Sunday, December 19, 2004

Two pecking parrots have balding issues

Q: I have had several pairs of parrotlets in the past, but I recently got a new pair, male and female. They are in a nice size cage, but they have picked all the feathers from each other's heads.

Why are they doing this? What can I do to fix the problem? Even if I put them in separate cages, the feathers do not seem to come back.



A: Birds normally engage in social grooming or preening, and it is likely that your pair has become fixated on this activity because they have nothing else to do, what with being caged together 24/7.

They may have damaged the feather follicles so, even after separating them (as you have found), the feathers will not grow back. But before you give up, have a veterinarian check their heads for feather mites and give them more timeout from being confined in the cage. Also, make sure that their diet includes fresh fruits and seeds and a multimineral/multivitamin supplement that your veterinarian can prescribe.

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