Why Do Birds Pluck Their Feathers?

parrot pluck feathers

There are a number of reasons why your bird might start plucking its feathers.

This particular behavior definitely causes for concern, so you will not want to simply ignore it.

The more you learn about why your bird does this, the easier it will be to help them.

1. Disease/Illness

One of the most common reasons that birds pluck out their feathers is because of disease. There are actually a number of diseases that can cause your bird to do this, including feather cysts. These cysts can form quickly and result from feathers not being able to come through the skin normally. You will notice swelling of your bird’s skin if this is the case.

There is also a chance that your bird has liver disease, which is somewhat common with older birds. Liver disease can be very serious in birds, especially if it is gone untreated for long enough. Feather plucking usually only occurs once the disease is pretty far along, in which case there may be nothing you can do.

If your bird has developed a fungal or bacterial infection of the skin, it might begin plucking out its feathers. You will need to get the infection treated as soon as possible so that is doesn’t continue to get worse. Birds have a tendency to contract these kinds of infections, so it is something you’ll want to watch out for.

Some of the other common signs of illness in birds include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Tail bobbing when breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Half closed eyes
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parrot naked

2. Stress

It is also possible that your bird is plucking out its feathers due to stress. This can occur for a number of reasons, such as other pets in the house. If you have a cat or dog, your bird might get very stressed out just seeing it from its cage.

Changes in a bird’s schedule can also produce a stress response, which may manifest in the form of feather plucking. If you have just moved into a new place with your bird, this is very likely the case. It can take a while for a bird to adjust to its new environment. There are some birds that handle change better than others.

Stress in birds can also be caused by a sudden loud noise, though this usually doesn’t cause feather plucking. If the noise continues over and over, your bird might start plucking out its own feathers because they are so rattled by the noise.

3. Boredom

If you are going to keep a pet bird, it is crucial that you provide it with enough mental and physical stimulation each day. Most birds get bored pretty easily, so you need to make a point of getting them engaged

A bored bird might start plucking out its own feathers. This is actually one of the more common explanations for this behavior in these animals. If you notice your bird doing this, it probably means that you need to start spending more time with it.

Parrots and cockatoos are just two types of birds that need a lot of attention each day. This means taking them out of their cage, letting them fly around, and handling them. You also want to keep plenty of toys in their cage to keep them occupied. Ladders, bells and even popsicle sticks are all great toys for birds.

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4. Allergies

Believe it or not, it is actually possible for birds to have allergies. It is possible that your bird is plucking out its feathers as a reaction to an environmental allergen. This could be anything from dust to contaminants in its water.

Some of the common signs of allergies in birds include black circles under their eyes, wheezing and sneezing. If you have mold somewhere in your home, this is a likely explanation. It is one of the most common allergies among these animals.

parrot pluck

5. Malnutrition

Feather plucking can also be due to an inadequate diet. Lots of people don’t feed their pet birds the right food, and they have no idea. Most birds should be kept on a diet that consists mostly of a high-quality pellet/seed mix. 

You’ll need to spend some time looking for the right bird feed mix to give your pet. With so many different options, it can be difficult to know which one you should choose.

Your bird can also benefit from the occasional fresh fruits and vegetables. There is a chance that it is plucking out its feathers because you are giving them food that is harmful, such as avocado or fruit pits.

6. Dryness

Sometimes feather plucking becomes an issue when a bird’s environment becomes too dry. It is why this behavior tends to occur a bit more in the winter months with these animals. If the air is very dry where you keep your bird, you’ll want to move it to another room. 

You can also try putting a humidifier in the part of your house their cage is in. This can do wonders to fix the problem quickly and definitively.

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  • Disease or illness is one of the most common reasons that birds pluck out their feathers, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for the signs.
  • Intense stress can also cause a bird to pluck out its own feathers. This could be caused by anything from a loud noise to another pet in your home.
  • There’s also a chance that your bird has started doing this because it is bored.
  • It is important that you make a point of keeping your bird occupied and giving it lots of attention throughout each day.
  • Some birds start plucking out their own feathers because they have an allergy to something in the environment like dust or mold.
  • Make sure that you keep your house and their cage clean to avoid illness and allergies.
  • Your bird could be doing this because their skin is dry, in which case putting a humidifier by their cage will most likely help.
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