How to Stop a Bird From Plucking its Feathers

diseased blue small parrot, scratching from the itch and plucking its feathers, probably bird lice or mites

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Birds might be fun pets to have around the house due to their lovable nature, friendly personality, beautiful attributes, and downright silly antics. Some birds tend to be easier to take care of than others, but they usually are similar to one another in terms of the type of care and attention they need from you. In general, they also tend to have the same health and behavioral issues.

One of the more well-known behavioral issues that have become a bit too confusing for a lot of beginner bird owners how their birds tend to pluck their own feathers for reasons that can be a bit too unknown for some of these owners. It is very common for birds to pluck their feathers for a variety of reasons. This behavior should not be left untreated as it can be dangerous to the bird’s overall health in the long run.

Why do birds pluck their feathers?

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While plucking may seem a bit too common, owners should be wary of it because it can lead to health issues in the future. Also, there are different reasons as to why birds pluck their feathers in the first place. Bird owners should be wary of these reasons so as to make sure that this behavior won’t lead to health complications in the future.

Dry air

Whenever the season starts to get cold during fall and winter, the surrounding air tends to get dry as well. When the moisture or the humidity levels are low, this will lead to dryness in your bird’s skin. You would not notice how dry your bird’s skin is because it is hiding underneath all those feathers, but the bird will know that its skin is getting dry when it gets itchy due to lack of moisture. And when their skin starts to itch, birds will almost always pluck their feathers out to try to relieve themselves of the itch.

Poor nutrition

Dry air is not the only cause for dry skin that could potentially lead to itches. Poor nutrition should be blamed just as much as dry air because your bird also needs the right nutrients and minerals to develop healthy skin. If you feed your bird a diet that is poor in calcium, zinc, magnesium, and other essential nutrients and minerals, this may lead to skin dryness and skin diseases that could very well eventually lead to itchy skin. And when the bird’s skin starts to get itchy, it will try to pluck its feathers out.


Birds are highly sensitive animals that are prone to different types of conditions depending on their diet and on their environment. If your bird happens to be allergic to a type of food you are feeding it or to the type of environment you are housing it in, it will most likely feel its skin itching and will eventually pluck its feathers to try to relieve itself of the itch.


Truth be told, birds get bored as well. Any type of pet bird needs some sort of physical activity for it to feel pre-occupied or any mental stimulation that can help it work its brain harder. That is why there are plenty of bird toys and puzzles that are useful in helping you provide your bird with the physical and mental stimulation it needs to feel busy. However, if you do not provide toys or if you do not socialize and play with your bird, this can lead to boredom. And if a bird cannot find a way to entertain itself, especially when it has been spending too much time in its cage, it will most likely try to pluck its own feathers as a way of entertaining itself.

How to prevent plucking

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Here are some of the best ways you can use to minimize the chances of your pet bird plucking its feathers:

Help minimize stress

Stress is one of the biggest factors in what makes a bird too anxious about its surroundings. The things outside its cage or near its immediate surroundings might contribute to stress. Even its entire existence inside its cage can be stressful because it knows that its world is limited to what is inside its cage. Under stressful situations, birds do not know how to react properly and will find ways to try to cope up with something that makes it anxious. Plucking is one of the ways a bird relieves itself of stress.

If you try to find ways to minimize the stress a bird goes through, you may be able to stop it from plucking its feathers. Stay calm around your world and try to socialize with it as much as possible so that it will get used to living under such conditions. You may want to take it out of its cage from time to time so that it won’t end up becoming too anxious about its environment.

Allow it to have some fun

Boredom is arguably one of the top factors that can lead a bird to pluck its own feathers. Without any activities to help keep itself busy and without any ways to pass the time, your bird might end up plucking its feathers. However, you can easily remedy this situation by giving it some toys and by allowing them to have some fun. Toys are good at stimulating the bird’s physical senses and mental faculties. You can use conventional bird toys or even puzzles that would allow it to keep themselves preoccupied.

Check the environment

Sometimes, it is the bird’s environment that leads it to pluck its own feathers. If the bird lives in a place that has dry air or is full of cigarette smoke or unhealthy fumes that can potentially deteriorate your bird’s health, it will end up plucking its feathers. It can also be the noise around it as well as the images it sees that can stress it out and make it want to pluck its own feathers.

In that case, try to make sure that your bird actually lives in an environment that is healthy for it. Birds are really sensitive and can easily get sick if the air around it is dry or is full of harmful fumes. Make sure that you provide it with clean and healthy breathing air. Also, inspect everything around the bird and try to make it cleaner and friendlier for your pet.

Provide a healthy diet

As mentioned, birds are really sensitive animals that can easily get sick whenever they do not get the right nutrients and minerals. Your bird will need certain types of nutrients that will allow it to have healthy skin to reduce itching that can lead to plucking. Always make sure that you feed it with the right types of food and see to it that you supplement their diet with nutritious and balanced fruits and vegetables. You can also give it healthy treats that can help provide more vitamins. Some owners also like challenging their birds by giving them puzzles with treats as rewards. This allows them to provide mental stimulation to their pet birds as well as giving them treats that can help provide the right vitamins and minerals they need to develop healthy skin that can minimize plucking.

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