Feather Destructive Behavior and what to do?
Feather destructive behaviour is a term used to describe a range of behaviours where birds damage their own feathers. Common forms of this include ‘barbering’ (removing or damaging individual barbs on their feathers) or feather plucking, where a feather is completely pulled out by the bird.
Often feather destruction is a very common problem and one that is quite complex to solve, it seems to be most common in African gray parrots, Quakers, and various cockatoo species. Additionally, it is not uncommon among cockatiels, lovebirds, and parrotlets. That being said, feather destructive behavior can occur in any bird species.
● Boredom
● Malnutrition / Liver Problems
● Heavy Metal Poisoning
● Internal Parasites
● Feather Mites
● Food sensitivities
● Dryness of Skin/ Skin Infections
● Chemical Irritants
● Lack of Sunlight
● Not enough sleep
What to do:
The most important thing to remember when treating a feather picking or chewing bird is that this is often a lifelong management issue and there is no quick fix or cure. Therefore, it is important to realize that correcting this problem may take a considerable amount of time and commitment
The longer the behavior has persisted the more difficult it is to correct. It is always best to take the bird to your veterinarian as soon as a behavior is noticed.
Once you have sought help from your veterinary, you should have a better idea of what triggers or events may have caused the feather destruction, and also what is maintaining the behaviour. By addressing every aspect of the ‘parrot’s world’ and making changes where needed, the behaviour often begins to correct itself.
Changes to consider:
● Vary the location of the cage or have multiple cages
● Change up his or her cage
● Change their diet ensuring a variety in the diet
● Frequent baths
● Make more time for your feather child
● Provide more stimuli
Be patient and remember there is no quick fix
Some useful links for more info: