Ask Lafeber


August 22, 2022

Senegal plucking

I have a 22 year old Senegal parrot who was traumatized many years ago by the person watching her’s cats got ontop of her cage, she’s been plucking for years. She was so beautiful any suggestions how to get her to stop. I have tried spraying her but she does not like that. Also running out of ideas what to feed her for supper, she’s not into fresh greens. I give her apple & orange slices daily, boxes of raisins for treats. I have run out of ideas what to feed her. She doesn’t like fresh greens, she does eat green beans & carrots, pasta, daily orange or apple slices but dinner I am lost at trying new things. She use to play with a wooden round toy but it has been lost with dirty papers in the cage, no idea where to find another.


Hi Diane,

Feather plucking – now called Feather Destructive Behavior – is easily one of the most frustrating conditions for any owner or Vet to deal with. It rarely has a single cause, and what may start as a behavioral issue can turn into a health condition due to the constant stress on the system and damage to the skin and follicles. In fact we will be offering a free series covering FDB starting in November, and presented by Dr.’s Susan Orosz and Bob Dahlhausen.

To begin with, you have an African species, and there are a lot of mysteries when it comes to their behavior. Many African species tend to be nervous or somewhat neurotic, some will be a wonderful family pet one day and turn into a skittish wild bird that runs from everyone the next. These behavior swings are poorly understood. And being perfectly honest, you may not find a solution to her feather issues. The first step is trying to rule out medical issues – this can include bloodwork, testing for diseases and skin biopsies. It’s not an inexpensive disorder to deal with. Since this didn’t just begin, I would start by watching the upcoming webinars. If she hasn’t had a Vet check since she started this, then one is in order. But the webinar may give you a better idea of what tests to ask for.

As for her diet, the most important thing is that her main diet is a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets or our foraging foods. I’m not sure if she has ever had Nutri-Berries, but if so, you might try her on our Senior Bird Nutri-Berries. They were developed largely by Dr. Susan Ororsz, and many of the herbal ingredients will address her issues with FDB – supplements for skin and feather health, inflammation and even mental health. But regardless of the brand, if you don’t want to feed the Nutri-Berries, at least make sure she is on a quality brand of pellets and not a loose seed mix. As for fresh foods, they are certainly beneficial, just for the fact that they offer some variety. We did have a webinar addressing picky parrots, so I’ll give you the link to that as well as the link to learn about our senior berries, and hopefully this can give you some tips to entice your girl to expand her food choices. I wish there was a cure-all for FDB, but I’m afraid we are a long way from any solid solution. At least the vets presenting the webinars coming up have made some breakthroughs.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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