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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28533
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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I am not sure if my parakeet is sick or is molting. Her wings

Customer Question

I am not sure if my parakeet is sick or is molting. Her wings are fluffed up and she is not moving much. I have noticed alot of feathers in the cage however, she seems to be eating though and drinking just not sure.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Bird Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. To answer you directly, Patty can be both molting and sick. This often occurs in parakeets who are eating primarily seed diets which will leave them lacking in calcium and vitamins D3, A, B12, and K. Molting and regrowing feathers requires quite a bit of energy and nutrients that Patty may not have available to her.
Ideally, I want my parakeets eating a balanced pelleted diet as can be found here: or here: but it can be difficult transitioning birds to these diets when they've been eating seeds for 6 years. You can offer Patty dairy products, hard-boiled egg yolk, the tops of green vegetables, and even tiny pieces of meat, however, to see if she'll be interested in anything other than seeds. Her water should have a water-soluble vitamin (Oasis, e.g.) in it at half the recommended dose so as not to make it distasteful. A water soluble calcium supplement such as Calciboost or Calcivet which is also easily found over the counter in pet/feed stores should also be in her water at this time.
Having an avian-oriented vet (please see here: would be prudent at this time as well. A fluffed and quiet bird is an ill bird and sicker than they look. This is a protective mechanism because sick birds are attacked by other birds in the wild. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Hi Christine Swauger,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Patty. How is everything going?