Why My Cockatiel Plucks His Feathers?

Cockatiel plucksSometimes a cockatiel plucks his feathers out, and this could happen for a number of reasons.

Feather plucking is quite a common problem, especially with young Lutino Cockatiels.

A Cockatiel Plucks It’s Chicks Feathers

Feather plucking usually starts to happen when the chick begins to feather up, and then one or both of its parents pluck out its feathers.

The plucking normally takes place first at the back of the neck, but this often happens over a wider area of the body too.

The experts say it is because the adult birds may be keen to breed again, and this is their way to drive their young from the nest box.

When these feather plucking mutilations occur, they normally happen within a few hours, so it is difficult to take effective action in time. Feather plucking can also be an inherited thing.

If you know that a particular pair of cockatiels are prone to doing this, you can take precautions to prevent a recurrence.

Try sprinkling powdered aloes around the necks of the young each day as they begin to feather up. This is bitter tasting and will hopefully deter the adult birds from feather plucking.

This Aloe Vera powder can be purchased online. Find out more by clicking on the picture.

The other thing to do is to leave a second nesting box close to the first, and then hopefully the breeding pair will just move into the new one for the next batch of egg-laying, rather than persecute their existing chicks.

Once the chicks have left the nest the feather growth will normally return to normal. There is rarely a re-occurrence of feather plucking once the birds have left the nest.

Other Causes Of Feather Plucking

Feather plucking can be caused by disease or allergy. It can be a reaction to toxins or the result of a skin infection.

Parasites, as well as deficiencies in their diets, contribute to feather plucking. Some feather plucking is a behavioural response alone, with no medical cause. Because feather plucking has such a range of causes, finding the cause takes some investigation on your part.

An avian vet may find that your cockatiel has Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease. This disease usually affects young birds under the age of three and is not curable.

Unlike cockatoos, adult cockatiels rarely pluck their own feathers. If they do they could be suffering from health issues like Giardia, which is a parasitic condition which triggers severe skin irritation.

If this is the case, successful treatment of Giardia will solve the feather plucking problems.

Things To Try If Your Cockatiel Plucks:

  • Give him a daily bath.
  • Don’t give him any sort of attention if you see him plucking at his feathers.
  • Give him lots of attention if he is just resting or doing something other than plucking his feathers.
  • Give him toys with fibre on them to distract him from plucking. Piece of cotton rope might help.
  • Change up his toys regularly.

5 Comments

  1. This is a good article. One of my friends has an electus, very beautiful colors and a healthy body and her problem was like what your bird is facing. She used to throw out her blue feathers and it was quite sad. I don’t know what he used to help her and I don’t know if it worked but I’d like to know if that aloe vera product works on every pet (bird)

    1. Well, I have only tried it on one cockatiel and one cockatoo. It is natural so can’t harm them, but I can’t guarantee it works for every bird. Mine didn’t like the taste of it so they stopped plucking.

  2. I loved your site.  I have had several birds (all cockatiels) all my life and never knew what caused a few to pluck out their feathers.  I no longer have one, but am thinking about getting one.  They are so wonderful to have in the home and they talk to you which I loved.  I appreciate the information you gave so that this time around I will be watching and reviewing their every move.  LOL not that bad.  I will visit often and have saved the location.  Thank you, love and light!

  3. Thanks for a really informative and helpful post. My friend has a cockatiel and he’s just begun to overpluck his feathers and she’s been really concerned about it. On the surface it seems nothing has changed and she is at a loss of what to do. He’s a beautiful bird and she’s had him for years so this is definitely a new undesirable behaviour that she’s hoping to nip in the bud. She had no idea about the Aloe Vera powder so she’s ordered that and is keeping her fingers crossed that this will be the end of it. Thanks again, really appreciate this!

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