Ask Lafeber

Question:

June 20, 2022

Feather plucking


My friend has a parrotlet that plucks. She lost her mate last year and I think she’s lonely or bored. He’s ruled out anything medical. I suggested he use a spritzer to ease any molting discomfort, but my first suggestion to him was to get her a mate. 😁


Answer:

Hi Alichia,

Feather plucking, now known as feather destructive behavior, is a very complicated condition. In a case where the bird starts after losing a mate or owner, or after a major change in the household, the cause is most likely behavioral. However, it can then become a habit and even turn into a medical issue so generally a combination of medicine and a collar are needed to try to stop the behavior. A new mate might help, but there is no guarantee that the bird will accept a new mate, and they do not always like the mate we choose for them.

Most Vets find FDB frustrating to deal with because there is no single answer. Having the bird checked out is the first step, but even then, many Vets do not run all of the possible tests because the cost is high and chances are the bird will still continue plucking. In cases where the plucking does not include self-mutilation, some Vets recommend regular monitoring as well as supplements to help with the strain of constant new feather growth. We will be offering a webinar series on Feather Destructive Behavior starting in the Fall.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,

Brenda

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