Ask Lafeber


July 21, 2020

3 month old Cockatiel loosing feathers

I have a 3 month old cockatiel and got him hand fed. Lately he has been loosing a lot of feathers. my brother recently got a cat, could it be stress from the cat playing near the bird?


Hi Cailyn,

Cockatiels will start going through their first adult molt at around 6-8 months of age, so he might just be molting. Sometimes a young bird might be a bit older than what the seller says, usually because it’s easy to lose track when you raise a lot of birds.

However, it is very, very important that you keep the bird safe from the cat. Cats have bacteria in their mouths that is deadly to birds, so even a light scratch can transmit the bacteria and the bird is likely to die even if he receives medication. Cats can also harass a bird, even if the cat is just being playful. Birds can die from stress so you don’t want the cat around the bird if it is causing the bird to flap around in his cage or showing any signs of panic. This is most important at night, because the bird can’t see well in the dark and the cat can. Cats have been known to scare a pet bird to death during the night by trying to get to it through the cage bars. The bird will lose a large amount of feathers when flapping around the cage in a panic. But it can also break a blood feather which can continue to bleed if the rest of the feather is not removed. So the bird is best kept in a room where the cat is not allowed to go into.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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