One of the most frustrating and disconcerting conditions of caged birds is feather picking. Moreover, feather disorders rank as some of the most difficult and challenging conditions to diagnose and treat in avian veterinary practice. Bird owners frequently scrutinize their pets, and feather problems are usually readily detected. Other clinical conditions of caged birds are much less obvious and are, therefore, less frequently detected.
Most people purchase or otherwise acquire a pet bird because of their physical attraction to the bird, its general appearance, feather color(s), vocal abilities or its personality. Most bird owners prefer feather perfection. When a bird begins to pick at, pull out or mutilate its feathers, its physical appearance and overall attractiveness are greatly diminished, causing great consternation on the part of its owner. Some of the bird owner’s frustration results from a lack of understanding of what motivates the bird to behave in this destructive manner and what can be done to stop the behavior.