How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr.D Your Own Question
Dr.D
Dr.D, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 911
Experience:  Small Animal and Exotic Animal Veterinarian . Licensed in Florida and Canada
27194348
Type Your Bird Question Here...
Dr.D is online now

My African grey started feather plucking since I’ve left for

This answer was rated:

Hello my African grey started feather plucking since I’ve left for college
Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. What is the matter with the bird?
Customer: I think he’s stressed or doesn’t have his emotional needs fulfilled
Assistant: Where does the bird seem to hurt?
Customer: Around his legs and a bit on chest but mainly legs
Assistant: OK. What is the bird's name and age?
Customer: Didier, and he’s 5
Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Didier?
Customer: nothing really, I’m from Kuwait and that’s where he is but I’m studying in london Ok

Hello there ,

This is DrD , I am a licensed veterinarian working with the Avian patients for a long time , I will be trying to answer your question but I need to learn more from you.

The feather picking is one of the most frustrating Avian problems for both , owners and veterinarians .
Most will tell you that this is caused by boredom , loneliness etc. etc. but we can not say that until we prove that there is other disease (s) causing this behavior. SO please be aware of that there is no single answer and quick treatment for your bird.

I need to know
1- What is the daily diet of this bird ?
2- How big is the cage ? Big enough to let the bird move in freely , perhaps climb and jump on perches located on different heights ?
3- Are there any toys , enrichment that he can play ?
4- Was sex determination done by DNA or surgically ? Male or female ?
5- Was there any illnesses in the past treated for ?
6- How is his droppings (feces) ? Well formed or slurry / soft ? The color of the feces ?
7- Any recent weight loss ? Discharges from the eyes , nostrils ?
8- Any trouble with breathing ?
9- Vomiting ?
10 Is he always in his cage or does he freely move in the premises ?
11- Any other pet(s) at home ? Any children at home ?
12 - Where in the house the bird spends most of his time? Do you cover his cage at night ? Is he any close to the washer and dryer or any noise generating equipment , appliances ?

I know there are a lot to answer but I need to know the answers of the above questions before making any suggestions.
Thank you.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
1- pellets mixed with fruits and veggies as recommended by most vets
2. The cage is is big enough to move freely and climb but not huge, we’ve bought a larger cage but the bird seems to be scared of it and prefers the medium-large sized. There are two different grip perches at different levels
3. There should be a toy(living in different country and relying on parents to help) since I’ve stocked up on many before I left.
4. Country isn’t developed enough to analyze dna so most doctors assume he’s a male.
5. There wasn’t any illness.
6. Mostly soft ish, if assume it’s the usual bird droppings
7. My parents have said that he’s lost some weight but there Hasn’t been any discharge
8. He only breathed heavy once, but he that was when we went to the vet and he was quite stressed
9. No
10. Unfortunately he’s always in his cage when I’m gone but whenever I’m home he’s always out
11. One dog and my younger brother is 11
12. He spends most of his time in out small kitchen(No cooking is done here or any Teflon related items), he’s close to the sink but doesn’t seem scared since he goes there when he’s out of his cage.Since I’ve first seen him like this we went to the vet and they’ve prescribed him some medication which I’m going to send the name soon, and he’s stopped when on the meds but after 3 weeks off it he continues. His feathers have grown back thankfully but I’m worried that if the habit continues they won’t growThanks

Thank you for the great answers.
As I said before , the Feather picking is the most frustrating condition seen in pet birds from both the veterinarian’s and the owner’s perspective—and most likely from the bird’s perspective too! It is important for you as an owner to understand that feather picking is a symptom, not a particular disease. What your avian veterinarian needs to do is determine the underlying cause of feather picking and address this problem in addition to the feather-loss. In this way feather picking is like diarrhea or coughing--there are many things, which can lead to picking. Known causes of feather picking include: improper diet, use of mite guards in the cage, not enough bathing, cedar bedding, low humidity, smoking, environmental items causing allergies, other bird aggression or improper mutual grooming techniques, boredom, fear, attention-getting, poor wing trims, damaged feathers, trauma, cancer, viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites (rare), molting problems, skin problems, liver disease, kidney disease, low blood calcium, and hormonal effects. As you can tell, this is a huge list and needs to be narrowed down!
Unfortunately there is no one treatment or medication will do the work. This bird needs to be seen by an Avian Veterinarian. Have you tried this hospital ? http://rahkwt.com/info/avian.php

