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When Did Your Qp Start Plucking?


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#21 Paul

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 05:51 PM

Hi all,

my first post in what is a very frustrating topic.

Jay is just 3 years old and is in a funny sort of plucking phase. It started out of the blue back in October when I came home from work and found he'd chewed off most of his flight feathers from one wing and he just wouldn't stop. The following morning he had chewed off all his flight feathers from his other wing and wasn't his normal little self. That evening when we got back from work he was very quiet, not talking much and looking very unhappy. All he would say was "Giz a kiss", but there was none of the normal squarking or Hello routine when we returned, so we contacted the vet and got him in the following morning.
The vet assumed it was diet and gave him a broad sprectrum anti biotic as a "just in case", and by the time I got back from work that evening, he was a different bird and definitely on the way back up.
He settled down after a 5 day coarse of anti biotic, and then in January his secondaries started coming back and he started over preening and chewing on a few. Since then he's pulled a few of his leg feathers and chews the tips of others, so we had a collar fitted to try and stop him. BIG MISTAKE.

I took it off after 2 days because he had managed to get to his chest and shoulders and pluck them bare, plus it totally changed his character and he looked thoroughly miserable with it on. But in the last few days he took to chewing off some of his tail feathers, and we ar stumped as to why he turns to destroying some of his feathers.

Prior to what seems to have been an illness, everything seemed ok. We had moved house a year before with out any problems, he had full flight and was always flying to us if we were out of the room, and is never locked in his cage when we are in.
He has plenty of toys, we have taught him an awful lot so that he understands when we go out, or go to bed. He had a near perfect temper with Jen and myself, although I'm his favourite, but now he just wants to preen, preen, chew, nibble, and preen.
The only time he stops is if he has a bath or I spray him, so we are looking for ideas within this forum to try and break this bad habit of his, because its changing him, and stressing and worrying us which obviously doesn't help him. One thing he used to like to do was fly around the living room before giving in to me when it was bed time, and I often notice how he looks at the chair at the end of the room as if to say, I'd love to fly to it but I can't. We are hoping that his primaries come back quicker rather than later to see if that helps, as he has a large house to safely fly around, both upstairs and downstairs with out worrying about open doors etc.

We bought him at about 3 months old from a garden centre, that sold a few birds, and there were no issues with him even in the old house. The location of his cage in the new house is much better from a light point of view, but we have central heating now rather than storage heaters, drier air and all that????

Right now we are trying out chewable items to try and get his attention, and may be some Aloe too in his baths to see if he is just itchy. He's a cracking bird, who's just not looking his best, and its somewhat painful to watch.

regards
Paul.

Edited by Paul, 07 March 2011 - 05:59 PM.


#22 jaytee

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Posted 07 March 2011 - 07:36 PM

Paul, Jen, and Jay, welcome to QP.com. :) My first suggestion is, another Vet visit.

What is his regular diet? Have there been any changes, lately.... Furniture? Other things around "His" space? Hair style/color? Nail Polish? The list goes on....... How often does he bathe? Aloe in the baths could, very well, help, in the mister too. You can even put a couple drops in his drinking water. ;) If the heat is drying the air, try adding a couple Humidifiers. Start with one on each floor, add more, if you think it will help.

Edited by jaytee, 07 March 2011 - 07:42 PM.


#23 Paul

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:10 PM

Hi,

everything in the living room furniture wise is new, but we bought it when we moved in back in September 09, so he has had a full year of getting used to it before his illness and plucking kicked in. We have even taken him on holiday with us, and the change of home for a week didn't bother him either whilst away or upon our return.

We usually feed him a parrot mix of seed with a few cashew nuts in which he likes, mixed with something more for Parakeets recommended to us by the lady who sold him to us and who keeps birds herself. Also plenty of fruit including strawberries as he loves eating all the seeds of them, fresh corn on the cob, grapes and apples, sometimes oranges which he's not overly keen on, toasted bread, and some breakfast cereals he likes like sugar puffs ( honey coated ) or weetos ( similar to). We are also trying him on something that the Vet suggested, called Pretty Bird to try and boost his vitamins.

We never had a problem with him bathing as he just started using his water bowl soon after we got him, and usually bathes once a week, but recently its been two or three times a week, and its funny that everythings only kicked off this winter because its our second winter in the new house and there were no problems at all last winter.

