Feather Destruction and Your Parrot
There are so many reasons that a parrot may become self-destructive. Until recently there has been very little information to help us along with our feathered friends. Feather destruction can be a very difficult behavior to deal with and not all birds are able to recover from this bad habit. There are many ways however to help make your parrot happier and feel safer in their environment simply by adjusting their surroundings and improving stimuli.
If you have a parrot that is self destructive to his feathers you need to take a good look at his environment from a bird’s point of view. Is he located in front of a window? If so you should place the bird where it still has a view but not directly in front of the window. Parrots do not understand that they are in a home where the predators cannot get to them, so things they see outside are very frightening for them. You will also want to cover the back half of the cage to give the bird a sense of security when perched toward the back of the cage. This also provides much needed privacy for preening, napping and masturbation. It is important for your parrot to have privacy at his choice. Being on display twenty-four hours a day is very stressful and may cause feather destruction habits. You also want to place a perch high up in a back corner of the cage with several toys around and in front of the perch, so that when the parrot is back there he can watch his surrounding undetected as he would in the wild.
Your parrot should receive at least two to four hours of out of cage time a day with at least one hour of one on one time with you. One on one time is time that you spend directly with your parrot each day. This time can be broken up throughout the day it need not be all at once. You will want to be careful not to give this attention when the bird is feather picking, you will want to give this attention when the bird is being good. If the bird is picking distract his attentions away from his feathers before you go and give attention to him. This is very important as we tend to want to tell the bird no or go over and stop them. Instead make a noise by either knocking or clapping to distract, then praise the bird the moment it stops, and give attention. Lengthen the time between the praise and attention each time. Eventually, the destruction will be less and less if you are consistent.
Okay let’s recap; Evaluate cage location and move cage if necessary, sleep 10-12 hours depending on breed, shower daily even several times a day, working for food, toys that are easily shredded with different textures, and of course EXERCISE, EXERCISE, EXERCISE!!!!!!
Courtesy of : Michelle Karras, The Polite Parrot