Stress can play a large role in the overall health of both humans and companion animals. Because pet birds are naturally very sensitive creatures, they tend to not be able to deal with stress as easily as other types of pets such as cats and dogs. Being able to recognize stress in your pet bird is important to maintaining an environment that your feathered friend can mentally and physically thrive in, so it’s a good idea to bird owners to learn how to monitor their birds’ stress levels and make adjustments as needed to keep their pets healthy and happy. The points listed below will help you recognize common signs of a stressed bird, and offer advice as to how you can keep your feathered friend calm, confident, and content in his or her home.
One of the most common physical indications of stress in pet birds is the appearance of stress bars on a bird’s feathers. Stress bars are small lines that run horizontally across the shafts of a bird’s feathers. While it can be difficult to assess stress bars in feathers that are still on a bird, examining molted feathers can give a quick indication of whether or not a bird is having issues with a stressor in its environment. Stress bars can be caused by a variety of factors, so thepresence of stress bars will not indicate exactly what is stressing a bird. Rather, they are a red flag that bird owners can use to start looking for potential sources of stress that their pets may encounter.
The sudden onset of aggression in a pet bird can also be a big indicator that the bird is experiencing stress in its environment. Aggressive behaviors such as biting, hissing, lunging, and excessive screaming can manifest almost overnight when there is an environmental stressor involved. If you notice this sort of behavioral change in your pet, it may be a good idea to schedule an appointment with an avian vet to rule out any possible health problems. If a clean bill of health is given, then you can begin to work with your bird to figure out exactly what triggers the behavior, and how you can adjust your bird’s environment or routine to make him or her more comfortable.
Birds who begin to exhibit destructive behavior are quite possibly very stressed, and the most likely culprit in this scenario is boredom. Being the extremely intelligent creatures that they are, pet birds in captivity often do not receive a healthy amount of mental stimulation, which can lead to frustration, stress, undesirable behaviors, and even health issues. If you discover that your bird is becoming overly destructive, try a few techniques for preventing boredom in birdsand see if the problems subside. If they do not, it is advisable to seek help from your veterinarian and/or a parrot behavior consultant to resolve the issue.