Ask Lafeber


July 29, 2019

Cockatiel molt

Hello! My cockatiel (Luna) is going through her first molt. I feel horrible. I don’t even want to know what her skin feels like. She is molting pretty heavily and I was wondering if it’s normal to molt and regrow down feathers. You can’t see them unless I move the feathers on top of them, but they are so so so dusty. Is this normal? I have parakeets and they never do this at least not this bad so I’m trying to cover all my bases before running to the vet. Thank you so much.


Hi Rose,

It sounds like a normal molt and the first molt can be heavy like this. Plus most of the country is very hot right now and pet birds are all going into heavy molts. The powder is normal for a cockatiel – they are in the cockatoo family and all cockatoos have powder down feathers which release powder to coat their feathers as a natural protection. Baby birds do not have the heavy powder so it is normal to just now be noticing this. Parakeets are not a powder bird. Mainly it is cockatoos and African Grey parrots that have the powder down. Luna will be fine in a couple or few weeks and have a new set of feathers complete with the natural powder coating.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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