You go in for your morning bird routine and notice a bunch of feathers on the cage floor. You ask yourself, "Is my bird molting?" Then, a few weeks later, you notice that there are just too many missing feathers. You can see some bald spots. Maybe, even what looks like abrasions. Could your bird be feather plucking?
Feather plucking is when your bird destroys its beautiful feathers or even plucks them out altogether. Wild birds prize their feathers because their feathers buy them safety, get them the best mates, and give them glorious freedom. Why is it so different for our captive birds?
What Causes Feather Plucking?
Feather plucking can be caused by a number of things from a medical problem, to of a too small cage, to a poor diet. It can be caused by lack of enrichment, limited exercise, or boredom, amongst other things.
What do all of these issues have in common? They all bring stress on. Add a couple of these stressors together, and a bird could resort to something drastic, like feather plucking.
It could be physical stress from a medical stress or malnutrition from a poor diet poor diet. Maybe it's emotional stress from lack of enrichment, boredom, or being rehomed. Stress takes a toll. On people and on animals.
Feather plucking in birds is a big problem but BirdSupplies.com specializes in feather plucking birds. You'll find a system of products designed to support you and your pet, from bird collars, to nutritional supplements and feather plucking sprays, to helpful educational resources that walk you through retraining your pet.
By definition of feather plucking is “the willful damage or destruction by a bird of its own feathers. The general term of feather plucking encompasses any form of self-inflicted feather damage, including shredding the feathers, biting them off, pulling them out, and even self-mutilation. About 10% of birds that engage in in feather plucking progress toward self-mutilation behavior.
Suggested Supports for Mild Feather Plucking
- Daily misting with skin soothing Aloe Vera Spray
- Shower perch to make bathing easier
- Bird Bath Spray
- You learning behavior modification strategies to help yourself learn how to shape the behaviors that you wish to continue and stop behaviors that worry you
- Optimize nutrition with supplements like FeatheredUp! and lots of raw vegetables, fruits, herbs, and sprouts.
- Boost enrichment and foraging activities
Suggested Supports For Moderate to Severe Feather Plucking
- The Feather Destructive Behavior Workbook
- Frequency, Intensity, Duration Worksheet
- Feather Plucking Rescue Pack
- Calming Products
- Bird Collar or Parrot Poncho
- Nutritional Supplements, such as FeatheredUp! and Calcium Supplement
- Skin Soothing Products such as an Aloe Vera Spray
- Behavior modification your bird to improve its self-confidence
- Clicker Training to help you attend to when and how to provide attention for wanted behaviors
Suggested Supports For Self-mutilation (Skin Damage)
First Things First When Your Bird Starts Feather Plucking
The first thing you need to do when your bird starts feather plucking is to consult an experienced Avian Veterinarian who will help you rule out if a medical issues is contributing to FDB.
Once medical problems have been treated and nutrition has been optimized you’ll want to consider products to help manage your bird’s behavior.
You see, feather plucking quickly turns into a full-fledged habit. That's why you need to get feather plucking help as soon as you notice a problem.
What Research Says About Managing Feather Plucking in Parrots
Feather plucking behavior is one of the more common problems that avian veterinarians encounter in their day to day practice.
Research tells us that there are five major approaches to managing feather plucking in parrots.
First, Consult with your avian veterinarian
Interrupt Your Bird From Further Damage with a Bird Collar r.
Confirm that your parrot's environment meets it's needs and that there is minimal stress. An important factor here is to offer parrot enrichment activities.
Ensure that your parrot husbandry practices are in alignment with what your exotic birds need. This includes feather and skin care, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and more.
Develop a behavior modification plan to address underlying behavioral issues.
While going into great depth on these strategies is beyond the cope of this blog, you can learn more in The Parrot Feather Plucking Workbook
About the Feather Plucking Rescue Pack
Natural products address nervousness, anxiety and obsessive tendencies in birds.
Made with L-Theanine + GABA, mood stabilizing amino acids, Parrot Calming Formula reduces nervousness, calms anxiety and minimizes OCD like behavior.
Mix 100% Natural Parrot Calming Formula with water for best results. Please be sure to refresh water supply at least once a day but preferably twice a day.
(dry skin, abrasions, prickly pin feathers)
No Pick: A bird safe mixture of Aloe Vera Bird Spray and Bitter Apple, a safe but bitter taste deterrent 100% Natural Spray. The Result Is supple skin with bitter taste to deter over-preening.
FEATHER REGROWTH SUPPLEMENTS
Feather Pluckers are constantly regrowing feathers which is very demanding on the body depleting essential nutrients from other organs and body systems.
FeatheredUp! mixes natural products and ingredients for a delicious feather growth supplement that you can sprinkle on food. Excellent results, especially when used with No Pick Feather Plucking Spray, Bird Vitamins and Cal-D Solve.
Feahteredup is a comprehensive, avian specific nutritional supplement that provides 14 avian essential vitamins, 17 amino acids and 7 minerals.
Many birds, especially African Grey parrots, they are prone to calcium deficiency. The result is that they will suffer from nervous behavior and cramp attacks, also known as calcium tetany, a painful condition that may cause a bird to chew on itself. Cal-D-Solve addresses the underlying cause of nervousness.
Feather Destructive Behaviors (FDB)/ Feather Picking/ Feather Plucking. (n.d.). Retrieved June 20, 2016, from http://www.birdchannel.com/bird-behaviors/bird-feather-plucking.aspx
Disclaimer: BirdSupplies.com’s Bird Behavior Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.