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6 Common Reasons Why Parrots Pluck Their Feathers

Since parrots have a lifespan of 30–80 years, the majority of us begin as inexperienced owners with several questions. In general, parrots are simple to care for and won't cause you any problem. They are able to imitate noises, communicate, and even dance.

However, if they begin plucking their feathers, most owners will become reasonably anxious and seek assistance.

If you've observed that your bird is plucking off its feathers and would like to know what you can do about it, continue reading "6 Common Reasons Why Parrots Pluck Their Feathers" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) as we outline numerous potential causes to assist you discover a solution and get your bird back to normal as quickly as possible.

Types of Mutilation

Performing a Feather Picking

Feather plucking occurs when your parrot nibbles on its feathers, causing them to splinter and break. This plucking can alter the appearance of the bird, since the majority of feathers become stubs.

Feather Collection

This occurs when your parrot plucks away its feathers, revealing the skin underneath.


In severe circumstances, when a bird loses its feathers, it may begin to pick at its skin, producing lacerations that might get infected and endanger its health.


Reasons Parrots Pluck Their Feathers


Many individuals may be unaware that parrots, like dogs and cats, must lose their feathers twice year. The process of shedding old and worn-out feathers occurs once or twice every year and is known as molting. Even in captivity, feathers deteriorate gradually, and replacing them may keep your bird healthy, warm, and able to fly.

While your parrot is molting, the cage floor will likely be covered in feathers. The stress of molting might cause your bird to appear more aggressive than usual, but you shouldn’t be concerned.

Typically, the procedure will be completed within a few weeks, however it may take as little as a few days or as long as several months.

If your bird has a traumatic incident during molting, you will notice it in its feathers. Stress causes a line to grow across the breadth of a feather, and if a new feather has numerous of these bands, you should assess your bird’s surroundings and take it to the veterinarian to see why it is feeling so much distress.

What Are My Options?

As long as your bird appears healthy, you do not need to interfere with the process of molting.


Most birds, including parrots, must constantly preen their feathers to maintain them in pristine condition. Preening is when a bird uses its beak to clean and straighten each of its feathers, and it is easy for an untrained owner to confuse this behavior with plucking.

Birds precisely arrange their feathers and might devote a considerable amount of time each day to this task. When your bird is molting, preening might resemble plucking, especially if a large number of feathers fall to the ground. However, preening will not hurt your pet and is essential, even for non-flying caged birds.

What Are My Options?

Preening is vital to maintain the best condition of your bird’s feathers. Unpreened feathers can make flight more difficult, putting the bird in a precarious situation.

Improper Diet

According to avian veterinarian Ron Hines, an insufficient diet leading to malnutrition is one of the primary reasons of feather plucking. It often occurs when the parrots consume solely seeds.

Sunflower seeds and many others contain an insufficient amount of vitamin A, which is necessary for a healthy molt. A deficiency in vitamins can make molting more difficult, leading to an increase in stress and feather-damaging grooming.

What Are My Options?

Changing from a seed-only diet to a balanced one consisting of fruits, veggies, and commercial pellet food can help offer all of the vitamins and minerals your pet needs to produce stronger feathers and facilitate molting.


Parasites pose a significant threat to parrots in the wild, but they are uncommon in captive parrots since they are rarely exposed to the outdoors.

However, mites and lice can occasionally invade your house and cause problems for your cat. These parasites can cause itching skin, prompting your parrot to pluck out its feathers.

What Are My Options?

If you feel your parrot has parasites, you should take it to the veterinarian immediately to obtain the necessary treatment.


The environment is another factor that might cause your pet to pluck its feathers due to excessive stress. Birds can be startled and frightened by loud sounds from the television, children, dogs, and other sources.

Your bird also need a normal day-night cycle. If the cage is illuminated by lights, it may be difficult for your pet to get the rest it needs, leading to a high-stress atmosphere that promotes feather plucking.

What Are My Options?

If feasible, the cage should be placed in a peaceful corner of the house, away from youngsters and pets. Timers can also help you establish the correct day-night cycle, allowing your bird to obtain sufficient rest and become accustomed to a routine.


As we attempt to emphasize as frequently as possible, your parrot deserves ample playing with family members. Your bird may attempt to gain your attention by tugging your hair or squawking from across the room if it does not have enough playing. If these strategies fail to attract your attention, your pet may get unhappy and begin plucking out its feathers.

What Are My Options?

The greatest approach to prevent your pet from being bored is to spend plenty time with it. Providing ample time outside the cage may also do wonders for your pet’s happiness and contentment.

Parrots and Plucking

As you can see, there are several reasons why your parrot may be picking at its feathers, but none of them are difficult to treat so that your bird may return to good health.

The most prevalent culprit is a bad diet, although the environment is a close second. Keeping the cage in a calm area of the house is an excellent approach to keep your bird content.

We hope you found “6 Common Reasons Why Parrots Pluck Their Feathers” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) enjoyable to read and useful in answering your questions.

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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