Susan van den Broek and her husband, Jan Derr, are owners of FeatherHeads, a store which specializes in companion parrots as well as food, cages, toys and supplies to keep them happy. Susan and Jan got interested in birds in 1996 when they fostered a mynah bird for a local rescue group. Their interest in parrots grew and in 1999, after adding several birds to their own flock and offering merchandise at local bird marts, they opened FeatherHeads. From their original 1300 sq. foot store, they have now expanded to over 6000 sq feet. Susan has handfed hundreds of baby birds over the years. She has successfully raised babies from some of the smallest such as parrotlets to the largest parrots, the Hyacinth macaw. Susan and Jan have made it their goal to provide education as well as a chance to interact with different types of parrots making FeatherHeads a unique experience for everyone from the beginner to the expert aviculturist. There are always lots of birds to entertain you. Susan and FeatherHeads have been featured in several local newspapers as well as publications catering to persons in the pet trade and in addition she is active in several avicultural organizations.
Bird Care - How to Stop Feather Plucking
Susan Vandenbroek from FeatherHeads in Sterling Virginia demonstrates how to stop feather plucking.
Hi, I am Suzanne with Featherheads. Weve been talking about caring for your parrots and were going to talk about a particular situation with parrots feather plucking. We have a very special guest today, this is Chang and Chang as you can see has plucked. Chang actually is about 25 years old he is a Hurricane Katrina survivor. He came to us, hed been on a very bad diet. Hed been with for us about six months. We converted him to actually the Roudy Bush rice diet, which works very well for birds with issues of plucking, which has many, many causes, but for Chang, he also had a great deal of kidney problems from his long term diet of seed. Weve had Chang tested and his tests were very good, except for the fact that he has serious kidney issues. Over the course of the last six months, weve improved Changs diet and Chang has actually solved all his kidney problems. He will never solve all of his plucking issues, simply because it has gone on for so long. He actually has damaged the feather follicles. But we are really very excited that Chang actually has some tough feather back on his chest. Its not much, Chang is a red band cockatoo that are few red band cockatoos around and hes a really good boy, and wed love to have you come and visit him here. Some of the causes for feather plucking, probably one of the most common things that people call us about with problems. First thing you need to determine is whether or not its a physical cause that requires your veterinarian. After that you can review, it maybe behavioral issues, it can be allergies to foods, it could be the time of the year, it could be seasonal and that either age, as birds get older, its either hormonal issue in the spring, or a lot of time what happens is, in the fall when the heat first goes on, all of our houses become much drier. Our birds skin feels itchy to them and they start to itch.
But the first thing you need to do is to rule out that the cause is not a physical cause, there are many-many illnesses that can cause feather plucking. See, when rule those out, then talk about the behavioral issues, whether or not there are food issues or whether or not there are other items that may be affecting the birds behavior. A new person in the family, youve been way on vacation, all of those things can play a role in causing a bird to start feather plucking. We have been talking about feather plucking; next item we are going to talk about is permanent identification for your bird.