Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Help! My Parrot Won't Stop Scratching Itself

Seeing a parrot scratch themselves raw is frightening sight for any owner. You can only 'discourage' a parrot from scratching themselves for so long, at which point they will continue doing it when you leave the area. While some owners may brush this behavior off as normal, it may be the sign of a more serious underlying condition. So, how should you handle your parrot's excessive self-scratching?

Minor Scratching Is Perfectly Normal

All parrots -- big and small -- will scratch themselves in an effort to remove dust, dirt and debris from their feathers. Parrots are exceptionally clean creatures that enjoy grooming and preening themselves, which is where scratching comes into play: it's not uncommon for parrots to scratch their feathers and body to remove debris, so don't assume that all scratching is a bad.

Of course, there comes a point when scratching can lead to adverse health effects and complications. One of the most common complications associated with excessive scratching is the formation infection-prone open wounds. If a parrot scratches itself too much, it can break the skin and cause an open wound. Infections are nothing to play around with, especially in a small parrot. Otherwise minor infections that can be fought off by humans may prove fatal to a parrot.

Signs That Your Parrot Is Scratching Too Much:

  • Noticeable bald spots where feathers are missing.

  • Piles of plucked feathers at the bottom of their cage.

  • Parrot prefers to scratch itself rather than eat treats or play with toys.

  • Parrot's behavior/disposition has changed since it began scratching.

How To Make Your Parrot Stop Scratching

If your parrot is exhibiting one or more of the symptoms listed above, you should schedule an appointment with an avian veterinarian immediately. Allowing the problem to persist could result in serious, potentially even life-threatening health effects. Only a licensed avian veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose your parrot's condition and reveal exactly what's causing it to scratch so much.

With that said, excessive scratching is usually caused by some type of change in the parrot's diet and/or lifestyle. For instance, bringing a new pet into the home may trigger an allergic reaction in your parrot, causing it to scratch for no apparent reason. Other elements that may trigger scratching episodes include new diet, chemicals in water, air fresheners, candles and mites. Think about what changes were recently made to your parrot's surroundings and try to reverse them in possible. If the scratching stops, you know what to avoid.

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