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Anna, Bird Expert, Biologist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 11540
Experience:  Have owned and/or raised parakeets, finches, cockatiels, and poultry over a period of thirty years.
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She started what i think is feather plucking. she is a

Customer Question

she started what i think is feather plucking. she is a lovebird with a mate 4 yrs old and because of houseguests i moved their cage to a higher traffic area
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the bird?
Customer: she has a bald spot behind her neck and patchiness in ot
JA: Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Veterinarian. What is the bird's name?
Customer: kiwi
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about kiwi?
Customer: no
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Bird
Expert:  Anna replied 12 months ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I'm a biologist with a special interest in avian health. I'm sorry to hear that Kiwi has developed a problem. Some additional information will help me determine the best steps for you to take.

Have you actually seen her plucking herself?

Are the houseguests now gone?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
they are gone and no i have not
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
I looked online at pictures of other lovebirds
Expert:  Anna replied 12 months ago.

Thank you for getting back to me. I'm working on some information for you now, and will post it as soon as I have it typed up. I appreciate your patience and will be back shortly.

Expert:  Anna replied 12 months ago.

Thank you for waiting.

Feather plucking is one of the most frustrating problems a bird owner has to deal with. There can be many causes. Sometimes it's a health problem, so the first thing to do is have an avian vet examine your bird. Parasites, skin infections, and even liver disease can lead to plucking. Don't use over-the-counter remedies from the pet store. Most are ineffective and some are downright dangerous. In addition, if you treat for the wrong thing (mites, for example, when there's a skin infection), it can make the situation worse. Here is a site that will help you find a vet near you:

While this problem is stress related, we can't rule out a health problem. Stress suppresses the immune system, making diseases and parasites more likely. The vet appointment is really important.

Another possibility is that the male is plucking her. That would be strictly behavioral.

There are some other less likely potential causes. Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances can also lead to feather plucking. There's lots of information on good nutrition on the following site:

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 birds to a room where it's quiet and you can cover the cage so they can get adequate sleep. If they're already getting 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. Give them a lot of attention and out-of-cage time. Try to teach her new things. The more enrichment and activity you can provide, the less likely they are to pluck herself or each other. You can read more about feather plucking here:

in summary, a vet check is most important. Then make any necessary changes to the environment. if you have more questions, just let me know. I hope this will be ended easily.


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