Close up budgie scratching head
Colourful native Australian Rosella bird scratching its head

Why Is My Budgie Itchy and Plucking His Feathers?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Kris S. seeks advice:

We got a budgie when he was 1 month old rarely in his cage and very spoiled/loved. 


Got 2nd young male 2-3 months later, he was a month old as well.


Moody Blue, the first one, is VERY jealous of Zipper, the new one. 


Zipper wants to be friends and tries to be near Moody but he just won’t allow it and will bite at times. 

Now Moody is itching with raw parts up under his wings and pulling out little feathers, sometimes longer ones.


He likes to sit on a perch in the bathroom mirror bobbing and waggling at his reflection. 


His itching is the worst then also does this routine with bare feet and toes. 


Took him to a vet (I don’t think Avian) who said we shouldn’t have a small night light on, that he should eat pellets and the rooms weren’t warm enough so he was molting. 


We checked parakeet care recommended sites before feeding etc.


He never gave anything for the raw sore skin high under his wings or answered repeated calls to ask why Zipper wasn’t being affected and what could we put up under his wings to help heal them. 


He gets fresh fruit/veg as well as highly rated parakeet nutria all feed since the vet visit we are now introducing crumbles.


As he said parakeets are not seed eaters. 


Any advice for any of these issues would be so appreciated. Thank you.


Hi Chris,


RE: Took him to a vet (I don’t think Avian) who said we shouldn’t have a small night light on, that he should eat pellets and the rooms weren’t warm enough so he was molting.


Small night lights (3-4W) help reduce night frights. 


They are not essential but can be helpful.


Why would mother nature hardwire any bird to lose an integumentary system (feathers) that keep birds warm in lower temperatures?


Molting is not triggered by temperature it’s triggered by hormones, light cycles, seasonality changes, and so forth.


In the wild, lunar cycles are signals to molt as well. 


Some birds molt rapidly once or twice a year.


Other species like African greys can have a molt lasting two or more years.


As for pellets being essential, I’ll always ask in return –  how budgies have lived on strictly seed diets for tens of millions of years ~ until humans stepped in?



There is even a species of “grass parakeets” with 6 subspecies:

  • Blue-winged parakeet
  • Elegant parakeet 
  • Rock parakeet
  • Orange-bellied parakeet
  • Turquoise parakeet
  • Scarlet-chested parakeet


They are called grass parrots and grass parakeets because they live on the seeds of grass.


To my knowledge, no one has ever reported pellet feeding bowls under mulga trees in the Australian outback.

We recommend a quality seed mix with added pellets to insure a good varied diet. Higgins has all that you need for a great parakeet diet with these items.


Higgins Sunburst Parakeet contains seeds, fruits, veggies, Intune Pellets, and treat all in one.


Want more pellets, Higgins Intune Harmony Parakeet can serve that need well.

As for the biting and itching:

Start with a very small drizzle of coconut oil in each bird’s food – microwaved for 5 seconds or so.


Coconut Oil for Preening Birds and Beards ~ Video


Moody may be acting protective of his friend in the mirror.


Moody may be stressed and angry that you introduced a third personality (buddy in the mirror) in the house that takes away some of the attention that he used to receive. 


Remove the mirror for 30 days and look for positive behavioral changes.


Budgies are “duster” birds that should be bathed in some form at least weekly

3 clamp on light over budgie aviary

Lastly, both birds should have full-spectrum lighting over their cage on a timer for 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.


Full Spectrum Economy Daylight Bulb with Clamp Light & Timer
















Full Spectrum Economy Daylight Bulb with Clamp Light & Timer


Read more: How Do I Place Clamp Light for Lighting Over My Bird’s Cage?


Please let us know of your success.


Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing

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