Moulting Cockatiels

Your pet cockatiel will molt/moult about once every year. When molting, your cockatiel will lose it feathers. Don’t worry, this is normal. Some cockatiels seem to molt all the time, with feathers falling out and growing in at all different times, and others just once or twice a year.moulting cockatiel

You will know when your cockatiel is molting, because you will see a lot of feathers at the bottom of the cage. Your bird will take on a rather scruffy looking appearance with a lot of new stubby aglets, which look like the plastic tips of your shoe laces, all over his body. These are merely the feather sheaths that help the new pinfeathers to break through the skin. They are made of keratin, just like our finger nails. These sheaths also help to protect the new feathers from being damaged while the feather completes its growth cycle.

Your pet cockatiel will seem a little more irritable than normal during molting. This is to be expected, as he will feel itchy and uncomfortable for a while. Your bird may also seek you out more during this stage, as he may have an itch that he wants you to scratch on the top of his head that he just can‘t get to. Just be sure to be gentle with these new feathers, as they are still growing in and may be sensitive when touched.

To make molting time more comfortable for your cockatiel you can do the following:

Keep the room temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during this time, especially with heavy shedding.

Decrease stress by emphasizing security and rest periods.

Be sure to keep his nutrition balanced.

Promote preening activity.

Some cockatiels will benefit from special conditioning foods, but check with your avian vet first, to see if your bird is a candidate for these.

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