Posted by Diane Burroughs on 30th Apr 2015
By Diane Burroughs
Names have been changed.
Heidi and her husband are an awesome couple that rescued an African grey parrot in dire straits. The little fellow had been locked in a bare, small cage, was poorly fed and was miserable and traumatized. The circumstances are unknown, but somehow the grey little guy broke and mangled his wing and it never healed properly. The injury continues to cause a lot of discomfort. You can probably see the writing on the wall. Smokey chews his feathers and also harms himself around the injured wing. Plucking caused by emotional trauma or injuries are the hardest to solve.
He’s been thoroughly check-out at the vet and is healthy. There is no physical reason for the plucking. It’s all emotional. Feather plucking can easily and quickly turn into a habit that is very difficult to break, especially where trauma is involved and that is exactly what’s happened to Smokey. He is a nervous wreck. His forever "parronts" are okay with that. They have got a system down to deter as much self-damage as possible.
Having tried a number of remedies, the couple has found that one of the most humane treatments for their pet is to deter plucking with UnRuffledRx Soft Bird Collars. They tried plastic bird e-collars in the past but they didn’t work out for Smokey. The reflective nature of the product scared him and they were pretty stiff making it hard to climb about the cage and eat. Smokey chewed the vinyl padding off around the neck and the stiff collar irritated his tender skin.
Smokey has been on a couple of anti-anxiety medications too. They helped but he acted pretty sedated and he found it difficult to perch, especially with the wing problem. However, when Smokey is in a soft bird collar, he is much more content. It’s a little like a weighted vest for a child with sensory problems or a Thundershirt for dogs. The collar style doesn’t restrict movement, crinkle up feathers and it allows air to heal any wounds the bird may have. It also softly keeps his plucked areas warm.
Heidi started out with the lightweight mild style. This bird ollar features a slip over the head style and is four layers thick. The stitching allows the neck hole or the perimeter to be trimmed to fit. Smokey wears this style the majority of the time.
There are certain times of the day, though, when he is more agitated than others; late afternoon, to be specific. That’s when “mom” uses the moderate style. This bird collar features a Velcro fastener and is 6 layers thick. Designed with preening fleece on top, Smokey can engage in his obsessive preening without self-injury. Heidi tells us, “These e-collars are cheaper than a vet visit and treating a wound. I save money by buying the collars on a subscription plan. BirdSupplies.com sends me a new collar every month. I like to keep two on hand. If one is soiled, I have a back-up collar.”
Heidi also has a leather bird collar that she uses when she knows Smokey may become extremely agitated. “I use this collar when I know Smokey is going to be stressed, like when we go on vacation. He comes with us, but when his routine changes, he starts self-mutilating.” Smokey looks “right smart” in his leather bird collar. It features a Velcro fastener and two layers of preen-able fleece stitched over the leather. The collar weighs a bit more but the thick, veg tan leather tan takes a real beating. Smokey usually goes for the Velcro first. BirdSupplies.com stitches the Velcro nicely, but if a bird can crack a nut, it surely can rip off thread and try to remove the Velcro. Especially a known chewer! “The cool thing about the leather collars is that I can send it back for repairs. The Velcro and the preening fleece can easily be replaced.”
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