Playing with feathers

So Lucy has recently picked up this habit of playing with her own feathers. She doesn’t pluck (I made sure of this by watching her), but since she’s in the middle of her molt, she waits for the feather to fall out, and then she starts to chew on it. I have no idea why she does this. She has toys in her cage, and I’ve seen her play with them every once in a while.I’ve also noticed that she only ever does it with her own feathers. Dudley started molting not too long before her, and I’ve showed her some of his feathers. She has no interest in them. We also have some wall decorations that have eagle feathers (some native american things my parents had for years), and while she did touch them with her beak out of curiosity, she didn’t show that much interest in them, either.Is this normal, or should I be concerned? I don’t want to encourage any kind of feather-destruction.

Perfectly normal. They all do it at one point or another, some more, some less but it’s nothing to worry about.

Ah, that’s good to know. I guess I should have expected as much. The world is literally her toy. She finds a way to make a game out of everything.

All of my birds play with their own molted feathers now and then.

A friend of mine suggested making a toy out of her tail feathers after they come out. So far, it’s been down and semiplume(?) feathers molting, but I did find a covert (wing) feather on the floor, the other day. Not sure how she reacts to her own contour feathers, yet. She also has a tendency to try and “catch” the powder downs as they float near her. It’s kinda cute, actually. Does anyone have birds that try to catch flying powder downs?

I know they all do it, but I’m not quite sure I’d want to encourage it to the point of making a toy out of feathers.

You’re right, that’s probably a little too ambitious. plus, Lucy already has a preening toy that she loves to play with, along with some other kinds of toys. It’s gotten to the point where she’s not even afraid of whatever I put in her cage. Hang a toy, and the first thing she does is inspect, then play with it. I wish Dudley was like that. Would probably make training a lot easier, as he wouldn’t be afraid of the target stick. One step at a time though, I guess.

Do you use the target stick with Lucy in front of Dudley? It is often so easy to forget or to discount how much our birds watch and learn from each other. Another thing that comes to mind is to hang a new toy outside of the cages and let Dudley see Lucy play with it and then place him where he can get to it and see if that helps him to be less fearful of the new thing. It might help, maybe not, but still might be worth a try.

Yes, good suggestion, Wolf. Another thing I would do is just leave the target stick laying around - first far enough that he can see it but doesn’t feel threatened by it (watch his body language) and, when you see he has been ignoring it for days, move it a bit closer, wait again until he ignores it, and then closer and closer until you leave it next to his cage without him reacting to it. The best way of getting a bird used to something he fears is to allow him to become inured to it without stressing him out. It might take longer but it’s a kinder and safer way of doing it than just forcing the bird to accept something it’s afraid of.

I have actually, Wolf, and it has helped. Still, he is a bit timid about it, as well as the clicker sound, despite seeing my interactions with Lucy. He might need a little more time just to watch, as he’s probably seen what kind of trouble Lucy gets into for being too curious (a good reason why I literally can’t keep my eyes off of her for two seconds). Of course, Lucy’s yet to run into any problems with the target stick, but I think he’s waiting for it to eventually happen. Hopefully, he will realize that nothing will ever happen from touching the target stick with his beak.He does fine with things from a distance. It’s as soon as it’s in biting distance for him, that he becomes afraid. I’ve tried the whole “letting him see it from a distance” thing. He’s fine up until it’s in a distance he can reach it from. It takes him a really long time to get used to things, be it in the cage, or hanging on the outside of his cage.However, he IS getting better about it. He hasn’t made a lot of progress, but it’s still progress. I’m just trying to take things really slow for him, matching his pace.