Q. My conure has suddenly developed swealing above the abdomin area. It seems to be in the throat. He has lost his feathers due to plucking awhile back

A. If your conure has plucked himself to bare skin in places, you may be seeing his crop. The crop is an area above the abdomen and located on the neck, usually to one side. The crop is where food is stored before it enters the stomach and digestive tract and is the first place where food begins to be broken down in place of teeth of other animals. If you are seeing swelling in this area after your conure eats, that is normal and means he is eating enough food.

If you are seeing the swelling in another location, or it appears to be painful, hot to the touch or oozing debris, then it may indicate a cyst, growth or infection caused by the feather plucking. Having this looked at by an avian vet is best as birds can hide illnesses until they are very very ill.

Feather plucking is another sign of stress and possible illness in birds. Birds such as conures that are not mentally stimulated enough may develop this behavior and may need enrichment or medical care to help overcome the feather plucking. Speaking with your avian vet to check for illnesses, and adding enrichment to your bird's cage may help.

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