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Old 06-09-2008, 06:01 PM
 
1,039 posts, read 3,218,549 times
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I have a cockatiel that has a really bad habit; he pulls his own feathers out! I have three cockatiels and he is the only one that does it. I looked it up online and I found a website that states he might do this if he is sad and lonely. This can't be the case because, as I mentioned before, he has two other cockatiel companions. On top of that, they are in the kitchen (the busiest room in our home), so he always sees us and we always talk to them and encourage them to sing. We also thought about fleas. After searching through their feathers, we didnt see anything and (like I said before) only he does it, so this can't be the problem either. Does anybody know why he is doing this?
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Gary, WV & Springfield, ME
5,826 posts, read 8,652,934 times
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There are several reasons he is doing this. The first is the most obvious. You have a trio. It's possible he is all alone in a cage of three becaue the other two are a couple and he is the odd bird out.

Birds know when they have a loose feather and will pluck it out if it is irritating them.

How big is the cage? Attention is one thing, but if the cage was desgined for one or two cockatiels, then it's not OK to put a third bird in there. They need elbow room and even with clipped wings, they will hold a perch and flap their wings periodically. Does the cage allow this kind of space for all three of them to do at the same time?

I would first ask about their genders. I believe you'll find you have a pair plus 1. And yes, that would make the third bird lonely.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:30 PM
 
1,039 posts, read 3,218,549 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AliceT View Post
There are several reasons he is doing this. The first is the most obvious. You have a trio. It's possible he is all alone in a cage of three becaue the other two are a couple and he is the odd bird out.

Birds know when they have a loose feather and will pluck it out if it is irritating them.

How big is the cage? Attention is one thing, but if the cage was desgined for one or two cockatiels, then it's not OK to put a third bird in there. They need elbow room and even with clipped wings, they will hold a perch and flap their wings periodically. Does the cage allow this kind of space for all three of them to do at the same time?

I would first ask about their genders. I believe you'll find you have a pair plus 1. And yes, that would make the third bird lonely.
This isn't the problem because he is the male that mates with the only female in the cage! The other bird is the "lonely" one in that department and he is doing fine.

I didn't really think about the cage being to small, I don't think it is. I'd say it's about 3 feet tall and 1.5 feet wide.
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Old 06-09-2008, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 32,225,194 times
Reputation: 3397
We have an African Grey who was a feather plucker. She is a rescue, and when we came across her she was completely nude of feathers except the top of her head . Today, she is a fully-feathered bird, but it took years to get her that way.

Feather-plucking is very bad and can become serious. It's not just cosmetic, it can cause further health issues, you want to get this under control as soon as possible.

Here are some possible reasons why your bird is plucking and what you can do:

1) HEALTH When was your bird's last avian visit? Not a regular vet, but an AVIAN vet? You want to be sure your bird is not sick. Birds will pluck feathers when they are sick. If it's been more than 6 months since your bird has had a check-up, I'd make this priority #1.

If you don't have an AVIAN vet, search for one here:

AAV

2) STRESS You may think your bird is in 1st position because he is mating with the female, but the presence of the other male might be causing stress that you're not aware of. There can be other stresses as well. Your vet will run through the list with you.

3) DIET Is your bird on a proper diet? Your cockatiel should be eating a pelleted food supplemented with fruits and veggies and clean water every day. I'm a big fan of Harrison's parrot food. Harrison's also has a great website where you can learn about appropriate diet. Their "handbook for a healthier parrot" gives some specific diet needs for cockatiels:

Harrison's Bird Foods is a family of certified organic pet bird diets that were formulated to make your bird as healthy as it can possibly be.

4) CAGE A cage only 1.5 feet wide for 3 cockatiels is way too small - you need a bigger cage. Also, they don't need to be housed together, you can house them in separate cages and just sit them near each other. If being housed together is causing the bird stress, you might need to house them in separate cages. The kitchen is usually not a good location for birds (cooking fumes), can you move them to the living room or another room of the house? Also, you NEVER want to use the self-cleaning function of your stove with your birds in the house - this can not only make them very sick, it can kill them.

