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In issue 309 -
When an Older Parrot Has Never Learned Skilful Flight – Complete Psittacine by Eb Cravens
In issue 309 -
Scarlet Macaws – were they really bred by indigenous people in the 12th century? Rosemary Low asks the question
In issue 309 -
Understanding the link between nutrition, hormonal behaviours and the avian endocrine system, Part 1 – The Holistic Parrot by Leslie Moran
In issue 309 -
The Yellow-eared Parrot – continues to expand its range in Colombia. By David Waugh, Correspondent, Loro Parque Fundación
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 The October 2023 edition of Parrots magazine (issue 309) will be available to download from 13th September via a link which will be emailed to subscribers. Single copies will be available from our online shop. You can save money by subscribing – find out more here.

Why do parrots pluck?

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by Dr Fiona Froehlich Mag med vet GP(CertExAP) Resident ECZM(avian) MRCVS

Unfortunately feather plucking (or feather destructive behaviour) is still a common presentation in avian practice.

Some owners may have accepted this behaviour and fail to recognise their responsibility in addressing the condition.

Parrots pluck for many different reasons ranging from medical diseases to stress and frustration. In most cases there is not one, but multiple factors present that lead to the development of this dreadful condition. A bird may start plucking due to an irritant or disease, but develops an abnormal repetitive behaviour and continues to feather pluck after the initial cause is long gone.

Any disease causing pain, discomfort or itchiness may result in feather plucking, which is why it is vital to investigate and treat any such condition first of all. A parrot may pluck the skin around the crop in cases of a crop infection, around a painful joint or an infected preen gland.

Other medical causes for feather plucking include skin and gastrointestinal parasites, allergies, heavy metal intoxication, liver, kidney and metabolic disease as well as bacterial, fungal or viral infections. A thorough clinical exam as well as blood tests and radiographs will help to diagnose any underlying disease.

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