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Ask Patricia Your Own Question
Patricia, Parrot Consultant
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 1759
Experience:  Published author, free lance bird behaviorist, adviser to the parrots at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.
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why is My zebra finch is pecking the back of her neck

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Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Pet
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.
Hi Judy. Are you saying another bird is pecking at her neck or she is doing this herself? Are feathers being pulled out? Are there bald places? Is there any injury or bleeding associated with the pecking? What are the dimensions of the cage and how many birds are sharing it? If there is more than one bird, do you know the gender of each? If so, how many of each? Has there ever been any breeding and/or any eggs? Tell me everything in their dailey diet. How old is this bird? The extra information will help me give you my best advice. Thanks, Patricia
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Patricia's Post: I think that she is pecking at herself. When she bends her neck I noticed that there was a small bald spot. She is in a cage with a spice finch. I bought the two of them at the same time. I separated them and she has healed. There wasn't any blood. I am concerned on whether or not to place them back together in the same cage. I haven't noticed the spice finch pecking her in the past. I am not sure what sex they are. I have the birds since September and don't know how old they are. They were purchased from the same pet store. I feed them finch seed and supplement with fresh veg and fruits and clean water daily.
Expert:  Patricia replied 10 years ago.

Okay Judy, thanks for the extra information. it sounds like you are doing a better than average job with their diet. Good for you and for them. Too many folks think birds can live on nothing but seeds. As for determining gender, male zebra finches have orange cheek patches, black breast bars, brown and white flanks, and a deep red beak color. The females have no breast bars and their beak will be a more subdued color than the male. I'm going to give you a link that will show you a picture of a pair, sitting side by side for easy comparison.Click here: The Finch Niche - Species Showcase - The Zebra Finch Spice Finches are not so easy. There is no discernable difference in the sexes but only the male will sing. Here is some more information about them. Click here: Spice Finches - Species Fact Sheet As for the possibility of fighting, that can't be ruled out if you have two of the same gender, especially if they are males with no females. My suggestion would be to get one more of each and keep the types in separate cages. They are much too flock oriented to remain alone. They need to be with others of their kind. As for other causes for the feather situation, if this is self plucking that is going on, there are usually only two basic reasons for it with any type of bird or parrot. One is a health issue, the other is behavioral. Behavioral plucking is usually only seen with the parrots who are bored, are not getting the kind of human interaction they must have, and/or a neglectful or abusive situation. That's not likely with a Finch. They aren't hands on birds and they don't crave human interaction beyond proper care. Of course I can only surmise but in your situation, my best guess would be frustration and not having other's of her/his kind to live with. Low humidity leading to dry skin and feathers is another possibility. You can try raising the humidity levels in their room. That's an easy one as you can just sit a couple pans of water near or on, your heat vents. You can also try misting them with luke warm water. If you do that, only spray from above and let it drift down on them. Never spray directly on a bird. If you have, or can get an Aloe plant, you can cut off an arm, split it open and mix the juice with the bath water. That is great for their skin and feather condition and if they ingest some while preening, so much the better. Here is a bit more information on the benefits of aloe. Just make sure it's 100% aloe and not an over the counter product that contains aloe. Click here: Aloe: Parrot Pharmacy In A Leaf If getting them each a companion, adjusting the humidity and/or giving them the opportunity to bathe does not change anything, you are going to have to assume there is a health issue and they (or at least the one) will need to be seen by a qualified Avian vet. I hope this will be helpful but if you have more questions, just let me know. Patricia