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Dr. Taus
Dr. Taus, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 505
Experience:  Veterinarian with experience in equine and small animal medicine.
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I have a 2 year Goffin cockatoo. I bought him about 2 weeks

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I have a 2 year Goffin cockatoo. I bought him about 2 weeks ago. He has what appears to be a "hot spot" on his chest. He picks at it constantly. At first I thought it was just part of his coloring and now I see that he has a little sore that he is constantly digging at. My other bird is a Senegal and I have no experience with pluckers. He doesn't seem to 'pick' at any other area just the one on his chest. I can't get him into a vet until Tuesday (today is Thursday) I have tried a product called "cease" in an attempt to deter but it doesn't seem to deter him at all. Please advise.
Hi there,
Feather picking has both medical and psychological causes. Contrary to popular belief, external parasites like mites are pretty rare, but bacterial and fungal infections and other illnesses can trigger feather picking, so it's good that you're considering a trip to the vet when that becomes possible.

Any disruption in routine can trigger feather picking. Since you recently acquired your bird, it may be as simple as a change in home environment that is setting him off. Collars and sprays that are supposed to make feather picking more difficult can be stressful themselves, and they don't treat the cause of the feather picking. If he is not causing himself to bleed, your best course of action may be to just wait until next week when you can get to the vet and rule out a medical problem to address the problem. Other things you can try include:

-Continue giving him lots of interaction. Cockatoos need as much attention as the average 2 year old child. Try leaving a TV on when you aren't home, or move his cage to a high-traffic area of the house. Take stock of his cage furniture and toys, and rotate them if possible.

-Provide 'recreational feeding'-- foods like nuts, string beans, and snow peas-- that require time and effort to eat and help mitigate boredom.

-Mist him 1-2 times a day with water to encourage normal preening rather than picking and feather destruction.

-Understand that in non-mating, sexually intact birds, feather picking on the chest can be a sign of sexual frustration, may be hormonally driven, and may not go away unless he is kept with females in a breeding situation.

Again, if he is not causing himself to bleed, the feather picking is unsightly and a sign of psychological stress, but is not an imminent danger to his health. It also may take some time to mitigate and may reoccur later if he is stressed.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please rate me positively, and don't hesitate to let me know how I can help further.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am Not sure that this is feather picking . He seems to be preening himself on other areas on his body. Its just this one area at the base of his chest that seems to be the problem. There is a small scab / sore beginning. His feathers are discolored around the area so I believe it is bleeding a little bit not actively. He is eating well and is out of his cage about 5 hours a day and have plenty of toys. even when I am scratching him petting him, playing with him whatever he is still incessantly digging at that area.

I feel awful . But he seems content. So would you not use the bitter stuff? It doesn't seem to deter him at all.

No feathers are missing, it just seems to itch like crazy. Does that sound like feather plucking? As I said, he is grooming normally every where else. Do birds get hotspots? .


Birds get skin infections and feather follicle infections that can be similar to hot spots. If the bitter stuff isn't doing any appreciable good, I think I'd just discontinue using it.

Feather plucking/picking is really just an extension of normal grooming behavior into an obsession. Birds run a continuum from not taking care of their feathers, to normal preening, to feather plucking to the point of total baldness. Your vet should rule out a medical cause first, but the chest is a pretty common place to start picking even if the rest of the body is groomed normally.

The fact that he is damaging his skin makes me think that your vet may find a treatable skin infection. A lot of times feather pickers damage or break feathers, but they usually don't get the skin much. As long as it's not bleeding actively, I'd schedule an appointment for next week if possible, or as soon as you are available.

I know it's awful to see them scratching and uncomfortable. Since he's eating and drinking and playing with you, though, I think that you shouldn't beat yourself up too much about not being able to get in sooner :).

Dr. Taus and other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

I'm just following up on our conversation about Macy. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Heading to the vet today. She has a sore on her chest. No feathers are missing but I just can't watch anymore.. gotta make sure there isn't something that we can do. Thanks for checking back. I appreciate it!


That certainly sounds like more than simple feather plucking. I'm glad you are getting her seen. I hope it clears up quickly!