Feather plucking or mutilation are two completely different problems – but both of these problems cause tremendous frustration for owners of birds that do this to themselves.
Birds that pluck their feathers may just pluck in one area, or they may remove every feather that they can reach on their body, which would just leave their heads fully feathered.
Birds that mutilate will usually pick one spot where they will rip and tear at their own flesh, usually leaving the feathers completely alone in that spot unless they are removed with the flesh.
The first thing you must do if your bird plucks or mutilates is to take him to an avian veterinarian. Tests can be done to see if the problem is the result of an illness. If this happened due to an illness, the sooner treatment can be started, the better chance of success.
If illness is ruled out, the next thought would be allergies. Food allergies are fairly common – with peanuts being a common culprit. If a new food had been recently added to your bird's diet, you should first eliminate that food and carefully watch to see if he stops plucking or mutilating himself.
A third possibility would be that something is disturbing your bird. Think about anything or anyone new that has come into the home. A new baby or new friend or new pet could have upset your bird. A recent change of location for your bird's cage or a new cage or a new home completely are also possibilities.
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers for owners of birds that pluck or mutilate.
Pluck No More may be a solution to help some birds.
Bird Talk magazine often has interesting articles about our feathered companions.
Please check out the books I have selected at Amazon.com