African Grey picks out feathers

by Andi

Our African Grey has picked off her neck feathers and won't let them grow back in. As soon as they start to grow back, she picks them out again. Is there any reason why she would do this?

Comments for African Grey picks out feathers

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Jan 28, 2013
Grey Plucking Neck
by: Anonymous

All due respect Linda however you are clearly very mistaken. I have a grey who also plucks her neck feathers. She can get all the way around her neck is like a slinky. She has seen vets, she is caged alone ( no other bird or anything that preens her) she does it now out of habit and is otherwise very healthy. She began in Nov. 2006 and it is Jan 2013 and she still does it. Seems to get worse during the fall heading into winter, likely the dry air from the furnace makes her skin itchy and now its a bad habit. Sometimes during other parts of the year she stops. But she is definitely plucking her own neck, and I have watched her do it. She is 12 and gets a vet check annually.

Sep 12, 2010
African Grey picks out feathers
by: Linda

Andi, birds cannot pick out their own neck feathers because they cannot reach them. They can pick those lower going toward the chest, but cannot reach most of the ones on the lower back of the neck. If you have bird in cage with another bird, then the other bird is doing the picking, and you'll need to separate the birds into two cages and leave them that way.

Poor diet, poor lighting, lack of stimulation in the form of playing with you and toys all can cause feather picking. Poor diet and lack of full spectrum light and enough rest can cause it as well. Full spectrum light has to be provided in the form of something like a Vita-Lite lamp that emit the full spectrum of color rays. Light coming through a window is not full spectrum at all and does the bird no good even if sun is coming through.

So, here is a link about feather plucking problems and how they are related to environmental issues especially diet:

Feather Damaging Behavior article

Here is another link about how to change birds from all seed, very poor diets, to an organic high quality pelleted diet:
Switching Birds to Pellets article

The other issue is when did your bird see an Avian Vet last? We recommend at least once a year visits to catch potential problems early before they do a lot of harm to your bird. If your bird has not seen an Avian in the last year, please make an appointment and take bird in before you start changing anything with the diet.


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