Cockatoo Pulling Out and Chewing Feathers: How to Stop Your Bird

Cockatoo Pulling Out and Chewing Feathers: How to Stop Your Bird

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Almost all of the people are already seen a picture of cockatoos or even parrots that having a chest that is featherless. From time to time, even the whole body of a bird may become featherless, and it comes to reveal its color dark grey skin. Why do cockatoos pluck their feathers?

In this post, you’ll learn more about the reasons why birds pluck their feathers and what you can do to prevent this condition from getting worse that may affect their health. Let’s get started!

Reasons Why Parrots Pull Out and Chew Feathers

Generally, lacking feathers in cockatoos have two reasons. The first reason may be because of disease or the second reason, maybe just because it pulls out and chews its own feathers. Preening is usual in cockatoos; some of them are pulling out their feathers inordinately with the use of an unhealthy method of plucking.

Usually, these kinds of behavior can be a reason to have medical issues such as inflamed or also known as infected in the skin. If your pet is pulling out its skin, you should look for an opinion to an avian veterinary to figure out what is the physical problems that your pet is about to encounter. If the vet figured out that there are no physical problems, then your pet might be having psychological issues. Look for medical attention immediately, especially if your pet skin looks infected or inflamed.

What Is Happening to Your Pet?

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You have a pet cockatoo, and then one day, it starts pulling out its and chews its own feathers. Generally, it begins with just some of its feathers that are in its chest. You start to see a bald spot in it, and it is even making bigger, and every time that there is a new growing feather, your pet immediately pulls it out as well.

Your cockatoo may pull out more of its feathers, and it is just littering on the floor with its wonderful feathers all over its body until it becomes bald except for its head. Several numbers of cockatoos may sometimes bite or have a nibble in their own skin that may cause a wound on its chest, but the other cockatoos are certainly not pulling out all of their feathers, like, for instance, they just pluck their feathers on the part of their chest.

Look for an Avian Veterinary Medical Treatment

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Secure your pet to have screened for some underlying medical purposes. Habitually, a cockatoo that is lacking feathers is not an effect of self-destructive behavior. Maybe it was because of a disease such as Giardia and Psittacine beak and feather disease. These diseases might cause your pet to lose its own feathers. So if you feel that your pet may have an underlying condition, and this might be the cause of your pet’s problem, immediately look for veterinary help.

Also, ensure to look for a treatment for your cockatoo’s infected skin. If your pet is continuously pulling out its own feathers, this might be the source of your pet’s skin to become infected or swollen. If the bald part of its skin looks like the color red, and there might be some blister or seem to be swollen, then it’s time to take your pet to the vet for medical treatment.


Request a Chest Protector From Your Vet

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If you already visit the vet, inquire for either a plastic collar or a chest protector for your pet so that it may assist in preventing your pet from pulling out its feathers.

Here’s how a vet can help you:

  • The vet will fit a collar or a chest protector for your pet until it finds what is the ideal chest protector that your pet may use. This can at least avoid your cockatoo from resuming pulling out its feathers.
  • Your cockatoo should require to wear a chest protector within the whole week or up to the time that your bird’s skin has a possibility to retrieve from its pulling out feather behavior.
  • You may also ask your vet for some particular recommendations about how long can your pet is in need to wear its protective gear.
  • Keep in mind that by wearing a collar, it could avoid your pet to pluck its feathers, but it is not a substitute for treating the plucking behavior of your cockatoo. This may only reduce the physical side effects that may occur.

Change Your Pet’s Dietary Needs

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It is important to feed your pet a well-balanced diet for its meal. Sometimes, the cause of the bird’s forceful feather plucking is malnutrition. A nutritional inadequacy can make your pet with itchy skin as well as with a strained feather that leads to pulling out its own feathers.

Here are some important tips when watching your bird’s diet:

  • Just always make sure that your pet is obtaining the right amount of calcium, manganese, selenium, magnesium, and zinc in its dietary needs. Always read every label of the food that you give to your pet; make sure that it has these necessary nutrients.
  • Try to give your cockatoo food diet that consists of fresh vegetables like carrot tops, kale, and even green leafy lettuce. Provide its diet for at least 25% of veggies. Then, also give them fresh fruit, for example, an apple, mango, papaya, and berries.
  • Stay away from feeding your cockatoos, a food that has sugar, dairy, flour, and even salt. It is a usual thing that most pet owners give their pets treats that often consist of humans food. The food that has a cube of sugar, flour, salt, and dairy can cause inflammation of the skin of your pet, which may lead to an uncontrolled plucking. Try to avoid feeding your pet with these kinds of food.
  • A few cockatoos are very sensitive when it comes to defined foods such as soy, peanuts, corn, or even sunflower seeds. Try to take away these types of foods from your pet’s diet for at least a range of 30 days. Then try to introduce that kind of food one at a time. Authorize your pet to eat the reintroduced food for a lot of times within the entire week, then observe your pet if there are signs of plucking in return.

Keep Your Cockatoo Occupied

Interact with your pet every day. Generally, a cockatoo is known to be a social creature that requires to spend time, not just its owner but for the whole members of the family. A cockatoo that experiences being alone or boredom may become stressed and results to feather plucking. So make sure that you allow your pet to be out on its cage and interact with your family.

Provide Your Cockatiel Many Toys

Making your pet occupied can avoid it from having unwanted behavior like plucking its own feather. Try to provide your pet some wooden puzzle toys that come with a treat that is placed inside. It will keep your pet busy to solve the spell. You may also try the toys that permit the cockatoo to run its beak over with fibers; these may help it to simulate the sensation that it acquires from plucking its own feathers.

Also, avoid yelling or even scolding your pet if you see them plucking their feathers. This reaction may provide the cockatoo the attention that it wants, and it has a possibility to continue its negative doings.


It’s important to know the signs when your cockatoo experiences health problems such as pulling out and chewing their own feathers. It’s not a good idea to yell or show negative expressions to your bird as it may break the trust between you and your bird. Knowing what to do when these conditions happen can help you understand the next actionable steps you need to do to make your bird healthy and happy.

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