My child is picking! One of the most upsetting and perplexing issues with pet parrots! We adore our feathery children and want them to be happy and healthy. We are worried, upset, and perplexed when we watch them pluck. To prevent them from removing their feathers or chewing them off, you must first identify the source of the issue. It is prudent to use the process of elimination.
There are two causes for this behavioral problem:
· Medical (including diet)
The first step should be an emergency vet appointment for a comprehensive evaluation, including a blood chemical test. Assure that the bird is fed properly.
This dissertation is not intended to diagnose particular medical or nutritional issues. That kind of information is easily accessible, not least from a knowledgeable avian veterinarian.
The potential medical and nutritional factors are the comparatively simple portion; in essence, we are dealing with tangibles here. Then there are the intangibles to consider. We must recognize that the disease is very certainly caused by distress, some form of emotional trauma. We must recognize that our feathered children are more emotionally and mentally complex than any other pet we are likely to meet. While some excellent behaviorists are starting to get some understanding, the rest of us, some more than others, remain mainly in the dark. We are left to draw judgments based on their behaviors and our emotions. While we may go to a doctor or psychologist if we recognize our own difficulties, the bird has no such option. Furthermore, every communication is based on our observations, which lead to subjective opinions. Our feathered children are merely acting out while we are forced to watch, sometimes helplessly. Our inability to comprehend the scope of the bird’s predicament complicates matters. We know it’s clever, sensitive, and observant, much more so than other animals, but we don’t have a method to immerse ourselves in its emotional surroundings and psychology. As a result, the process of elimination becomes our lone, if extremely restricted, ally once again.
At the very least, we should investigate some apparent explanations, such as the cage’s location, the quantity of sleep he or she receives, the humidity of their habitat, and any changes that have occurred, including changes in our own life. Has the amount of time we give to them changed? In terms of frequency? In terms of ferocity? In terms of quality? Do we have any issues with the kids? Have we altered the color of our favorite tee? Have we opted to replace our contact lenses with glasses or vice versa? Has Grandma or Grandpa moved in or out? Did we add a new member to our family flock? Is our infant aware that plucking gets our attention? Jealousy, although a profoundly human characteristic, is also a big component of their emotional makeup. These are only a handful of the probable reasons that we may recognize cognitively. How many others are exclusively understood by the bird?
We must recognize that we are on foreign soil. We share our lives with a species whose perceptive span may be well beyond our comprehension. Our feathery infants are specially adapted for their environment and “lifestyle” as an advanced species literally from another planet. Is it any surprise that they find ours upsetting at times?
It’s worth noting that feather pluckers are far more common among birds grown in captivity than in those taken in the wild. Despite the fact that stress levels in birds removed from their native environment and put in any kind of captivity must be considerable. The logical next inquiry is, “What do those birds have that we don’t?” The disparity in upbringing is most likely to blame, as is an interruption in normal emotional development and the consequent sensation of uneasiness. When we consider that our feathered children are just a few generations removed from their original “lifestyle,” and that all of their developed instincts and senses are still completely intact, it is certainly likely that they may be unprepared for this existence and all of its ramifications. They’re trapped with a bunch of people and their very human flaws. Furthermore, they are unable to withdraw themselves from a distressing situation for which we seem to be unable to prepare them at times.
This isn’t to suggest they’re “unhappy.” While being content with all of its ramifications is a very human state, it may mean something very different to our feathered children. Perhaps pleasure is a grape, a hug, or Benny Goodman’s performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Quartett. Perhaps their enjoyment is as transient as their attention span, and perhaps it is as visceral as that of a four-year-old. Perhaps it is synonymous with contentment, being alone, not being alone, a position on mommy’s shoulder—or just a feeling of security or trust on their terms.
Putting a collar on a plucking bird should only be done as a last option, usually in cases of severe self-mutilation and after extensive discussions with both an avian doctor and a behaviorist. While some people vote for collars, many do not. Nobody can fathom the psychological effect of a collar on an already stressed bird. Collars, in most situations, constitute an effort at a “fast cure,” and “quick fixes,” whatever of the justification, have no place in our interactions with our feathery kids. The same is true with medications.
The best we can do is to continue to love them, plucking or not!
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