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Molting vs Plucking

Do those of you with african greys or other birds prone to feather plucking or mutilation ever worry if thats whats going on instead of a molt? :/

I'm sure that I'm just being paranoid but I really would love some reassurance about my little guy.

I have a CAG who is almost 1 year old and has not had his first molt yet. Recently he has been loosing allot of feathers, mostly down but a few bigger ones occasionally.

There are no bald spots that I can see and I haven't ever seen him physically remove a feather. One of the large feathers that came out was bent on the shaft but not damaged.

His beak doesn't look like its peeling now but it has been quite a bit. He recently went to the 'groomer' and they smoothed out the peeling so it looks OK for the most part.

I think I'm mainly worried because it seems like he is mostly loosing down feathers. They just seem to fly off him when he flaps or plays.

Otherwise he's a happy talkative little bird. I hope that he is molting because many of his baby feathers are so beaten up from rough housing and rolling over on his back, lol.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 13th, 2007 09:11 pm (UTC)
Nope. I think that fretting about molting can be a contributing factor to plucking, in that greys are so sensitive that if you're constantly staring at them worrying about their feathers and/or freaking out every time they have a feather around, you could add significantly to the stress level of the parrot.

Parrots lose down feathers all the time, and it's completely normal to have them fly off when they flap. It's actually also not unusual for parrots to play with molted feathers -- my previous Amazon would scratch her head with a molted tail feather.
Aug. 13th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
Thanks :) Well he has always lost down feathers but there has been a marked increase recently and hes loosing the larger ones as well.

I'm not fretting over him, just checking for bald spots when we cuddle. I assume it is molting, since he is due for one, I just wanted to run it by the informative internet just for some reassurance.
Aug. 14th, 2007 01:40 am (UTC)
Check the contour feathers for chew marks.

My CAG plucks and we can always tell the difference between his molted feathers and his plucked ones because of the bite marks on the shaft of his feathers.
Aug. 14th, 2007 01:54 am (UTC)
Yeah Shadow's like a downfeather dust storm. I find it's easiest to notice if there is plucking when she's thoroughly soaked after a bath but chewing is best noticed if dry.
Aug. 14th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
That's great advice thank you!

I just soaked him today since it's been so hot and I didn't notice any bald patches.
Aug. 14th, 2007 02:05 am (UTC)
Yeah Shadow only really plucked once, she's more of a chewer, and I noticed it after a bath. Cuz, the feathers get all flat and slicked down instead of poofy and concealing, you know?
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 13th, 2009 11:58 pm (UTC)
pin feathers
my african grey parrot Nick has alot of pin feathers do I pluck them?
Feb. 14th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
Re: pin feathers
No, don't pluck. If he'll let you, you can preen them. That is, when they grow out enough and your bird seems to be itchy and preening them himself, you can gently squeeze them or roll them in your fingers to help crack them and free the feather inside. You have to be careful though or you can hurt your bird. If it's too soon, I believe you can even damage the feather. So don't do it until you're certain it's ready. Someone else may be able to tell you how to know that. My CAG is very touchy about his pin feathers, so I just don't bother them at all.
Jul. 21st, 2009 02:26 pm (UTC)
Re: pin feathers
(different Anonymous)

We have a difficult time knowing when either of our African Grey or Senegal are actually Molting as their temperment does not change (lucky us) and as they conitunally ask us to work on those pesky pins behind the ears and on the back of the neck. It's really only when we see a considerable amount of down feathers, or feel quite a few more, or they are very sensitive about the pin feathers that are there that we know. Interestingly, despite being very different birds, their molting times have synced almost to the day after 5 years of being neighbors (cages).

The African was ripping off his flight feathers for a while because he kept breaking them when falling the first few years of life. The vet said this was normal, and not a sign of plucking. We learned that the first signs of plucking are on the chest under the chin - nothing we are seeing.
May. 5th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
I think we are at the same point with our CAG who is 3 years old. How long does the molt last ?
Nov. 26th, 2009 06:50 am (UTC)
excessive breakage of blood feathers
My grey does not pluck, she did some over preening, but now seems ok since I shower her every other day, but her problem is that she cannot grow in her wing feathers with out breaking them off.
She has all the feathers on one wing but the other is completly void of flight feathers, coz she flaps and breaks them off as they grow in. This really worries me as I have to be ready with stypic swab, and I am afraid of too much blood loss. Any suggestions to help her grow in new ones?
Feb. 22nd, 2010 09:06 pm (UTC)
african grey
we av just bought a 6yr old african grey. but he is loobing feathers and u can see his skin but the owner said it is because he is malting.. is this true or av we been conned? please help
Mar. 1st, 2010 01:25 pm (UTC)
i have a 8 month old grey that we think is havin her winter molt but i am worried she is pulling her feathers out and not molting, she has allot of downs feather that always fly about, but she has now started with small feathers and even a couple of the larger ones.she is happy in herself and very talkative and has lots of toys, and she is out more than in her cage mainly, so am i worring for nothing. please could anyone help us... thanks
Mar. 4th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
Re: molting
I have an 8 month old grey as well, similar situation, happy bird, toys, out of the cage alot, very talkative and whistly. lots of down feathers the last couple of weeks, a couple of tail feathers a couple of weeks ago and about 5 of the small feathers today. I think we're molting. can't wait for the flight feathers to come back, they were cut way too short before I got him and he doesn't glide, just flaps and goes down. I have to be careful in the rooms with tile floors, but he sure likes to try the flying.....
Nov. 12th, 2010 11:04 pm (UTC)
My grey only has one wing to begin with and it now looks like a down furr ball. He is 10 months old and I have found three tail feathers, and he is chewing. I am home all day, he is out of his cage, he has toys,eats pellets, vegtables, fruit. Change his water twice a day and bath him once a day. I read they will not chew when they are wet, just preen themselves.He is eating well, speaking already and whistleing. Can they over clean themselves? How many feathers do they loose? I do not see skin YET! The only thing differant is I have the heat on and I have to do that.
Apr. 11th, 2011 04:12 pm (UTC)
i have a 10 month old grey am not sure if he is pulling feathers out his chest has gone really fluffy or is this just molting
Feb. 17th, 2013 04:33 am (UTC)
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Apr. 14th, 2016 03:21 pm (UTC)
molt vs plucking
My baby is going to be 1 year in June... ive found quite a few tail feathers and lots of wispies..we call them his knickers :) ive inspected his tail and it looks like all the large tail feathers in the middle, with the exception of the two outside tail feathers are gone....:( is this his first molt? i dont see any pin feathers growing in yet. besides his tail, he doesnt have any other bald spots anywhere. theres never any blood on the feathers ive found, but he does like to chew on the feathers once they are out....
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )


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