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Why Does My Bird Pluck Its Feathers? 3 Things to Know


Feather Plucking is a very common thing for pet birds to do which left untreated leads to health or behaviour issues. The good news is that there are many things you can try to stop your bird from Plucking its feathers.

There are many reasons why birds pluck their feathers and can be categorised into two main groups: physical health and physiological health of a bird.

Your bird may pluck its feathers for the following reasons:

Moulting and preening, sickness including malnutrition (poor diet), skin allergies, parasite infestation including lice and mites, stress, boredom, loneliness, environment and more.

They also pluck when they have a certain goal to achieve, such as building a nest. Another reason why birds pluck their feathers might be because the feathers get in the way of the bird’s ability to fly or take off. 

Birds will also pluck their feathers due to attention-seeking behaviours and sexual frustration. Plucking feathers to look more attractive increases their chances of getting a mate.

For now, we will look at the causes of why your bird is plucking its feathers. Stay tuned for the next article on our site on How to stop my bird from plucking its feathers?

Why do birds pluck their feathers when Moulting?

Birds moult their feathers to keep them clean and healthy. They pluck their feathers out by using their beaks, a process that is called preening. They have an instinct to pluck their feathers during the moulting process.

This is done to replace their old feathers with new ones that are more suitable for the season. The process also helps them stay warm during cold weather seasons by letting in more air through the thinner skin on their body.



Why do birds pluck their features due to poor diet?

Malnutrition is a cause of feather plucking in birds. This happens when a bird has limited access to food and resources or is fed a diet of seeds only.

There are a few things you can do to help your bird stop plucking its feathers by feeding your bird a balanced diet.

What is a balanced diet for birds?

  1. Seed
  2. Introduce plenty of green veggies.
  3. seeded grasses
  4. fruit
  5. crumbles or pellets
  6. shell grit
  7. Cuttlefish
  8. calcium block

Birds like to forage for food, so why not hide some tasty treats for them so they will be less bored and less likely to pluck feathers.

Will my bird pluck its feathers because of parasites?

The answer is yes. Bird’s will usually pluck their feathers if they have parasites such as lice and mites. When these pests become too much, the bird will pluck its feathers in order to remove them from its body. 

Parasites make your bird itchy, and they can damage the skin, feathers, beak and feet.

How to treat Bird mites and lice?

There are many ways to treat your bird for lice and mites by using an insecticidal spray, wash or powder. Please see your local vet for more information to treat your feathered friend.

Feather plucking due to sickness

The causes of a bird plucking its feathers due to sickness are varied and vary depending on the species of bird.

Some birds may have a disease or infection that causes them to lose their feathers. Your feathered friend may even suffer from a skin allergy.

Birds are pretty fragile creatures, so if you suspect your bird is sick, it’s important to see an avian vet as soon as possible.

A popular vet in Sydney is SASH (Small Animal Specialist hospital). This popular veterinarian clinic is also featured in the TV show called Bondi Vet.



What are the psychological causes of birds plucking their feathers?

There are a few reasons why your bird will pluck its feathers. Let’s take a closer look!


1. Stress

Bird stress can be caused by many factors, but the most common one is captivity. Birds that are kept in captivity have no way to escape from their stress, and it can cause them to pluck their feathers.

Stress causes the immune system to go into overdrive, which can result in an increase in hormones that cause feather loss. Other causes of your bird stressing are: being scared, threatened, crowding in cages, competition for food, fighting with other birds and lack of space to move around. 

2. Boredom

Birds are highly intelligent creatures. They need stimulation in order to thrive. When a bird has nothing to do or is deprived of what it needs, it may resort to plucking out its feathers.

A bird that pulls out its feathers can start to be a behavioural issue.

Make sure your Birds environment is clean, comfortable and has enough toys to play with. Keeping your bird’s brain active with activities is key to a happy bird.


3. Loneliness

Some birds pluck their feathers due to loneliness and lack of attention. Loneliness is a common cause that can also lead to depression. Birds in the wild belong to a flock, and they have each other as company. Spend time with your bird daily.

4. Environment

Birds pluck their feathers to keep cool. They do this when environmental changes occur. When there is a change in the temperature of the air or when they are too hot.

They do this by removing the loose, fluffy feathers that are close to the skin and replacing them with new ones. If there is a change in its environment, it can disturb your bird.

5. Frustration

This is a major cause of birds plucking their feathers. Pet Birds do much better when they are in pairs. A bird may start to show behavioural issues towards its owners if it cant mate.


So now that you know why your bird could be plucking its feathers, we have some great news! There are a few different ways to stop your bird from this destructive behaviour.In time, your bird will have some new feathers growing back and looking as pretty as it can be. 

We thank you so much for your continued support. Feel free to leave a comment below!



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