Ask Lafeber


June 11, 2020

Baby lovebird feather

Baby lovebird leg feathers up to drums….and on back inbetween wings seems to be moulting or maybe not grown in all the way….about 9 weeks old


Hi Daniel,

If the chick was still with the parents, sometimes they will pluck their own chicks, especially if left in the cage with them after weaning. But they do not normally pluck the legs. It would be unusual for a bird that young to pluck. You may want to take him to an Avian Vet to be checked out.We recently had a similar question, so I’ll paste that reply from Dr. Susan Orosz below.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


“There can be a number of reasons why the feathers do not grow in normally and would be very important to investigate. There can be a problem with the nutrition particularly when the feather is growing, there can be a genetic reason that this would occur and more commonly an infection. Infections can be viral, bacterial or fungal. Several viral diseases can be implicated with malformed feathers and include; polyomavirus and psittacine beak and feather disease virus. Tests for these viruses can be sent to Veterinary Molecular Diagnostics by your veterinarian to make sure your lovebird does not have those viral diseases. If those come back negative, your vet may chose to take a tissue sample of the skin and a malformed feather or two to send in for histopathology. This would require most likely a short anesthesia depending on where they are located. It may sound easy, as if pulling out the feather will solve the problem, but more commonly and depending where the feathers are that are malformed, this can be a potential for a major problem. We hope that it is just a problem with nutrition or somehow the feathers were damaged. Thank you for asking.”

Susan Orosz PhD, DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian), Dipl ECZM (Avian)

Bird and Exotic Pet Wellness Center, Toledo, Ohio

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