why do african grey parrots pluck their feathers

Why Your African Grey Parrot Might Start Plucking Her Own Feathers

African grey parrots are one of the most popular pet birds in the world. They can be very playful, clownish, and intelligent animals that require a lot of attention and interaction with their human owners. However, this doesn’t mean they’re not prone to some common behavioral problems as well. One such problem is feather plucking– why do African greys pluck feathers?

Why do African grey parrots pluck their feathers?

African grey parrots will start plucking their feathers for multiple reasons. These include stress, lack of sleep, bad diet, lack of playtime and social interaction with their humans or other birds, and just general boredom.

A bird owner never wants to see their poor bird start ripping out their own feathers. Just like humans sometimes would like to pull their own hair out in some situations, the same can be said for our feathery friends.

Having them remove their own feathers isn’t good, either. This can result in many issues. Aside from just looking “poor”, it will prevent the bird’s ability to self-regulate heat, putting them at risk for developing hyperthermia.

Feathers also allow the bird’s skin to stay dry, which is very important for her health. When your bird has missing feathers, this protection is gone, which can further lead to other health issues, including skin irritation and infections.

Overall it’s a terrible tragedy to see this happen, So let’s fix it!

How to stop an African grey parrot from plucking

There is a lot of products on the market that make promises to prevent your bird from plucking her own feathers. While some of them may work, That’s only treating a symptom of an underlining condition and doesn’t really help your bird. It just makes you feel better. The bird will still be going through whatever issue started the plucking behavior in the first place.

Note: Some of these sprays are also marketed for birds that have psychological and genetic issues that cause plucking. Sprays are good for this.

These issues can be both medical, or behavioral. In either case, we need to determine the root cause, which may take some time to track down.

The first step is setting up a visit with your avian vet, and make sure they have the proper training for birds so that we can get an accurate diagnosis of why your bird has started plucking her feathers in the first place. This will help determine what kind of treatment plan to follow, as well as cut back on possible reasons for this behavior, Mainly making sure there is nothing medically wrong.

There is a really good chance the vet will be able to diagnose the issue and help you work out a plan on how to fix and prevent it in the future.

However, sometimes it’s a behavioral issue.

These kinds of issues are harder for your vet to diagnose and as an owner, you are in a better positioning to identify why your bird has started plucking her feathers.

One of the main behavioral issues that cause plucking is boredom. Does your parrot have enough toys to play with? Does she have another bird to talk to? Do you spend enough time with her, interacting and playing with her?

If she doesn’t have a mate, it could be down to sexual frustration. This one is not as easy to solve unless you are a breeder.

Sometimes just spending more time with the bird and giving them a variety of toys will solve the problem.

Another issue is noise. If your bird isn’t getting enough sleep, or if theirs too much noise in her area, she will become very stressed out. This is a huge reason for plucking.

Noise could come from the city, the streets, music, tv, other animals in the house, etc. High-traffic areas of your house are not always a good place for birds to be kept if they are loud, nor should they be around entertainment centers.

In this case, just sit and listen, is there a lot of noise? If yes, It’s time to try and find a way to cut it out of her environment.


Remember, At the end of the day, your bird is a highly intelligent living being. She has her own hobbies, her own personality, her own interests, and her own needs. Just like you or me, She needs to be stimulated with lots of activities, toys, and love and attention.

She needs to be fed a good well-rounded diet, a quiet place to sleep and, And some social interaction with other birds (when possible). Fix all these issues and you’re almost guaranteed to fix any plucking issue your African grey has.

Something as simple as a bird shower perch could make all the difference in the world. Remember, She’s a tropical bird and loves rain and showers. Feeding her some fresh fruit to help with the vitamin deficiency might be a good idea as well, And don’t forget about providing an ample supply of whole grains and vegetables for them in their diet.

Super Bird Creations SB126 Fold-Away Shower Window Perch, Medium/Large Bird Size, 9.5” x 11” x 8”
  • FOR MEDIUM to LARGE BIRDS – The Fold Away Shower Perch by Super Bird Creations is the perfect size for Ringnecks, Medium Conures, Quakers, Caiques, Pionus, Senegals, Amazons, African Greys, Eclectus, Small Cockatoos, Mini Macaws and similarly sized pet birds.
  • DESIGN FEATURES – Three heavy duty suction cups allow this perch to adhere securely to a shower wall or window. Folds away flat when not in use. Perch diameter is 3/4" making it perfect for medium or large birds.
  • ENRICHMENT BENEFITS - Regular bathing opportunities will help your bird to maintain their feather quality and overall health. Placing the perch in a window will provide a stimulating and enriching view of the outdoors and enhance your bird's daily life.
  • RELIEVES BOREDOM – Super Bird Creations products are “Playthings with a Purpose” that help to ward off boredom, depression, aggression and destructive behaviors in parrots by stimulating physical activity, curiosity and mental engagement.
  • BIRD SAFE COMPONENTS & DESIGN – Recommended by avian professionals worldwide, our products are expertly designed to maximize the safety and enrichment benefits to pet parrots. Bird owners can be confident that only the finest toy components are used. Proudly assembled in the USA since 1992.

Last update on 2022-05-20 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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