Help With Plucking African Grey Parrot
parrot moulting

Help With Plucking African Grey Parrot

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Hi everyone, Six months ago my 3 1/2 yo CAG plucked her entire chest and neck overnight.

She had never touched a feather before.

The only thing I have determined that may have caused it was a lack of sleep.

After many failed attempts with different remedies to stop it, nothing worked for months and it became progressively worse.

I don’t know if it was a coincidence but a friend suggested adding nutriberries to her diet, and that with a combination of a more quiet winter environment my COG just grew all her feathers back!

She has stopped plucking but still shreds the ends of some feathers. I am fearful that the plucking will return and wanted to know if any of you have had a CAG completely recovered after a massive plucking event.


I am also concerned that with summer around the corner, more activity and light equaling less sleep this could happen again. Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!


Sue BendheimHi Anne, I like the article Mitch sent to you, but I need to add, along with doing all of the things in his reference, you primarily need to take her to an avian vet to rule out foreign body ingestion which can indicate metal and other toxicities, along with many other medical conditions that result in feather destructive behaviors.


Diet is another concern. NO dairy, (parrots manufacture NO lactase to digest dairy,) no pesticides, no processed foods, bleached flours, simple carbs, avocado, nightshades, (mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, eggplant,) no spinach, citrus, chocolate, alcohol, please check out the toxic plant and food lists for parrots…


Then the obvious nonstick cookware, scented candles, Fabreeze, Lysol, room fresheners, plug-ins, scented oil wick diffusers, and on and on and on. I know I have missed something, but this is a pretty comprehensive start. Please keep us posted.

Sue Bendheim

Nancy VeselyHave you introduced forging into her life? I have an eight-year-old Gray and January is our worst month for feather issues. But I have started setting up different forging items in her cage to keep her busy. Paper cups were shoved in the bars and left in some spots around her cage.

I am thinking of decreasing the number of pellets in her cup and making her look for them in her cage. This will keep her busy and a busy beak can’t pull feathers.

Also fresh air – I’m not sure where you are but I live in Indiana and try to put her in a travel cage and get her outside when the weather allows. This has helped alot this year.

Anne OrseneThank you, Sue and Nancy, I have taken her to an avian vet who ruled out a medical condition.


Unfortunately, she also put a collar on Nikko that was traumatic and I believe initially made matters worse. I removed the collar after a few days and needless to say have not returned to that vet and won’t again. I have learned a lot on my own since the initial traumatic experience. Her diet is good with the exception of occasional processed foods. I was confused about citrus. Nikko loves mandarin oranges, is she not supposed to have these??

I was familiar with the other restrictions.


Nancy, I use seeds in newspapers in cups almost exactly how you described! I am always trying to come up with new foraging ideas if you have any more.

We live in Buffalo. In the summer she gets a lot of fresh air. Much less in the winter.

However, her plucking occurred in the late summer and has reduced in the winter so I don’t think it was a lack of fresh air. Someone mentioned that she could have been getting too much sunlight in the summer. Seemed strange to me.

Anne OrseneHi everyone, Thanks for all your comments.

I posted about my grey Nikko’s plucking last year.

I tried a lot of your suggestions and Nikko grew all of her feathers back this past winter : )

I also used the rescue remedy (Bach rescue I believe) but I did not notice any change in her plucking behavior with it.

What really seemed to work for Nikko was when I started introducing Nutra-berries to her diet.

It might have been a coincidence but that is when the plucking started to slow down.

By spring she had a full coat of beautiful feathers.

Unfortunately, I learned how little it takes to stress a grey out.

I take her out and about a lot and started the same this summer.

One day I took her to a family gathering and I guess it was too much for her and she pulled a small patch of feathers from the center of her chest.

It was not a major plucking like the first time, and she did not enlarge the area, but she keeps pulling any feathers that try to grow back in that area.

She is also shedding some of her feathers. Interestingly enough she no longer will take any Nutra-berries.

Just stopped altogether.

I tried every flavor and she will have nothing to do with them.

Her diet otherwise is pretty good. I think that part of her recovery last year was due to the fact that we live in a cold-weather climate and the long nights, more sleep, and more downtime were good for her.

Hopefully, she will recover fully again this winter.

I find it very nerve-racking when the pet that you love and try to do everything for is under stress. Grey’s definitively is a difficult pet but worth it : ) I wish you the best of luck with your birds plucking.

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