Have you ever witnessed that your little feathered friend, an African grey parrot, started plucking its feathers? If you do, we know how distressing that can be for you as a pet owner. After experiencing such behavior, you may be wondering:
Why do African Greys pluck their feathers? Well, African Greys pluck their feathers when they’re depressed, stressed, unstimulated, or suffering from any illness. These are the common reasons for African greys to pluck their feathers.
However, you shouldn’t conclude just by seeing fallen feathers in their cages that your birds have started to pluck; it can be a normal molt, though. You need to worry about when they start plucking their feathers on their own.
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All About Feather Plucking
Captive birds are prone to feather plucking. You can tell that your bird starts plucking or molting when you notice stumpy patches or bald spots. But how can you be sure whether it is tugging or shedding just by looking at the feathers?
Well molted feathers won’t contain any drop of blood at the tip, and there won’t be an excessive amount of feathers fallen into the ground when your bird is grooming. Besides, your birdies won’t exhibit any itchy or messy behavior.
So, if these criteria match with your bird condition, it might be molting. And if they don’t, then your African grey has just started to pluck its feathers.
Why Do African Grey Parrots Pluck Their Feathers?
African grey parrots pluck their feathers when they suffer from any disease or skin infection. It can also be birds’ diet making them pluck feathers. Apart from these reasons, some environmental causes make birds pluck feathers.
African greys pluck feathers when they are bored. So, to cheer them up, you can provide plenty of toys. Plus, you need to play with them regularly and help them get plenty of exercises.
You need to ensure that they never feel alone even when you leave them alone at home and go outside.
Your pet parrots can get overstimulated, and that leads them to pluck feathers.
If your birdies tend to live in noisy areas and do not get enough rest throughout the day, there is a high chance for your bird to get overtired and overstimulated so easily.
Hence, you need to choose a more relaxed area for your birds to prevent them from being overstimulated.
03. Sun Exposure:
If your birds get too much sunlight, they can get overtired and overstimulated. Besides, exposing your parrot to too much light can help it encourage frequent molting.
So, you need to take care of that. In contrast, if you expose your bird to too little light, its feather quality may get damaged over time.
04. Adoring Birds with Nicotine-Stained Fingers:
If you are a smoker, you might help your birds develop itchy skins just by handling them with nicotine-stained fingers. So, you need to be highly cautious and shouldn’t adore them, especially after smoking.
05. Dusty Atmosphere:
The dusty environment is neither healthy for birds nor humans, and a dusty atmosphere can make your African grey’s feathers dry and brittle. So, you need to ensure a clean environment before petting any parrot.
How To Stop Unhealthy Feather Plucking Behavior
If you suddenly notice your African grey starts to pluck its feathers, here’s what you need to do to keep your favorite pet healthy and cheerful. So, let’s begin:
#Visit A Pro Vet:
After figuring out that your bird is plucking its feathers, the first step you need to take is to take your African grey to the vet.
Then the vet will check for any bacterial or parasite infections, prescribe medicine, and provide treatment accordingly.
Many pet owners assume that feather plucking is just a behavioral problem, and they are less likely to take their pets to the vet.
But you shouldn’t do that; instead, take the necessary steps asap you notice any behavioral changes in your birds.
#Examine The Birds’ Diet:
Nutrition deficiencies can cause your African grey to pick its feathers; also, malnutrition can make it fall ill. It can cause a bird’s skin to become flaky, itchy, and dry.
Malnutrition is caused by eating only selective meals birds like to dine in. And unfortunately, many pet owners inadvertently allow their pets to eat foods with no or less nutritious elements.
But you shouldn’t do such a thing; instead, you need to provide your birdies with specially-formulated pellets that contain all the nutrients your birds need to stay healthy.
Before feeding pellets to your birds, make sure the food boasts leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits.
However, even after consuming a balanced diet, your birds can fall sick due to consuming allergic foods. So, you need to be cautious about that.
#Get Your Bird Some New Toys:
Ensure that your bird is sufficiently stimulated so it won’t turn to pluck. The African grey is brilliant and can get bored quickly with old toys, even if your bird already has excellent toys.
Hence, try to provide your bird with new and innovative toys to keep it entertained.
#Make A Great Bond:
African greys are social, so they require human contact. So, try to spend a decent amount of time with your bird regularly. You can talk with it, play with it, and in short, try to interact with your bird.
As a result, your bird won’t get bored easily and will remain happy cheerful, and won’t pluck its feathers out of stress.
#Provide A Spacious Cage:
Indeed, your African grey requires a spacious area to regularly perform a little bit of exercise like spreading its wings, moving around, etc.
If your pet encounters difficulties moving freely, it will get stressed and start to pluck its feathers. So, provide your bird with a big cage that is at least four feet tall, two feet wide, and three feet long.
After giving your parrot a spacious cage, look for whether it can move freely or not. You need to make sure that it can spread its wings fully and fly around in the cage.
Furthermore, you can provide your pet with different perches of various sizes. These perches will give them a woods vibe and help them stay calm.
Before providing your parrot with perches, you need to ensure that those perches must be made out of natural wood, cloth, or non-toxic plastic.
Plus, you need to add cement perch to help your bird smooth its claws.
#Bathe Your Parrot Regularly:
You need to provide your bird with a regular bath with room temperature water to help it stay clean and healthy.
You can include a birdbath in the cage, or you can try spritzing your parrot using a spray bottle. You can also take it to the bathroom along with you while taking a shower.
After taking your African grey to the bathroom, see if your bird walks around in a sink or shallow bowl.
If it does, you can provide a shower perch as this perch will keep your bird engaged, and you won’t face any trouble while bathing your pet.
#Ensure Your Parrot Gets Enough Rest:
Usually, African grey parrots sleep for about eight to twelve hours each night. If they don’t get enough sleep, they start plucking their feathers to deal with stress.
If you notice that your bird struggles to fall asleep, you can cover its cage to block disturbing lights.
You need to avoid playing with your bird after sunset; help it follow an evening to a sunrise sleep schedule.
Lastly, try to darken the room as much as possible to help birds get a good night of slumber.
#Don’t Let Anyone Be Alone with Your Parrot:
African grey parrots can easily get stressed when coming in contact with new people, and they fret about insecurity and assume that they might get attacked by strangers.
So, if someone visits you and your bird, you need to always stay with your pet to help it stay calm.
#Don’t React to Your Bird’s Plucking:
Like us humans, birds also love to get attention from their loved ones. So, when you notice your bird is plucking its feathers, you need to avoid giving any attention to your parrot.
If you do, it will accelerate your birds’ plucking activity. Also, you need to avoid being angry with your bird as it can let the bird get stressed. Instead, keep your demeanor as normal as possible.
Apart from that, you should avoid using any e-collar or cone to prevent birds from plucking their feathers unless your vet suggests you do so.
#Be Aware of Your Parrot’s Lunging:
As you already know, African greys get stressed and nervous easily, and they will act aggressively during that time and may attack you or toys when they are in the cage.
Besides that, it will start plucking its feathers. So, if you notice any sudden behavioral changes in your pet, try to take it to the vet and follow those mentioned above steps to keep your bird calm and happy.
That’s are some essential steps to follow to prevent African greys from plucking their feathers.
Feather plucking is quite common in all parrots. Some of them even pluck their feathers and chew them to cause severe damage to their health. By taking the actions we have described above, you can prevent such activity.