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My husband and I have a 15 year old cockatiel who seems

My husband and I...

My husband and I have a 15 year old cockatiel who seems healthy and happy with the exception that one of his wings has a hole in the feather pattern and other feathers lay through the hole. Thus, those feathers stick out through the hole. It makes him look like something major is wrong with him but he appears to be in no pain at all. He just can’t fly much.

Veterinarian's Assistant: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Expert will know how to help the cockatiel. What is the cockatiel's name?

Sam

Veterinarian's Assistant: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Sam?

He loves seed and millet. We try to sneak some crickets and other things in his food but he may just throw it out. We are wanting to ensure he’s not malnourished. Sometimes, for whatever reason, he gets spooked at night and jumps around in his cage so maybe he injured himself at some point. We keep trying to look inside the hole but can’t really see anything.

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Answered in 31 minutes by:
11/11/2017
Scott Perry
Scott Perry, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3,302
Experience: DVM
Verified

Hello. My name is***** and I am a veterinarian that can answer your question. I understand Sam has a misgiving area of feathers on one of the wings that other feathers fill in the space. This can often occur after feather follicle damage has happened in the past. Is there any history of that for Sam?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
All I know is that the owner that my parents obtained him from clipped his wings but he was able to fly the first few years we had him. He sometimes gets spooked at night and flops in his cage until he climbs back up on his favorite spot but not sure if that caused anything. He’s never had any specific damage to our knowledge. We can touch the wing as much as we want and he doesn’t seem to be in any pain. We just want to ensure that we haven’t done something to him such as with his diet to cause this.
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Sometimes when he loses feathers, the quill may have a drop of dried blood in it or may appear deformed. Others are normal. Sometimes the feather itself is deformed.

I understand. Thank you for that information. If there is an absence of one particular area of feathers then the likely answer is that those follicles were damaged at some point in time and are not generating an organized structure of keratin to form a normal feather. Unless a large number of feathers across the body are appearing deformed or absent in different parts then there is not a nutritional deficiency or feather mite issue to be of concern. It should remain just in the one particular area. If we are talking about a few of the flight feathers then I would not expect this to have any significant issue with flying as long as the other feathers are not clipped. It can usually remain this way indefinitely without problems.

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Scott Perry
Scott Perry, Bird Veterinarian
Category: Bird Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3,302
Experience: DVM
Verified
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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thanks...the deformation is just on the right wing but it is such a big split that he winds up spiraling instead of flying. It is comforting to know that we are not ignorantly abusive bird parents. It just looks that way with those other feathers lying through the gap at an angle. Again thanks for your help!
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