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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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Hi, My Hahns Macaw is biting is feathers off and leaving just

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Hi, My Hahns Macaw is biting is feathers off and leaving just his down feathers. His chest is completely down to his down feathers. He chewed the green parts off. I took him to the vet and she ran a test for bacteria and fungus. hes 1.5 years old and his feces and appetite are normal. He seems fine and playful otherwise. nothing has changed to stress him out and in fact he does it when he;s calm and relaxed. What can I do, besides baths, to make him stop chewing till the results come in?
Hi there,

I'm so sorry to hear that your macaw is chewing his feathers. That is such a frustrating problem!

It's great that you've already gone to your vet to have this worked up. We really need to rule out a medical issue before we go trying to address psychologically-driven feather picking. It's great that you are giving baths, too, as this encourages normal preening and grooming behavior.

Sometimes increasing his room's humidity (up to 50% or more)and including a half a teaspoon of flax seeds in his diet can help with itching and decrease the drive to pick. Misting him with aloe vera spray may also help. However, with the extent of chewing you are describing, I'm reluctant to think this is actually going to stop his feather chewing. It may help, but I don't think it will be the difference between a bald bird and one with normal feathers.

A lot of times, the only thing that can be done until you track down the primary problem is to put a collar on the bird that prevents reaching the area where he is chewing his feathers. This does prevent chewing, but it can also be stressful for the bird. If he is not getting his skin, creating bloodfeathers, or otherwise hurting himself, continuing to bathe him and provide supportive care, knowing that the chewing will continue, may be just as good until your vet can track down why he's doing this.

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