As a pet parrot parent, of course, you want your bird to be healthy and happy. However, if your parrot has been displaying feather destructive behavior, then you are likely very concerned and wonder why your parrot has suddenly become self-destructive. While feather destructive behavior has many causes, thankfully, you can find and treat the cause of this behavior by following these three steps.
1. Rule out Medical Causes
While feather destructive behavior in parrots is often immediately looked at as a psychological problem by bird owners, it is important to know that there are many physical illnesses that can lead to this behavior. This makes it important to take your parrot to an veterinarian to have your bird tested for skin problems and internal illnesses.
Skin problems in birds that can lead to feather chewing include bacterial, parasitic, and many other types of skin infections. Other illnesses that can cause birds to develop itchy skin they try to ease by feather chewing include diabetes and liver disease.
2. Improve Your Bird's Diet
Another cause of feather destructive behavior in parrots is stress from malnutrition. Even the most well-meaning parrot parent can feed their bird a diet they think meets all of their parrot's nutrition needs, yet does not. An all-seed diet can be especially detrimental to the health of your bird due to the inadequate nutrition it provides.
Ideally, your parrot's diet should be composed of about 60 to 85 percent nutritionally balanced pellets, 15 to 30 percent vegetables, and just a small amount of seeds and fruits.
It is important to transition your bird's diet slowly for psychological and physical heath reasons. As you change your bird's diet, your bird's stool may appear lighter in color, which is expected. However, if you notice signs of gastrointestinal distress, such as complete lack of bowel movements, diarrhea, or unusual stool color changes, reach out to your veterinarian for advice on making the transition without upsetting your bird's belly.
2. Eliminate Bird Boredom
Once all medical causes of feather destructive behavior have been ruled out and you are sure you are feeding your bird a nutritionally complete diet, then you can then determine that the cause of your bird's feather chewing or plucking is likely psychological.
Some birds chew their feathers due to simple boredom! Parrots are social animals and it is important to ensure that you and your family members give your parrot attention every day. In addition, ensure you have plenty of toys in your parrot's cage and provide your parrot with fun foraging activities on on a regular basis.
If you have never encouraged your parrot to forage before, then start by simply placing a few bird-safe wooden beads in their food bowl. They will have fun and obtain mental stimulation by picking out the beads as they eat. Move onto more advanced foraging activities as your bird has mastered more basic ones to help stimulate your bird's brain and reduce boredom that can lead to feather chewing.
If your pet parrot has begun displaying feather destructive behavior, then realize that this problem can be remedied and your bird can begin to thrive physically and psychologically again when you follow these three steps to finding the cause of and eliminating the behavior.