Ask Lafeber

Question:

January 19, 2021

Feather plucking


Is chest feather picking caused mostly because of stress and are African Greys more prone to feather picking?


Answer:

Hi Kathie,

Feather plucking, now called feather destructive behavior, is generally a very complicated issue. If you go out of town and return, and your bird has plucked his feathers, that is generally caused by stress, and in most cases the feathers grow back and the bird doesn’t do it again as long as stress can be avoided. But in most cases, there is a medical cause, which can then turn into a habit even once the medical cause is diagnosed and treated. There is always research being done on this issue. African Greys do seem to be a species that is more prone to plucking, but that may seem to be the case since African Greys are very popular and common as pets. Plucking has been linked to certain viruses, skin infections or internal issues. Sometimes it can be a result of poor nutrition. Regardless, unless the cause is very obvious, such as leaving the bird for a few days or adding a new pet or person to the household, the first thing to do is take the bird to an Avian Vet for a full medical exam and testing.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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