Bright luxurious plumage is a decoration of a parrot and a pride of its owner. But often the owners notice that the parrot begins to pluck its feathers. Concern over this is not without reason. Self-pinching is a serious disease and can occur under the influence of various in nature factors. It is sometimes difficult for even a specialist to determine the true cause of the development of pathology.
It used to be that mostly large parrots, such as jaco and macaw, were plucking feathers for themselves. Now the owners of budgies, lovebirds, parakeets, etc. are also facing this problem.
Symptoms with pinching
- The parrot sits crested, indifferent to everything happening around, most often on the lower part of the wings, stomach and chest feathers are absent. In especially severe cases, the entire body, with the exception of the head, becomes naked.
- The drawn feathers are bitten, torn, frayed. First, the bird pulls out feathers during daily self-care, then does it more often and more and more loses feathers. If they are "alive", then bleeding may occur.
- The bird also plucks the newly growing feathers. Sometimes a parrot, with frenzy pulling out feathers, can peck up the skin, then extensive wounds with bare blood vessels appear, and bleeding begins.
Possible reasons for pulling a feather by a parrot
1. Violation of the conditions of detention, namely
- Dry air in the apartment, especially during the heating season, when the rooms are not ventilated, and the batteries are hot.
- Due to the anatomical feature, the skin of parrots is dry, because it does not have sebaceous and sweat glands, with the exception of the coccygeal (and some types of parrots – Jaco, Macaw, Amazon – do not have a coccygeal gland either). Accordingly, birds must be bathed, which owners often forget about.
- Parrots contained in the cells for the prevention of physical inactivity should be given the opportunity to fly around the apartment. Do not forget before this check the apartment for the presence of danger to birds.
- It is important that the perches are made of natural material. The tannins of the bark of the hearts stimulate digestion, and the birds do not experience problems such as diarrhea or constipation.
2. Violation of the rules and norms of feeding, namely
- A lack of amino acids such as cystine, methionine, lysine in the diet due to the lack of a protein component in it. Owners often forget to give protein products to birds, and some do not even know about their need. Once a week, parrots should receive protein in the form of a boiled egg, low-fat cottage cheese, yogurt, minced meat. The amount of protein feed depends on the type of parrot. So, for a budgerigar, it can be with cherries, and for a larger one, it can be larger. During molting, the protein should enter the parrot’s body 2 times more often, when laying and incubating eggs, as well as when feeding chicks – daily.
- In order for the pet to be healthy, fresh food must be present in its diet – fruits, vegetables, greens. It often happens that the owners, once seeing that a parrot refuses an apple, carrot or pear, stop giving them. But here is the case when you need to be persistent and offer fresh food every day again and again. The parrot is inherently very curious, and after a while he will begin to try the offered fruits and vegetables, and then already fully eat them.
- Not a single bird’s diet can do without grain feed, and parrots are no exception. However, there are errors here: the feed is constantly given the same. For poultry, the composition of the grain mixture is very important, since different seeds contain respectively different nutrients. For example, wheat contains sulfur, so necessary during molting; oats – the most important amino acids lysine and cystine; corn, millet, canary seed, grass seeds are rich in carbohydrates; oil seeds and nuts – unsaturated fatty acids.
- There are also such owners who, out of ignorance, try to feed a parrot with products from their table: cutlets, grilled meat, sausage, etc. This leads to a distortion in the bird’s appetite and, as a result, to metabolic disorders, and often to death pet.
- Some experts believe that the cause of the plucking of feathers is the pathology of the thyroid gland, and advises to include beets, carrots, cabbage, lettuce in the diet of sick birds: they stimulate the thyroid gland. At the same time, it is necessary to exclude oats from the diet of parrots, as it inhibits the activity of the thyroid gland, as well as oilseeds and walnuts containing fatty oils.
3. Skin irritation
Irritation of the skin is observed in the presence of ectoparasites (ticks, down-eaters), endoparasites (giardia, Ascaris), fungi (aspergillus).
Also, itchy skin can cause liver and kidney disease.
Often the reason for pulling feathers is the treatment of skin diseases of a pet with ointments. The ointment that gets on the pen makes it stick together, and the bird begins to put it in order. But as a rule, she doesn’t succeed, and she has to remove such a pen. The larger the surface treated with ointment, the wider the area of skin thinned from feathers.
This is the most frequent and most difficult to determine cause of pinching. Parrots live in large flocks and are endowed with a highly developed psyche. Frustration is the most common type of psychogenic disorder, it is a strong emotional experience, which is a reaction to an insurmountable obstacle to the satisfaction of one’s needs, both physiological and psychological. That is, any violation of both the conditions of feeding and feeding, and communication (with other birds or humans) causes a parrot to be frustrated. A prolonged stay of a bird in a state of frustration can lead to serious violations of its mental state – depression, neurosis. A reaction to frustration may be aggressiveness or depression, depending on the type of nervous system of the bird, but in any case, it begins to pull out its feathers.
The causes of frustration in a parrot may be:
- boredom (the owner is absent for a long time at home, and upon returning does not pay attention to the pet);
- the presence of other domestic animals or small children that do not give the bird peace;
- the intrusive attention of strangers;
- loneliness at the loss of a partner or owner;
- the emergence of a new partner who did not like the parrot;
- low position in the group of birds, when the majority rejects the parrot; lack of sleep when the cell is overpopulated or if the daily rhythm of the bird is not observed (it needs 15 hours of light and 9 hours of sleep);
- fear of separation from the person when he goes on vacation and gives the pet to an unfamiliar house, to strangers (this is especially important for the parrot in the first year of life of the owner).
- often a state of frustration is observed after the parrot and the cage are relocated somewhere to a corner where there is not enough light, the air is drier and less attention. That is, when they forgot about him, when he became useless to anyone … The bird feels good about her, suffers and begins to pull feathers out of grief.
But it also happens that after changing the owner, the parrot may stop pulling feathers: with the new owner, the bird is more comfortable, and it passes aggression or sadness.
How to help a parrot? Self-plucking treatment
You can apply the bitter spray "Beafar spray", "Aloe Vera." The action of Beafar spray is based on the use of bitter substances that are harmless to humans and animals. Aloe Vera Spray – a natural antiseptic, is an anesthetic and hemostatic, softens and moisturizes the irritated area on the skin of a bird.
From home remedies, you can try a solution of drinking soda in a ratio of 1: 1. Placed on a feather by a parrot, it discourages the bird from plucking due to bitterness.
But without clarifying the reasons for pulling the feathers, these funds will not help.
You can put on a protective collar on a parrot, but this is also not a way out, since the physiology of this bird is such that it must be engaged in cleaning feathers and putting them in order for 2-3 hours every day. The collar will not allow this, because of which the painful condition of the parrot can only worsen. If the collar is removed, the parrot will return to the old.
To reduce itching, the pet needs to be given daily 1 / 8–1 / 2 tablets of calcium pangamate, vitamin B15. If the feathers do not grow, the parrot must always be given food with iodine. To bring the pet’s nervous system to a stable state, he is given an infusion of valerian (with sugar or honey) or an extract of valerian (1/2 dragee per day for large birds). Also, extract of eleutherococcus, pollen will help reduce itching. In addition, the ward must often bathe. And do not forget that he needs ultraviolet radiation.
And finally, we note that treatment will be effective and successful if the exact cause of the pathology is identified and eliminated. As you can see, there are a lot of reasons for plucking feathers, and in case of difficulties you need to look for a good specialist ornithologist. He will conduct the necessary examinations to exclude diseases of the liver, kidneys, parasitic and fungal pathologies, if necessary, adjust the diet, prescribe the necessary treatment.