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August Abbott, CAS
August Abbott, CAS, Certified Avian Specialist
Category: Bird
Satisfied Customers: 7611
Experience:  Cert. Avian Specialist; Int. Assoc.Animal Behavior Consult; Pet Ind. Joint Advisory Council; author
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black flakes around pin feathers

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My Quaker Parrot has little black flakes surrounding new pin feathers and the skin around his neck. I've never seen this before, and I just recently discovered them while trying to help her remove the pin feathers during a bath. I also don't seem to see any these flakes moving around at all. They're different shapes and sizes, and it almost reminded me of flea dirt, although it did not dissolve in the water. Should I be worried that these may be mites?

-- You can relax, chances are that these aren't mites as almost NO indoor birds kept in a clean environment will ever have mites; and in case you're wondering, NO pet store or internet product works on getting rid of them or preventing them. ONLY an injection or special product administered by a genuine vet will treat mites.

As for what you're seeing: These are very likely the remnants of the tips of pin feathers. While you're keeping up on the pin feathers you can see and feel, the bird is busy as well. Downy feathers deep below the top layer of colored feathers also pop through the skin the same way. Teeny tiny sheaths - different shapes/sizes and even different shades of grey (from dark, almost black to very light white or even clear)


Your bird will enjoy a nice misting or shower, or bath - whatever is their typical way of bathing. Just don't force it (ever) and of course absolutely never put soap or other products in the water. Birds have survived billions of years without us and without our pet supply stuff. They will likely be here long after we go extinct and for sure they won't be flying into pet stores looking for bath soap.


A nice plant mister, a perch in the shower with you (not under direct water stream) or a shallow bowl of clean water for a bath - that's going to keep your companion healthy and happy!


Is there anything else I can help with?


August Abbott, CAS and other Bird Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Sandra,

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

S. August Abbott, CAS
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Great! Thank you so much for following up, and for your expert advice as well! You were 100% correct, it was just the tip of her pin feathers.