Ask Lafeber


March 19, 2019

Cockatiel Molting

I got my cockatiel about a week ago. She’s very social and was handtrained. Right off the bat she was stepping onto our hands and climbing all over us. It’s come to my attention that she’s molting. When we got her she had a tail feather loose but didn’t understand she was molting. She won’t let us pet her anymore and won’t step up unless millet is involved. But she’ll still climb all over us, how can I make her more comfortable while molting? She doesn’t like baths and just squawks angrily when I try to pet her head/neck gently.


Hi Alanna,

When new feathers are growing in, they can be sensitive because they do have a blood source. Normally a mate would help her groom her head. You need to be careful of the newer pin feathers because those are the ones that hurt if groomed too soon. You can lightly flake the pin feathers that are ready – if they feel stiff and waxy they are too new, if they are dry and flake easily, these are the pin feathers you can help with. The good thing is molting does not last very long and she should be back to herself very soon.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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