Parrot Plucking: Understanding and Managing Feather Plucking

Parrot Plucking: Understanding and Managing Feather Plucking

Parrot feather plucking can range from a mild problem of tattered feathers to a significant problem of mutilating skin. It is a complicated issue that can be stressful for the bird and the owner.

Feather plucking is often a coping mechanism to manage anxiety and stress. It turns habitual and progressive very quickly, making it addictive. That's why you must consider how compelled your bird is to pluck when choosing a collar style.

Please consult your AVIAN VET before getting a collar to ensure it is the best OPTION for your parrot's plucking! Collars are NOT a QUICK FIX for plucking; you will need time to train and make your parrot accustomed to wearing a collar. 

The more severe your bird’s plucking, the thicker and stiffer the collar will need. Most birds need time to adjust to a bird collar.

Bird collars are part of a range of wellness products that support feather pluckers. They work while you improve your pet's diet, improve parrot husbandry, and start using behaviour modification.

Bird collars are like a Band-Aid to keep the beak away from feathers. They are also handy for birds recovering from surgery or a wound. However, you can't just slap a bird collar on and expect it to go well. Your bird has to be given time to become accustomed to the collar and needs the training to learn to tolerate it. Untrained parrots have been known to fall over and act like they've given up. Some parrots get depressed by wearing a bird collar. 

Birds pluck for a reason. It may be due to anxiety or stress, husbandry shortfalls, environmental stressors, or behaviour modification. Most parrots require a range of strategies to get the problem under control. You need to figure out your individualised step-by-step plan. This may involve anxiety management with bird-calming products, fixing parrot husbandry shortfalls, eliminating environmental stressors, and using behaviour modification.

Training your pet bird to wear a bird collar will reduce the emotional trauma and fear that your bird may feel as you begin to tackle parrot feather plucking. Before you start training your parrot, could you figure out what motivates your bird? Enthusiastic verbal praise and scritches in favourite places are great rewards for birds. Clicker training makes any training easier and faster.

Use clicker training to teach your bird to tolerate you touching its head and wings. Keep the training sessions short and fun to avoid mental fatigue. Pick a consistent time to practice, preferably daily. If your bird becomes scared, you can just back off and work on a skill it has mastered.

Allow your bird to see the collar from a safe distance for 1-3 days. Make sure to look at, talk to, and handle the collar, as if it were a stuffed animal while your bird is watching. Attentively reward all progress with favourite treats. Lay the collar on your shoulder as you follow the usual care routines for 1-2 days. Next, handle your bird while the collar is on your shoulder for another 1-2 days, rewarding all brave behaviour again. Allow your bird to explore the collar. Place favourite treats on the collar for the bird to retrieve, and treat your bird as it allows the collar to touch its body. Don't forget to reward progress every step of the way.

In summary, parrot feather plucking can be a difficult issue to deal with, but it is not impossible. With the proper training, bird collars, and other strategies, you can help your feathered friend overcome this addiction. Always remember to be patient, consistent, and positive. A happy, healthy bird is a joy to have, so take the time.

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