Last Updated on November 10, 2023 by Ali Shahid
Bird owners bring their lovebirds to their veterinarians because they are itchy, resulting in damaged feathers. I have met many cases of itching as an Avian Specialist.
Feather damage is the first sign of itching problems in lovebirds. In cases of only head feathering, there will be possible infections of the ear, mouth, or sinuses.
However, it is more common for birds to have a systemic or generalized problem in which their feathers get damaged everywhere.
It is natural for birds to scratch themselves to clean their feathers of dust and dirt. When wild birds are getting ready for flight, they need to maintain clean feathers.
Healthy birds are often seen grooming their feathers and preening throughout the day. A bird that scratches excessively is in trouble. In this article, I’ll explain why birds scratch and what you can do to make their lives more comfortable.
In general, when a bird’s feathers become itchy, they engage in rapid, aggressive preening behavior, or they might sit calmly and quietly.
Then, suddenly start digging at themselves like a dog fighting a flea. Birds interrupt their activities, such as eating or playing with a toy, to damage their feathers during pleasure activities.
They usually damage their feathers in front of their owners. They might do it less if they are out of their cage.
There are many reasons why birds may be scratchy and itchy. The skin of birds can become dry or infected with diseases like liver disease, pancreatic disease, or kidney disease, causing them to scratch.
An itchy bird may be due to yeast, bacteria, fungi, parasites, external parasites, and allergies. Furthermore, you can also check out for a low level of environmental humidity or liver, kidney, or pancreatic problems. Some of these problems require a visit to your nearby vet.
Causes of Itching in Lovebirds
- Infections: Lovebirds may experience itching due to infections with yeast, bacteria, fungus, or intestinal parasites.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Deficits in essential nutrients such as vitamin A and zinc can lead to dry, itchy skin in lovebirds.
- Low Environmental Humidity: Low humidity levels in the environment can contribute to dry skin and itching in lovebirds.
- Liver Disease: Fatty liver disease is prevalent in certain bird species and can lead to itching and other health issues.
- Molting: Molting induces itching in lovebirds as they shed old feathers and grow new ones.
- Allergies: Lovebirds may experience itching due to food, inhaled, or contact allergies.
- External Parasites: Infestations with external parasites can cause itching in lovebirds.
It is important to consult with an avian veterinarian to accurately diagnose and address the underlying cause of itching in lovebirds.
7 Tips to Help Lovebirds to Get Instant Relief from Itching
You can easily treat and resolve this problem with your feathered friend. You can relieve your lovebirds’ itching and pluck with these simple tips.
A common problem in the home is low humidity. Most of your feathered friends are native to rainforests, and you don’t live in one! It’s possible to mist or bathe a bird several times a week.
The best way to get rid of dust and dead cells is to bathe your bird. For self-bathing, a shallow dish is an excellent choice. Often, birds roll around on wet leaves. It is one of their natural behaviors.
2. Increase Humidity
Fall and winter are the months when birds molt most frequently, and our homes are the driest during those months. Plants, air humidifiers, and tabletop water fountains can be used in the home to make it an avian-friendly environment.
In addition to being a superior humidifier, the Areca palm is also an excellent air purifier and relatively easy to maintain. Other good options for this include bamboo plants and Boston ferns.
3. Keep Mites Off
Some birds scratch because they are infested with mites. There are not that many bird mites. Mites are found in birds that have been outdoors. Compromised immune systems can also lead to mite problems in birds.
Your feathered friend will not suffer from infestation with the right shampoos and misters! A variety of pest-control sprays is available on the market, so the cage can be kept clean.
Make sure to avoid toxic products! Take note if your bird scratches and digs at its skin more than usual. If this persists, consult your avian veterinarian.
Nutrient deficiencies are a common cause of itchy, dry skin, especially zinc and vitamin A deficiency. Seed and table food make up the majority of a bird’s diet.
When pelleted diets are processed, vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, beta carotene, and certain B vitamins tend to be removed. In addition to supplying your birds with pellets, I strongly recommend providing them with a full range of supplements approved by a Vet.
Use Aloe Vera
A natural analgesic, aloe vera has great homeopathic properties and is a common remedy to relieve dry, itchy skin. Aloe Vera shampoo or a spray bottle with Aloe Vera distillate are both great options.
You can also treat scratches and cuts with coconut oil and vitamin E oil. You can purchase coconut oil at the grocery store and add it to food. Use oil that has not been refined or processed for best results.
Any product containing petroleum jelly should not be used on birds. These products are harmful to birds.
Bird’s parents teach their young to preen in the wild. This helps keep their feathers healthy. The act of maintaining each feather to its optimum condition is called preening. Birds clean their feathers by running them through their mouth to remove dirt, debris, and parasites.
During the process, the bird aligns the hairs so that the feather lies straight. The preening gland, also known as the uropygial gland, is part of the process of learning how to preen.
There is an oil mixture found in the preening gland at the base of the tail of most birds. It helps moisturize the feathers and skin.
When birds preen, they rub oil onto each feather by rubbing their beaks and face feathers over the gland. This fat-rich oil is crucial to the health of the feathers and skin.
Just like most animals, birds can develop food allergies. However, they are more difficult to test. You have to eliminate the allergens. It is usually an indication of an allergy to foods, cleaners, perfumes, and candles. A nutritious and healthy diet is important for your bird.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to tell if my bird has mites?
Use a flashlight at night to check the skin of your bird for mites. A bird’s cage may also have small red and black areas. After a while, the bugs will crawl around, looking for more blood. When you suspect feather mites are present, cover the cage at night with a white sheet.
Is it common for birds to itch during molting?
The process of molting can be itchy. When the sheaths begin to fill in with feathers, your bird may scratch or pick at them. When this happens, the feathers are released and can develop more readily.
What is the recommended frequency of spraying my bird?
If your lovebird needs to be sprayed every day, make sure to do this. Don’t spray your lovebird directly in the face.
Birds scratch or itch to some extent, which is normal. It is better to consult a veterinarian if you feel that your lovebird is continually scratching itself and all of the tips above have not worked for you.
Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.