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My pet bird constantly pecks itself and pulls out its feathers. It now has bare, red patches all over its body. What should I do?

Dear Pallavi,

Birds usually pluck their feathers to preen and groom themselves. Birds that are bored do it more frequently. For some birds, it is also a means of displaying anxiety. Anxiety can be caused due to various reasons: lack of fresh air or light, loud noises, changes in their environment or loneliness. But feather-plucking in particular could mean any of the following: stress, insufficient diet and internal or external parasites. In all of these, birds resort to plucking their feathers due to discomfort. Thus, to tackle this problem, try keeping your bird busy with toys or by changing its environment to reduce isolation. Talk to your vet about introducing omega fatty acids into your bird’s diet as it has been proven successful in reducing  feather-plucking behaviour in birds.