Why Is My Cockatiel Pulling Feathers From Under His Wings

Why Is My Cockatiel Pulling Feathers From Under His Wings

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Why Is My Cockatiel Pulling Feathers From Under His Wings


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 an antibiotic 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 cockatiels?


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 hen 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 to 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, wrap around the sides, but not over the light source.


This is light therapy and what were going to do is simply reset 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 out I locked him in!


I will just have to ignore him and wear ear plugs.


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


I did purchase from you the 15 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 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?


This is whats called a conundrum – let’s look for behavior changes after the 3 days


What is the most natural and best food for my cockatiel?


I have been giving her pellets and some seed. She is an egg layer and is 8 years old. Thank you so much.

Jessica S.


Dear Jessica


The diet sounds fine.


What my concern is the egg laying.


That needs to stop for your birds health.


The egg laying is caused by hormonal activity that needs to stop.


Is she a pet that you handle?


Are you stroking her body below the neck? If so, it needs to stop now.


Birds don’t need that from us, she can preen her whole body below her neck herself.


By stroking her below the neckline you are stimulating her sexually.


She does not need you as her sexual partner.


Getting past that.


The next thing to correct is her lighting.


To keep a birds hormones level they need a full spectrum bulb placed 6 to 12 inches above their cage and on a timer 12 hours on and 12 hours off.


(Figure 8:30 am to 8:30 pm in the summer and when daylight savings time comes, it is automatically 7:30 am to 7:30 pm. No need to adjust the timer)


If your bird is a chronic egg layer and or masturbator then a 72 hour light treatment should stop that.


You would put your bird in its cage with the lighting set up as mentioned above. But for 72 hours (3 solid days and nights) you would leave the light ON.


The bird will eat, call out, sleep, play, everything as normal but the light must stay on.


This will reset the circadian rhythm in her brain and after this has been completed within a day or two the egg laying, broody behavior will be done with.


Your bird’s demeanor, personality, and health will improve.


Put the timer back on 12 hours on and 12 hours off and keep it that way, always.


This will improve your birds health and extend her life.


You can find all bulbs and lighting options we offer here.




I hope this helps.


Our cockatiels feet were frostbitten


We found a cockatiel a year ago.


He had been outside for some time when we found him and took him to the vet.


We nursed him to health but his feet were frost bitten and he lost most both feet.


Has one toe.


He gets around good with his beak.


We can’t find good toys for him or good perches because he can’t hold on with is feet.


Please help Barnie.


He is precious to us.

Lisa R.


Good for you Lisa

​How about a pair of crutches?



Just kidding – I photo-shopped that of course.


​Perches and toys should be at the bottom third of a conventional bird cage to reduce the need for climbing you may even want to consider a much shorter cage.


Because the bird has no way to to grip, all your perches should be flat or well textured.


That said you can still stagger them and perhaps laying a round perch over a flat perch so the bird’s beak has something to grab when it’s pulling itself up.


Here’s some flat perch suggestions


And here’s an alternate cage


best of luck




I have a Cockatiel, she lives in the bird room, the temperature is 72-73 degrees.


She has a thermo perch. I want to bring her out to the living room when I am home to spend more time with me.


The temperature in the living room is about 67 degrees. To keep her warm and happy, which would you recommend Thermo Perch, a heater. Snuggle up, or Infrared Heat Bulb?


Dear Barbara


Will the cockatiel be out of a cage or inside?


I am assuming you have a small cage for her that you will place near you for her to sit in?


If so, the bulb is out. They are best in large aviaries.


Either the small Snuggle Up panel or the Small Thermo Perch would work.


However, the Small Thermo perch is good, but if you don’t have room in the small cage for a second perch then you should pass on the Thermo Perch.


The Small Snuggle Up Panel would be the best option then so she can move closer or further as desired and you don’t have to clog up the small cage with additional perches.


Thank you

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