feather staining with food coloring

by Elle

I have heard that you can stain/dye your parrots feather but I wasn't sure if this was safe so I wanted to ask before I would try to do this. A friend told me that different puppy spas use beet juice and food colouring to stain puppy fur and she had asked them to do the same to her Lutino cockatiel and she said it turned out very nicely. I has a cockatoo and was wondering if I were to carefully spray him with water/food colouring would this be unsafe?

Comments for feather staining with food coloring

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May 09, 2017
Maybe the devil's advocate?
by: Kindness_cures<3

I personally have spent a lot of time with an umbrella cockatoo (casper) who often takes spare toddler links and "wears" them like jewlery, and colors he likes will change how he feels, and which words/phrases, expressions and body language he uses. He seems quite happy to get prettied up like my grandma, and it is so sweet! I bring this up because I have often been curious if we could safely color one of his feathers his favourite color and see if it makes him happier or helps him connect/bond with grandma (his flock momma who happens to have the same favourite color with plenty of outfits to match!). I dont think it's abusive to be curious about that and ask an informed community before attempting such a thing. I am not a doctor so my opinion may not mean much, but I think these answers were really harsh towards someone with a genuine question and care to get advice first. Thank you for taking the time to hear this out, and I would still like to know if it is safe to color a feather or if it would cause plucking or some other dangerous outcome. I think anyone thinking hard enough to do some research may just be helped by knowing facts instead of feeling like a bad flock leader.

Aug 08, 2012
coloring your bird?
by: Doonwati

Hi Elle,

Are you for real? I personally think that this idea is a very ridiculous one. Please do, color YOUR OWN hair and skin if you like. Leave the poor bird alone with its beautiful and natural color. People like us are the ones who'll have to speak up for those animals who can't for themselves. I do hope that the Lord protects all animals from people like you.If you didn't like the color of your bird why did you have him in the first place?
Thanks to everyone for your comments on this idea. God bless.

Aug 07, 2012
feather staining with food coloring
by: Linda

I agree with Dr. B on this, and also wonder what you are doing with a bird in the first place? If you wanted a different colored bird, why didn't you just find the colors you want and buy the bird? Your bird is not a designer purse or pair of shoes that can be dyed to look differently as your whims dictate. Your bird is a living, thinking, feeling creature looking to you for his every need. He also sees you as his friend, and what you are doing has nothing to do with being a friend to your bird.

You will, of course, do as you please, and I am just here telling you that it appears to me your bird is nothing more to you than a bunch of feathers with a mouth.

Please try and see yourself as you are appearing to others. Parrots are not toys, and they were not put here on earth to be your experimental science lab.They are some of the most intelligent, loving creatures you will ever have the honor of living with. This idea of changing your bird's feather color is something a small child might ask about. I assume you are an adult, and please act like one or find your bird a new home with people who will treasure him as he is.

Please tell your friend that whatever color our pets come in is how they are supposed to be. Your bird, dog or cat is not a toy, but a blessing for you to have.

Anyway, Dr. B covered all the health issues that can come from something as silly as this, so try and think of your bird's welfare for a while.


Aug 07, 2012
Spraying bird with food coloring
by: The Avian Vet

Why would anyone want to do this to being with? The natural colors of birds are far more beautiful than any artificial color you can put on them. From a medical and behavioral aspect this is a bad idea. First, your bird is going to thinks the feathers are dirty and may over preen. Given the potential that cockatoos have for plucking and other feather damaging behaviors, I fell that alone is enough reason not to do it. Birds see color differently than we do; if you color this bird an unexpected color, it may be very stressful and even frightening. Imagine yourself if you woke up tomorrow and your skin and hair are purple, how would you feel when you looked in the mirror the first time? The dye itself is probably not toxic, but we do not know what it will do to the feathers. It could make them not function properly and cause your bird to be unable to regulate his body temperature. These are the first few things that come to mind.

Dr B

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