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Are these signs of stress in a cockatiel?

aaa

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Angelena
Hi everyone! My bird is going through his first molt and I notice over the last month he has been gradually losing weight and a lot of feathers. Before his molt he weighed 80 grams, now he is 72 grams. He loses about 20 feathers everyday and isn’t eating very much. I notice he strongly prefers to eat food from my hand and drink water from my cup or from running water.

I read online that it is normal for cockatiels to lose a bit of weight during their molt but I feel like 8 grams is a lot to lose in a month… or is this totally normal?
I am also concerned if this is early signs of depression. Any time I’m home, I never have him in his cage (unless it’s time to sleep) but I do work full time. So depending on the day, I’m away for 5-8 hours at a time. I planned to get him a buddy in about a year… but if I have to speed up the process to get him one, I can.
I’m sorry for all the questions. I am sincerely concerned for him and I’m not familiar with everything that’s happening as it’s my first bird.
I can’t afford to see a vet right now but I do plan to see a bird specialist when they open on Tuesday. I’m not sure if she has a vet degree but I know she works very closely with troubled/neglected birds and has trained them for many years.
 

Rebel

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If you’re concerned he’s lonely when you’re not there, try playing a radio or a tv. Even though i have more than one bird, i have a tv in their room. I play them cartoons when im not home. Lol
 

Pie

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according to a source, cockatiels apparently lose about 10% of their weight during a molt, so very well could be normal. monitor the bird when you're at home with him. does he eat? does he drink? check droppings too! if they're a good size, it should be a good indicator he is well. just going through molt. you can also check the keel;
1709402417811.png
if possible, you could set up a nannycam in the bird room to see what he does when you're not there, see if he plays and eats and sings. if he does none of these, that can be a sign of depression.
cockatiels are very social animals, so i highly encourage a buddy, but they can also manage some time alone if their personality fits.
 

aaa

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Angelena
If you’re concerned he’s lonely when you’re not there, try playing a radio or a tv. Even though i have more than one bird, i have a tv in their room. I play them cartoons when im not home. Lol
Oh, thank you! I will do that
 

aaa

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Angelena
according to a source, cockatiels apparently lose about 10% of their weight during a molt, so very well could be normal. monitor the bird when you're at home with him. does he eat? does he drink? check droppings too! if they're a good size, it should be a good indicator he is well. just going through molt. you can also check the keel;
View attachment 443402
if possible, you could set up a nannycam in the bird room to see what he does when you're not there, see if he plays and eats and sings. if he does none of these, that can be a sign of depression.
cockatiels are very social animals, so i highly encourage a buddy, but they can also manage some time alone if their personality fits.
Thank you for the picture reference and information!
And yes, his poop is completely normal. The only times I have noticed it’s a bit watery is after he eats his greens. I’ll look into getting a nanny cam! That will probably give me more information. Thank you :heart:
 

Aestatis

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If his poop is normal he must be eating something. I think it's awesome you plan to get him a friend in a year, and I think it's worth waiting if it allows you to get the right bird for both you guys. Hopefully all goes well with the appointment Tuesday. It sounds like he has a healthy diet, but you could always provide some millet or cooked pasta to give him a boost. The millet might be a good option to put in his cage before you leave the house to take some negative association out of it.

The only other thing I can think of is that he isn't comfortable in his cage for some reason since he will eat from your hand. Is it hard to get to the water/food? Are the bowls comfortable to sit on? Is there a new toy that makes him too nervous to eat?
 

aaa

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Angelena
If his poop is normal he must be eating something. I think it's awesome you plan to get him a friend in a year, and I think it's worth waiting if it allows you to get the right bird for both you guys. Hopefully all goes well with the appointment Tuesday. It sounds like he has a healthy diet, but you could always provide some millet or cooked pasta to give him a boost. The millet might be a good option to put in his cage before you leave the house to take some negative association out of it.

