Parrots are animals that offer us great company and can make our lives very happy, because their plumages make them very beautiful animals and their character and intelligence make them unique. But, if we decide to have a parrot as a companion animal, we must be very aware of all its needs, because they are animals that although they have been bred in captivity they need to fly, exercise and interact. If we ignore this and if we neglect other important aspects such as feeding and veterinary reviews, in a short time we will have a sad and sick companion. A very common sign that may tell you that he is not happy and / or sick is the fact that he loses a lot of feathers and that he even starts them himself.
It may seem strange, but this is one of the most common problems in birds that do not live in freedom and, therefore, we must know how to identify and treat it. Discover in this article of Pet O Club the answer to “Why does my parrot pluck its feathers?” and pay attention to what you must do to help him.
Difference between the change of the feathers and the pecking
To take care of a parrot correctly, it is essential to know some of its most common health problems and to know that, as we mentioned at the beginning, plucking the feathers is common but it denotes abnormal behavior. That is, removing the feathers themselves is not normal behavior in a healthy state. Therefore, when a parrot suffers from itching, which is what this behavior is called, it is telling us that something is not right in its health, whether physical or emotional.
It is very important to know how to differentiate the normal molting of feathers from the problem of picking, because not always that we see feathers on the floor of the cage or the house will be that he has removed them himself. The parrots do not have a specific molt season, but this occurs at times necessary according to the environment and their health among other factors. What we then have to take into account to try to differentiate if our bird is in a molting moment or if it is suffering from itching is whether or not there are areas of bare skin. The moulting does not leave areas of skin in sight, instead the pecking to be a problem in which they themselves are tearing, yes it is distinguished by leaving bare skin areas.
My parrot plucks feathers – possible causes
So, as mentioned above, if you notice that in addition to many feathers in the cage and the ground some pieces of the skin of your parrot are exposed and even have some injury, then you know you have this problem and it is not the change. The causes of pecking in parrots can be very varied, some are physical and others psychological:
One of the main causes of pecking is malnutrition as it is common that, in addition to the possible weakness of new feathers, dry skin due to the fact that we mostly feed them with seeds, obviating the fresh fruit. The itching leads to excessive cleansing and this can habitually develop this behavior of removing feathers.
Stress and anxiety
A bird can suffer stress easily, especially when you have too many hours caged and/or if you are not allowed to have contact with others of your species. There are many reasons that can cause stress, such as lack of contact with other beings or lack of attention, boredom, loneliness, excessive noise, too much light for many hours, as well as very little light for many hours, lack of space, lack of hygiene, etc. Stress will eventually cause you to remove your own feathers from the areas where it reaches such as the neck and chest.
External parasites such as mites, predators, fleas, etc., are guilty of causing much itching and irritation, and even wounds, on the skin of birds. Therefore, it is common that when they are parasitized, they scratch so much that they end up plucking the plumage.
Fungal or bacterial infections when they occur on the skin can cause a lot of inflammation of the skin and a great itching to the animal, causing it to scratch and pluck the plumage in areas that can reach easily.
It is also possible that this problem develops when the animal is disturbed due to environmental problems. For example, the unbalanced humidity for which they need according to their natural habitat, the fumes of the kitchen, of the cars if they are on the balcony or the smoke of the tobacco, et cetera.
Likewise, there are other causes of pecking in parrots among which the following must always be taken into account:
- Underlying diseases, especially bacterial infections in other parts of the body apart from the dermis.
- Wounds, cysts and bumps on the skin.
- Hormonal problems
- Sexual frustration and reproductive problems.
In addition, when it comes to the emotional or psychological factor there is a high number of relapses in birds that seem to have healed, so we must take special care when this is the main reason and follow very well the treatment indicated by the specialist, since This can be quite complex.
What do I do if my parrot plucks feathers?
It is normal that if you find yourself with the situation that your winged pet suffers itching, you have doubts about what to do. The first thing you should think is that as it is vital to identify the main cause of the problem, you should take it to the veterinarian to have it completely reviewed.
The exotic specialist will tell you everything you must do according to the cause you have diagnosed, you should follow their instructions and the treatment prescribed for you during the time you have stipulated to make sure it is effective.
Thus, depending on the reason for the pecking, different specific treatments can be given:
- If you suffer from stress or it is a problem in the environment, the first thing will be to identify the origin of this problem in order to change the factors that alter it. We must offer a calm and healthy environment, change its cage of place, offer a spacious and clean, without excess noise, with adequate humidity, possibility of interaction with us and other animals, and so on.
- If the cause is a bad diet the veterinarian will help us to readjust it and we will have to follow the diet that it indicates us, without omitting food or takings.
- If you have parasites the veterinarian will prescribe a suitable antiparasitic to eliminate them, as well as give us a guideline to prevent them from reappearing.
- In the case of a skin infection, the treatment will include an antifungal or an antibacterial agent suitable for use in exotic birds and the specialist will tell you what the exact dose will be.
What to do to prevent my parrot from plucking feathers
If you wonder how to prevent my parrot from plucking feathers you should know that it is something that is not always possible. But if you can greatly reduce the chances that our partner winged end up suffering from this disorder if we provide a very good living conditions. For this we offer some preventive measures that will help you so that your parrot does not get to suffer this problem:
Make sure that the diet you give your pet is appropriate for their species. It includes fresh fruits, seeds, nectar, etc., but always bearing in mind what is the basis of their diet in their natural habitat. The veterinarian of exotic people will be the best to tell you how to feed your parrot.
- Do not let him get bored for long in a row. Play toys every few minutes, change them, play with them and, if possible, it is better that you have more than one so you do not feel lonely.
- Move away from noise, fumes, other pets with which there could be risk of problems, ultimately avoid stress to the fullest.
- He spends enough time with him not only playing, but taking care of him, giving him food with his hands, bathing him, and so on.
- Always use products suitable for birds and recommended by the veterinarian.
When to go to the veterinarian of exotic
As responsible for caring for a parrot you should know when it is necessary to go to the veterinarian with him. For this reason, if you identify that the loss of feathers is not due to the molt and you can find what has been the main cause and even correcting it as best you can, you will not see improvements, then it will be time for you to go to the specialist with your pet.
In addition, there are certain cases in which you should go to the exotic veterinarian equally, either for basic care things as for possible diseases and emergencies:
- Annual reviews, vaccinations and deworming
- Problems in the beak and legs
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Respiratory difficulties
- Anorexia, whether you have stopped eating at all or if it is a noticeable decrease in appetite
These are some of the most frequent reasons in which you should take your winged partner to the specialist, but remember to do so whenever you have a minimal suspicion that there has been some physical change or behavior.
This article is merely informative, in a Pet O Club we do not have the power to prescribe any veterinary treatment or make any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or discomfort.