Why Is My Cockatiel Losing Feathers

Birds are covered with feathers, just as human beings are covered with hair.  In the same way that humans protect their hair, birds must have their plumage groomed and protected from any external agents such as heat and cold.

For your bird to maintain its plumage, it is essential that they maintain a good diet; making sure that they are in optimum health and get sufficient rest. This is also very significant during their molting season when they shed feathers.

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Seasonal Molting

Under normal circumstances, pet birds undergo seasonal molts to which changes in natural lighting and hormonal alterations are not unrelated. If the birds are not sufficiently and properly fed or are sick, the plumage reacts and falls.

The fall is due to the release of natural corticosteroids from the bird’s body, secretions that are triggered as a result of the stress caused by these abnormal situations. The domestic birds that so please our eyes with the color of their plumage and their song are still wild animals that live domesticated in an environment that is not theirs.

In stressful situations, its great sensitivity due to the small variations produced in its environment is revealed.

Viral Diseases

Viral diseases can also be at the origin of the loss of feathers in domestic birds like the Cockatiel. The process itself has been little studied and partially understood by specialists.

In this sense, there are no truly effective treatments, and controlling the triggering conditions of viral attacks and their evolution is often difficult.

Parasitic Disease

Another factor that affects feather loss in birds, exotic or not, are diseases derived from parasites. In principle, they do not usually represent an insurmountable problem if one takes into account what they represent, especially with cage birds like the Cockatiel.

However, wild, exotic, captured, and imported animals often have significant amounts of parasites. On the other hand, these wild animals usually transmit parasites in comparison to traditionally caged birds, such as canaries or parakeets.

Some frequent varieties of parasites are responsible for scabies on the Cockatiel, parakeet, and the canary, other parasites live in the feathers and suck the blood of the bird, and others more specialized also inhabit the interior of the wings, they produce a great itch in the animal, and you can see them nervously grooming their plumage while losing their feathers.

Change in Diet

An active and intelligent way to prevent the unwanted appearance of any disorder that causes feather dropping in our pet birds can be simple observation.

It is about paying attention to the existence of some type of stress in the bird, studying the type of bird diet that the animal receives, contrasting with any alteration or change in diet or medication, observing if the conditions of the bird’s environment have varied, such as noise, natural light, air or temperature conditions.

The Shedding or Molting Process

Molting or shedding is a burden for the bird. The bird must generate new feathers at the same time it is shedding the old ones. Many, during this stage, are more irascible or ill.

After all, the resources they had before starting the molt are not always enough to create a completely new plumage. For this reason, elderly or sick birds are not the only ones that need help during the molting process!

To eliminate any other natural cause, you should obtain adequate information on how the molting process occurs, when the last molt was and how often they occur, as well as how many hours of light they receive or should receive.

It may be the case that a bird, for reasons related to inadequate lighting, develops a state such that its organism believes that the molt continues and your pet cannot get out of a perpetual molt.

Skin Lesions

In some cases, feather loss is caused by the possible presence of skin lesions. You should also assess whether or not the feathers are deformed as a result.

Birds often suffer from neurological disorders in which feathers are plucked, with the obvious exception of head feathers, nails are broken, and self-injury is caused. However, viral infections or nutritional disorders can also accompany the deformations of the feathers.

It is important to discover the presence of new feathers, a fact that will rule out hormonal problems. Observing a good diet of your Cockatiel, parakeets, and canaries with proper nutrition is a guarantee for the health of home pets.

The Process

Molting season is the time when birds can experience a lot of physiological stress where they lose bodyweight and renew their plumage. For them, this is a stressful process.

During this time, it is ideal that they get the right amount f sunlight and temperature as well as the right environment. You should be aware that feathers are considered dead structures in the biological world, and so no blood circulation is required.

Feather Regeneration

Because of this, the birds won’t be able to regenerate the feathers on their own every day. Therefore, it must be replaced with new feathers once each year.

This occurs at the beginning of favorable climate conditions, which is usually in the summer months, between June and October. During the summer months, the days are much longer, and the heat and humidity levels are much higher.

Throughout evolution history, birds have managed to get used to their metabolism at this time, and so it becomes easier for them to go through the molting season appropriately.

The molting process occurs in varying stages where the feathers fall out throughout the first phase to the last phase, which is the most crucial phase when most of the feathers that protect the bird fall out.

How To Help Your Bird

Quality nutrition makes it easier for the bird to molt. There are different types of food depending on the species; for example, a canary, Cockatiel, and a parrot need different foods. 

Food supplements, as well as fruit and vegetables, complete the birds’ diet. Birds should only take a certain amount of fresh fruit, which depends on the species to which they belong.

Do not forget that the fruit has to be varied, and maybe this is the way you will discover a new treat for your friend.

Cucumbers, spelled, millet, oats, and wheat are rich in silicic acid and help new feathers to grow soft and shiny. The panizo, for example, can be easily attached to the cage with a clothespin and serves as both food and entertainment.

If your bird is too thin or barely has an appetite, this is a good way to persuade him to eat. Wheat grains are too tough, and many small birds do not like them. An alternative option can be puffed or germinated wheat, which provides not only silicic acid but also sulfurous amino acids, which favor the development of the beak.

Taking Care of Your Cockatiel

The bird’s feather is comprised primarily of collagen. The feathers are flexible and generally strong, but with minimal weight. In order for the molting process to be carried out entirely and correctly, it is very important that certain issues be taken into account, such as nutrition.

Adequate nutrition is essential at this phase to make sure that the bird’s plumage is soft, beautiful, and flexible. It is also important that the plumage be kept in good condition until the next molting season.

Therefore, one of the best decisions is to add grains rich in protein to the bird’s diet. Amino acids are recommended as well as lysine, given during the molting period.

Minerals are also essential as it helps develop the molecular structure of the bird’s feather. In so doing, this will help to facilitate the bird’s food digestion.

Optimum Health

Good health is an important and essential component in order to prevent a reduction in the level of defense that occurs when birds are extremely stressed when experiencing an infection.

Once the bird’s health and hygiene are good, the molting process will be successful as the feathers continuously grow outwards, drying out, and maturing.

Food Care

To protect your bird’s feather, it is essential to pay attention to food care. Your bird must have balanced and complete meals every day. This is especially true during the entire molting season.

This is when it is greatly necessary. During this phase, it is especially necessary for the birds to receive adequate nutrition, which includes vitamin-rich and protein-rich food.

Medical Disorders

The bird’s feather might deteriorate due to certain medical conditions such as kidney disorders. There are other detected diseases and disorders that cause plumage issues.

For questions about this, it is best to check with a veterinarian.  Try not to let the bird’s feather dry out too fast. In addition, be sure that the room is properly ventilated and there is an adequate level of humidity.

If there is poor ventilation in the space where your bird is kept, there will be discomfort from the fermented feces. This will not only cause discomfort but also a reduction in appetite.