The only other thing I can think of is that he isn't comfortable in his cage for some reason since he will eat from your hand. Is it hard to get to the water/food? Are the bowls comfortable to sit on? Is there a new toy that makes him too nervous to eat?
Ohh okay I will put some millet in his cage! He has a night time cage and a daytime cage… I wonder if maybe going back and forth might be too stressful? Sometimes my parents watch late night movies which is why I got him a night time cage that’s placed in my room upstairs. I have thought about putting his day time cage upstairs as well, but I don’t have room for it. It’s too big.
It isn’t hard to get his food or water bowl. And he can sit on it pretty comfortably. My dad made a shelf where his bowls sit flushed on it (I hope that makes sense).
But now that you mention toys… I haven’t gotten him a new toy recently. He loves chewing stuff, especially the Chinese finger traps (which I ran out of). I wonder if that could have an affect on him as well? I didn’t really think not getting new toys could have an effect on him since he has so many toys… but I’ll get him some more!
 

sunnysmom

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Adding some human grade brewers yeast to his food can help with the stress of molting.
 

aaa

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Adding some human grade brewers yeast to his food can help with the stress of molting.
Oh thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely get that. We’re getting baby chicks tomorrow and they need this for their growth.
 

sunnysmom

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Oh thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely get that. We’re getting baby chicks tomorrow and they need this for their growth.
I believe it's recommended a couple times a week sprinkled over food during a molt.
 
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Aestatis

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Ohh okay I will put some millet in his cage! He has a night time cage and a daytime cage… I wonder if maybe going back and forth might be too stressful? Sometimes my parents watch late night movies which is why I got him a night time cage that’s placed in my room upstairs. I have thought about putting his day time cage upstairs as well, but I don’t have room for it. It’s too big.
It isn’t hard to get his food or water bowl. And he can sit on it pretty comfortably. My dad made a shelf where his bowls sit flushed on it (I hope that makes sense).
But now that you mention toys… I haven’t gotten him a new toy recently. He loves chewing stuff, especially the Chinese finger traps (which I ran out of). I wonder if that could have an affect on him as well? I didn’t really think not getting new toys could have an effect on him since he has so many toys… but I’ll get him some more!
I think some birds love variety and others just want the same toy. Vista goes nuts over fingertrap toys - she will happily destroy them all day, but she pretty much ignores everything else I've tried for now.

There is one type that comes with a huge ring of fingertraps that Vista loves - she's through 1.5 of them now: https://www.petbarn.com.au/watson-williams-finger-trap-coronet-bird-toy-multi-42x32cm

The link is just for example reasons, I get them at my local bird store for a few dollars cheaper. :)
 

aaa

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Angelena
I think some birds love variety and others just want the same toy. Vista goes nuts over fingertrap toys - she will happily destroy them all day, but she pretty much ignores everything else I've tried for now.

There is one type that comes with a huge ring of fingertraps that Vista loves - she's through 1.5 of them now: Watson & Williams Finger Trap Coronet Foraging Bird Toy

The link is just for example reasons, I get them at my local bird store for a few dollars cheaper. :)
Ahh okay that makes sense! And thank you for the link! This toy looks so much fun to play with haha. I will definitely buy it at my local bird store.
 

Aestatis

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Ahh okay that makes sense! And thank you for the link! This toy looks so much fun to play with haha. I will definitely buy it at my local bird store.
Hopefully he likes it! I have found that Vista will chew the fingertraps off and leave them on the cage bottom. I can get a little extra value out of the toy by picking them up and sticking them in the cage bars (top by a high perch, or the sides).
 
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aaa

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Hey guys! :greet13: I took my bird in to see the specialist and here’s a little update.

She shared he is tiny, underweight, and looks like he could be 2 months old (to reference how small he is). He is 5 months going to be 6 months March 14. She doesn’t think his light weight is really concerning I should take him to a vet (thankfully). She suggested what could be causing weight loss is stress from molting and being a picky eater. She noticed he’s only eating millet from his food mix and recommend a new feed. It’s a mix of different types of millet and oats, which will temporarily be his main diet until he gains weight. I have 3 other types of mixes with dried fruits, dried veggies, oats/nuts, and dried flowers/greens that I will continue to feed him in hopes he will eat it since those are a more nutrient balanced diet.

I got him a lot of the finger trap toys and new toys in hopes of lessening his stress. I’ve always had a foraging box at the bottom of his cage but hopefully the new toys and millet mix will keep him entertained.

I also ordered the brewers yeast and said it will arrive some time next week!

We got baby chicks a few days ago and for now they are staying inside our home. He really gravitates towards them and hears them chirping all the time, so I’m hoping that will help him feel less lonely, if he is feeling lonely. For safety reasons, they don’t play with each other and can see each other from a distance or can see each other through the clear bin the chicks are in :swoon:

Thank you guys so so much for all the suggestions! :heart: I really appreciate them and I’m hoping things will get better very soon
 
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