A nested case-control study was performed to determine nonmedical risk factors associated with feather picking in psittacine birds. Forty-two case birds, reported by their owners to pick their feathers, and 126 unaffected birds were compared. The odds of feather picking were higher in 2 species categories, African grey parrots (Psitticus erithacus, adjusted odds ratio [ORadj] = 8.4, P < .001) and cockatoos (Cacatua species, ORadj = 12.7, P < .001). The odds of feather picking also were higher for birds that were out of their cages more than 8 hours per day (ORadj = 7.4, P < .001) and for birds that had been taken in by the owner as a “rescue” (ORadj = 4.7, P < .01). The odds of feather picking decreased by almost 90% (ORadj = 0.1, P < .005) for birds that interacted with people at least 4 hours a day. These findings identify characteristics that practitioners may want to include when asking bird owners about behavioral history and may be useful in focusing future research regarding this behavior.
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