We know about things like nail polish as he attacks fingers if he doesn't like the colour, and they aren't used in any room other than the bathroom so that we can close the door and leave a widow open to get rid of the smell.

When I look at some of the problems that other owners are having in this forum, we realise just how special he is, because he has been so well behaved and loving, and his interaction with us has been amazing. We have been very surprised at what we have been able to get him to do, especially his potty training. If he doesn't like something he growls to tell us, so any new toys are usuall hung outside his cage till he gets used to them rather than putting them in straight away.
He even has a slightly larger than himself fluffy toy. Its a Greenfinch ( UK bird ) and he loves to nestle up to it and go to sleep on the top of his cage as he is at the moment, Although he does like to bully it a bit at times.........

There isn't really anything that I can see as I look at him that you could point a finger at and say may be its that.

The Vet we use was also suggested to us by the lady who sold him to us, if we take him back, what should we be looking for.

Many thanks Paul.

Edited by Paul, 08 March 2011 - 02:19 PM.


#24 Paul

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 02:51 PM

As a PS,

when we go out we always leave a radio on for him, if we are nipping out for an hour or less we sometimes leave the telly on for him.

#25 jaytee

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:13 PM

WOW!!!!

We usually feed him a parrot mix of seed with a few cashew nuts in which he likes, mixed with something more for Parakeets recommended to us by the lady who sold him to us and who keeps birds herself. Also plenty of fruit including strawberries as he loves eating all the seeds of them, fresh corn on the cob, grapes and apples, sometimes oranges which he's not overly keen on, toasted bread, and some breakfast cereals he likes like sugar puffs ( honey coated ) or weetos ( similar to). We are also trying him on something that the Vet suggested, called Pretty Bird to try and boost his vitamins.


I've seen similar posts, from people in the UK, tooooooo many times. ( no blame cast on you), I wish UK Vets would catch up!!

QPs are prone too Fatty Liver Disease, Sugar = fat. Seeds have a lot of oil, = fat. Many fruit seeds have Cyanide in them. (particularly, Apple Seeds ) NO FRUIT SEEDS!!!!!!! (Strawberry seeds are OK ;) )

QPs should have a pellet based diet (24-7) supplemented with lots of vegies, and 'some' fruits, along with grains, like rice, and wheat, and legumes, sorry I don't know examples of that :blush: , plus a little Low-fat, well-cooked meat. Basically, what you may consider a 'healthy' diet for yourself. Seeds should be held back, as a treat, or training tool. Read about SEED CONVERSION

I've never been across the pond, but i hear the weather is not all that great. :blush: You might consider some UV Lighting.
CLICK HERE (Read this, and the following post) This will help with his vision, and attitude.

I hope this helps.

Edited by jaytee, 09 March 2011 - 07:17 PM.


#26 Paul

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 05:09 AM

Thanks for all that, certainly some food for thought.

We have heard of the idea of UV lighting, especially after the near permament gloom we have had at times this winter, so we left a normal light on all day whilst we were at work just to brighten the place up a bit for him.

Looks like we need to re-think some of his treats, and he never has apple pips thank god.

regards
Paul.

Edited by Paul, 12 March 2011 - 05:10 AM.


#27 Little Green Hero

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:57 PM

Here are the answers for my 4 year old QP Link:

1.) At what age did your QP start?
about 2

2.) How long has your QP been plucking/ mutulating?
2 years

3.) Did you ever determine the cause? (And what was it.)
He had giardia when we brought him home from the Humane Society, and then after it was treated he never fully gave up the plucking.

4.) What treatment(s) have you tried?
We gave him a medication crushed up in his water and a ton of preening toys. We also switched him from seed to Harrison's Bird Pellets.

5.) Which was the most effective?
The medicine cured the giardia, which took away most of the issue. This huge preening toy with a bunch of frayed ropes also helps, and he loves his pellets.

6.) What is the health status & feather status of your QP today?
He is in great health these days but still likes to occasionally pluck his neck. He always has a small bald spot.

7.) If you found out another person had a QP just start plucking what would be the best advice you could give?
Get him to the vet. Plucking isn't always purely behavioral, and some medical conditions need to be treated right away.

8.) What has been the most difficult aspect of dealing with this?
The hardest thing has been breaking the habit after we cured the giardia.

