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Discussion Starter #1
I am worried because my tiel has been plucking his neck and chest feathers for quite a while now.
I have tried everything, toys to shred as well as all sorts of other toys, I have played more with him etc. and he doesn't look bored at all, actually he is always active, but he still plucks those feathers. The vet said that as he is a healthy kid it is most probably a behavioural problem, but as I have already tried everything I don't know what to do.
I have also given him more calcium, as apparently this can help too.
I have also tried some cream.
The vet seemed to be against a collar.
He will be 6 next month and this behaviour started last year.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated - thank you!
 

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Has he been tested for giardia or other parasites? If not, he needs to be.

If you haven't already tried them, there's this spray from AviTech that works for some birds. There's also AviCalm, which helps some behavioral plucking.

If all possible underlying medical causes have been ruled out, then it probably is behavioral. How does he act? If he's a happy bird, then I probably wouldn't do anything and would just try to accept that plucking is a part of his life. There are many pluckers that have very happy lives. I think your vet is right that collaring him would probably just make him miserable.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you, enigma731. No, he hasn't been tested for parasites, but I should add that he is always inside (not in an aviary outside).
Yes, he is a very happy birdie full of energy and very cheeky. :)
Thanks for the link. I could not find those products in Australia and their website says In some circumstances, international shipping may be available. So it is not standard...
But I found this here: http://www.mypetwarehouse.com.au/aristopet-bird-stop-pick-spray-125ml-p-22711
It's a little bit different, as it doesn't soothe his skin, but has rather a bitter taste that is supposed to stop him from plucking...
Maybe I should give it a go?
 

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Giardia is transmitted through water and can be present in the water supply, so you should talk to your vet about testing for it even though he's an indoor bird.

I'm not sure about the spray. I would ask your vet if it looks like a good product before using it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you, I will ask my vet.
Would it help in the future to give him filtered water?
 

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Thank you, I will ask my vet.
Would it help in the future to give him filtered water?
I don't know that that would prevent it. My impression is that giardia's just one of those things that happens sometimes. Humans get it sometimes too. Kind of like how you can sometimes get food poisoning even if you always eat at reputable places.
 

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Can you go to a health food store and get some of the food grade flax seed sold for humans? I would trust that over ebay.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yes, I could go to a health food store. I have seen some seeds at the pharmacy too, so I will have a look if they have flax seeds too.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
I have just come to realize something a bit strange.
The plucking started when I started buying the seeds from a reputable pet shop instead of the supermarket, as I had been told that supermarket products are poorly made.
It is very strange, I know, but I checked the dates and they perfectly coincide. For some reason everybody seemed to think that supermarket products are worse and I just didn't think that the pet shop seeds could cause the plucking, but looking back at the dates it doesn't seem to be a coincidence.
Could it be that there are too many vitamins in the pet shop product?
Should I go back to the supermarket seeds or at least mix the supermarket seeds and the pet shop seeds?
I am stunned now that I checked the dates and feel bad for not checking earlier, but I really thought I was buying the best product for him... I thought of all possible causes, just not that the better seeds might be the cause... Maybe he is allergic to something in them?
The seeds he was on before the plucking were "Trill", and he is now on the "Watson and Williams Premium Seed Blend". I guess it is worth a try to see how it goes if I go back to "Trill"...?
PS: He doesn't only eat seeds, but I just wanted to mention the change I had made back then (on other people's recommendation).
 

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That Watson and Williams premium stuff isn't particularly good, I bought that once and wasn't too impressed but that's another story. I really doubt it's the seeds causing it to be honest. That seems more like a coincidence to me but I could be wrong. I'd be more inclined to get him tested for parasites, that makes much more sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Thanks, tasheanne. What do you buy for your tiels and where do you buy it?

I thought it "might" be the seeds because I have read that sometimes food allergies can cause itching... Or malnutrition/wrong diet, but I am really trying my best. Apart from seeds I also give him egg-and-biscuit formula, some treats, some pellets, some vitamins etc... He just doesn't eat his veggies apart from broccoli though.

I will have him tested if it goes on, but he really doesn't display any other sign of illness. His other feathers are just beautiful and bright and he is as lively as lively can be. His droppings look exactly like they should be judging from photos of normal droppings online. His appetite is very good too. His eyes and nose are perfect too.

This is from a website for example:

What are the clinical signs of giardiasis?

Loose malodorous stools and mucoid diarrhoea NO
Weight loss, depression and anorexia NO
Dry skin and feather picking on the flank and axilla are the most common signs in cockatiels YES, but also the chest and the neck, and only the axilla, not the flank
Poor growth NO


But because occasionally some cockatiels don't display any signs of illness even when they are sick I guess it is better to do a test anyway if it goes on.
I told the vet I would go again in spring if the problem persists.
 

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They're on golden cob right now which isn't great either but I didn't have a lot of choice at the time of purchase. A lot of the seed mixes had grit in it and I don't want grit. Definitely better than trill though. I have to pick all the sunflower seeds out by hand though which is a pain. Honestly I'm looking for better seed mixes for them too, I know the best way to go is to get it from a bird shop who make up their own but then you need to ask what's in it and make your own judgement on it.

Not sure where you live in Australia.. if it's Perth though just don't go to birdworld. Probably never go there to be honest. I've heard they catch wild birds during breeding seasons and I know for a fact a lot of their birds are sick and kept in far too small cages. They were keeping two cockatiels that had a "mystery illness" and couldn't even perch anymore right next all these other birds in the middle of the store a couple of months ago so you definitely want to stay away. Also birds there are injured and they'll lie to you about the nature of their injuries, not even convincingly. Other bird places in Perth that are better are birds'n'all and swan valley birds. But I suppose none of that matters if you're not in Perth lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Isn't grit good for digestion? I even give him a bit extra grit. Now I am worried. I only started recently though...
PS: I have just read that it is controversial whether it is good for digestion or not... I will read more about it.
 
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