Stress can play a large role in the overall health of both humans and their companion animals. Because pet birds are naturally very sensitive creatures, they tend to be unable to deal with stress as easily as other types of pets such as cats and dogs. Being able to recognize stress in your pet bird is important for maintaining an environment that your feathered friend can mentally and physically thrive in.
Like humans, birds can experience stress for a number of different reasons. Birds are creatures of habit. A change to their schedule or environment can be a stressor.
Birds can exhibit stress in a number of different ways. They should all be taken seriously and a vet should be consulted as soon as you notice these signs. Some can be more physically harmful than others, but all should be a matter of concern. Signs to look for include:
One of the most common physical indications of stress in pet birds is the appearance of stress bars on a bird’s feathers. Stress bars are small lines that run horizontally across the shafts of a bird’s feathers. While it can be difficult to assess stress bars in feathers that are still on a bird, examining molted feathers can give a quick indication of whether or not a bird is having issues with a stressor in its environment
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Feather Picking and/or Self Mutilation
Another common sign of stress (and boredom) in birds is feather picking. It can occur in both large and small birds. It may be initiated by a stimulus (loud construction noise), but continue once the stimulus stops. Some birds will continue beyond self-picking into self-mutilation. They can chew on their skin and some will dig even deeper into the muscle or even bone. This can cause severe damage. Birds with these symptoms should be seen by a vet right away. They may be prescribed medication and fitted with an Elizabethan collar so they can’t access their body.
The sudden onset of aggression in a pet bird can also be an indicator that the bird is experiencing stress in its environment. Aggressive behaviors, such as biting, hissing, lunging, and excessive screaming, can manifest almost overnight.
If you notice this sort of behavioral change in your pet, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with an avian vet to rule out any possible health problems.
Contributed by the Spruce Pets
VIDEO: 6 Warning Signs Your Pet Bird May Be Stressed