Feather plucking in African Grey Parrots

Feather-plucking, sometimes termed feather-picking, feather damaging behaviour or pterotillomania, is a maladaptive, behavioural disorder commonly seen in captive birds which chew, bite or pluck their own feathers with their beak, resulting in damage to the feathers and occasionally the skin. The areas of the body that are mainly pecked or plucked are the more accessible regions such as the neck, chest, flank, inner thigh and ventral wing area. Contour and down feathers are generally identified as the main target, although in some cases, tail and flight feathers are affected. Although feather-plucking shares characteristics with feather pecking commonly seen in commercial poultry, the two behaviours are currently considered to be distinct as in the latter, the birds peck at and pull out the feathers of other individuals.


Feather plucking is known to be a very nasty habit of the African grey parrot. They are notorious feather pluckers. It is said that the Timneh African Grey parrots are not as bad as the Congo African Grey Parrots when it comes to feather plucking. But this is not a proven fact.


First of all, any parrot keeper should ask himself why do parrots pluck their feathers. There are many different reasons for this nasty habit. The African grey parrot is a parrot species that need quite much attention from his human owner. If this doesn't happens then the bird will probably get bored and this can result to feather plucking.


But believe me that this feather plucking problem is very complicated because it's very hard to resolve it. There were cases when the African greys plucked their feathers because of getting to much attention. So, you just don't know exactly how to treat your bird. Dietary imbalances, or environmental problems may also take to feather plucking. Some environmental problems could be smocking very much in the room where the parrot is kept or keeping him in a space with dry air. Also, it is recommended for African grey parrots to get regular baths or to be exposed to some kind of moist air. The African grey parrots shouldn't encounter any frightening experiences because this can take to feather plucking.


If this nasty habit appears in you bird's daily activities than you should first see a veterinarian. He will probably try to find a physical explanation for the bird's problem. It's best to try to understand what the veterinarian explains and try to find some ways of resolving the problem. It is proven that the African grey parrot is the most intelligent species. His higher degree of intelligence, along with possible incorrect early socialization at the breeders and not understanding the bird’s intellectual needs when it becomes a companion parrot often leads to neurotic habits -- such as plucking.


Timnehs African grey parrots don't pluck their feathers as much as the Congo African grey parrot. This could be because they were not as popular as the Congo African parrot. Because of their duller coloration they weren't as licked as the Congo.


In conclusion the feather plucking is a major problem for the African grey parrots because they are very difficult birds to take care of.