Ask Lafeber


February 22, 2021

Stressed bird?

Hi! I just got my African grey parrot about 1 month and a half ago and she seems very happy, she talks a lot, she just started dancing, she eats good amount of seed mix and fruits/vegetables, her feathers are very smooth and intact but today she lost one of her tail feathers. Do you think she’s stressed or sad?


Hi Nallely,

Parrots will molt feathers all year – it’s not unusual to find a molted feather here and there. They will go through a heavy molt once or twice a year. When this happens, they lose quite a few feathers at a time, over a period of a few weeks. There should never be any bare spots on the body with no feathers – this is an indication of feather destructive behavior. Because their wing and tail feathers are important for survival in the wild, they will not naturally molt all of them at one time. So one molted tail feather is normal, but if you were to find all of her wing or tail feathers gone, this is another indication of feather destructive behavior.

It sounds like she is doing well and settled in to your home. I am concerned about the diet because you mentioned she is on a loose seed mix. Parrots need a nutritionally balanced daily diet, and loose seed mixes can’t provide the nutrition they need. Even if the seeds are coated with vitamins, the parrot removes the hull so the vitamins are lost. Some seed mixes have little vitamin bits in the mix, but most parrots will selectively eat and they tend to not eat the vitamins. The best daily diet is a pelleted diet or our foraging diets, which are formulated the same as the pelleted diet, but they contain whole seeds with no hulls combined with nutritious ingredients and formed into a berry or cake shape. Greys are very intelligent and need to be kept busy, so our foraging diets are perfect for them. You can feed any of these diets alone or combined with pellets. Adding loose seeds is not recommended because they dilute the amount of nutrition your bird is getting. The nutritionally balanced daily diet should be 80% of her daily diet, with 20% made up of fresh fruits, veggies, greens, nuts and healthy table foods. We host free weekly webinars that you might want to check out, including a regular series focused on African Greys – The Grey Way. I’ll provide the link to our feeding guide as well as to our past webinars. There is a playlist of foraging videos that offer some fun ways to keep your bird busy foraging for her food like she would do in the wild.

Bird Food Guide


Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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