Ask Lafeber


December 3, 2021

Feather issues

Have you ever experienced a cockatiel or other parrot that seemingly was born without the ability to grow flight feathers correctly? If so how did you treat this? my 14 year old cockatiel has been unable to grow flight feathers and is in pain when they do try to grow and falls frequently because of this. He also recently lost a lot of weight and seems to perpetually have high levels of yeast in his gram stains that my vet Dr. Jamie Lindstrom at Animal Clinic Northview in North Ridgeville Ohio and Dr Susan Orosz at Bird and Exotic Pet Wellness Center in Toledo Ohio. They have recommended several liquid medications, most recently an anti-inflammatory and Boric Acid to spray on him.


Hi Jessica,

Dr. Lamb actually trained under Dr. Orosz when she was a Vet student! A bird with feather issues could not be in better hands than with Dr. Orosz. She has studied feather destructive behavior and feather issues extensively. I would continue to follow her advice and treatments. Unfortunately feather issues are often a mystery. Add to that, there are genetic issues in birds like cockatiels because there has been a lot of inbreeding. If your bird is one of the white faced or other newer mutation, it is more likely to have genetic issues. There are viruses that can cause feather issues, which Dr. Orosz is studying, and I would think she has already either tested for these or recommended these tests. Again, I highly recommend continuing with her and approving any testing she recommends. I’m sorry your bird is going through this, and you are having this experience, but Dr. Orosz can hopefully at least help the bird be more comfortable. Anytime you don’t understand what is going on, just ask – she is always open to helping an owner understand the treatment.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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