How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Patricia Your Own Question

Patricia
Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
Type Your Pet Question Here...
Patricia is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My bird eats my hair.

Resolved Question:

He is a patagonian conure and about 16 years old. He is a great companion but he has started eating my hair. Since shaving my head is not an option please inform what the possible cause for this might be. He also has had feather destructive behavior which is deemed behavioural and not physical He has had that problem for at least 5 years. But JUST started to eat my hair. He is much loved and almost never caged. He does get all the most one on one attention that I can give him.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 7 years ago.
Hello. It sounds like he is transferring plucking of his own feathers to trying to pluck your "feathers". It appears you have a very close bond with him and he with you so that's not really that unusual. Hopefully he is not actually ingesting any of your hair and I'm sure you know that if you use any kind of gels, mousse, or hair spray of any kind, it can be toxic for him to get it in his system. If he is seeing this as "mating" behavior or even if he is only wanting to allopreen, there is not going to be much you can do when he is out, other than to cover your head with a scarf or something that blocks his access to your hair. Somehow the habit needs to be broken, for both of your sakes. Since the plucking has been established that it is behavioral, I'm sure you've been through all the suggested methods to try to distract or discourage it. I'm sure you are also very well aware just how difficult it can be to deal with this problem, once it gets a foot hold and becomes a habit. I really don't see anything you can do beyond, keeping him away from your hair by using a head cover of some kind, and maybe returning him to his cage, if only for a short "time out", period, and providing lots of shredding type toys. Everytime he goes for your hair, intercept that beak with one of them. There are many things that can be used but one of the most effective I've seen is easy and cheap. If you have not tried it yet, it could be worth giving it a chance. Go to the Mexican food area of your grocery and pick up a package of the dried corn husks intended for wrapping tamales, etc. Clip some to his cage bars and keep a hand full handy for when he decides you need to be preened. you might also try very gradually, increasing the amount of time he spends in his cage. Also, if you haven't tried it, give him a whole roll of paper towels to shred and tear up. Much like a dog with separation anxiety, it is very easy for us to allow our birds to bond too tightly to us, making them less and less capable of being able to spend some time entertaining themselves. Of course that becomes a vicious circle. The more we baby them, the bigger babies they become and the more dependent they are on our constant attention. Don't be kicking yourself over it. It's one of the easiest, (and worst) ways we can spoil our birds. I wish I had a magic cure answer for you but if there was one, I'm sure you would have found it long ago. I just hope these few suggestions might be something you have not thought of nor tried yet. You never know which thing might work, even if only a little bit. Best of luck with it and let me know if you think I might be able to help any further. Patricia
Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience: Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
Patricia and 2 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
< Last | Next >
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • You are a light at the end of scary tunnel when $ are tight, but people need professional help to turn to for help with their dear pets! Linh Charleston, WV
  • $1,000 spent at his vet, and I finally get the correct diagnosis from Nancy Holmes for $15 Carol Cedar Hill, MO
  • I think this is the greatest web site in the world. Thanks to all! Judy New Haven, CT
  • I have referred several friends to your web site. I'm impressed with how easy it is to use your site, the Experts available and the quickness of answers. Nina USA
  • I am completely pleased with the quick response that I received in our time of need for our dog, Jasmine. I couldn't believe how quick the response was and I thank you. It's good to know you're there!! Jasmine's Mom USA
  • Please let everyone involved with your site know that your Expert, Dr. Lucy, has saved my dog's life. I will recommend your site to all my pet loving friends. Thank you again for simply being there! Sonya G Easley, SC
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    522
    2003 Graduate
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    522
    2003 Graduate
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/Jav917/2012-2-20_54059_201221802254JoananddavidArchuleta3.64x64.jpg Joan's Avatar

    Joan

    Vet Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    2337
    Vet Tech for 30+yrs. Small Animals and Fish
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    273
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    157
    12 years of experience in emergency, surgery and medicine
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/MsAM/2012-6-9_16426_anna.64x64.jpeg Anna's Avatar

    Anna

    Pet Expert/Biologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2916
    40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BA/babybloo/2011-3-10_62613_DavidandI.64x64.jpg Theresa's Avatar

    Theresa

    Voice for your pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    1132
    Veterinary Technician for 15 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JA/jadedangel57/2011-11-8_193134_janenewsm.64x64.jpg Jane Lefler's Avatar

    Jane Lefler

    Behaviorist, Breeder, See Qual.

    Satisfied Customers:

    884
    15 years Breeding Experience, Former vol. Vet Assistant, Dog Behaviorist