Tail Feather breakage, advice please!


New member
May 8, 2018
Hi, concerned Birdy mom here!

I have a Hahn's Macaw that's almost a year old (Coda) and after my recent trip to the vet, I decided to trim her nails because they were becoming quite painful. Her favorite past time is to cling onto my fingers with her foot and force me to give belly and beak rubs.

But since then, she's not been able to grip things very well, and I've noticed her tail feathers (no new ones yet) have been breaking close to where the base is.

One of my concerns is that she's plucking them, but I see no signs of her other feathers being plucked. Shes behaving normal too. The vet signed her off ok having healthy looking feathers. I personally don't think she's plucking because of these. Her feathers look fine and healthy with exception of her raggedy tail.

Another concern is that she's breaking her feathers because she's falling more easily. Any advice on what to do, or what the cause of these feathers terrors are? When would her new tail feathers come in if any? We live in Hawaii so it's pretty standard for weather and suxh

Information wise: sheturns a year in August, and her pretty red feathers on her wings came in a couple of months ago.

Do I have to worry about her tail being plucked?


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New member
Aug 20, 2016
State College, PA
Senegal Parrot named "Kane"; Yellow-Sided Green Cheek Conure named "Bowie"; Blue Quaker Parrot named "Lita Ford"; Cockatiel named "Duff"; 8 American/English Budgie Hybrids; Ringneck Dove named "Dylan"
Ah, she's a cutie...her feathers do look good in-general, but the edges of her tail feathers in that one photo do look like she's been barbering them a bit. But that would not be causing them to fall completely out, unless she is in-fact pulling them out, which i can only say may be indicated by the appearance of her barbering her outer tail feathers, if that's what that is. I'll let others chime-in with their opinions on what that looks like to them as well...

So has this tail feather problem only started since you clipped her toenails? Is she falling a lot since you clipped them? Or were her tail feathers falling out completely prior to you clipping her nails? And was she chewing on/barbering the outer edge of her tail feathers like that prior to the nail clipping?

If this started only after you clipped her toenails and she has since been falling often enough that you are noticing it, that could very likely be the cause of her tail feather coming out. Another common cause of tail feather coming out is from their cage bars, or from other birds in the house chewing on them if you have them...

Have you seen any of the tail feathers laying around after they've fallen out? If so, do they appear to have been chewed on?

Either way they will grow back completely, don't worry about that, it takes a couple of months, it actually happens quite quickly. My cockatiel lost her major flight feathers on one wing a year ago due to uncontrolled bleeding, they had to be pulled from the bone, and as a result she can't fly well at all, and her tail feathers are always raggedy and falling out, and they completely grow back in about 2 months.


Well-known member
Sep 12, 2012
Mitred Conure - Charlie 1994;
Cockatiel - Casey 2001;
Wild Caught ARN - Sylphie 2013
It may help if she had her flight feathers, but considering her age, wouldn't be overly concerned. As it's been stated, there can be multiple reasons for broken tail feathers.


New member
May 8, 2018
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@EllenD and @MonicaMc Thank you both for the insight. I actually didn't know how to find my replies on this thread until now.

@EllenD it does seem like she has been barbering them. All except one feather now has gone from short to long. They're not blood feathers which I'm thankful for. However right now, they're still pretty much the same. I haven't seen any plucked feathers at the bottom of her cage so that eases me a little. Yes, she wasn't too great balance wise after her nails were trimmed. And prior to that she had no tail Feather problems. I'm thinking bout upgrading her Birdy cage. While spacious she may like a slightly larger cage And then shell have room to not knock her feathers around.

Thank you for the responses and I'm sorry it took so long to reply

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