My name is***** and I will do my best to help you with your questions about your parrot.
I'm so sorry he's having this problem, but glad you're looking for the information you need to help him.
To join the conversation, simply type in what you want to say and click REPLY.
Then we can chat back and forth until you're satisfied with the information I've provided.
Can you please tell me what kind of parrot and how old he is?
I'm also interested in knowing how long you've had him and how many other parrots there are in the house.
Just type it in and click REPLY.
I also want to start by telling you that feather plucking and self-mutilation are - unfortunately- very common problems with birds. It's also a super frustrating problem that's difficult to solve. It can be caused by many different things, sometimes an actual medical problems, but often times it's behavioral, a mental issue. Regardless, the key to stopping the plucking is to find out what's causing it, then treating that.
I'm also really sorry to hear about your circumstances and your inability to go out. That has to be really difficult for you. I'm so sorry.
Regardless, that doesn't change the fact that your bird (an any other pets in your house) will need veterinary care now and over the course of their lifetimes. It's very beneficial for you to have pets, of course, but you will need to have a plan in place for how they can get the veterinary care they will continually need. Talk to you local vet clinic about housecalls or finding someone who can bring your bird to the vet for you.
In other words, I'm more than happy to discuss with you all the different things that can contribute to plucking and the potential for mites, but the bot***** *****ne is your bird will need to go to the vet - not only to get to the bottom of this problem, but every year for wellness checks.
I'll add that mites are not very common in pet birds. People thinking their birds has mites, however, is really, really common. They tend to think that because birds spend a lot of time preening, grooming, and arranging their feathers. Add to this the frequency with which birds pluck and self mutilate for mental reasons, and even more people tend to erroneously think their birds have mites.
As I said, mites are NOT at all common. The only way to know if they're there is to take a sample of skin and feathers and look at them under the microscope or with some other form of magnification.
Most of the over-the-counter treatments you see for mites aren't effective. Unfortunately, some aren't safe either. In all honesty, the manufacturers prey on people's tendency to think a bird has mites and their desire to do something for it without going to the vet.
Here's some good news for you: an 8-year-old African grey who's been living with you as a single parrot for seven years is not at all likely to get mites. He'd have to catch them from another bird who has mites, you see. I hope that's helpful to consider.
I completely understand how he could still be going mad biting at himself, even without having mites, though. There are other things that could cause that. Mental disorders (behavioral problems) can cause that, as can physiologic problems like nutritional imbalances, calcium disorders, skin infections, and many others.
I'm also worried about the possibility of anything you're spraying on him making the situation worse. As an avian veterinarian I do NOT recommend spraying anything on a bird except for water unless it's been prescribed by a veterinarian who's had a chance to see and examine the bird. That being said, sprays are not a very useful tool for managing most problems in birds. They're not something I frequently prescribe.