Ask Lafeber


August 30, 2022

Is My Bird Plucking?

I just asked a question on here, and was met with a very helpful response, but I have somewhat of a follow up. My cockatiel is over a year old and when he moults I can tell because he’s visibly uncomfortable or itchy so I give him baths. Recently he lost the primary feathers on his right wing, not due to moulting but because of the night frights. Now he’s constantly preening that wing and sometimes squaks in pain randomly while he does so. I’m not sure if it’s because the feathers are growing back or because of another reason but I’m still worried he’s overpreening in that specific spot or just in general. I can tell he’s in some discomfort and I’m unsure how to help him. He just won’t stop preening that wing and under it. Should I just give more baths? Wait until the feathers grow back and he’ll stop on his own? I’m mostly worried because the thin/bald spot under his wing is visible now when he’s dry. How do I stop him from overpreening his wing until his feathers get better or otherwise? My cockatiel is very sweet, always cuddles with me, and I don’t think he’s stressed but another reason is he may be bored? I don’t know why because he has a big cage with a good amount of toys, but maybe he needs more. Please let me know. Thanks.


Hi Mars,

Since you are concerned, you may want to go ahead and take him to an avian vet for a check up. He may have injured his wing during his night frights, or maybe broke some of the feathers and the rest of the shaft is still in the follicle and causing discomfort. Since there was no blood, he didn’t break new feathers, but if a mature feather is broken, the remaining end can be rough and can irritate the skin until it falls out. Check the feathers from the cage floor and see if any look broken or if the shafts are intact. He may have a skin infection. It’s better to rule this type thing out before he turns into a chronic feather plucker. Is this a lutino or white color mutation? Some experts say they are more prone to night frights, and because their genetics can be weaker, they can have feather issues such as having a bald spot on the back of the head, or sparse feathers in other areas. Just to be sure, you might want to have that vet check done.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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