How to check feather plucking in parrots

October 24, 2011

Feather plucking in parrots

If you own a pet, there may be circumstances when your pet goes through sever health problems. Feather plucking is common problem among birds. It is one of the most frustrating and alarming conditions of caged birds. It is one of the most difficult and challenging disorder which needs to be treated in time. Feather problems are usually easily detected and bird owners who react in time will save their bird from supermarket chicken look.

People purchase the pet birds because of their physical attraction and general appearance. Loss of physical attraction causes great consternation on the part of its owner. Some of the bird owner’s aggravation and frustration is result of lack of understanding of what motivates the bird to behave in this disparaging manner and what can be done to stop the destructive behavior.


  1. There are some medical as well as non-medical or natural causes for feather picking. The non-medical causes are related to psychological and/or stress. Stress may be because of absence of a mate with which it will fulfill courtship ceremony and mating or because of home confinement. Whereas the major medical causes includes external and/or internal parasites, changes in hormone levels, skin allergies and/or feather follicles and malnutrition.
  2. Feather plucking is generally found among captivated birds. Wild or free birds do not feather pick because they are very much engaged with their own reproduction and survival process.
  3. Another reason of feather plucking may be a social cause that includes poor socialization or absence of parents or early separation from parents and because of this the pet fails to appropriate preening behavior.

How to curb it?

1. Collars

There is no quick and easy treatment for non-medical causes i.e. psychological and/or stress. Collars made from redundant x-ray film or acrylics can be fitted to the neck of the bird. It creates an artificial barrier between the bird’s beak and its body. Collars treat the symptoms but do not eliminate other underlying causes.

Drawback is that the collar can be stressful for the bird. It is already been confined to a particular area and fitting a collar will restrict it from doing other activities. It may also interrupt blood flow and normal feather maintenance (preening). Collar should be the last option.

2. Reduce boredom

If boredom have been ruled out the reason behind feather plucking, then as the owner of your pet make some changes. Spend more time with your bird so that it engages itself in other activities and don’t take frustration out, because of boredom by plucking. Free the bird at home for some time so that it doesn’t feel captivated.

3. Change the location

Changing the location of the bird will also help a lot. How much does the new location suits your bird totally depends on the nature and acceptability of the bird. You will find the difference after the comparative unsuitability of the previous location. If you notice some change, then go ahead with the same process

Frequently asked questions

Is that true that feather sexing promotes feather plucking?
According to research feather plucking is generally a disorder among parrots. So feather sexing will not promote feather plucking. Plucking of few feathers is normal. It is not started by plucking a few chest feathers from your pet bird.

My pet parrot has been picking at his tail feathers. He has picked out a couple that has even been bloody at the ends. What to do?

Whenever you see something weird take it immediately to the VET before the things worsens.

By taking proper precautions and good care you can have a good and healthy pet parrot.

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