Lutino cockatiel changing feather color


(Savannah GA)

I have a lutino cockatiel who is about a year and a half old. When I got him I was told by the breeder he was male but I have always believed him to be female even though I still call him a boy. Anyway,my question is about his feathers.

Over time his feathers have started changing colors. When he was younger his tail feathers looked dirty at the ends mainly on his tail feathers. It is a dirty brownish color and has never come off. Over time it has become more apparent and is also now on the ends of his wing feathers as well. It is darker and more noticeable. Any idea of why it is like this? Thank you.

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Dec 31, 2011
Lutino cockatiel feathers changing color
by: The Avian Vet

Feathers become dirty from handling and petting. They also become dirty when the cage is too small and there is no grate in the cage bottom. They can become unhealthy and dirty from a poor diet, low humidity, and lack of bathing. You should have him examined by an avian veterinarian.

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Dr B

Dec 30, 2011
More info lutino tiel
by: savannah ga

I first noticed the color change a few months after I got him. We have always had cages with the grid on the bottom. The color was slight at first just on his tail feathers at the end. It looked maybe dirty but it never came over even after baths and even after molts. Over the past year and a half it has gotten darker and moved up to his wing feathers too. Its not pooh, Im sure of that. His diet is pellets and seeds. He has seeds in one bowl and pellets in the other sometimes he gets fruits and veggies but not often because he doesnt really like to eat it. I was just wondering if this type of thing was normal. Every lutino I have seen has never had this discoloration before. You said you have seen them change color before so perhaps it could be normal???

Dec 29, 2011
Lutino cockatiel changing feather color
by: Shannara

Dr. B may know something medical ....
I have several cockateils. Tail feathers can become stained if you do not have a grid in bottom of cage. They can gain the color of the bottom litter.
I have noticed that once stained their feathers really never look clean again until they molt and get the new ones.
They also can change tint after a molt and become lighter of darker in color. I have seen very lutino turn to dark tawny color after a year.
I have often wondered myself if this has to do with diet?
It is important to have a grid in bottom of cage to keep them off of the bottom of cage liner and out of litter. Even the cleanest cage has "pooh" in the bottom. Who wants to walk in that!
It is also important to teach how to drink for a water bottle and use a bathing bowl a few hours a day for fun time to prevent infections. Cockateils will "pooh" in thier water dish :(

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