Why Do Parrots Pluck Their Feathers?

Many parrot owners are baffled and mostly have no idea why do parrots pluck their feathers. It’s quite disturbing to see your little furry friend tear itself out, but what compels the parrot to pluck its own feather, and what can you do to prevent it?

Many people see a parrot as an ideal companion mainly because of its beauty as well as its remarkable intelligence. One of the most striking features of any parrot is its colorful plumage. It instantly catches eyes and is primarily why so many people keep parrots as pets. However, the beautiful plumage parrot is also prone to pathological as well as behavioral disorders.

Solutions For The Unhealthy Feather Plucking In Parrots!

When parrots start plucking their feathers, know that it is not their natural behavior or any preening routine. A parrot’s desperate plucking is a cry for help because something is not right with the bird, and that’s why it is literally tearing its feathers out.

Don’t know why parrots pluck feathers? Read this helpful guide to learn why your parrot is destroying its strikingly colorful and attractive plumage and what you can do to prevent it.

Feather Plucking In Parrots

Causes of Feather Plucking in Parrots

Parrots plucking their feathers is not normal behavior and should not be confused with molting – a process of shedding and regrowth of feathers. If you observe chunks of feathers missing, accompanied by lesions or rashes, then your parrot is doing the plucking intentionally, which means something is off with your bird.

Parrots plucking their feathers can have varied psychological causes; however, pathological conditions can also be the reason behind intentional pecking. This segment will explore the factors responsible for feather plucking in parrots.

  • Environmental factors

Environmental factors are also responsible for feather plucking in parrots. Air pollutants like smoke, vapors for cooking, etc., irritate the parrot’s skin and could lead to pecking.

  • Unhygienic and uncomfortable cage

Parrot’s dwellings in homes are often cages with limited space. In the absence of daily cleaning and routine disinfecting, the surface is usually brimming with pathogens and fungus. The infection could quickly transfer to your pet, causing inflammation or itching. The bird responds by vehemently plucking its feather in a desperate attempt to relieve its condition.

  • Lack of healthy food

Nutrition imbalance is also a significant factor behind parrot plucking its feathers. Severe nutrient deficiency caused by an inadequate diet can cause weight loss, dry skin, and intense itching that will compel parrots to vehemently pluck their feathers for relief. Therefore, it is essential to ensure that you give your bird a healthy, nutritious diet.

  • Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors could also be responsible for parrot plucking. Joint accommodation, jealousy, boredom, or sexual frustration could also lead to feather plucking in parrots.

  • Dry skin

As mentioned above, dry skin can also be the reason for pecking in parrots. Dry skin is usually accompanied by severe itching, forcing the parrot to scratch and pluck uncontrollably. Dry skin is generally due to nutrient deficiency; however, skin conditions and dry air can also be the cause.

  • Lack of sunlight and fresh air

Just like sunlight and fresh air are essential to humans, the same is true for birds too. Remember, they are creatures that soar through the sky, basking in the sunlight and gulping fresh air. In captivity, sunlight and fresh air are often restricted, leading to behavioral disorders in your bird, resulting in the pecking.

  • Boredom

Although hard to believe, boredom is also a leading cause of feather plucking in parrots. In the wild, parrots are mainly occupied with searching for food, flying, and defending themselves from predators. These activities are absent in captivity, and parrots being intelligent birds, could be severely troubled by lack of activity. The result could be out of ordinary behavior such as feather plucking.

Do parrots’ feathers grow back if plucked?

The answer is both yes and no. While in most cases, the feathers regrow in usually twelve months, some birds may take longer to reclaim their lost plumage. But unfortunately, in rare cases, the damage could be irreversible.

If any bacterial or fungal infection was involved that led to a deterioration of underlying skin structure, it is possible that your parrot can never regain its lost feather.

How to stop unhealthy feather plucking behavior in parrots?

Knowing the underlying cause is the first step to stopping unhealthy feather plucking behavior in parrots. Observation is the key to determining the root cause of pecking in parrots.

Resolving the underlying issue will allow your parrot to ease out and stop plucking; however, you can take several steps to alleviate your pet’s condition and prevent feather plucking.

  • Stick into a daily routine

Parrots often tend to follow a routine, and any changes could lead to stress and behavioral changes. Therefore, to ensure the optimum mental health of your pet, stick to a daily routine.

  • Feed healthy food

Healthy food is indispensable for your parrot’s wellbeing. Ensure that your parrot gets all the needed nutrients in the correct quantity to keep them healthy.

  • Clean the cage frequently

Poor hygiene is a leading cause of feather plucking in parrots. Regularly cleaning the cage will keep the surface pathogen-free and prevent diseases in your parrot.

  • Place the cage in open air space

Make sure that your parrot receives enough sunlight and fresh air. To do so, place the cage in an open space as often as possible. It will allow your parrot to feel close to its natural habitat and alleviates its mood.

  • Do not make them bored – support physical activities

Know that parrots are intelligent little birds. They love to play and get bored easily. In their boredom, they could turn to feather plucking. Offer them toys that boost physical activity and keep them occupied.

  • Be friendly with them

Loneliness and neglect can also lead to behavioral disorders in parrots. Consequently, parrots may start plucking their feathers. To avoid it, offer them company, play with them and perform activities that entertain them.

Final Thoughts

By now, it would be apparent to you why do parrots pluck their feathers – restricted posture, too dry air, and an undersupply of vital nutrients, fresh air, and sunlight are some of them. However, plucking is not natural in nearly every case and demands immediate intervention.

Plucking is a coping mechanism, and if you observe your pet to be uneasy, restless, or missing large chunks of feathers, a prompt response from your part is necessary before the damage becomes more significant.

Most of the time, pecking is behavioral, and few adjustments in the area you keep your parrot usually resolve the issue. However, sometimes the condition is pathological too and needs expert assistance. In case your parrot continues plucking its feather, or you see bumps or lesions on its skin, immediately take your feathered friend to an experienced wet for examination.

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