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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am an aviary owner and would be very grateful for any advice. I recently rescued a white cockatiel who was feather plucking, homed in a very small cage and not living in great conditions. His bald patches were extensive, he cannot fly and has flight feathers missing on one of his wings. It has now been some weeks and he's lived quite happily in my aviary, has paired up with a female and they have three chicks. Since his rescue I have noticed periodic bleeding around the base of his short wing and a spot on his chest. This heals and then I notice it again. There has been tension with my other male due to breeding season and I wasn't sure if the injuries were being caused by their squabbles so I seperated them. I put white bird and his female and their nest box in a seperate area which only made matters worse, self harming big time! So I moved them all back into the main avairy and took out the more dominant male and his 'family'. White bird gets on extremely well with the other four cockatiels, has lots to occupy him and has a good diet offered twice daily. The self harming though still continues, his chest in particular is quite wounded. They have water available and when warm they have fine spray showers and I am a loss as to why this harming continues. I have, on the advice of a pet shop, given treattment for mites although the other birds are showing no signs whatsoever. Is it just learnt behaviour? Any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance
 

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Are you sure he isn't falling while trying to fly? A cut on the chest is pretty common if they land on their keel when attempting to fly but can't. Same would go for the wing injury, if he keeps knocking out his flight feathers before they fully grow in it will make them bleed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi, thanks for the reply. No, I've thought about that and actually watched him pecking at his chest and wing. He's definately not hurting himself whilst attempting to fly and can get around my aviary perfectly fine. I think it is a learnt behaviour but I am at a loss as to what else to do for him. I have treated him for mites (even though other birds are showing no signs), I've sprayed him with feather conditioner and I will be coating his wound with antiseptic. It heals a little and then he reopens the wound through his pecking.
 

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It's definitely a behavioral thing then. Inside birds don't normally have mites. Are there lots of toys in the cage to distract him? Toys that promote foraging may help.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies guys, there are lots of toys, rope swings, hay baskets, ledges and swings all over the aviary so lots to do and occupy him. His chest has now healed but the base of his wing continues to occasionally bleed. I have since learned from his previous owner that where she got him from he had one of his wing's clipped (and obviously too short) and he was also the only bird in a huge aviary (probably bored rigid). I think here lies the reason for his behaviour now and the reason he can't fly. His chicks have now fledged from the nest although he didn't have a lot to do with their care. I think he's showing a bit of an unhealthy interest in two chicks who are now sporting small bald patches on the top of of one of their wings. They are still finding their feet around the aviary and I'm keeping a close eye. Not sure if because he can't fly he's wanting them out of the way for him to get past (they think he's coming to feed them so they sit still) or whether he's plucking at their feathers too.... its all a bit of a nightmare!! I will be reintroducing my other pair back into the aviary soon and nest boxes are removed. I hope that they all get along together without them sparring with each other to protect nest boxes and things settle down!!
 

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It's possible he is plucking there feathers years ago I had a hen that did it and I clearly observed her doing so. Best bet is to avoid breeding him at least untill he is healthy feather wise and mentally as it could also affect the offspring if he keeps bleeding you may have to keep him indoors untill he's all healed up. And see if you can somehow change him habit of plucking.
 
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