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Bird Stress Checklist

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
Bird Behavior: Influences and Solutions 
Introducing A Second Bird Into Your Home 
Correcting Bird Biting Behavior 
Bad Bird Behavior

Still related to their wild cousins, your pet bird can be stressed by a number of factors. If her stress level becomes too high, your bird may bite, pick her feathers, scream, or even become phobic. Normally, correcting or eliminating the immediate cause of the stress will solve these problems. Sometimes, however, things will not be as simple as they seem on the surface. A combination of factors could be troubling your pet. Under these circumstances, you will need to be patient, observant, and willing to try a combination of things to get her through her troubled time.

Toys help eliminate boredom and provide fun opportunities to play and chew.

  • Shredders - These woven palm leaves are sure to be your bird's favorite chew.

Deterrents taste bad, making the act of feather picking unpleasant.

  • Fooey spray has a bitter taste designed to stop feather picking immediately.

Calmatives reduce anxiety.

Whenever bad behaviors persist, we strongly recommend that you consult with an avian veterinarian before they become serious.

bird stress factor checklist
If your bird is feather picking, or displaying other negative behaviors, she may be stressed by one or more of the common causes listed below.
stress type: MENTAL
SYMPTOMS/CAUSES Separation anxiety: screaming when you depart from the room

Genetic factors; nervousness due to hereditary factors

Sorrow; loss of mate or owner

Inability to adjust to domestication

Reaction to a singular traumatic event such as improper wing clipping, or being restricted too rough with a towel

Boredom; insecurity caused by inconsistent attention, or loneliness

Fear due to exposure to hostility, witnessing a violent act, or angry shouting; intimidation by people

Weaning trauma

stress type: HABITAT
SYMPTOMS/CAUSES Insufficient number of interactive or chew toys

Improper or insufficient light

Unsteady or improperly secured perches

Wrong size or shape of cage

Poor cage hygiene
stress type: FOOD & WATER
SYMPTOMS/CAUSES Poor diet causing deficiencies, or excesses, or any nutritional imbalance

A food intolerance or allergy to a specific food ingredient

Contaminated or stagnant water
SYMPTOMS/CAUSES Erratic hit and miss feeding schedule

Moving to a new home

Getting a new cage

Rearranging your room, furniture, or moving the cage to a new room

The noise and commotion of renovation in the home; power tools, strangers coming and going, etc.

Changes of color surroundings; new paint, wallpaper, etc.

Disturbance by rodents, insects, wild birds, or animals
stress type: SOCIAL
SYMPTOMS/CAUSES Introducing a new pet to the home

Introducing a new family member; a baby, mother-in-law comes to stay, new roommate, etc

A new cage mate, or an incompatible cage mate

Breeding frustration, often resulting from seasonal changes, or inappropriate egg or chick removal
stress type: HEALTH
SYMPTOMS/CAUSES Medication; the administering of the medicine or the taste

Infection (bacterial or fungal) or disease


Metabolic disorder; determinable by an avian veterinarian

Nervous system disorder; determinable by an avian veterinarian

Exposure to toxins; pesticides, herbicides, or other pollutants

Ingestion of a toxic substance

Misprescribed antibiotics or other medicines

Vitamin or mineral deficiency

Irritation from molting

Insufficient rest or sleep deprivation

Improper wing clip

Nail clipping

stress type: EXERCISE
SYMPTOMS/CAUSES Lack of physical exercise

Overstimulation; too much or too rough play; too many new toys in cage at one time

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