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Old 04-30-2013, 10:24 PM
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Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

Hi guys Rhino my cockatiel recently has me worried with these feathers that look a little funny. I'll start from the beginning first, sorry I'm a rambler
I bought Rhino from my pet store, his tail feathers had ragged ends (as did all of the other birds there) and I didn't think much of it until I heard online that it could be due to bad diet or stress. Is that true? He is only about 12 weeks so I assume they would fall out and new ones would grow back after his first molt. Also his cage was pretty small so I don't know if that could have been a factor.
As for the strange feathers, on his back it started with one feather on his back that looks exactly like a flexible piece of plastic or a stripped feather sticking out and curving a little. Actually it doesn't look like a feather at all. It is becoming more and more noticeable each day and curving more and now I can see smaller ones are starting to grow around it. Rhino doesn't seem to care much when I touch them or anything, he just kinda gets a little annoyed and preens whenever I touch them. I know for a fact them are not blood feathers, the big one just looks like a flexible thin plastic piece sticking straight out of the left side of his back and sticks out like a sore thumb. Will the stripped feathers fall out during his molt? And what exactly are they and what causes them? Rhino seems very healthy he sings chirps dances and his poo looks normal. He is also on a safflower seed diet with other important fruit and veggies included. I might be overreacting but I have never seen these plastic things sticking out on a parrot's back before. I hope it's nothing serious
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:47 PM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

I don't know about the sticking out you are mentioning but have you been around birds much? Without a picture my first thought is they are normal feathers which generally come in wrapped in a feather sheath that does look like a plastic straw with a point on the end. As they come in she will preen them and the plastic will decompose for lack of a better word and the feather will be fresh and new.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:39 PM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

Young birds often don't realize that their feathers are necessary for things other than keeping them warm and usually figure everything out after their first moult...

Depending on how many birds are kept in a small cage, that can attribute to ragged feathers also.....

Welcome to the forum & congrats on your new feathered friend.....
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:47 AM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

I am new to the world of birds so sorry I am not that familiar with their feathers lol. I am charging my camera to take a picture, but I looked at it again and they are actually near the top area of the tail feathers. They look like thin plastic curly straws sticking out in all different directions. Maybe they are new feathers but I've never seen them curl upwards before.

Last edited by TheBirdWhisperer; 05-01-2013 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:18 AM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

Sounds to me like the bad tail feathers are due to being dragged against the small cage he was in prior to you bringing him home. They will fall out and be replaced during his first molt. The "plastic" looking things you are seeing sound to me like pin feathers. When a bird gets new feathers they come in surrounded in what is called a Keratin sheath. It protects the feathers until the sheath is ready to come off by the bird preening it. It will simply flake away. Additionally you can help preen the pin feathers by GENTLY pinching them with your finger nails and GENTLY rub them with your fingers and when the time is right they will fall away and reveal fresh new baby feathers. https://www.google.com/search?q=pin+...2F%3B308%3B400
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:53 AM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

Quote: Originally Posted by TheBirdWhisperer View Post
I am new to the world of birds so sorry I am not that familiar with their feathers lol. I am charging my camera to take a picture, but I looked at it again and they are actually near the top area of the tail feathers. They look like thin plastic curly straws sticking out in all different directions. Maybe they are new feathers but I've never seen them curl upwards before.
No problems about being new, we all were once! I was only using "new" as a point of reference for understanding what could be concerning you. Hopefully the picture that MollyGC posted will be some help.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:38 PM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

The feathers you are describing sound like new growth "pin feathers" to me... Totally normal & they wont stay that way forever. As for tail feathers being scraggly, does your bird "cling" to the bars alot? Did it sleep clung to the bars due to inappropriate cage/sleep space set up at the pet shop? One of my Sun Conures had a ratty tail from sleeping on the bars of his obnoxiously small cage @ his previous owners. He was on his bars all the time begging for attention because he had one perch & NO toys. That sounds like what its from to me. If your bird is young you can encourage different sleeping habits. Also make sure your bird gets out enough so it doesnt feel the need to cling to the bars for attention.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:35 PM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?



Finally got an image up(: Sorry for the bad quality, I had to take it with my phone because my camera wasn't cooperating with me. It definitely doesn't look like a pin feather to me, any ideas??
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:40 PM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

I can't tell where the feather is coming from, but I'd be inclined to see if it's just some part of a feather that has been separated from the rest.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:41 PM
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Re: Cockatiel has strange feathers sticking out on back?

I'm looking...but I don't see anything out of the ordinary. I don't even see any straw like things?
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