Conure Feather Plucking
We all know that all species of birds have feathers as their outer integument. Feathers are essential for birds of the same kind to find suitable mates and to be able to reproduce. These colorful coverings serve beyond aesthetic purposes, but also allow the bird to adapt to its environment. Feathers are very vital for flight and survival of the bird. As the covering of the body, feathers serve as insulation to keep the animal warm under adverse weather conditions.
In conure parrots, the process of moulting is observable at least once a year. Moulting refers to the natural shedding of the bird's feathers, to give way for new feathers. Not all feathers are shed in the process, and in most cases, the bird does not go for long periods with a bald spot. If your bird is moulting, and you detect a huge bald spot on his body, he may have been plucking his feathers. This cannot be a good thing.
Normally, birds like conures perform an activity called preening, in which they rub their feathers, as if to smooth them out. This allows them to facilitate the growth of newer feathers after moulting, and at the same time, serves as a grooming activity which conures do in social groups. When feather plucking is detected, it can be a sign that he has over-preened himself, but there are other explanations.
There are generally three possible reasons why a conure will pluck its own feathers, according to a Bird Breeder Magazine article. The first reason is physical pain, second is a chronic condition or illness, and third is that it may be a reason that is emotional in nature.
For the first reason, experts claim that a conure might pull on its own feathers because it is feeling pain. This may be due to a broken wing, a painful claw, or others. When moulting, a conure may be very irritable because of how itchy the process may feel, this can lead to plucking, too.
Secondly, if a chronic condition is present, such as vitamin deficiency, heart condition, skin infection, skin dryness, the conure might begin to pluck his feathers as a sort of relief. Skin infections or irritations may also be caused by ecto-parasites like Giardia, which is a microorganism. If bacteria have grown within the skin, the conure will feel the urge to pick its feathers.
Thirdly, emotional reasons may be the cause of this change in behavior that is apart from preening. Since conures are known to be active and are known to adore socializing, boredom can be a reason for them to start plucking their feathers. Other conure owners have observed that the lack of interaction, especially if a conure is caged away from others, can cause feather plucking. Some explain that this can be an attention call that some birds use.
One way to prevent feather plucking is to introduce preening toys in the cage. These toys take away the boredom for the conures, and are made of soft cotton material which they can pull on. This takes their interest away from pulling on their own feathers.
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