5) SLEEP Are your birds getting enough sleep? Birds need 10 or more hours of uninterrupted sleep each night in total darkness...are your birds getting quality sleep?

6) SUNLIGHT All birds need natural sunlight - not just from a window. 15 minutes once a week is good for most birds, either outside (in a secure outside cage with supervision) or if that's not possible, under a full-spectrum light. A lack of sunlight can cause health problems and could be one factor in feather-plucking.

Here is a link to my own avian vet's FAQ page, it is full of solid bird care advice:
Frequently Asked Avian Questions

Best of luck, I hope you can get it under control!
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Old 06-10-2008, 11:15 AM
 
1,039 posts, read 3,218,549 times
Reputation: 441
Quote:
Originally Posted by riveree View Post
We have an African Grey who was a feather plucker. She is a rescue, and when we came across her she was completely nude of feathers except the top of her head . Today, she is a fully-feathered bird, but it took years to get her that way.

Feather-plucking is very bad and can become serious. It's not just cosmetic, it can cause further health issues, you want to get this under control as soon as possible.

Here are some possible reasons why your bird is plucking and what you can do:

1) HEALTH When was your bird's last avian visit? Not a regular vet, but an AVIAN vet? You want to be sure your bird is not sick. Birds will pluck feathers when they are sick. If it's been more than 6 months since your bird has had a check-up, I'd make this priority #1.

If you don't have an AVIAN vet, search for one here:

AAV

2) STRESS You may think your bird is in 1st position because he is mating with the female, but the presence of the other male might be causing stress that you're not aware of. There can be other stresses as well. Your vet will run through the list with you.

3) DIET Is your bird on a proper diet? Your cockatiel should be eating a pelleted food supplemented with fruits and veggies and clean water every day. I'm a big fan of Harrison's parrot food. Harrison's also has a great website where you can learn about appropriate diet. Their "handbook for a healthier parrot" gives some specific diet needs for cockatiels:

Harrison's Bird Foods is a family of certified organic pet bird diets that were formulated to make your bird as healthy as it can possibly be.

4) CAGE A cage only 1.5 feet wide for 3 cockatiels is way too small - you need a bigger cage. Also, they don't need to be housed together, you can house them in separate cages and just sit them near each other. If being housed together is causing the bird stress, you might need to house them in separate cages. The kitchen is usually not a good location for birds (cooking fumes), can you move them to the living room or another room of the house? Also, you NEVER want to use the self-cleaning function of your stove with your birds in the house - this can not only make them very sick, it can kill them.

5) SLEEP Are your birds getting enough sleep? Birds need 10 or more hours of uninterrupted sleep each night in total darkness...are your birds getting quality sleep?

6) SUNLIGHT All birds need natural sunlight - not just from a window. 15 minutes once a week is good for most birds, either outside (in a secure outside cage with supervision) or if that's not possible, under a full-spectrum light. A lack of sunlight can cause health problems and could be one factor in feather-plucking.

Here is a link to my own avian vet's FAQ page, it is full of solid bird care advice:
Frequently Asked Avian Questions

Best of luck, I hope you can get it under control!

Thank you for your suggestions!
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Old 09-18-2008, 05:07 AM
 
1 posts, read 3,386 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Busch Boy View Post
I have a cockatiel that has a really bad habit; he pulls his own feathers out! I have three cockatiels and he is the only one that does it. I looked it up online and I found a website that states he might do this if he is sad and lonely. This can't be the case because, as I mentioned before, he has two other cockatiel companions. On top of that, they are in the kitchen (the busiest room in our home), so he always sees us and we always talk to them and encourage them to sing. We also thought about fleas. After searching through their feathers, we didnt see anything and (like I said before) only he does it, so this can't be the problem either. Does anybody know why he is doing this?
Hi, I am no authority, but I do breed cockatiels and have done so for years.
I believe he/she may just need to be handled.
While you are watching tv in the evening, take the bird out and handle it. let it sit on your finger, rub it's back of neck (like a dog)....they love to be rubbed, just like we do! let it go to each hand one to the other, making like a ferris wheel, just do that for about 20 min a day. Maybe it will make a difference. Good luck!
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