9.) Was the QP a rescue, hand-fed, parent raised?
He was a rescue. We've had him two years now, and based on his band, we think he was about two when we got him.

10.) Describe the environment that your QP was in when the plucking started, and any changes you've made?
He didn't seem to be plucking at the Humane Society, but he's always seemed to be doing it while we've had him. He has always been in a nice big cage with plenty of attention from his human flock and an ornery beagle.

Edited by Little Green Hero, 07 April 2011 - 08:10 PM.


#28 Manda

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 11:39 PM

1.) At what age did your QP start?
5 years

2.) How long has your QP been plucking/ mutulating?
5 years

3.) Did you ever determine the cause? (And what was it.)
Quincy first plucked all the feathers from his legs. (Never found out why) Then would pluck on his neck right under his beak on and off for the last 5 years. (Don't know why) The first major plucking of his whole chest area I figured was dry skin from the minerals in the water from when he took baths. They eventually grew back after we changed to distilled water for bath time. Currently he plucked all his chest and some under the wings. His cage mate of the last 9 years has decided to start nesting and laying eggs becoming very territorial of the cage kicking Quincy out even at bed time.

4.) What treatment(s) have you tried?
Before the nesting bird I put in new shoe laces so Quincy can chew on them. He would preen the little plastic things off the end and then shred the rest of the shoe lace. For the nesting bird problem, I took Quincy from the cage and got him a new on and placed him away from the nesting bird's cage. I also started giving him baths in distilled water and taking him into the shower with me so he could get a little mist.


5.) Which was the most effective?
The shoe lace distraction seemed to work. Moving him out of the old cage seemed to stop the plucking instantly.

6.) What is the health status & feather status of your QP today?
His normal attitude and seems back to his normal self living alone.

7.) If you found out another person had a QP just start plucking what would be the best advice you could give?
Take them to a vet right away. I took Quincy and the vet told me things that I wouldn't have even thought of. I didn't realize that the nesting would stress Quincy out. There may also be a parasite in your birds feathers that could cause some plucking to and the only way to find out if that is the cause is to take them to the vet.

8.) What has been the most difficult aspect of dealing with this?
It's very emotional for me. My bird and I are extremely close and it hurts me to see him unhappy. It is also hard to play with him like normal because of the lack of feathers.

9.) Was the QP a rescue, hand-fed, parent raised?
Hand-fed, straight from the breeder, 1 month hatched.

10.) Describe the environment that your QP was in when the plucking started, and any changes you've made?
Three of my birds including my Quaker, live in the same cage but have free reign of the house. The cage door is always open. Quincy's cage mates, Sam (f conure) and Ethel (m lovebird) have been nesting at the bottom of the cage and has laid lots of eggs. Sam became very territorial of the bottom half of the cage. I removed Ethel and placed locked him in a different cage and have also moved Quincy to a new cage away from the old one.


#29 Tara33328

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:42 AM

1.) At what age did your QP start? About 2 years old
2.) How long has your QP been plucking/ mutilating? About 2 years on and off
3.) Did you ever determine the cause? (And what was it.) Unhappiness. Pepper and I have always lived together alone. He is use to me coming home early, as I am a teacher. At the beginning of each school year, I usually have to work late because I am setting up my classroom. Pepper became very unhappy when I began working late. He loves the summers when I'm home almost all day, but hates the beginning of the school year. I'm was so tired when I got home that I usually fell asleep in the rocking chair in his room.
4.) What treatment(s) have you tried? Different bath sprays, including Pluck No More, TLC, ignoring the problem (read about that idea online) and regular water baths. I read and printed every article I could find on the subject. I even have made a feather plucking journal to document times and days to help me learn when he does it.
5.) Which was the most effective? TLC and letting him bathing whenever he wants to.
6.) What is the health status & feather status of your QP today? Pepper is 100% healthy (Thank God!). He occasionally plucks if I come home late, or go out of town. Also when the new feathers come in, they itch so sometimes he'll pluck them again. That's when the baths help.
7.) If you found out another person had a QP just start plucking what would be the best advice you could give? Think about what has changed in your bird's life that could've affected your bird. Give your bird a chance to bathe regularly and set aside one on one time with your bird.
8.) What has been the most difficult aspect of dealing with this? Seeing his bare legs...made me feel like the worst owner ever...like I had failed him.
9.) Was the QP a rescue, hand-fed, parent raised? Rescue
10.) Describe the environment that your QP was in when the plucking started, and any changes you've made? My answers to the above questions have covered this one.




