chronic non-stop molting in cockatiel

by Karin
(Alberta, Canada)

My 2 year old female white cockatiel is molting non-stop. I've had her since she was approximately 4 months of age. I also have a 14 year old male and two other 2 year old males. The 2 year olds all came from the same place and the boys aren't having this trouble.

She eats seeds, gets oat treats, seed sticks, millet and most of the seed is fortified, especially the one kind. They also get fresh food of corn, peas, rice, baby spinach, eggs (sometimes with crushed shell)and whatever else they will eat.

They aren't fond of any other fruits or veggies for the most part. The only stress I can see she may have is that one of the little boys is in "love" with her but she has already mated with my 14 year old. The baby in love with her gets to be pesty and follows her and crowds her space and I try to intervene best I can.

Many times if I try to preen her a feather will come out that is still cased half way up and I notice this happens to her too, it is as they were weak or something. They don't seem to hurt her when they do this. I preen only her head.

My house is pretty steady temperature wise, they get covered at night, I try to keep the humidity up over 40, they get fairly frequent showers. I'm at a loss and am somewhat worried that this may be taking it's toll on her. I thought it was finally over and she was almost pin feather free and now she's losing feathers again and has so many pin feathers that I can't even pet her head because they hurt her.

These guys can smell vitamins a million miles away so putting extra in food or water is out of the question because they won't eat or drink when they know it's there. They all have separate cages and I have her cage next to the 14 year olds, then the other male and then the 2 year old that wants to be her mate. I can't think of anything else that may help to mention.

I'd sure appreciate any input! They do get out everyday plus cuddle time with me individually and I have started putting the 2 young boys in their cages at least 1/2 before bedtime and leave just her and sometimes the 14 year old out by themselves. The two young males fight with each other and different combinations of who they are with individually depends on if there will be a squabble...still working on that too. Thanks so much

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Dec 11, 2011
..forgot to mention
by: Karin

Forgot to mention that they are separated as much as they can be. They all have separate cages but as for in other rooms it just isn't possible. I will, once again, call around and see what I can find out. This is when I wish I lived somewhere much more bird friendly as far as quality vets - perhaps California! Thanks again

Dec 11, 2011
What are the chances it's stress from the baby
by: Karin

Thanks so much for your response. That is two of my main problems...there are NO avian vets near. The closest is over 2 hours away and how good they are is another issue then I also don't have a vehicle. My guys will NOT eat pellets...they will literally starve first. You can give them the best food in the world but if they won't eat it there isn't much you can do. If it's stress, changing food right now would add to the problem wouldn't it? I get them as much fresh as possible and whatever else is available that I can find of quality. I guess I'll have to try again with different food and see what happens - the other 5 times weren't successful so I don't hold out much hope. I can't see how this could be going on for so long and it be a true illness and the others aren't having the same problem. I will have to put some calls in and try to find a very good avian vet somewhere. I just wish that there was some regulation on the industry because they charge up to and above 300% of actual cost! (Studies and investigative reporting confirms this). I just can't lose this girl. I lost my other female from a bound egg and in that case the vet was a great help - in killing her!! They assured me they knew how to handle birds but she ended up with all her tail feathers plucked out because the assistant was trying to catch her - and she was VERY tame!! What are the chances that it is the stress from the baby crowding her? When I do put the two youngest males in and just leave her or her and my 14 year old out she is quite different. You can almost hear the sigh of relief from the both for not having to always be on the watch. By the way, all 3 babies came from the same breeder but not the same parents. I've also asked her and she has never experienced this. Thank you.

Dec 10, 2011
Bird with feather problems
by: Tracie

It is possible that your bird has a disease. I suggest that you Find an Avian Vet to examine your bird right away. If your bird is found to have a disease, you need to let your vet know you have the other birds so they can get treated too.

The diet you mention is not a healthy diet. Our avian vet suggests that you feed Harrison's or Roudybush pellets for about 80% of their diet and the rest can be seeds and healthy treats.

It is good that you do NOT add vitamins to their food or water, because this will often kill birds or cause serious health issues. If they are eating a quality pellet, not the cheap ones with food coloring, sugar and chemicals, then they will never need vitamin supplements anyway.

If there is a bird that "bugs" the bird in question, you should separate these birds right away. Since this bird may have a feather disease, you should separate this bird from the others anyway.

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