Feather Chewing in Cockatiels

When cockatiels feather pick, it usually indicates a medical issue.


Q: Lately, my pet cockatiel cleans her feathers a little too hard and tends to pull them out, or she digs at one spot and pulls out little pin feathers. She does this off and on all day. Is this normal and what can I do to stop my ?iel from doing this?

A: Sometimes there is a fine line between normal preening and feather-destructive behavior. From your description of your cockatiel? behavior, she may be starting to have a problem, especially if she intently digs at one spot and pulls out the feathers.

If your ?iel is busy with something else and suddenly starts digging at her feathers and skin, I recommend taking her to an avian veterinarian. A great number of cockatiels and other parrots that feather pick do so because of a variety of conditions, such as PBFD, polyomavirus, an infectious agent, heavy metal poisoning, nutritional or hormonal issues.

Unfortunately many people who buy cockatiels do not realize how important veterinary care is for them. This might be because cockatiels are a relatively inexpensive parrot-family bird. However routine veterinary care can make a big difference for your ?iel, especially with an  infectious agent such as Giardia, which is an irritating and painful affliction that can become life threatening.

Excerpt from the Popular Birds Series magabook Cockatiels with permission from its publisher, BowTie magazines, a division of BowTie Inc. Purchase Cockatiels here.

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