Ask Lafeber


August 12, 2019

color change

My parakeet/budgie tail feathers are changing colors from soft whitish yellow to grey. They look almost as if they are just dirty from dragging the tail, except that the greying seems to be also along the scallops edges the wing feathers on top of her back. The last time she molted a long tail feather I washed it with soap and it didn’t return to yellow. I read some place that greying/blackening can be caused by loss of pigment especially when molting. This condition is something that has come up in the last six-eight months. The feathers don’t otherwise look unkempt or unhealthy and Yoda (she) does not behave any differently than ever. She was born in 2007… Any help on this is greatly appreciated. Yoda’s regular avian vet has seen this condition and she did offer that Milk Thistle supplement MIGHT help and I got some and have not administered it yet. At any rate I did not get the sense that this was a condition the vet was familiar with first hand and I have researched it, but to no avail…. Thank You!


Hi Rachal,

My guess is this is age related. At her age, she has already surpassed the average parakeet lifespan. Although they can live into their 20’s, most parakeets live under 10 years because of inbreeding and poor nutrition. You have taken great care of Yoda and hopefully she will live for many more years. But the change in color could be due to her organs not functioning fully as a senior bird. I’m not sure what diet she is on, but I would recommend our Senior Bird Nutri-Berries. These are nutritionally balanced with additional supplements that are very beneficial to older birds. Whether she eats seeds or pellets, she should eat these because they contain both! These do contain milk thistle among other supplements so you know she will be getting the proper amount each day. Here is a link to the information page on this food – you can order directly from us or check to see if your local pet shop carries them.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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