Feather Plucking and Chewing: How to Help & Prevent it

Photo by Jamieleigh Location: Kent, WA In the mirror: Galah "Bondi"

Feather plucking and chewing, also over-preening has too many causes to name but many of them can be emotional causes from what the bird has been through in the past. These are much harder to work out so I’m going to go from the stand point of how to prevent your bird from ever plucking in the first place. These tips will at least lessen the chances of your bird ever plucking, and if your bird currently plucks, are things that can help the physical side of the causes of plucking. I’m also going to recommend some products that will help current pluckers (diet oriented). The best parrot diets on the market today are:
  • Feed Your Flock (a completely organic pellet with superb ingredients)
  • Roudybush Rice Formula for birds allergic to the organic ingredients (most current pluckers should try this if they're already tried organic pellets and seen no difference)
There are lots of things that can prevent your bird from ever becoming a plucker and it's good to be aware the most common causes of plucking in parrots. Most birds over preen or begin to pluck because they feel dirty and this can be caused from scented candles in the household or environment, along with burning incense, using sprays on your bird that are meant for furniture or air in a room, air fresheners that put off chemicals that get on your bird's plumage, if people smoke in your household this is very bad for your bird... read more about that in this article Smoking Around Your Birds.
Which is why it's so important to offer your parrot daily baths. Whether your bird bathes itself in its water dish or you take it in the shower with you, it's very important for your bird to be bathing and normal for your bird to be busy preening after a shower as well to help itself stay clean and dry off. Eating a healthy diet is essential in keeping the feathers looking colorful and vibrant so make sure your bird is getting lots of healthy foods.
Another thing that helps birds feel clean and not feel the urge to over preen is by being outdoors where the wind can carry away loose feathers or dander, especially during the molting season. This helps your bird not feel covered in dander, and able to feel fresh and good. The sunshine is a huge factor in all this as well and makes the plumage glow and shine with vibrant color from all that vitamin D. Lots of mental stimulation helps so if you have never trained your bird a trick, start now! It's never too late...Foraging and food finding games, like hiding your bird's food in toys and things to keep it busy when you're not around. Anything to challenge your bird mentally and give it something to do.
Article by Jamieleigh Womach. She has been working with parrots and toucans since the age of 17. She isn’t homeless but is home less than she prefers to be. She travels the world with her husband, daughter, and a flockful of parrots whom she shares the stage with.



My Senegal, Ciello, who is almost 21 years old, has suddenly started chewing obsessively. He goes through egg cartons, doors, his stands (we switched to PVC), towels, rugs, anything he can get his beak on. He has a ton of wooden toys he can chew, but when we’re home, he likes to be with us. He’s been acting very hormonal, for an extended period of time. He sleeps for 12 hours/night. We have not changed his food. We’ve added calcium supplement recently on the recommendation of the vet. I don’t know what to do. It’s really beyond normal chewing behavior. Is there some late in life behavior I don’t know about? Thanks Geralyn

Catherine Crowley

Hi Jamie, I’ve been aa dan of birdtricks for many years. My gallah whom I’ve had for 10 years has started feather plucking the last 10 months. Have you heard whether Kings cages- pluck no more works or have you had any experience..with product. Thanks Catherine Crowley, Sydney.

Catherine Crowley

Thank you for these comments. These are some tips which are greatly appreciated.


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published