Can I Help Out Our Cockatiel During a Molt?

Scott S. inquires:


Hi – I actually have a birdie question.


We have a 2-year-old male Gray Cockatiel who has the worst case of “ouwie feathers” under his wings.


We can lift his wings and see a number of pin feathers that are causing some distress.


Question: what if anything can we do to help him out?


He’s fine otherwise, big beautiful boy and a best in class winner here in Florida last year.


Thank you in advance!


Dear Scott


Molting is a hard time for birds.


They need to be handled less during these times, allowed to rest and relax as much as possible so they can sit comfortably and wait it out.

You want to keep him in his cage during this time if he will not mind.


However if that bothers him more, let him out.


But try to avoid handling him other than letting him perch on you or your hands. Leave his wings alone.


A warm shower or a bath 2 – 3 times weekly would help.


Not all birds molt heavily every time, every year, but some molts are heavier than others.


Our African Ringneck recently had a very heavy molt and he was unable to even fly more than a few feet before he tired out.


Just give him some time, a good diet, maybe some treats, fresh foods like scrambled eggs, oatmeal, etc. Comfort foods.


This will pass and he will be back to normal.


Please let me know if I can help further.



Scott replied


Dear Catherine:


Thank you for your response.


We have been bird parents continuously since 1982 and including our current fids (Congo Gray, Elenora ‘Too, and both our ‘Tiel boys) we’ve seen some “ouwie” feathers before but Buddy’s take the cake.


His situation probably bothers us more than it does him as for the most part he’ll be preening, yelp, and go right back to preening…the rambunctious nature of young male Cockatiels seems to help.


Bathing him seems to help.


Thanks again



The good news Scott is that cockatiel feathers are some of the fastest-growing feathers of all hookbills.

Birds have been molting for millions and millions of years ~ your tiel will be fine –


Protein from his daily diet and/or a good vitamin supplement will provide the base to build amino acids which are what makes up feathers.

Another option is to spray your birds feathers with a good bathing product like Natra Bird Bath Spray with Natural Preening Oils. It may be soothing and soften the emerging feather coverings.


How Much Do You Understand About the Molt?



Mitch Rezman

He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they visited monthly birdie brunches in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground.Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care.He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis.He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.

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