WHY DO PARROTS GRIP THEIR FEATHERS?
Parrots tear up their feathers for several reasons. In the wild, for example, they use plucked feathers to line their nests during the breeding season. Many feathers also fall out while they go through their normal preening and grooming routine.
Behavior in the event of a plumage problem
In captivity, a plucked parrot can be a sign of veterinary or environmental problems. This is also called feather picking. You may notice that your parrot chews on its feathers or goes so far as to damage its own skin. Parrots can also grab the feathers of their other companions. You will usually see damage to the feathers on the chest and neck, which are the easiest to hit with the beak.
If you suspect that your bird has torn off its feathers, the best advice is to take it to an avian veterinarian as soon as possible. If the veterinarian determines that your parrot is free from psittacine beak and feather disease ( PBFD) or other medical issues, then your parrot’s pecking is most likely due to an environmental issue.
Stressed birds move around to pacify themselves, sometimes out of boredom or lack of interaction. There can be medical causes due to diet, toxic exposures, and infections. Your vet will likely ask questions to try to get to the root of the problem. He will do a physical exam and lab tests.
To determine if there is an environmental cause for the parrot’s behavior, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the parrot eat healthily? A nutritional deficiency can stress the bird to the point of plucking it and causing further self-harm. A calcium deficiency for example. We explain everything in our article ” Importance of calcium in parrots “
If you find that your parrot’s diet is not appropriate, try to vary it a little by adding a few fresh fruits and vegetables each day. If you’ve only fed your bird a seed-based diet, it may be lacking in nutrients.
- Is the parrot cage clean and comfortable? Exotic birds are hygienic animals by nature. Thus, a dirty and poorly maintained cage is detrimental to their mental and physical health. Check your parrot’s cage to see if better maintenance is needed.
- Is the parrot getting enough attention and mental stimulation? Parrots are very intelligent and social creatures. They need to interact with members of their herd and sometimes strip off if they feel neglected. Evaluate the quality time you spend with your pet and make sure you provide enough socialization, interaction, and play.
- Is your bird getting enough sleep? Tropical birds need more sleep than humans and prefer a regular sleep schedule. Your parrot may need its own dark, quiet bedroom to ensure that it is getting enough rest.
- Have there been any recent changes in your household? If anything has changed, it can cause stress. It could be a move, a change of household members, or pets. It could be due to a different time as well.
If you find that an area of your parrot’s environment isn’t as wonderful as it should be, take immediate action to put your parrot in optimal comfort. Once a bird begins to pluck, it can be difficult to stop it if it has been allowed to do so for a while. Your veterinarian can provide you with drugs that modify behavior. But these are more effective when combined with the improvement of environmental and behavioral factors. Toys are very useful for stimulating your feathered companion. Discover our collection by clicking on the image below.
Make sure your pet’s plumage stays intact by being the most caring and considerate owner possible.
If your parrot has been a victim of pecking as well, let us know your experiences in the comments below. Do not hesitate to share with us what you have put in place.