I have an inherited (about one year ago) a Lutino Indian Ringneck Parakeet who not only plucks her feathers (she used to not get enough attention), but also bites. She continues to pluck, but perhaps not as badly - I spend so much time with her, and she can't get enough cuddling. But I don't know why she continues displaying this behavior when she receives tons of attention now. In addition, she likes to bite and I have to be very careful with her because she can draw blood. If she is being held and petted, she is better, but I just never know when she will suddenly lunge for my finger or arm. Any suggestions?
It sounds as if you have two problems: feather picking and biting.
Feather plucking/picking is often not a behavioral problem and the non-behavioral causes must be eliminated first. It could be any one of the following causes and more.
Common causes of feather plucking/picking: Infectious disease (internal), allergies (environmental and foods), endocrine and reproductive disorders (including diabetes, hypothyroid and more), toxins (zinc and other heavy metal toxicity and others), internal and external parasites (such as giardia, roundworm, and others), fungal or yeast (aspergillosis and others), bacterial and other skin infections, and nutritional deficiencies.
Once the physical cause's of feather picking are eliminated than a behavioral cause can be addressed.
Please view the very informative website:
Biting is a very difficult issue to resolve and may or may not be related to the feather picking or the cause of the feather picking. The problem is not insurmountable, but may take a bit of time.
Birds are complex, social creatures who do crave a lot of affection from each other, and from their adoptive human parents. Biting is not normal behavior but may be defensive or aggressive, or even due to frustration. You will have to be a behavioral detective and must analyse when the aggression occurs in order to eliminate the cause of the behavior and to create an appropriate biting deterrent. Additionally, your bird may be going through puberty/adolescence which may bring in hormones to further complicate the problem.
Please view the following website which gives some basics on bird training: http://www.2ndchance.info/tameparrot.htm
It would be best to consult an avian veterinarian who can examine your bird and perform the necessary lab tests to determine the cause and treatment of the feather picking and to guide you in the behavioral issue(s).
Lastly, you can also post to the pet community forum for peer guidance.
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