained healthy, happy & content in their lives for years until some little change corrects and they recover their plumage. Since the results take shape over a long period, though it can be hard to narrow down which change caused their plumage recovery or it could have been a doing all of their own.

       

      Your bird appears happy & healthy regardless of the outter-wear, so just make sure that stays as so

       

       

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      • Haikugal (4801 posts)
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        18. Beautiful…

          Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!!
        • Eggar (1585 posts)
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          19. Yes

          and the Grey Babes can be a handful (armful) of chuckles throughout the day!

           

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          • Haikugal (4801 posts)
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            20. From what I've read they are very intelligent and long lived.

            You can have them outside and not worry about losing them?

              Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!!
            • Eggar (1585 posts)
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              23. Well for these two

              I can just roll them over on their backs and clip their wings & toe nails with their acknowledging that when I get to the toe filing, they will get a free head rub :)

               

              At the time of this image *most likely* was very shortly after such a clipping event

               

              Foreground bird tends to be more alert and panic prone so extra caution is made with him, while the one on the shoulder is the opposite and is more like a lump on a log (still very smart & talkative) and never a worry taking out.

               

               

              It’s always good to test their capabilities inside to get a feel for when their next clip should be. The more bouyant in the flap test the more pressing the need to do such.

               

              Oh.. and try to avoid taking them out to perch openly – hard really knowing what is looking in the lurch to pick them off or the toxins of the tree branch people put them on. We had an eclectus baby we sold to a couple which did that exact thing and lost their bird chewing a toxic limb on a tree. Keep them with you at all times and only take them out to an outdoor cage or on your person. Forground John-John always has my finger clasped down on one foot for safety regardless of the wing clip.

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              • Haikugal (4801 posts)
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                26. Oh, how sad.

                Thanks for the info.

                  Be the bird.....       Hey DNC! Up Yours! It's ON!!
            • Eggar (1585 posts)
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              24. A list of the biggest culprits

               

              Cherry branches are more *hit & miss* though and it is safe especially if the bark is removed but a good chunk of birds fare well regardless

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    • Eggar (1585 posts)
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      17. hmmm… I would have never guessed

      that Alexandrines are considered a parakeet. They look more lori like or a small type of eclectus. But they tend to originate more in SE asia and not Mediterranean like where your bird comes from.

       

      Always fun learning up on species I haven’t come across before :)

       

      The young males can be identified as soon as they display one (or more) pitch-black feathers of their neck rings and/or one (or more) pink feathers of their nape bands. Often, the young males develop their neck rings and nape bands in two or sometimes three successive moulting seasons. Adult parakeets with neither pitch-black feathers in their neck rings nor pink feathers in their nape bands are usually females….

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      • NVBirdlady (3774 posts)
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        21. The long tail is why they call it a Parakeet.

        President Trump. Thanks DNC, HRC, DWS. #StillSanders. #NoDAPL  #NoKXL Giant Meteor 2020
        • Eggar (1585 posts)
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          25. Yeah….

          I was wondering about that when I saw it on the wikipedia.

           

          Had a dwarf Macaw ages ago with a long tail.  Don’t see many of them these days. I really hope they are faring well. Our JJ was such a cool kid. had to give him up (this was when I was a kid) prior to a move. That sucked.

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    • NVBirdlady (3774 posts)
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      22. I also agree it could be hormonal. It is only January and my birds are already

      humping everything in sight.

      Did make any changes to the environment that could have set it off. I’m sure you know how they are disagreeable to change. Just a thought.

      President Trump. Thanks DNC, HRC, DWS. #StillSanders. #NoDAPL  #NoKXL Giant Meteor 2020
    • Eggar (1585 posts)
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      27. Sorry for the photo-bombing in the thread

      I enjoy all the pictures of our winged kids and very much enjoy looking at them. And regardless of the plumage loss, your Jack is a really handsome Fella!

       

      If you plan on keeping any of you birds outdoors (like overnight & such) it is better having mesh or rungs that are no larger that 1/2″ apart to keep mice from contorting their way through. an opening hatch to attach a sheetmetal coated (plywood lined 5/8″ or 3/4″ interior, wood shavings or euctalyptus leaf floor) Nestbox w/ small access door on the outside is great for pulling babies. Even taping & cardboarding a hotpad to the bottom works wonderfully for the chillier nights and can easily be fashioned with drip loops and free from moisture.

       

      There is 1/2″x2″cell rolls of various width & lengths sold on line. We always tended to get ours second hand and sterilized from other bird breeders. raised & radiator-hose-clamped up on metal fence poles to give at min. 18″ clr. underneath for easy rake out & buffer from elements & critters

       

       

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    • Abakan (2320 posts)
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      28. UPDATE on Jack's progress

      The vet says Jacks blood work is normal, whatever is bothering him, is not medical.

      This is good news, but it doesn’t help with finding and fixing the problem.

      I have instituted a new routine for Sir Plucks A Lot. He is taken out while I prepare

      the birds breakfast. He is given a mist shower, every morning. At first he objected,

      now he enjoys it. Then he is given bits of, whatever, I am chopping for breakfast.

      I moved his cage where he now has Miracle on one side and Rio on the other so he is not

      alone.

      A friend and I made him a rope hanging that has shreddable things hanging on it. He is

      using it. I know none of this is a mate, since the last two females have fallen through,

      I no longer have the money required to purchase one. I know that is the answer, I am

      trying everything I can to take his mind off the fact he is horny.

       
      I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.  
      • Gallagher (423 posts)
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        29. Here are some suggestions from some folks who have had the same problem…

        You might try giving Jack a mop head to “pluck”. It worked for one of the owners.  Good luck!

        https://www.beautyofbirds.com/featherplucking.html

        • Abakan (2320 posts)
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          30. Thanks!

          I’ll pop right out tomorrow and buy my bird a mop! I ordered

          full spectrum bulbs to put in the ceiling fixtures and lamps.

          Many people make great arguments that plucking could be

          caused by a vitamin D deficiency, due to lack of sunlight.

          I can’t put him outside to freeze so I’ll flood him with light

          while he chews on his mop.

           
          I have much to say, so I talk to birds. They are truly the only ones who listen.