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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,

I've been running into a problem with my little cockatiel Maraschino (Schino for short) for a while now and have really run out of options besides here. My bird has developed a repetitive habit of sticking his middle toe in his mouth and flicking it since June. He also drools when he does it. When I saw the behavior I immediately took him to the vet to get him checked out, but no matter what we've tried it's just not helped him. All he wants to do if he isn't being pet is just pick at his mouth. He doesn't play with anything anymore, he is really quiet, but the most concern thing about this is he will repeated do this action until he bleeds. :(

Here's some information that might be useful
-He's just turned a year old as of August
-He is 84 oz and his wait hasn't been affected by the behavior
-We tested for a bacterial infection/ white blood cell count and it came back negative
-We book a blood test to make sure he didn't have any internal problems with his gut or crop and they came back normal
-They have giving me antibiotics which I regimented and nothing changed
-They gave me an anti inflammatory and a saline solution to clean out his nose and nothing has changed
-He was anesthetized and they checked his throat and nasal airways, and though they did find a feather up his nose they cleared it up, but it didn't stop him from doing this
-His appetite has definitely not been affected. He eats Harrison bird food with the occasional millet or seeds as treats.

I really don't know what is going on with him. He's got plenty of toys, and a huge cage, but I'm starting to thing it is a behavioral tendency. He's the only bird I have, and my first bird. So, even though I do work a lot I always make time for him every day. I was hoping to post this and maybe someones seen it before. Here is a video of him doing the thing: https://youtu.be/qb82FMT5nkw
 

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Hello there and welcome to the forum!

Schino is gorgeous. I myself have never seen this sort of problem before in cockatiels. It is known as self-mutilation and is more common in larger parrots. When he makes himself bleed, does he eat the blood? If he does it could mean he has a sodium and/or iodine deficiency. You can purchase an iodine block for him to chew on and it may help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey thanks for getting back to me. I haven't noticed him eating the blood but I do notice he tends to do it more when he is outside of his cage or when I am near him. I am going to get his nails trimmed next week (which helps with the bleeding), but I can definitely check with them again to make sure he doesn't have sodium and/or iodine deficiency. I was hoping to get him a friend in October, but I didn't want to if he was sick or his immune system was low. My vet just can't find anything medically wrong with him.
 

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It sounds like it may be a habitual thing which unfortunately is very difficult to cure, if at all. It's comparable to nail-biting in humans where the urge to do it is just too strong. In larger animals they would normally be put on medication of some sort but I'm not sure if that can be done for cockatiels.

Make sure he has a good variety of shreddable toys such as chewable wood/loofa/wicker type toys. You can even make your own out of popsicle sticks, paper, bits of untreated wood and other things like bells and balls tied together with some coconut fiber or leather strips. Sometimes the simplest toys are their favourites. Giving him plenty of distractions may help him to break the habit. One of my females is a habitual feather plucker and giving her things she can chew instead and rearranging the cage often to make it different and exciting helps to keep her somewhat distracted.

Another thing I thought of: have you tried Stop Pick? The active ingredient Denatonium Benzoate is supposedly the most bitter tasting thing and can deter them from picking at a certain area. I am purchasing some for Cheeky my feather plucking girl to see if it works on her. I have tried other sprays and they didn't work, but this one is meant to be the best.
 
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