Owning a parrot can be exciting, but it comes with a significant amount of responsibility. Birds are highly sensitive to the environment in which they live and require more care than some other domesticated pets.
Feather picking is a common complaint among bird owners, and this problem can have environmental roots. If you notice that your bird is picking at his or her feathers, here are three things you can do to prevent this destructive behavior in the future.
1. Make sure your bird has enough room to move freely in his or her cage.
The environment within your bird's cage can have an effect on his or her behavior. Overcrowding can cause your parrot to feel anxious, which leads to feather picking. Your parrot's cage should provide enough room for at least two wing beats as your bird flies from one perch to another.
Too many birds in a single cage can lead to overcrowding, but placing too many toys or furnishings in your bird's cage can also cause your parrot to feel crowded. Maintain a cage large enough to allow your parrot the freedom to move, and feather picking behaviors will be minimized.
2. Make sure your parrot doesn't get bored.
In their natural environment, parrots are exposed to thousands of stimuli on a daily basis. If you don't provide your bird with the stimuli he or she needs to feel engaged with the environment, boredom could lead to feather picking.
You can easily stimulate your bird's mind by doing simple things like handling your parrot regularly, swapping out toys on a regular basis and working to teach your parrot tricks. Giving your parrot a constructive outlet for his or her mental energy will help reduce feather picking behavior in the future.
3. Make sure you help your parrot transition through environmental changes.
Birds thrive on familiarity, and changes can lead to a buildup of stress that is released through feather picking. If you are planning on moving to a new home, it's important that you take the time to help your parrot transition through the environmental change.
Setting up all of the furniture in your home prior to moving your bird into his or her cage can help promote a sense of familiarity, and planning to take time off work will allow your bird to rely on your presence to build a sense of comfort in your new home. Making transitions more comfortable for your parrot can reduce feather picking behaviors.
For more information, contact Lamb's Gap Animal Hospital or a similar location.