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Frayed Feathers Breaking off

HannahBean

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Jessie
See pictures. Got Gretel as a fledgling last August. Her feathers were in rough shape and was told it was normal for fledglings to have roughed up feathers. Well 6+ months with a proper diet -(seed, veggie grain chop and Harrison pellets)later her feathers look a LOT better, but feathers are still fraying/breaking off, almost looks as if someone has cut them. She lives in a flight cage, but mostly stays out of it in the bird room. She seems healthy, active and happy overall.
We went to the vet a few months ago and was told we could do a $800.00 panel to test for parasites and various diseases. We are saving up for the cost. The vet recommended more baths and to give her flaxseed. in the meantime has anyone had any experience with this? Its so weird.
Its on her tail and wings. B7F44834-4716-4358-8CF6-E9DA2455F88E.jpeg 759879BD-9449-43AA-AEBF-823F46714504.jpeg 000D86A7-682E-47A4-A769-6365CD3FCAD5.jpeg
 

HannahBean

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Also Gretel has never been clipped.
 

Icey

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She is a cutey.
How big is her flight cage?
Is there a toy she keeps rubbing against that would cause this?
Are there other birds that may be grabbing her?
Sorry for all the questions but the more other members know; the more they can help.
I will tag some members that I hope can help.
@BrianB , @Tiel Feathers , @tka, @Macawnutz
 

BrianB

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Young birds can be rough on their tail feathers because they are still figuring out how to land properly. They can also rub them against the back of the cage if their perch is too close and they don't have enough room to sit or turn around. It's hard to tell the cause from the pictures but try moving the perches around and see if that helps. The molt into adult feathers is coming so give it another few months and see if they get replaced with nice new feathers. There is a bird spray that is aloe and preen gland oil. I can't remember the name of it off-hand. That can help to moisturize the skin and smooth out ragged feathers. Cockatiels are naturally dusty and it's how they keep themselves clean. Don't overdo it with the spray and soak the bird, but a light misting and then smoothing it through the feathers could help.
 

tka

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Young birds have huge demands on their bodies. In a space of just a few weeks, they grow from tiny naked helpless babies to fledging the nest. They have to grow bones and muscle and organs and loads of things that will affect them for the rest of their lives, so feathers tend to be low on the priority list. Feathers will moult out and they'll grow new ones, but they can't grow a new heart or skeleton. So their first set of feathers tend to be "good enough" - they'll be good enough for the bird to fledge and to survive their inevitable crash landings, but they aren't going to be gorgeous.

Once feathers are fully grown and visible, they're basically dead keratin. Much like there's only so much you can do to your hair after it's grown (despite what shampoo adverts will tell you), there's only so much you can do to improve the condition of these feathers. As @BrianB says, misting her might help her skin and feathers, but like I say, there's only so much you can do to improve these particular feathers.

However, she will shed these feathers and grow new ones. These new ones will reflect conditions as they're forming, so hopefully they'll be a lot nicer. She's on a better diet and her body can divert more resources to making beatiful, strong feathers.
 

HannahBean

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She is a cutey.
How big is her flight cage?
Is there a toy she keeps rubbing against that would cause this?
Are there other birds that may be grabbing her?
Sorry for all the questions but the more other members know; the more they can help.
I will tag some members that I hope can help.
@BrianB , @Tiel Feathers , @tka, @Macawnutz
Thank you for your response. She is in a large flight cage, but is mostly outside of it perched on top. She is housed with another cockatiel and a budgie. My other cockatiel has never had this problem, but I got her around 2yrs old so maybe Gretel is still just young and figuring things out. Read the post replies, and will be implementing those changes in the cage. Thank you!
 

HannahBean

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Picture of flight cage. EDFE9CB4-5368-437E-AAD6-68A615568FCE.jpeg
 

HannahBean

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It could be the budgie? He can be a little attention pest to them sometimes, but Ive never personally witnessed him bitting. Its mostly just the in your face whistles, wanting to play with them. Hes a cutie but definitely has a budgie personality :rolleyes:
Its not constant, but the tiels just move away or nudge him away when he gets to be too much.
 

HannahBean

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Oh and they just got a mist bath prior to the pic being taken, so thats why theres droplets on the cage.
 
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