#30 Otisandskittles

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 04:18 PM

Just to add in, Otis starting plucking about 2 molts ago (He's somewhere around 6 or 7yo). In between molts he's fully feathered and his normal self, but once his molt kicks in he starts plucking his chest and legs, and a little on his back between his wings. First time I saw him with bare legs and a nearly bare chest, I almost panicked, having seen other birds that were chronic pluckers. I immediately started watching him more closely so I could distract him when he started, misting him more frequently, and giving him more outdoor cage time in the sun. Luckily, so far at least, he only plucks because of the molting and once his molting is over he stops, so it's not a habit he's formed. He's on a Zupreem diet with some occasional seeds and veggies as treats, along with whatever toast, pasta, pork chops, hamburgers, french fries, Twizzlers, or potatoes he can steal. Skittles shares his cages and has the same diet, though steals even more than he does, and has never had any sort of plucking issues with or without molting.



#31 FeatheredBuddy

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Posted 15 October 2011 - 11:41 PM

1.) At what age did your QP start?
about 1 - 1.5 years old

2.) How long has your QP been plucking/ mutulating?
on and off for about a year or 2, each seeming to last a bit longer than the last one

3.) Did you ever determine the cause? (And what was it.)
Never got him looked at by a vet (dad refuses to take animals to the vet untill its extreamly nessccary..) but the man we bought him off of is a bird breeder and had 200+ types of birds and he looked after him while we were on holiday and he said its most likley to be bordem.

4.) What treatment(s) have you tried?
When he started the second time around, a few months after the first time we bought mite spray, just a precaution but it didnt really show any results.

5.) Which was the most effective?
nothing so far, he keeps doing it, periods lasting longer and closer together because his feathers never seem to grow completly back before he starts at it again.

6.) What is the health status & feather status of your QP today?
Started, at least a month and a bit ago, but slowly growing back, his chest and back is full of new fluffy feathers :)

7.) If you found out another person had a QP just start plucking what would be the best advice you could give?
Spend more time with him, more things to do in his cage while your busy/not home and if you feel you have to, take him to a vet.

8.) What has been the most difficult aspect of dealing with this?
Vistors looking my quaker up and down, not to mention the mess he makes when his feathers fly around his cage and somehow make it to every part of the house.

9.) Was the QP a rescue, hand-fed, parent raised?
He was a hand-fed. He shared a cage with his 2 brothers and sisters. We bought him home at 7 weeks :D

10.) Describe the environment that your QP was in when the plucking started, and any changes you've made?
i guess when he started plucking his cage was pretty boring and now im really trying to "jazz" it up a bit and making it the best place he could be :)


#32 Quakin

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 03:24 PM

1.) At what age did your QP start? 3yrs old
2.) How long has your QP been plucking/ mutulating? 2yrs
3.) Did you ever determine the cause? Yes, my avian vet determined that it was hormonal. He said that in some birds when their testosterone increases it makes their skin itchy so he plucks.
4.) What treatment(s) have you tried? Lupron injections
5.) Which was the most effective? Lupron ( a hormone injection)
6.) What is the health status & feather status of your QP today? Healthy but still plucks on occasion.
7.) If you found out another person had a QP just start plucking what would be the best advice you could give? Explore every option, I have seen everything from hormones to fungal infections to allergies as causes for plucking when I worked at an avian hospital.
8.) What has been the most difficult aspect of dealing with this? My personal hang ups about how he looks since he doesn't seem to mind it at all.
9.) Was the QP a rescue, hand-fed, parent raised? Second hand
10.) Describe the environment that your QP was in when the plucking started, and any changes you've made? Micah started plucking when he became bonded with my other QP and started breeding. They were both supposed to be girls (surprise!). I don't think that they are a very good match for each other since they breed very infrequently. I think this leads to Micah's frustrations. I have actually considered finding a better mate for Micah but I don't know if that would help or just make things worse. I have also considered separating the pair but again am not sure if that would make things worse or not.

