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Feather Plucking in Parrots

Parrots are many people’s pet birds. These highly intelligent and amusing creatures are certainly worth the affection they inspire from people.

However, like any other birds, and especially pet birds, they are prone to many maladies that affect small birds. One such disorder is the feather plucking disorder.

Feather plucking is a behavioral disorder in birds, particularly captive birds, whereby victims constantly bite and pluck their own feathers.

True, all birds pluck their feathers to a certain degree as an act of grooming, but at some point, this behavior becomes obsessive and a threat to a bird’s health. There are several causes of this destructive behavior. Here is a wrap up of those reasons.

1. Cage size

When birds are caged, it is quite a big adjustment for them, especially if they are adapted to a wild environment.

When these birds are enclosed in cages, it is of great importance that these cages are of a size that will accommodate the birds’ wild and inquisitive nature.

If they are restrained in small cages, they are bound to become agitated and this may result in plucking of feathers.

2. Loneliness

Birds are creatures of a highly social nature. When birds are left alone from an early age, they will have no parents to rear them.

This may cause them to pluck their feathers in an excessive way, because they have not been taught what amount of plucking is appropriate for grooming, and what is way beyond grooming.

Additionally, even fully grown parrots can excessively pluck their feathers when they are put alone in a cage due to boredom and loneliness. For lack of a better thing to do, or because they have no partner to bond with, bird may engage in excessive plucking of feathers.

3. Cage design

Birds are creatures that crave constant excitement. They simply cannot bear boredom. When their cages have no features that will cater to this craving, they will turn to their own bodies in order to find a relief from boredom.

Parrots are exceedingly intelligent creatures, and they need to have a challenge to solve every now and then in order to put this intelligence to use. If they lack, they are exceedingly susceptible to obsessive plucking of feathers from whatever part of their body they can reach.


In order to solve the problem of excessive plucking of feathers by pet birds, and especially parrots, it is important to address the real cause of the issue.

The remedies are as self- evident as the causes of this behavioral disorder. For instance, if a parrot is plucking its feathers due to boredom, the pet parent needs to provide some excitement for it.

Also, if the parrot turns to plucking its feathers due to loneliness, provide it with a mate or partner, and the solution for small cages is definitely getting your pet bird a larger cage.

Besides these, you can also purchase an organic and bitter spray for your bird. The bitter taste should deter your bird from plucking its feathers obsessively, because the main tool that is used to accomplish this act is its beak.

However, if you opt for this solution, beware that it is a superficial solution to an underlying problem. When all efforts to solve the problem do not pay off, it is time you consulted a veterinary doctor.

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