If your pet bird is losing feathers, you may be concerned, and rightfully so. Losing feathers could be a sign of serious medical illness or behavior problems.
Birds who are losing their feathers should be of concern, and you should call your vet immediately to determine the reason your bird is losing his or her feathers. In the most basic sense, feather loss occurs either spontaneously or is self-induced, but each behavior can cause real medical problems.
Molting is generally normal for a bird. As long as you see new feathers growing and there are no bald spots on your bird, there is usually no reason to worry. Your bird may pick out some feathers, but this is fine as long as your bird is generally in good health.
There are many medical conditions that can cause feathers to fall out or can case your bird to pull out his or her own feathers. Your vet can tell you about all of these diseases and determine what problems your bird may be having. Parasites are a common problem. They can cause your bird to pick at his or her skin and accidentally pull out feathers. They can also damage the follicles, preventing new feathers from growing.
Inflammation of the follicles themselves can also be a problem. You usually cannot see this by looking at a bird, but your vet can determine if this is a problem with your bird by doing a feather follicle and skin biopsy. This kind of inflammation is commonly cause be yeast and bacteria. If you do see something wrong with your bird’s skin, this could be dermatitis, another cause of feathers falling out. A bird will pick at this inflamed skin, causing the feathers to fall out. As the bird plucks the feathers, the condition only worsens.
Allergies are another common cause of feathers falling out in a bird. In fact, a number of thing in a bird’s environment can cause the feathers to fall out. If the cage is not clean, your bird may pick at dirty feathers. Zinc in the cage can also cause a chemical reaction in your bird, which may be a reason for a bird’s feathers falling out.
Feathers falling out can also indicate very serious diseases. Internal tumors can cause a bird to pick at a certain site, and problems with the thyroid can cause feathers to fall. In general, if your bird is losing excess feathers, it is important to call your vet to determine a solution to the problem.