"A pine cone a day keeps
the plucking at bay
. . . oh, but they just love 'em anyway!"
Owners of cockatiels, cockatoos, African greys, macaws and other species of pet parrots often visit "Natty Newfeather" and Premium Pine Cones, Ltd. because, sadly, their birds have begun to pull out, barber or snap their own feathers. Such destructive behaviors, often referred to collectively as feather plucking, are relatively common problems. Notwithstanding, they can also be some of the most difficult behavioral problems to solve and may, if not checked, lead to life-threatening mutilation.
Almost without exception, birds that engage in these destructive behaviors have undergone one form of stress or another. And, too, among hand-raised birds, with little or no frame of reference to what preening is and does, it may just be that many birds do not know how to preen. Assuming no abnormal pathology, the "secret" to normalizing these birds is to identify the stressors, eliminate or minimize those stressors, and then try to break the birds' often deep-seated destructive habits, perhaps even through preening education. Among so-called psychological pluckers, the more emotional and sensitive a bird is, the more susceptible it can be to plucking itself and the more ingrained its habit may be. African grey parrots and cockatoos are over-represented among feather-destructive pet birds because, possibly more than any other psittacines, they seem to fit the sensitivity profile.
Now birds that pluck their feathers and birds that just want to have fun have a web site to call their own. While we're new at this, and undoubtedly this site will always be a work in progress, we envision it ultimately as a place to visit not only to order unique items designed to help birds that mutilate, barber and pluck themselves, but also a place to find information and feel comfortable asking questions about parrot enrichment, nutrition, behavior and socialization.
We welcome your comments. Please don't hesitate to let us know how we can make things better. We're all about that!