Two budgies preening each other on a branch outside.

A Preening Parrot and Why It's a Good Thing

A Preening Parrot and Why It's a Good Thing

Preening. Birds preen to keep their feathers in tip top shape. Companion parrots preen for the same reason. Parrots preen each other during molts, mating seasons, and friendly napping fests as well. They also like to preen their favorite humans. For the same reasons. Our hair, clothes, necks, ears, hands, whatever we make available.

Preening is communication rich in secrets.

  • I love you.
  • You're a mess. Let me fix that for you.
  • What is this earring doing on this ear here? Let me get that off.
  • Your clothes don't have any holes. That's a shame, here, allow me.
  • Your hair is straight and brushed! Who did that to you? I'll fix you.
  • You've got a lot of buttons on this shirt. I'll take this one. Sharing is caring!

Tail feathers sound like soft zippers being closed. Which, if you looked at a feather under a microscope, is what's happening. Feathers are smaller feathers that lock together. A zipped feather moves more air. No parrot wants their zippers down.

Snickers is a zipper minder. Butters is lazy and cannot be bothered with much of it unless it itches then she'll find me and force my hand to handle those pins. I'm paid in parrot purrs and her checking my ears for intruders. Felix wants no help, thank you very much. Leave the work to a professional is his motto. The cockatiels are fastidious, and floofy, taking care of each other. Always fiddling with each other's head until one screeches a quick rebuke for reasons known only to them.

Healthy feathers are a barometer to a parrot's health. Their preening and concern for their feathers is also a barometer to their mental and physical state. Preening. Birds preen for a myriad of reasons, and companion parrots need a myriad of choices to preen. Because sooner or later their feathers are finished, and they are onto you obsessing or lost for work. Preening Toys are a personal choice. Some parrots find no use considering they own, on average, 3000 feathers. Others need a few options stationed around their cage and daily routes, for comfort or added fun. Every parrot has their own favored materials. As with all things with all parrots, it's personal. They have opinions.

Choice is a companion parrot's favorite thing. Preening, chewing, shredding, and fussing with those choices is their second.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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