On this page we will try and help you understand feather plucking/mutilation that can happen with your parrot.
Did you know Parrots DONT PLUCK in the wild!! It is something they have learnt in our care to tell us that something is wrong!
To start with if you parrot has started to pluck you MUST take them to an avian vet to rule out any illnesses/skin conditions. Then once they have had the all clear then you can start to work on the behaviour.
Birds may pluck for attention so shouting “stop it” at them will only reinforce this negative behaviour!!
If your parrot is plucking they are trying to tell you something!!
Birds pluck out their feathers or mutilate for many reasons: Illness, Hormones, sleep deprived, Pain, scared, frustration, to gain your attentions and poor diet.
So you have to answer these questions to see if you can pin point the problem:
Is your parrot ill?
If your parrot is ill they will hide this from the rest of their flock and yes this does mean you too! So they may show subtle signs, one of which may be plucking the part of their body that hurts them or is irritating them. So the answer to this is taking your parrot to a GOOD recommended avian vet. I have known some vets tell people that there parrot is lonely and needs another parrot mate and be sent out into an aviary if they are plucking THIS IS NOT always true!!
Does your parrot get 12 hours uninterrupted sleep, in complete darkness and quiet?
Your parrot needs 12 hours uninterrupted sleep away from any distractions. A good idea for this if your parrot lives in your living room is to have another “sleeping” cage; this does not have to be as big as the main cage but should be placed in a nice quiet room so they can get the sleep they need! If you only had 2 hours good solid sleep a night wouldn’t you be cranky???
Is your parrot in pain, scared, bored or lonely?
If your parrot is in pain they are likely to pluck at the point of pain, so if you have a parrot with a sore toe , we have know parrots pluck away the skin to try and get to the pain! So think if they have had any accidents that may have caused this. Are they scared? If you bring a new parrot into your busy house hold and they have been use to a very quiet house with no other animals then this may lead them to be scared of their surroundings and again start to pluck.
Parrots are naturally very intelligent so being locked in a cage for 8 hours whilst you go to work with only the sound of his own voice and a few broken, old, tatty toys WILL NOT BE FUN!!!! This can also cause boredom with your parrot and trigger plucking. So do you leave a radio/TV on for them? Do you go back home for lunch to spend time with them?
Is your parrot lonely? Do they have enough quality time out of the cage? If you cannot offer good quality time out of the cage with your interaction then a parrot is NOT the pet for you.
Parrots do not ask to be kept in cages so why do people think it’s fair to leave them in one for long periods of time? In an ideal world we would not work and would be able to spend all our time devoted to our feathered friend but this is not always the case! People have to work to live and people lives change and sometimes there is nothing that can be done about this.
We must also remember that if a parrot has plucked for 20+ years due to boredom then you may not change this behaviour over night, you may never change it but you must still offer your parrot as much love.
BEFORE you go out and buy a parrot you need to really think about what your life can throw at you and if you could still offer the same loving home to your parrot. May people buy a parrot without much research, they dote on them for the first 6 months and then the novelty wears off and then the parrot is left alone for more and more time each day, then a baby may come along into the family and the parrot is never again let out of the cage due to fear of what they will do to the baby! Trust me we have heard it all! With proper training and routines your parrot can be a fantastic long life friend for all of your family!
In a perfect world we would all mimic their natural habitat in our spare rooms, with many other flock mates to play with and keep them occupied but this is not always possible, so all we can do is offer them the best life possible!