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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,
New member. Got two cockatiels from my elderly parents, who can no longer care for them.
The birds are about ten years old. Males, brothers. Parents used to have a whole flock, but gave away most and kept these two.
The birds appear healthy to my untrained eye. They're eating and pooping and are attentive to their surroundings.
They are not tame, but aren't particularly frightened by my presence...at a distance.
Beavis picks feathers from Butthead's head. When I got the birds, Butthead had a bald spot on the back of his head. Now most of his head is bare. They're obviously stressed from the move, but each day they're a little more comfortable with their new surroundings. However....
Butthead actually leans over for his brother to groom his head, and Beavis sorta chews on the feathers around the bald area. I have only witnessed this briefly.
Yeah, yeah, I know, see an avian vet. Will do that ASAP.
I realize these birds are freaked out from the relocation. Besides maybe partitioning the cage, is there anything else I can do? Not sure how that's going to work out, might stress 'em out even more. They are very strongly bonded to each other. After a two day drive to their new home, I put the smaller travel cage next to their big, familiar cage so they could move in, Butthead figured it out first. He was less than a foot away, and Beavis started screaming at him to come back. They like to sit next to each other on the same perch, they'll climb down individually to eat and drink.
So. About that feather-picking thing...
Thanks very much.
 

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Hello there and welcome to the forum!

The only way to stop the plucking is to separate them into 2 different cages. You can put them side by side so they still get to be really close to each other and interact but the plucking is prevented. You need to do this for 2 reasons aside from the obvious fact that poor Butthead will be in pain from the plucking: #1 so Butthead doesn't end up bald all over, and #2 to give the plucked feathers a chance to regrow, because if a feather is plucked out too many times it will never grow back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Vicki. Yeah, separating them would be the sensible thing to do. These guys get upset if they're not sitting side-by-side on the same perch. Doesn't look like Beavis has done any new feather-picking since my last post. Putting 'em in separate cages is kinda the nuclear option, but I'll do it if the behavior persists.
 

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There's a spray you could purchase called Stop Pick. It contains a non-toxic and very foul-tasting ingredient, the same as what they use to stop kids sucking their thumbs. It's very effective at stopping this type of behaviour, so you could spray some on the areas where Beavis is picking at and hope he stops. This isn't to say that he won't start plucking his brother in other spots instead though.
 

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Plucking a cage-mate and chewing the ends of the feathers they pluck out is sometimes an indication of calcium deficiency. Try giving them liquid calcium in their drinking water a few times a week and see if it helps. More info here <https://allbirdproducts.com/products/calciboost>

I have a bonded pair and the female was plucking the male's head (a lot off the top, and most of one cheek patch) for a while. They were both miserable being separated, so I gave them the extra calcium and it worked fine. They seem to metabolize the liquid better than whatever calcium they were getting from their mineral blocks and cuttle bones, both of which they had free access too all along. She calmed down after a couple weeks of liquid calcium, no more plucking. Maybe it will work for your little guys, too. Good luck!
 
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