Let me just start out by saying there are usually multiples reasons for your bird to start plucking it’s own feathers. Many people will say it is a sign of stress or that your bird is depressed, bored, etc. Certainly they could be right, but diseases like CYST, parasites externally or internally (for instance ringworm) could also be the cause.
If your bird is a plucker, the first thing you want to do is bring it to a good Avian vet. Your vet can take tests and determine if the cause of the problem is physical, emotional or both.
There are several successful treatment plans that you may implement and go from there to determine the best remedies. Many very well cared for birds can become pluckers so do not assume it has to do with your style of husbandry.
Numerous other causes for plucking could be an allergic reaction to certain foods your bird is eating, liver disease, cancer, poisoning from heavy metals, metabolic disorders, dryness in the skin and light/darkness sensitivity.
Because I am NOT a veterinarian, I would never try to diagnose the cause of your bird-over preening and pulling out their feathers aka “PLUCKING”
As stated before, please see a reputable Avian vet or if the bird is a rescue perhaps the facility or former owner can shed some light on the problem and the bird’s history. As a new rescue I would still suggest a vet visit to diagnose the problem further.
Aside from physical ailments, the bird may be suffering from anxiety, stress, depression or boredom. Many times it is a result of your bird being re-homed or becoming less than an only child after many years. You and your vet will need to determine the issues and the good news is, there are treatments available.
Omega Fatty acids in the diet have been known to slow down plucking and in some cases cure it all together. There are also special neck rings that your bird can wear to prevent them from plucking in the physical manner.
Providing your bird with mental stimulation in the way of toys, interaction, love and good vibes may in some cases be the solution. Keeping a plucker busy with beads and other bird-safe toys is always an idea. Besides, it can’t hurt because as we all know, birds love mental stimulation in all forms.
Sweaters and other bird clothing can be worn to prevent the bird from plucking and keep it warm as well. I personally think they are adorable and reminds me of the story of little Rhea, who became an internet sensation. Rhea was a rescued lovebird who was suffering from a rare disease known as PBFD. (Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease).
One of the symptoms of PBFD was that all of Rhea’s feathers fell out and she was completely bald. Her owner found her in a rescue facility in this condition and could not resist her spunky and sweet demeanor.
Rhea later went on to become internet famous due to her situation. People from ALL OVER THE WORLD were knitting her sweaters and making her various other outfits.
Please keep in mind that Rhea was NOT a plucker, but a great example of a bird with some great outfits. Sadly, Rhea passed away but you can read all about her here:
And remember bald is beautiful!
There are usually several reasons that your bird could become a plucker. Seeing a good Avian vet is your best option and proceeding with a treatment plan from there. Many birds have kicked the habit so to speak and turned them selves around full force.
Do not assume it is a cause of poor husbandry because many times it is not. Keep in mind, if you are seeing a reputable vet and trying all the treatments available then you are ALREADY an excellent bird keeper.
Doing the best you can is the key. In some cases, it is a physical ailment and after tests and a treatment plan, your bird may turn out just fine. Plucking is also not fatal although if done aggressively,it could turn fatal so please keep on top of your bird’s health and do the very best you can to help them.
I consider my birds just as important as children and that may seem odd to some people, but I have always been an AVID animal lover.
There are some preventative options available on Amazon.com right here:
and until next time..Happy Parroting!