Ask Lafeber


December 14, 2021

Preening gland

Hello and thank you for your time.
I have a half moon conure, I don’t see a preening gland, I have looked for it.
And he has been chewing at his feathers not as bad from the tip but from where the feather starts. The feather is just a string now . I am very concerned I took him to the vet and blood work came out normal. Is it normal for him no to have a preening gland? Is that a reason why he is removing the feathers close to the skin? He is not plucking he is just chewing the feathers


Hi Libby,

The preen glad is surrounded by feathers, so it can be hard to see. As for the feather destructive behavior, bloodwork is just a first step in diagnosing the issue. Not all Vets who see birds, are Board Certified as an Avian Specialist. Feather Destructive Behavior is a very complicated disorder that can have a medical cause, be purely behavioral, or most commonly, is both medical and behavioral. You really need a Board certified Avian Vet to see the bird. With that type of chewing, a nutritional issue should definitely be considered. Is he getting a nutritionally balanced diet such as pellets or our foraging diets, or does he only get seeds? If he is getting balanced nutrition, special bloodwork to check on levels like protein, calcium and other possible deficiencies should be run. I would take him to a specialist and let them know your concerns about the preen gland so it can be checked. Preen glands can get blocked, although that typically results in an enlarged gland which would make it easy to see. But there can be other issues with it, so it’s always good to express your concerns to the Vet so everything can get ruled out.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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