by JoAnne
(New Jersey)

We have two cockatiels = male and female. They had 3 babies who are now 10 weeks old and doing very well. Curley our male, however, loves to preen which I understand is a way of bonding. However, when he preens he starts out nice and gentle and then proceeds to put feathers out of the top of their heads. My poor female is almost bald on top. He is now starting to do it with the young ones.

Why is he doing this and how can we stop him. I know it is a natural thing, but they all screech when he pulls out a feather and they don't fight him back. Is this a natural behavor for a male cockatiel?

Comments for Preening

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Aug 13, 2008
Over preening babies
by: The Vet

This is normal behavior. He is doing this because it is his territory and he wants the babies to go away and take care of themselves. Separate the babies from the parents and this will prevent him from doing it to them.

I imagine that the cage is too small for the 5 birds. A cage for 5 cockatiels needs to be at lease 38 x 26. He does this to the female to show his dominance or to get her to breed again.

If you take the babies out, he may stop doing it to the hen too. If not, take away the nest box. If you have done this already, then you may want to separate the hen too for a little while.

Dr B

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