My Bird is plucking out its feathers, what should I do?

Author: Aussie Vet Products   Date Posted:2 September 2014 

Bron writes:

My bird is plucking out its feathers – what should I do?


Hi Bron,

There are many reasons why birds will start to pluck out their feathers. These include: normal moulting, the presence of parasites like mite and lice, boredom or diet deficiencies.

It is quite common for birds to moult at certain times of the year usually around spring time. The moulting process requires a huge amount of energy so I would recommend using a supplement during this time such as Vetafarm moulting aid. If you bird appears to be losing a huge number of feathers and is not going through their moulting cycle or can be seen to be plucking out their feathers there could be another  underlying problem.

Feather mites may be causing your birds to become very irritated which could lead to feather pulling. If your birds have not been treated for mites and lice I would recommend using the Avitrol Mite and lice spray.

Another reason why your bird may be losing more feathers than usual could be due to boredom.

Mental and physical exercise is essential for cage birds. On average your bird requires approximately 3-4 toys of different varieties inside their cage to play with. Try to select toys with different textures, sizes, colours, sounds, tastes and challenges. Toys must be rotated regularly to make sure your bird doesn’t get bored. Toys made with natural material such as wood, rope, wicker or cuttlefish are recommended to encourage your bird’s natural foraging or preening behaviours.

Alternatively some birds that are not fed a balanced diet for their breed can develop deficiencies which can lead to diminished plumage of feathers. Seed only diets can be lacking in key vitamins such as Vitamin A that can lead to serious health concerns.

I would recommend feeding your birds a balanced diet consisting of a high quality seed or pellets blend along with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables such as leafy greens, melon, blueberries, carrots & sweet potatoes.

Whilst your bird is showing this behaviour, I would recommend using a Buster Bird collar to prevent them from causing more damage to your plumage.

All the best,

Dr Simon