• Welcome to African Grey's vibrant community - Forum ! We just started this journey, our aim is to build a friendly community for pet lovers.
    Our goal is to foster a warm and welcoming community where you can connect with like-minded individuals, share your experiences, and learn from one another.
    Don't miss out on the fun! Sign up now and join us in celebrating the love and joy our pets bring into our lives.
  • Welcome, this forum isn't exclusively for African Grey Parrots. While this is my primary focus due to personal experience—I had an African Grey Parrot who I sadly lost—in his memory, I launched this website. So, whether you have any type of pet, you're welcome here.
    Everyone is encouraged to read, write, and share knowledge with our forum members.

African grey parrot Molting or plucking?


Staff member
Birds replace their feathers during the molt. This is usually an annual or biannual event but pet Greys can sometimes have a more continuous molt throughout the year so it may not be so obvious. The new feathers grow in encased in a sheath, they have a blood supply and they can be seen and felt.

It is a gradual process but it is not uncommon for several tail or wing feathers to be lost in quick succession and cause the owner to think they have been plucked out. A certain amount of soft white down feathers are normally lost on a daily basis, not really connected to the molt.

The new feathers can be irritating for the bird but the sheath will be preened off once the feather matures. The blood supply retreats as well and the mature feather is then safe from injury; a broken blood feather can cause a lot of bleeding and may even need to be removed. Molting expends a lot of energy so it is a good idea to provide some extra protein during this time.

With plucking there will most likely be fuzzy or bald patches as one area is concentrated on, the feathers may also be chewed off rather than plucked. There are various possible reasons for plucking and it is advised that physical causes are ruled out first.

These include bacterial or fungal causes, folliculitis, dermatitis, low blood calcium, giardia (which can cause an itchy skin and lead to plucking), liver or kidney disease, and allergies, including food allergies, and poor diet. Heavy metal toxicity, particularly zinc, can lead to plucking.

Sometimes a localised irritation such as a bruise can lead to plucking. Itchy skin due to low humidity can lead to plucking as can a bad wing clip when the cut ends of the feathers irritate. Young Greys sometimes pluck their tail feathers out but this appears to be something they grow out of.

Psychological causes include boredom and stress, jealousy or attention seeking. Greys need company and toys to occupy them, especially toys they can shred or chew up so a selection of these should be provided and renewed or rotated regularly. Boredom can sometimes lead to overpreening which in turn may lead to plucking.

It can be complex though because some Greys pluck when they are in loving homes getting a lot of care and attention with a lot of stimulation and plenty of toys, while others are neglected and abandoned and never pluck.

If you find this thread/post informative, feel free to share it with your family or friends as it might be helpful to them.

Stay safe!