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shayla

Moving in
Joined
9/27/18
Messages
12
Location
Western Australia
Hi, its been a while.
So this post is about my female cockatiel, Chicken, because i have noticed some concerning things about her health just recently.
First of all, i think there's a hole in her head. No, its not her ears, it's under her crest feathers on top of her scalp. It kinda looks more like its split open, rather than a hole, but is this something i should be worried about?
Just this morning around 3 am, she got freaked out about something and i woke up when she was flying around the cage. She then did it again another 2 times between then and around 7 am. I thought maybe she hurt herself then, but it doesn't look fresh and there's no blood. Could it be that Elliot, the other female cockatiel in the cage, attacked her sometime? I'm not sure if this means anything but i found a blood feather in her cage today, but i still see no blood on either birds.
Second, it seems like her feathers are either falling out or being pulled out. Again i'm not sure if this is from Elliot being mean to her, because she can be bossy and bite Chicken when she wants to. Around Chicken's eyes/beak and on her head she losing quite a few feathers but this could just be a sign that she is about to moult, i just want to know if i should be worried.
Next, she pulls a lot of her fluffy feathers out from under her wings or on her back, and eats them. I hope this behaviour isn't signalling that she will soon start to pull out proper feathers like i have seen other birds do. Is this normal?
also just for more info about her, every now and then it looks like her tail bobs (like sick birds do) when she breathes/sleeps but i don't think this is happening all the time.
Lastly, i think they have separation anxiety of some sort because they don't like when we go into a room and close the door or when we leave the house, they start squawking high pitch. Both of them also pace back and forth and chirp loudly when i walk past the cage and the cage door is open for them to come out when they want, so idk why they do it. They will either step up and come out but if they dont want to, they squawk at me and when i take my hand away, they start wanting to come closer to me again? This has been a problem for a while, their anxiety towards our hands and us leaving them alone, so i hope you can give me advice on this one over the other problems first.
Otherwise, if i should be worried about any of this, please let me know and what i should do to help. Any more questions, please ask. Sorry this was so long.
 

Feather

Biking along the boulevard
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5,474
Chicken should see a vet.

Can you get a picture of this hole? That does sound very concerning. Head injuries can be pretty serious.

What are the dimensions of their cage? Everything you're describing - the injuries, the night frights, the fights, the plucking, the anxious pacing - may all stem from overcrowding. If you have any suspicion at all that Elliot is bullying Chicken, you should separate them.

Do they preen each other? The feathers missing from around Chicken's eyes/beak make me wonder if Elliot is plucking her. My Skyline has a history of plucking tiny facial feathers in a specific pattern from both his past mates when they allopreened.

Pulling fluffy feathers out from under her wings and back and eating them is not normal. I would already count that as plucking, whether they're proper feathers or not. I'm stumped as to why she would be eating them. Perhaps it's a nutritional issue, something in her diet she's lacking? What are they eating?
I'm concerned it could be possible for her to get a crop impaction from eating her feathers.

Can you get a video of the tail bobbing?

You're their flock. They don't want to be separate away from you. Do they have toys to keep them occupied while you're gone? You can try playing some radio or TV for them while you're out.

If they're anxious about hands then I suggest going back a few steps and starting over with hand-training them. Offer some millet and pretend like they've never stepped up before and train slowly from the ground up again that hands are a good thing.

Can they fly?
 

sunnysmom

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Is she just missing feathers under her crest or is it a wound? All cockatiels have a bit of bald spot under their crest. Some bigger than others. It sounds like she had a night fright. Cockatiels are very prone to these. Having a night light often helps. Also make sure there aren't moving shadows or lights from cars through windows, etc that might spook her. Do you think you other bird is plucking her? Can you post a picture?
 

iamwhoiam

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Can you take a photo of her head? That would be helpful.
 

shayla

Moving in
Joined
9/27/18
Messages
12
Location
Western Australia
@Feather i will try to get a video and photos soon.
The thing on her head isn't missing feathers, it is literally a small split where her bald spot is but i just don't know how she got it because there is no blood and it doesn't look like a sore.
Their cage could be an issue although we have tried with bigger cages and they don't like it much and because they are inside birds its a lot harder to move them around. They have toys and i renew their sticks every 3-4 weeks after they have stripped them of bark.
They both can bully each other but it isn't anything serious like they hate each other, but Elliot has no injuries or physical signs of sickness, so i'm thinking maybe Chicken has a sickness and has stopped standing up to Elliot because she is weak? When they argue, they don't necessarily bite, but they squawk at one another, usually to get out first or to eat from the same food bowl. Pretty much all bark but no bite.
They don't preen each other. At times they both put their heads down at the same time for the other to preen but they just get annoyed at each other and stop after realising the other wont do it.
I'm not so sure if she is ingesting the feathers but she chews them and i don't see them fall from her mouth. Their diet consists of small parrot seed (sometimes with shell grit mixed in), grass, hay, cuttlefish and millet, also pumice perches in the cage. they never really liked any fruits or veges and don't eat them when we give them it. < might be an issue.
We do play the radio when we are all out of the house. i have them in my room when i'm in there but usually they are in the lounge room with no TV (spare lounge room?) and there is a window from that to the main lounge room, so if we are in there they can still see us.
They can fly. We have cut their wings but rarely and not for a while.

@sunnysmom at night they are covered and there are no windows from outside in the room they are in. there were no noises either so i thought maybe she fell off the stick but it happened 3 times then, which is the most its ever happened.
 

sunnysmom

Ripping up the road
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If they have night frights, you might want to try leaving a gap in the cover and giving them a night light.
 
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