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WallyCockatiel

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Ali
I have a 6-month old, wing-clipped male cockatiel (you can see him in my profile pic), he hasn’t molted yet. I noticed ever since we got him (about 3 months ago) he has these pin feathers all around his neck and head. He is super comfortable with me touching him but I never gave him a scritch because I’m worried I’ll touch one of his pin feathers and it’ll hurt him :(. About at what age or when will these pin feathers grow so I can given him the scrithes he wants?

Thanks in advance!
 

Mizzely

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Pin feathers are feathers that have grown in and are still in the keratin sheath. The sheath is meant to be removed once the feather has matured (it's one of the main reason that birds preen). If it is ready to come off, when you lightly scratch it with a thumbnail it will easily fall off into a powder. If it isn't, it will be harder and you may get a squawk of disapproval ;)

So the short answer is - they eventually will probably fall off but because of their location, nature intended a flock member to assist
 

Tiel Feathers

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I would just be gentle and try to preen them. They all aren’t going to be blood feathers, and your bird will probably enjoy it if he likes scratches.
 

Rain Bow

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You've gotten great advice so far. I would enjoy giving him a scritch here & there as long as you don't see it's bothering him.

:gbh: Rain
 

expressmailtome

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Moisture from bathing helps with the itchiness that may occur, as well as softening the keratin.
 

Dona

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Agree with all above. I have a single bird so she needs help with pins around her head. I looked online and watched a video of how to remove the sheaths. First I give her a mist shower, then I find a white tube, separate it a little from other feathers, take my thumb and forefinger and gently rub back and forth and the white sheath becomes powder. I start with the ones farthest from her face and then she is open to me working near her eyes. Gigi kind of likes it. She will lay her head, face down on my lap while I work. When we are done she shakes herself off and seems super happy.
 

Rain Bow

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@expressmailtome .
Thanks for saying that. I've done an increase in misting & bathing whenever Buddy (Zon) seems itchy & or molting. It always seems to cause a more focused groom and then the itchy seems much less. I thought it was my imagination that it seemed to be helping him. You just let me know it wasn't!

:gbh: Rain
 
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