Parrots with Feather Damaging Behavior


This brief overview explores the various conditions that can trigger the onset of feather damaging behavior (formerly referred to as plucking) and some suggestions on how to address the issue.

  • Veterinarian health assessment, diet evaluation and details of its history (health-lifestyle-behavior-feather condition, etc.) is the primary objective to explore
  • Possible compromised feather structure could trigger the damaging behavior
  • Preening education and skill level
  • Regular weighing: Obesity can trigger feather damaging behavior
  • Health of the feet: Sore feet due to arthritis, pododermatitis, etc. may make it difficult to preen efficiently
  • Parasites: May cause disease and discomfort, pruritus. Toxins: Water, cage metal, and toy quality should be taken into consideration as these can also lead to feather damaging behaviour
  • Genetic predispositions
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Feather hygiene, frequent misting or bathing is imperative
  • Environmental factors such as indoor heating (dry skin), cigarette smoke, cooking oils, etc.
  • Detailed record keeping may help discover the trigger
  • Viral diseases
  • Hormones should be monitored and managed
  • Is feather damaging behavior self-induced or from another source