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He constantly plucks his feathers, and he has a dry, red…

He constantly plucks his...

He constantly plucks his feathers, and he has a dry, red patch under his wing.

Veterinarian's Assistant: What sort of animal are we talking about?

A parakeet.

Veterinarian's Assistant: OK. I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the parakeet?

He started chewing on himself the day I bought him. I noticed recently that he has a dry, red patch under his wing.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the parakeet's name and age?

Perhaps it's parasitic.

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the parakeet?

Only that he seems extremely active and possibly anxious.

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Answered in 40 minutes by:
3/9/2018
Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11,927
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I’m a biologist with over 40 years of experience keeping birds. 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.
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Thank you for waiting. I'm sorry to hear that you are dealing with a problem with your new parakeet. Since you noticed the plucking the first day, it was probably going on well before you bought him.

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. In your bird's case, a health problem - perhaps parasites as you suspect- is quite likley because the skin is irritated in the area he is plucking, and only one area is affected. 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:

http://www.avianweb.com/recommendedvets.htm

Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances can also lead to feather plucking. If your parakeet's diet was deficient before you got him, it can take a long time to remedy taht. There's lots of information on good nutrition on the following site:

www.4Animalcare.org/birds

Also, be sure to provide cuttlebone and mineral block.

A health problem may be the best case scenario because those conditions are straightforward and treatable. If a vet check rules out a health problem, you'll have to do some detective work.

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 him to a room where it's quiet and you can cover the cage so he can get adequate sleep. If he's 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 him a lot of attention and out-of-cage time. Try to teach him new things. The more enrichment and activity you can provide, the less likely he is to pluck herself. You can read more about feather plucking here:

http://www.avianweb.com/featherplucking.html

If you have more questions about this, just let me know. I'm glad to help. I hope the vet will find something easily treatable.

Anna

My goal is to provide you with excellent 5 star service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back, I am happy to address follow-up questions. Please remember to rate my service after you have all the information you need. I will greatly appreciate a positive rating as that is the only way I am compensated. Thank you!

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I definitely give Anna five stars! I could no ask for a more accurate and comprehensive reply.
Thank you.
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I don't know when you sent your follow-up email message, but as you can see, I'm extremely grateful for your response, and I will take my parakeet to the vet today, as you suggested. Thank you!
You're very welcome. Some of the messages you receive are computer- generated from JustAnswer, even though they look like they are from me. You can ignore them. There should be a place on your question page ( which looks different from what I see on my end) where you can actually click on 5 stars to rate my service. I would really appreciate that, and it may cut down on the automated messages. I wish your parakeet a complete recovery.
Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11,927
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
Verified
Anna and 87 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
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Hi Alan,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Anna
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