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My Bird Plucks Her Feathers Like Crazy

Your pet bird Coco has always been proud of her appearance, preening herself often and occasionally plucking a stray feather or two. Lately, though, Coco has gone a bit overboard, spending much of her waking hours plucking out her feathers. The cage floor is becoming littered with discarded feathers, and you wonder if Coco will stop before she has plucked every single feather from her body. Clearly, this behavior is not normal, so you’ve asked your Highland veterinarian to diagnose the cause and get Coco some much-needed help.

Diverse Causes for Behavior

Coco might be plucking herself silly for many reasons. While Coco might be allergic to an ingredient in her food, she could also be suffering from a nutrient deficiency that leads to feather and skin problems. Coco might be in discomfort from an internal or external parasite; or she could have fallen victim to a skin or metabolic disorder or liver disease.

Looking at Coco’s environment, she might not be exposed to enough fresh air, or she might have experienced a change in her normal day/night body rhythms. On the behavioral side, Coco could be extremely bored, or she could be so anxious and overstimulated that she plucks her feathers to cope. If Coco has been moved to a different environment, or if she has experienced any type of stress, she might go off the deep end with her feather plucking behavior.

Combination Treatment

Since Coco’s obsessive feather plucking probably has more than one cause, your Highland vet will likely use a combination of different treatments to return your bird to normal. If Coco suffers from a nutrient deficiency or medical problem, your vet will treat that issue first. He’ll need your help to address the behavioral side of Coco’s problem. Keep Coco occupied with toys, work on other vet-recommended behavioral therapy, and change Coco’s living environment if necessary.

Once you reduce Coco’s motivation for over-plucking her feathers, she’ll likely stop this destructive behavior and give her feathers a chance to grow back.

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