White-eyed conures feathers turning dull and over preening. PLEASE HELP


New member
May 7, 2021


He was raised at a pet store on an all seed diet. For months, all he's been eating is mostly sunflower seeds, corn, and other seeds in his mix with occassional apples. He refuses to eat anything else. I've tried to even slowly add in pellets to his diet but he will just starve for days instead. I'm taking him to the vet but any suggestions on how to improve his feather quality? He also over preens them too. I try to give him new things to entertain himself with but he's scared of new toys. I took his cage away from the window because maybe the dogs barking were scaring him? But no, he flew away from his new spot back to his old spot and I've realized he likes to sit on his perch and watch our dogs bark. He even runs around the cage mumbling like an of man trying to join them. I'm at a loss on how to make him 100% happy and healthy.:green2: first picture is april 2021 (the dull picture) second is october 2020 (the one where he is bright green)


Well-known member
Jul 11, 2018
Umbrella Cockatoo- 15? years old..I think?
put seeds and pellets in a mix together so that he gets used to seeing them and stuff but has another option.
Have you tried making "birdy bread" or anything ?
what about cooking or mashing veg?


Staff member
Super Moderator
Parrot of the Month 🏆
Nov 22, 2015
Isle of Long, NY
Yellow Shoulder Amazon, Salty
Hi Pinky and welcome.

As you mention, parrots will actually starve themselves if their diet is changed radically by removing their favorite food ( the sunflower seeds) and replaced totally by something else ( the pellets). They can also imitate eating the pellets but actually consuming nothing and slowly starving. Conventional advice is to slowly introduce the pellets initially, addng a few to his food bowl and gradually adding more while slowly reducing the amount of seeds. How slowly and gradually? Weeks if not months, because most parrots rate of acceptance of new things is GLACIAL, especially compared to our quick monkey brains. Other foods to try are cooked sweet potatoes, served mashed up and warm and hot peppers, hottest you can find, served in various forms (whole, halves, big chunks, medium chunks, diced and finally diced and then mashed up) mix in with his sunflower seeds, one style per day. The juices will rub off on the seeds and he will get used to the taste and hopefully try some of the peppers. They are very good for parrots, and don't worry about the heat, parrots have 1 taste bud to 100 of ours, so something that is like on fire for us is merely tangy to parrots.


Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
Full house
When ever a bird starts over preening, or plucking. You start with an avain exam, to rule out health issues. Fix tge health issues fixes tge problems.

If its behavior. Then I recommend a whole burd approach.
Make sure cage is large enough. Plenty of easy to shred ir ripped apart stuff, like yucca chips, those birdie donut ( looks like a paper ring) shredders are woven natural material thst you can weave in the cage bars. Yiu can even tear out dome pages from sn old paperback book and weave in cage bars fir them to shread

Make the aim 6 hours of out of cage time , thats from my CAV when any behavior issues. Some if that time Yiu are focused on them interactions with them, the rest csn be hanging out near you, or in play area

Burds are flighted monkeys, they also like to climb, swing, dangle, fo daring leaps. So think of providing a jungle gym like for them. The easiest way is turn the outside if the cage top and sides with sea grass cargo net, perches, bird safe ropes ect. Then use that space above their cage! I out in ceiling hooks and used fishing line to hang and create all kinds of fun with swings, hoops , ladder, sea grass net, spiral perches and hang dome just st head hight above cage do they can grab and climb. Attach little things for them to find and discover, chewable, toys, treat sticks, millet. This really engaging to their minds, fun for them, and increases activity and reduces stress. Improves their self confidence too.

Offer a wide shallow dish, I use casserole dishes, with 2 inches or less of water daily fir them to choose when to take a bath. Splash in it with your hand can really bring them over and encourage a bath. Some days switch it up and mist water always pointing up snd allow to fall down on them. If they are in the mood give a good misting, if not dont force.

Taking a parrot outside in the shade. In travel cage or secure all openings on their main cage, including bottom grate and food dishes openings, and role outside. Stay with them always. Time outside helps them get vitamin D , even in shade, light shade, improving their mood, behavior, and feathers. I try fir twice a week. Or you could take them on a walk or bike ride in travel cage

Outside of the cage mine are more willing to explore and try new foods. Get those burd skewer and put on broccoli, or other veggies, suspended at birds chest height. When they come across this the urge to st leat rip it up is strong. Aldo spread out veggies in very shallow wide dishes or plates on top of cage. I keep seeds and pellets in seperate dishes.
A goid practice csn be offering veggies first thing in the morning, having pellets always available, and offering seeds in late afternoon. Also feed seeds as treats by hsnd during the day, for good behavior, for being quite, fir coming over abd saying hi, for stepping up. Use to target training to st least touch toys. Ect.

Have a scale and monitor weight daily. You do nit want to cause weight loss.

Their are lots if info and different techniques to diet changes out there.

This is great article about stress in parrots, and yiur burd seems to be displaying stress
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New member
Apr 25, 2021
Alabama Sir
Cockatiel, Budgie, GCC
I hate pet stores for the most part, and I know that all birds need good homes and love. Its just sad though that pet stores do not take care of their birds the way they should. I bought my cockatiel from a pet store thankfully he was only there for about a week or two. But what really upset me is when I asked information about him. Other then telling me the price the people there (even the ones that "take care" of them had not even a clue) the people who work there have no clue as to anything about birds in general. They don't even know what they have half the time. And it upsets me because you would think that a pet store employee would at least have some general knowledge about the animals or birds that they sell. But sadly they just get hired to sell things not give out any kind of useful information about anything. And I have noticed that in most pet stores, at least around here, they feed an all seed diet. Not providing any proper nutrition to the animals at all. And not just the birds but the other animals as well. They make the cages and enclosures look very nice however to promote sales. And most the time the animals and birds you do see are always just perched or hiding due to the fear of all the "spectators". Pet stores although not all are bad, are very disappointing and should really just sell pet supplies rather then "pets". That is my opinion of course and I am not discrediting any pet store that actually does do research and provide the best care and enrichment for their animals.


Well-known member
Jan 27, 2017
Iowa, USA
2 cockatiels
Have you given him a bath, or offered him water to bathe himself in?

My tiels get pretty dusty and their feathers tend to also look dull without regular baths.

To get my birds to eat more veggies and more diverse stuff, I love making them cornbread muffins with all kinds of chopped veggies inside! You can also add he seed their like so they know some of that is in there too. My tiels love when I put in jalapenos in there especially! They love the taste,. I also add corn peas carrots and broccoli usually to that mix and bake it as instructed on the box. I serve the muffins (one half for 2 birds to share) warm with a couple seconds in the microwave before serving on a paper towel at the bottom of their cage. Served warm they absolutely go nuts for them!

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