Ask Lafeber


November 26, 2018

feather picking

my cockatiel is 2.5 years old and for a while he is feather picking. he is plucking his chest and back feather in front of me. He’s doing it way too often. I cant stop him or distract him he doesnt care about his toys anymore and he is too aggresive to me even though we were good friends couple months ago. he eats his meal regularly, but if he doesnt stop hes not gonna one feather in his body. I feel helpless


Hi Felix,

It is quite possible that this behavior is hormonal. However, that much plucking is an extreme reaction. I would first take him to a qualified Avian Veterinarian to rule out any physical issues that may be causing this. Birds can get skin infections, mites, parasites or other issues that will contribute to feather plucking. You also need to make sure he is getting the right nutrition. If he is on a seed only diet, then poor nutrition may be the problem. He needs to be on a nutritionally balanced diet like pellets or our whole ingredient foraging diets – Avi-Cakes, Nutri-Berries and Pellet-Berries.

If he has a bird tent or anything he seems to be sitting in a lot, remove it from him. Adult birds do not need a nest unless they have a mate and are breeding. Otherwise it can trigger unwanted breeding behavior like the aggression you have described.

Please see what the Avian Vet can find out and discuss options with your vet. The longer you wait, the harder it is to get a bird to stop plucking.

Thank for for asking Lafeber,


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