7 Facts On Cockatiel Plucking Feathers: Why, When, Solution

Sukanya Chakraborty

7 Facts On Cockatiel Plucking Feathers: Why, When, Solution

Feather plucking is a self-destructive behavior of any bird and cockatiels are prone to this. Let us discuss more key facts on this matter.

Feather plucking is very common for cockatiels. Some of the feathers can be dropped off due to molting but if you notice some bald patches in your bird then it is sure that your bird is plucking feathers off. A long practice of plucking feathers can lead to a complete breakdown of the growth of new fluffy feathers.

Feather plucking can also cause damage to the feather follicles and also some sort of blood clotting.

Why do cockatiels pluck feathers ?

Feathers are mainly responsible for the flight in the case of a cockatiel. But why do they pluck off this? Now let us know the reason behind it.

Cockatiels can pluck their feather due to some specific reasons. These are listed below:

1. Health Reasons

Underlying health problems can lead to feather plucking in the case of a cockatiel.

Any kind of bacterial or viral infection, endocrine problems, or hypothyroidism can cause feather picking in bird.

Image Credit: A fully grown cockatiel by Dylan Ashe licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

2. Pain

Cockatiels use to pluck their feather or chew their feathers when they feel pain or irritation. This pain can be caused by anything, from improper handling to chronic health reasons.

3. Lifestyle

Boredom is the primary reason for a cockatiel to pluck off its feathers.

Cockatiels need the attention of the owner and if the bird does not have it feels bored and lonely and practices the habit of feather plucking.

4. Environmental Factors

Excess heat and humidity can cause feather plucking in a cockatiel. Cockatiel loves sunlight, hence a lack of sunlight also can cause feather plucking.

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5. Diet

Malnutrition is a cause for feather plucking in the case of cockatiels. One dimensional diet is not proper for cockatiels and can lead to feather plucking.

6. Allergies

Like humans, cockatiels are allergic to some substances. These kinds of allergies dry the skin a lot and can lead to pulling off the feathers.

How frequently cockatiels pluck feathers?

Cockatiels pluck their feathers numerous times in a day, when they feel lonely or bored. Feather plucking also cannot be seen for a long period if the physical and mental health of the bird is in a sound position.

Image Credit: A small cockatiel by Iskander HFC licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

How to stop cockatiel from plucking feathers?

If an owner notices improper plucking behavior in a cockatiel, he or she should immediately consult an avian veterinarian. Now let us know how to stop this behavior.

Feathers plucking can be stopped by the following listed methods:

1. Routine:

A proper routine can improve the habit of feather plucking.

An owner must have to ensure that the cockatiels get a proper time of sleep or not. A healthy diet with a proper amount of vitamins and nutrients also can remove the habit of feather plucking in a cockatiel.

2. Behavior:

The owner should spend time with the cockatiels. You should give more toys to the bird to keep them busy.

An owner also should give food in different ways every day so that the bird is busy with these kinds of stuff. This practice will stop the habit of feather plucking.

3. Habitat:

Cockatiels love to stay in sunlight but not in a scorching heat situation. The owner has to ensure this kind of environment for the habitat of the cockatiel.

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You should buy a large cage for a cockatiel and try to keep not crowded. In a crowded cage, the cockatiels feel insecure and used to plucking off their feathers.

4. Toxins and allergies

An owner should ensure that the diet of the cockatiels is allergen-free.

The owner also should not place the cage of the cockatiels near the kitchen. Smoke is not good for cockatiels and may cause feather plucking. The owner should not give any kind of metal toys to the bird.

Do baby cockatiels pluck feathers?

Cockatiels generally pluck their feathers to bloom vividly and freshly. Now let us know whether baby cockatiels pluck their feathers.

Baby cockatiels do not pluck feathers on their own, feathers are plucked off by the parents when needed. Parents do this feather plucking for sodium deficiency in the babies. They also pluck off the feathers of the babies when they are too eager to back to their nest.

In this manner, parent cockatiel exposes the body of the babies to the wild environment that does not let them move freely until they are mature enough.

Image Credit: Baby cockatiels with early feathers by Julie R licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Do baby cockatiels lose their feathers?

Losing feathers is a common and natural process in a cockatiel as a part of their life cycle. Now let us know about losing feathers in the case of a baby cockatiel.

Baby cockatiels start to lose their feathers naturally, but not before six months of age. Six to twelve months of age is the proper time for their molting process. It is abnormal if a cockatiel starts to lose feathers before four months of age. You should then expect it as a case of feather plucking.

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The summary of this article is that there is a difference between feather losing and feather plucking. Losing feathers is a natural phenomenon but plucking is not natural. Feather plucking can be caused by several reasons and also can be improved by some proper methods.

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