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Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 11513
Experience:  Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
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My Yellow Amazon was treated picking and is still

Customer Question

my Yellow Amazon was treated for feather picking and is still fluttering his feathers but seems otherwise ok. I’m wondering what else I can do. The avian vet we took him to, although knowledgeable is very expensive and has poor bedside manner, ultimately does not know exactly what is wrong.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in birds. I'm sorry to hear that Jax is having a problem with feather picking. Some additional information will be useful.
What tests did the vet run - skin scraping, blood work, etc.?
What treatment was prescribed?
What is Jax's diet like?
Thank you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
STAT-HHematocrit/Total Serum Solids - Normal
Digital Hi Def Rads/Anes
Lupron 750ug/ml per 10cc; 50cc
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Diet consists of Zupreen Friot Pellets, Fresh Fruit particularly apples
Expert:  Anna replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. Sometimes feather plucking is caused by hormonal problems, so that's why the vet prescribed Lupron.
Feather plucking is one of the most frustrating problems a bird owner or vet has to deal with. There can be many causes. Often, no specific cause is found, so your vet has certainly done nothing wrong in not finding the exact cause. Sometimes it's a health problem, so the first thing to do is have an avian vet examine your bird. You have already done that.
Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances can also lead to feather plucking. You're using a pelleted diet, which is an excellent start, but I would add much more variety. Most fruits and vegetables are safe. Never feed anything containing avocado, garlic, onions, chocolate, or caffeine. Remove seeds from fruit because some seeds are toxic, including apple, peach, plum, apricot, and cherry seeds.
Appropriate produce includes papaya, sweet potatoes, yam, cantaloupe, cooked winter squash, pumpkin, apples, papaya , mango, oranges, melon, pineapple, berries, pears, peaches, plums, kiwi, banana , cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, tangerines, beets, radishes, turnips, carrots, mustard greens, dandelion greens, Swiss chard, parsley, basil, cooked potatoes, green beans, tomato, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplant, snow peas, fennel, and sugar snap peas.
Cooked whole grain pasta, rice, and beans can be fed. Whole grain breads are also suitable. The following site has more information on feeding:
Also, be sure to provide cuttlebone and mineral block.
If you use fluorescent lighting, consider replacing it with full-spectrum. Fluorescent lights can flicker, which birds can see even though we can't. It can be stressful enough to them that they'll begin plucking themselves. Not getting enough sleep can also lead to the problem. A bird needs at least 12 hours of sleep. If your bird is kept in a room where the lights are on and activity continues at night, you may want to consider moving the cage to a room where it's quiet and you can cover the cage for can get adequate sleep. If you're already providing 12 hours of sleep, try 14.
Once physical problems/conditions are either ruled out or treated, if the problem continues, it has become a behavior problem. In that case, it sometimes becomes permanent. To decrease the chances of that happening, be sure your bird has the largest cage you can afford, a variety of perches, and plenty of toys. Provide lots of attention and out-of-cage time. Try to teach new things. The more enrichment and activity you can provide, the less likely plucking is to continue. You can read more about feather plucking solutions here:
If you have more questions, let me know in a REPLY. I hope the above suggestions will help.
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