WHAT CAUSES PLUCKING?
(And other related obsessive
All birds are born with a certain
amount of built-in stress. As most birds have little defense
against predators, their only option is to keep a sharp eye out for
that might eat them. They
know they're one of the main food sources for all other animals.
They are under "normal stress" Once a bird is captured and
the stress level increases.
Depending on it's new environment, this slightly higher
stress level can also be within
a "safe" range. However, start adding all the many
types of stressful situations
and soon the meter rises beyond the "breaking point" of stress.
For instance... in the graph
above there are all sorts of different types of possible stress
related issues. One is
not all that much more important than the other. (except for
possibly health related stress).
But when the different types of stress start adding up...
your parrot is reaching the
breaking point of how much stress he can handle. I believe
this is the main reason for
plucking & mutilation. For instance: I heard of a
who's cockatoo started to pluck.
She took the bird to a vet and he did all the tests and asked all the normal
questions. The tests came back pretty normal, so it didn't
appear to be health related. The one thing that stood out above
all others was that the owners smoked in the house. They were
told to stop smoking in the house, and so they did.
Within days the bird stopped
plucking. For the next 3 months or more everything was
back to normal.
Then one day the bird started plucking again. Now the question
what caused this? What
was new in the house or the birds life? What was different?
The point of the story is that
there can be a combination of different stresses that a bird
might contend with. But
ONE MORE STRESSFUL SITUATION and the bird is now
"over the edge" and one of the
results is or can be plucking and mutilation. So your job is to try
to reduce that level by figuring out what is new...different..or lacking.
at times can be frustrating
but the riddle must be solved before the bird gets any worse.
Birds are not that much different
than humans in this respect. We have nervous breakdowns and doctors
must find out what caused it. Naturally, there is something
wrong in your life and once that's discovered and changed, you can
lead a productive life again. Same goes with your parrot if
you catch it in time. The only problem is of course that he cant
tell you what his problem is. So it's up to you to think like a bird
and try to figure out what would cause YOU stress if you were on his perch.
This isn't a page to solve all your problems. It's just something
for you to think about the next time you suspect that there might be a
problem developing... or to remind yourself that anything you add...change...or
otherwise suspect might have an effect on your bird, probably will...
at least on his stress meter.
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