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Common behaviour problems in pet birds

More often than not, domestic birds will lead healthy lives. However, you may experience a time when some of your bird's behaviours will change & there is often an easily explained reason for this.  It is important to remember that your pet birds behaviour is a biological response to their environment  & is influenced by their emotions. Their behaviours may  also change due to associated growth, seasons, development & the onset of sexual maturity. 

The most common behaviour problems that occur in birds are:

  1. Biting
  2. Feather plucking or picking 
    Feather picking in birds
  3. Screeching
  4. Destructive behaviour

Fortunately, these behaviours are easy to resolve. Some behaviours are instinctive, some are learned such as feeding and others will be in response. It is a good idea to observe your birds behaviour to identify this. By switching on the bird's natural behaviours, you can often overcome the response behaviours.  Follow our top tips for help with these problems before they become worse.


When a bird bites, it is can be to grab your attention. Some birds that are

Practice the 'stepup' technique to prevent birds biting

handled frequently may start to bite if they have been ignored or not handled as frequently as they once were. Ensure that you handle your bird several times a day, outside of their cage to prevent this. Birds can also bite when their hormonal urge to breed becomes strong. This normally occurs around spring and your bird is just  territorial.  Birds will also bite as a fear response. These birds need time to respond to new stimuli such as a new home or a new person in the household. A good method to help overcome biting and to tame a biting bird is to place a perch in front of them and allow the bird to step up onto this. Reward them with a treat. This 'step up'  technique is useful for getting your bird in and out of the cage.


Feather picking or plucking

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It is useful to rule out any medical causes for this behaviour, such as a skin problem. Respiratory issues and nutritional deficiencies  can be the cause & it's best to have your vet rule these out. 

Boredom and anxiety are considered to see a response such as plucking or picking. To remedy this situation, you will need to support your bird's diet as well as the environment.  Consider adding a vitamin supplement to their diet  in conjunction with a well-balanced diet that includes seed or pellets, fruit and vegetables.

Spend more time with your bird and encourage their natural behaviours that may

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satisfy their response such as adding a birdbath. This may encourage preening instead of plucking. 

Keep these birds busy, provide plenty of toys that will allow them to turn on their natural behaviours such as foraging. A good foraging toy will occupy a bird both physically and mentally for hours.


It is important to recognise that all birds will be vocal, however, if your bird is screeching it is normally a response behaviour.  Often a bird will screech or scream to get attention. While this can be frustrating there are many things you can do to remedy this behaviour. Ensure that your bird has regular interactions, time out of their cage is an excellent strategy and it is important to maintain this. Ensure they have plenty to do. Enrichment toys that feature different textures and materials are great. These allow your bird to shred and explore, just as they would in the wild. Foraging toys will also benefit a screeching bird, especially if these toys have some of their favourite food inside! 

Make sure that your bird's getting plenty of sleep. Screeching birds benefit from having a cover placed over their cage to calm them down.

Destructive behaviour

Birds are highly intelligent and have been observed using tools to get food, can

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mimic speech and sounds, and, can problem solve. ÔĽŅRegular interaction outside of the cage can help break up the day for your bird. Boredom is normally responsible for destructive behaviour, however, birds will hollow out a tree and shred materials in their natural environment too. Ensure your bird has the opportunity to do the same. Shredding and foraging toys are great, sandpaper and natural perches will also provide a more natural material for your bird to explore. If you address these issues, the destructive behaviour should improve.

The best foraging toy to prevent boredom in birds

Remember, any course of action taken to overcome some negative behaviours in your bird will take plenty of time, persistence, patience, and care. The rewards in return will further strengthen the bond you have with your bird.


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