#33 Quakin

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 03:48 PM

1.) At what age did your QP start? 3yrs old
2.) How long has your QP been plucking/ mutulating? 2yrs
3.) Did you ever determine the cause? Yes, my avian vet determined that it was hormonal. He said that in some birds when their testosterone increases it makes their skin itchy so he plucks.
4.) What treatment(s) have you tried? Lupron injections
5.) Which was the most effective? Lupron ( a hormone injection)
6.) What is the health status & feather status of your QP today? Healthy but still plucks on occasion.
7.) If you found out another person had a QP just start plucking what would be the best advice you could give? Explore every option, I have seen everything from hormones to fungal infections to allergies as causes for plucking when I worked at an avian hospital.
8.) What has been the most difficult aspect of dealing with this? My personal hang ups about how he looks since he doesn't seem to mind it at all.
9.) Was the QP a rescue, hand-fed, parent raised? Second hand
10.) Describe the environment that your QP was in when the plucking started, and any changes you've made? Micah started plucking when he became bonded with my other QP and started breeding. They were both supposed to be girls (surprise!). I don't think that they are a very good match for each other since they breed very infrequently. I think this leads to Micah's frustrations. I have actually considered finding a better mate for Micah but I don't know if that would help or just make things worse. I have also considered separating the pair but again am not sure if that would make things worse or not.




And just as a side note: I also have a rescued african grey who plucks and it turned out to be due to a heart condition.

#34 jtowne68

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:26 PM

Hi,
Sorry to hear that your bird started this. I'm dealing with it too. Here are the answers to your questions


1.) At what age did your QP start?--He plucked the feathers on his legs around 6 years old. It was just his legs though and you really couldn't tell. At 14, he began to pluck his neck feathers and then it digressed from there. He now has "holes" in his breast feathers

2.) How long has your QP been plucking/ mutulating?--He doesn't mutulate his skin, just pulls out the feathers.

3.) Did you ever determine the cause? (And what was it.)--I took him to the vet for a routine checkup, he is healthy and there is no medical reason for it.

4.) What treatment(s) have you tried?--I tried giving him undivided attention (he competes with a cockatiel and 2 cats). I've tried a spray bottle and soaking him with water daily.

5.) Which was the most effective?--Neither

6.) What is the health status & feather status of your QP today?--He's healthy, but still plucks. It's not too bad. Most people would think his feathers are just a little raggedy, but I can see it.

7.) If you found out another person had a QP just start plucking what would be the best advice you could give?--First, a vet visit is a must. Second, begin surveying the environment, has something changed? Has his schedule, food, companionship, time spent with you, furniture arrangement, etc., changed? Are there stressors that you might have overlooked (can he see outside a window, does he see something?). Eliminate things slowly and see if that makes a difference. Is he bored? Have you changed toys lately? Does he have something to do when you are out of the house? Does he have chew toys? Does he bath on a regular basis?

8.) What has been the most difficult aspect of dealing with this?--I feel bad about it. I think I'm doing something wrong. However, I don't think he minds it at all.

9.) Was the QP a rescue, hand-fed, parent raised?--hand-fed, raised by me for the past 17 years.

10.) Describe the environment that your QP was in when the plucking started, and any changes you've made?--I've tried to figure this out and my conclusion is, one of the cats. I got a new cat around the time this escalated and she is a little terror and not afraid of him (like my other cat). I really think he doesn't like her. Additionally, I adopted another bird about 2 years ago and I think he is competing for attention with this bird. I make sure he feels like he's king of the house as much as possible, but for the most part, as long as he's not hurting himself, I'm given up. He may look raggedy, but he's still the same bird. Maybe only a bird a mother could love.

I wish you luck, if you have other questions, please feel free to respond.

#35 gwolly

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 06:54 PM

No feather plucking issues, so far so good with all of ours...they are all very young. But this all reminds me of a dog we had when I was a kid. She was a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, beautiful little dog, big personality for a small dog. After about 4 or five years she developed a skin problem that got worse and worse. She scratched constantly till raw, smelled funny, the vet tried everything from creams to steroid injections cortizone etc. They thought it might have been allergies, but nothing definite was ever found out. Years later, last year, my parents were watching this show about the terrible things inbreeding is doing to certain dog breeds, and one of the ones they m,ention was Cavaliers...the skin thing! Apparently it is an inbred brain problem, that makes them want to scratch [a bit like OCD I guess]. So we believe that was always her problem, and there wasn't really anything else we could have done. Perhaps feather plucking in other wise healthy happy well cared for birds is a similar thing.