A Parrot, birds in general, lose its feathers naturally when molting. This is not a bad thing for your parrot; instead, be happy when your parrot is molting because what will grow are bright new feathers. So when should you worry when you see your parrot loosing feathers? It’s when your parrot refuses to eat or change its appetite, change its behavior, or hurts itself plucking its feathers.See also:
Difference among Preening, Molting, and Plucking
Before discussing parrot loosing feathers problem further, it’s good to discuss three important parrot-feather related terms here: preening, molting, and plucking.
Preening – Parrots preen to remove itchy, damaged, and ready to shed feathers. It’s a natural grooming activity for parrots you often observe when your pet bird is alone in its corner. When parrots are preening – plucking, oiling old and damaged feathers, it doesn’t mean they are bored. They’re just doing an all important parrot beauty regimen.
Molting – This is also a natural parrot, and all birds, characteristic. Attributed to many factors, parrots molt to shed significant amount of old feathers to be replaced with new ones. However, few feathers fall at a time, and the feathers loose symmetrically – if one feather falls from one wing, the same feather on the other wing will fall off too.
Plucking – Although preening could also appear as plucking, the intentions are different. Parrots pluck to remove significant amounts (if not all) of their feathers for several reasons. After several days of plucking, your parrot could appear bold and shoddy. Plucking is not natural; it can hurt your parrot and damage its image.
Signs of Parrot Plucking
Before your parrot could pluck and damage all its feathers, you want to catch it to stop it from worsening. Plucking is pretty obvious from preening. When your parrots pluck, you’ll observe significant amount of feathers around its perch or cage. Within few days, you’ll start to see a bare patch in your parrot’s body. You’ll also start to observe some behavioral changes in your parrot: loss of appetite, aggressiveness, aloofness, and screaming. However, some parrots could pluck without changes in behavior. So the best way to tell a parrot loosing feathers because of plucking is to bring your parrot to an avian vet once you see significant amount of fallen feathers for a couple of days.
Reasons of Parrot Loosing Feathers
There are several reasons parrots pluck their feathers: abuse, boredom, dietary deficiency, habit, medical problem, and even hormonal change. Boredom seems to be the number one cause of parrot loosing feathers. Intelligent parrots, those larger parrot breeds, need constant stimulation and fun to let out their imaginative thoughts. If there’s nothing to amuse them, they’ll find their own source of amusement, which is usually plucking! Another reason of parrots losing feathers is medical. Fungal infection on their skin and upper respiratory tract could cause parrots to itch and pluck feathers. And hey, sexually mature parrots could also pluck feathers if they’re not allowed to mate!
Remedies for Parrot Loosing Feathers
It must be said: the most definite solution to parrot losing feathers involves a trip to the vet. Notwithstanding, you can stop your parrot’s bad habit if you know the cause. For bored parrots, give it a lot of attention and scheduled playtime. You can also get new toys or larger perch with many contraptions for climbing to occupy their time. Another way to entertain your parrot is to get him or her a playmate – another parrot of the opposite sex. You got to let parrots do parrot stuff sometime. And if all else fails, some parrot owners find spraying their parrot’s feathers with something repugnant like alum or mustard and water does the trick. You can use other mixtures, too; just make sure that it’s not harmful to your parrot.
At the end of the day, a parrot loosing feathers may just be missing its vet. So, at the first signs of parrot plucking, take your parrot to the vet at once to determine the cause of plucking and give definite solution.