Our pets behaviour is the best indicator that they are suffering from anxiety or stress. They tell us a lot by their actions, their physiological responses, and sometimes by the evidence they've left while you've been away from home.
Many people don't realise that birds can fret when their owners go away or there is a change in the home life of the bird. There are several factors that can cause your bird to become anxious and stressed, something as simple as a change in cage location, lack of interaction with humans and other birds or animals or even a change in how much sleep your bird receives can all be detrimental to their mental health.
Although birds pluck their feathers to preen, a common sign of stress or anxiety in birds is continual feather plucking until the feathers are gone and the skin is left red and looks sore and irritated. It is important to ensure that you take the necessary steps to keep your bird happy and as stress free as possible. Ensure they have ample stimulation by way of toys that will stop them using their energy destructively and keep them entertained.
A bored bird can turn on itself or its environment very quickly. Include things for them to climb on and toys that provide a bit of a game; there are many different types of toys on the market, they range from toys that can be shredded, ones that make noise and talk to the old style ball with a bell.
If you are planning a trip away, ensure that your bird is not left on its own for long periods of time. Many pet stores offer a boarding service for birds (and small animals), they will ensure that your bird is stimulated, keep an eye on it each day to ensure it isn't showing any signs of stress and they'll even be able to update you if there are any concerns.
If you fear your bird has become a victim of its own destruction, there are deterrents in which you can use that make the feathers become bitter and deter them from over plucking.
Sprays such as the Feathered Friends Anti Pick spray or the Aristopet Stop Pick spray can be used in conjunction with toys and branches that will help keep your bird stimulated and break the cycle of self-mutilation.
Parasites like lice or mites can also cause over plucking, ensure your bird is kept up to date with lice and mite treatments. Feathered Friends and Aristopet also have sprays available to make it easy and simple to treat parasites.
If you have any concerns speak to the pet expert at your local Just For Pets independent pet store or an avian Veterinarian.