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Avian Feather Picking in Birds
Feather picking (plucking) is one of the most common problems
occurring in pet birds, here's what you should know.
The most common body sites for feather picking are the chest,
under the wings, and on the rump. The least common are the flight
The lost feathers will usually exhibit some damage from the beak.
Some birds will pluck feathers out while others will chew the
feathers in half or chew the barbs off of the shaft.
Feather mutilation comes in several different patterns. Some
birds bite their feathers off at skin level, leaving nothing but
broken feather shafts and down feathers. Others actually pull
feathers out intact until they're down to bare skin.
Causes of Feather Picking
There are many causes of feather picking in pet birds.
Feather picking may be caused by:
* Medical problems, rule these out with a trip to the vets.
Check especially for liver or kidney problems.
* Exposure to toxins or irritants, including cigarette smoke
and air pollution.
Air is Important for your Pet Birds
* Intestinal parasites are often associated with feather
picking, especially in some parrots.
* Lifestyle stress
* Anxiety is often based in mating frustration.
* Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) can be the cause or
effect of plucking. Causes include bacteria (like Staphylococcus)
and fungi (yeast).
* Folliculitis (inflammation of the feather follicle).
Bacteria and fungi (yeast) most common. Beak and feather virus
can be seen in affected follicles.
* Allergies. Allergic dermatitis unlikely cause of plucking but
the environment and diet should be screened for potential allergens.
* Zinc toxicity. Zinc may be in the cage itself or the
hardware used to secure toys and cups.
* Malnutrition. Chronic poor diets can indirectly lead to feather
plucking due to dry skin and old feathers that haven't molted in
a long time. Seed-only diets can induce hypovitaminosis A which
can cause thickening and flaking of the skin.
* Low humidity may exacerbate dry skin.
* Poor wing clips. Some short wing clips can leave sharp edges
that may rub against the body wall when the wings are closed.
The most common cause of feather picking is psychological.
Occurs when owner not present:
Occurs when owner present but not paying attention:
Attention seeking behavior
Bird interrupts other behavior to pick:
Bird exhibits signs of excess fear or stress:
Major change in household
Stress associated problem
Problem starts at an extremely young age:
Poor early socialization
Many pet bird owners have found that
Our Pet Gel
aids and soothes in some cases of feather picking
(mix 1 partgel to 4 parts water in a spray bottle)
The Pet Gel aids in wound healing and also in
healing of minor burns, cuts and insect bites, for not
only birds, but all small pets.
Our Pet Gel is a soothing blend of Aloe
Vera, formulated to heal, condition and deodorize. It can
be used safely on open wounds and abrasions.
Chondrus Crispus, Propylene Glycol, Chamomile, Aloe Vera
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