🦜Do All Parrot Couples Pluck Each Other?
No, but any species will do so.
Why Do Parrots Pull Their Mate’s Feathers? (Plucking)
First, let’s talk about the difference between parrots plucking themselves and their mates – it is two different issues. The causes can be the same, but don’t have to be.
One of the most common problems people have with African Grey (AGs) parrots is that they pluck their feathers. Why? Read my blog on AGs plucking.
In brief, I have 4 AGs and I had to ask my mentor (Tony Silva) why Zeus was plucking Hara – he said that Zeus is probably stressed. Three of my 4 AGs pluck their feathers – and all 4 were adopted as adults. So, self-plucking is one issue, plucking their mate is another.
Why Do They Pluck Their Mate?
In this video I am using a pair of Parrotlets, Pipper and Bobo. He, Pipper, plucks her — even though he loves her! When they are with the flock, meaning that I have placed them in a larger aviary to socialize with other Parrotlets, they still seek each other out or are side-by-side; they still connect and he still plucks her!
So, Why Do They Pluck?
Their can be a number of specific reasons, but the basic reason is something is off in their well-being. Pipper and Bobo have always been a little scared and defensive or overreactive with the other Parrotlets. I am working on giving them a greater sense of safety and security to relax them. Fortunately, they eat well (pellets, some parakeet seed mix and fresh veggies), so that will promote well-being. In order to relax them further, I’m going to add more to their cage. Ideally, I’m trying to figure out how I can add a little plant either inside our outside their cage. A non-(parrot) toxic plant will provide a sense of shelter (a place to hide) and give them something else to bite and even eat. I may also drape a towel over part of their cage so they feel less “seen.” Yes, I find this helps nervous parrots!
To me, plucking the mate is similar to biting the nervous habit of nail-biting, except, they are biting their mate’s.
This isn’t the same as -hen, or female- parrots that have a clutch -babies- and pluck their chest or stomach feathers. Some do so to line their nest. This has nothing to do with an “issue,” but is rather a mothering thing 🐥!
A Couple Suggestions To Deter Or Stop The Behavior
- Quality of life: Diet
Make sure your parrots have the healthy food – including pellets and fresh vegetables – they need. Some plucking can be due to a physical condition and diet can aid — if you suspect that your parrot is scratching or itching him/herself, go to the avian vet.
- Quality of life: Home
Make sure that your parrot’s cage is large enough for him, or larger if you have two. A parrot’s cage should be cleaned regularly and it should measure at least twice their wingspan deep long by three times wide and tall. In the case of two or more parrots, it should be larger than these wingspan minimums.
- Cage Location
Make sure there are no stressors for your parrot. A lack of toys or another animal that goes by their cage can cause unnecessary stress. Try a larger cage and a different location. Try partially covering the cage and new toys.
*I understand that Macaws must have wood to chew; and that otherwise they will be stressed out. In nature, they would be chewing often and need to keep their beaks busy in order to stay healthy.
- Parrot Bully
Yes, some parrots are mean, some are sweet. Personalities are not unique to humans. If you suspect that one of your parrots is doing more than just keeping the other “in line,” you may have a problem. I have a pair of Senegal parrots who I cannot keep together – they are in two cages because they don’t get along.
When it comes to parrots, you never know. Like people, sometimes they want to be a parent, other times they want to have a friend and sometimes they just aren’t happy or friendly, for whatever reason. If your parrot just isn’t getting along with your other parrots, there’s not much to do. I do everything I can to give my parrots the environment they need to succeed – meaning what htey need to have space, health, fun and happiness. I breed Parrotlets and I’m waiting on some of my conures to breed. However, I always make sure that they are healthy – only healthy parrots make good breeders, but not all healthy parrots choose to breed. So, we shall see. My fingers are crossed for this breeding season, would love to have some loud baby conures!
—Have a questions about parrots?
As the author of “The Parrot Bliss Bond,” I love and welcome questions about having a parrot and creating one of the best experiences of your life!
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