Feather picking

by Maria
(Edinburg, TX, US)

Our African Grey has the habit of feather picking on it's neck, chest, and right side wing. It picks the feathers often enough until she plucks them out. Why?

Comments for Feather picking

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Dec 19, 2011
Feather picking.
by: Anonymous

I have an african grey as well. And she's doing the same thing. I just took her to the vet on Sat. Greys are difficult birds. They are just prone to feather plucking, especially when something in thier environment changes. Key is to stop the bird before it becomes habbit. Vs just picking.

I suggest trying these things before taking her to a vet. A vet really is the only one who can diagnose what's wrong with your bird.

Right now it's winter, and people have thier heaters going. Heaters dry the air. Try getting her a warn mist humidifier, to put he moisture back in the air, her skin could be getting too dry. Get a spray called Soother, this will alieviate irratation and help the dryness. SPray her cpl times a day. It has aloe, and will promote healing. Take her into the shower with you, my vet suggests you can do it least once a day. Or, stick her on the towel rack in the bathroom to soak up moisture. (my bird has always loved this)

I would sugesst switching her to pellets, BUT, never try to switch a sick or plucky birds diet. Continue her diet she's on now. When the feather picking subsides, then try to slowly add pellet to her diet (add pellets to her seed) over a period of a month. Still offer fresh fruits and veggies. Eventually just offer pellets, but still offer fruits and veggies, till you know she's taken to the pellets.

Another one is, Your Grey requires at the least 10 hrs a day of sleep. Pref 12. I presonally dont like to cover my birds, but the vet suggested it, if I wasnt able to find her a quiet roosting place in my house. (which is my birds problem, not enf sleep).

My vet also suggested I take her outside for least 10 minutes at a time. Let her soak up the sunlight. THis provides the bird with natural vit D. If your bird is free flight, get her a flight harness. (this was something else I was not doing enf. SHe was getting the sunlight, just not direct sunlight or enf of it. Birds can with stand certain amt of cold, so as long as you're not snowing where you are... she should be able to go out and sun bathe. I live in the San diego area. I take her out in the warmest part of the day now. A full spectrum light in the winter for those who have snow is a good idea.

I still Had my bird get blood tests, so the vet will alert me if there's another issue. SO far, she's responded well to more sleep, and her sun bathing. I only caught her 2ce yesterday trying to pick.

ALso my bird, she doesnt like new toys that are BIGGER then her. THey scare her and stress her. SOmething I figured out early on, without a vet. So I took her toys, and broke them down into smaller toys, she addjusted well to this. Certain toys can stress your bird.

When I got my bird, I have introduced ONE NEW THING per day to stimulate her. Weather its a new location in the house, or giving her something small and simple to play If your bird is bored, she will pluck, and it's one of the most common reasons for plucking.

Dec 18, 2011
African Grey feather picking
by: Tracie

It is hard to say. You need to Find an Avian Vet to examine your bird to rule out illness, disease or infection first.

Please read our Feather Damaging Behavior article that was written by an avian vet for more information.

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