Answers For A Cockatiel Pulling Out His Wing Feathers And A Cockatiel With Cataracts

Answers For A Cockatiel Pulling Out His Wing Feathers And A Cockatiel With Cataracts

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Dear Mitch I wanted to ask for your advice.

My male cockatiel is pulling his feathers out from under his wings.

I brought him to one avian vet who did blood work.

That was a dead end.

The 2nd vet sent droppings to a lab and that was negative.

She also did a swab under the wing and that showed a bacterial infection.


We do not know what came first.


Plucking causes the infection or the infection causing the plucking.



What came first the chicken or the egg.


The bird was given antibiotics twice a day for 2 weeks, still plucking.


Now the vet wants to give the bird a hormone shot.


I have not done this until I talk with you.


Could you please do an article on hormone shots for male cockatiel?


Also, what can you recommend I do other than trying these shots?


The bird also screeches pleads and cries to let me give him a coca-cola 12 pack cardboard box to sit in all day.


He is relentless and will not stop screeching till I give him that DARN box!


Mitch any advice you give I appreciate. 


Under his wings is all bald now. I truly care for this little bird. By the way just love your Sunday brunch. Jannine


Hi Jannine


This is a WAG (wild ass guess)


He is a she and is in brooding mode.


Two signals – plucking feathers from under the wing is typical when a cockatiel wants to build a nest.


The brooding area in your cage is the Coca-Cola box which is why it is in such demand.


As for the hormone shot I would advocate that you walk away – this is why



The antibiotics take care of the infection but I want you to put the bird in its cage for at least 72 hours.


Not let it out.


Place a full spectrum bulb over the cage and keep it on 24/7.


Cover the cage at night but over the light source, keep the light on the bird. No huts, boxes in the cage.


This is light therapy and what were going to do is simply break your birds circadian rhythm –


No shots, no medicines just light.


Please let us know how it goes for you.


Hi Mitch

Thank you kindly for responding to my situation with my bird.


I am going to start what you suggest immediately. But with severe consequences.


You see he is not a caged bird. His cage door is open 24/7.


So he is going to screech like heck when he figures it out I looked him in!


I will just have to ignore him and wear earplugs.


I hid the coca-cola box and he is already looking for it.


I did purchase from you the 20 watt Featherbrite light bulbs.


Will that be enough light over the cage?


I have already spent $800.00 on vet bills trying to get to the bottom of this and you make perfect sense to me.


The plan is going into effect TODAY!


Thank you so much Mitch for advising me. I will let you know.


For the greater good:-)


The light is fine just no higher than 6 inches above the cage


I use these for swimming (and blocking human speech).


It may take a second time, you’ll know within about a week  – positive thoughts grasshopper.


Hi Mitch

I did have the bird sexed when I got him and I was told that he is a male.


So he is waiting for some girl bird?


Mitch responded?


It’s also important to keep in mind that mail cockatiel share routing duties with females including sitting on eggs.


Solo male cockatiels are known to find objects that look like eggs and sit on them, regardless of having no mate.



He will also be very proactive in defending “his” nest area.


Let’s look for behavior changes after the 3 days.


New subject – cockatiel cataracts


Hi, my cockatiel has a cataract in one eye, she is 3 years and 6 months old.



I am looking into whether the lamp she has is suitable and whether it is located correctly.


It is currently resting on the top of the cage, the cage is a large ferret cage.


The bulb I am using now is an ExoTerra natural light PT 2190, 13W, it was recommended for me by the pet store.


I looked it up and it is for reptiles, and I don’t think it has the UVB Spectrum.


I did not get a reason for the cataracts from the vet.


The vet gave us non steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops to administer twice a day for life, not an easy thing to do.


Please advise on the lamp and where it’s located and give me your thoughts on the use of the drops. thank you very much. Dawn


Hi Dawn

The lamp is fine – light is light. That said to be effective it’s not the light quality but the light cycle.


Your placement is fine all that’s needed is a timer for 12 hours on/off light cycles.


This helps keeps your tiel’s circadian rhythm synchronized making for a less stressful bird.

(couldn’t find a cockatiel cataract surgery video
but this will give you an idea – not for the squeamish)

Article snippet


“If you elect not to have cataract surgery, your pet may need to be placed on daily topical drops to control the inflammation caused by the cataracts. If advanced cataracts are left untreated, over time they can luxate, or become loose from the structures that hold them in place.


This allows the cataract to shift positions within the eye where it can block the normal fluid flow leading to glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a painful and blinding disease that often leads to eye removal”.

 I would follow up each treatment with a high value treat helping to take the “edge” off.

best of luck


All answers approved by catherine tobsing

your zygodactyl footnote


Mitch Rezman

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mine plucked the tiny feathers under the big ones, I figured they were old and aggravating him, he stopped and they grew back, pretties than ever. No problem. He wanted shoe boxes. I just gave them to him, he made doors and windows. No problem. Problem was, he wore out more boxes than I did shoes, so had to beg for shoe boxes.

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