Your avian veterinarian can narrow down this list of possible causes of feather picking by performing testing and treatments step-by step or all at once. These steps can include: 1. A detailed, complete history taken by the doctor and/or staff 2. A thorough physical examination 3. Modifications to the diet as needed 4. Corrective wing trim(s) as needed 5. Separating the feather picker from other birds 6. Eliminate exposure to environmental allergens 7. Increase bathing 8. Blood work (red and white cell count, biochemistry panel, liver function testing) 9. Gram’s stain cytology and fecal parasite testing 10. Infectious disease screening (e.g. psittacine beak and feather disease virus, avian polyomavirus) 11. Lead and zinc blood level testing 12. Thyroid hormone level screening 13. X-rays 14. Skin/feather biopsy 15. Behavior counseling with an avian behaviorist** ** Rule out all medical causes before assuming to be behavioral

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Alright thank you I’ll message my parents, but from the list my bird does have cedar bedding, is this harmful since it’s been a while but he’s just started picking

Thank you for the great answers.
As I said before , the Feather picking is the most frustrating condition seen in pet birds from both the veterinarian’s and the owner’s perspective—and most likely from the bird’s perspective too! It is important for you as an owner to understand that feather picking is a symptom, not a particular disease. What your avian veterinarian needs to do is determine the underlying cause of feather picking and address this problem in addition to the feather-loss. In this way feather picking is like diarrhea or coughing--there are many things, which can lead to picking. Known causes of feather picking include: improper diet, use of mite guards in the cage, not enough bathing, cedar bedding, low humidity, smoking, environmental items causing allergies, other bird aggression or improper mutual grooming techniques, boredom, fear, attention-getting, poor wing trims, damaged feathers, trauma, cancer, viral infections, bacterial infections, fungal infections, parasites (rare), molting problems, skin problems, liver disease, kidney disease, low blood calcium, and hormonal effects. As you can tell, this is a huge list and needs to be narrowed down!
Unfortunately there is no one treatment or medication will do the work. This bird needs to be seen by an Avian Veterinarian. Have you tried this hospital ? http://rahkwt.com/info/avian.php

Your avian veterinarian can narrow down this list of possible causes of feather picking by performing testing and treatments step-by step or all at once. These steps can include: 1. A detailed, complete history taken by the doctor and/or staff 2. A thorough physical examination 3. Modifications to the diet as needed 4. Corrective wing trim(s) as needed 5. Separating the feather picker from other birds 6. Eliminate exposure to environmental allergens 7. Increase bathing 8. Blood work (red and white cell count, biochemistry panel, liver function testing) 9. Gram’s stain cytology and fecal parasite testing 10. Infectious disease screening (e.g. psittacine beak and feather disease virus, avian polyomavirus) 11. Lead and zinc blood level testing 12. Thyroid hormone level screening 13. X-rays 14. Skin/feather biopsy 15. Behavior counseling with an avian behaviorist

You can always send a drop of blood sample / or feather sample to one of these laboratories for sex determination
https://www.google.com/search?q=spain+bird+dna&rlz=1C1CHBD_enTR772TR772&oq=spain+bird+dna&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.5225j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

I do NOT RECOMMEND CEDAR BEDDINGS ! Actually I do not recommend any bedding but perhaps a clean paper ( not newspaper ) or a ceramic tile at the bottom of the cage for easy cleaning.

Can you please kindly rate our conversations since I can not get compensated for my time if you do not. Thank you

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Alright, thank you Dr.D hopefully this issue is resolved and my bird becomes healthy againThanks

Thank you. Good luck

Dr.D and 2 other Bird Specialists are ready to help you