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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, my bird has been to molting very heavily for about four days now. It started off with a few feathers coming out here and there for several days. Then it progressed to about fifteen plus feathers a day. I noticed that she now seems to be a bit underweight. She has developed some baldness by her eyes during the molting process.

She eats a medicine cup of Leferber’s Premium Daily Diet pellets as her staple diet. She has broccoli available for her to eat daily. Just FYI, broccoli is the only vegetable I’ve gotten her to eat as she was somewhat of a rescue, and the previous owner never gave her anything else but seed. She has cuttlebone available to her. I give her Vitasol in her water for extra vitamins daily. She gets crushed eggshells once a week with her food for calcium. I also give her Higgins Sunburst Leafy Greens and Herbs as a treat once or twice a week.

The only good news is that she seems to be slowing down on her molting. She only lost about five feathers or so today at most. She also seems to be a bit more active than she was yesterday. My concern is her losing weight, balding, and the excessive molting she has had.

I’m wondering if there’s any advice you could give me that I should be doing for her that I’m not doing already. I’m a bit worried as I’ve never seen her molt this badly before so quickly. I never saw her thin like this either. I’m a bit relieved the molting is slowing down, but I’m still a worried cockatiel parent right now. Any suggestions or information would be appreciated greatly. Thank you!

Btw, it may be helpful to mention that she has laid an egg roughly a month ago. She hasn’t done so since. I’m not sure if that could contribute to the excessive molting.
 

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Does she have bald patches anywhere else on her body? Molting is very stressful for them and it takes a lot of energy to regrow all those feathers, but there shouldn't be bald patches. They can lose a bit of weight during a particularly heavy molt but they will regain it once the molt is finished. You can help by misting her with a spray bottle daily as molting makes their skin dry, itchy and irritated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Sorry it took so long to respond. I’ve been having a lot going on.

To answer your question, I don’t see any bald patches anywhere else. I just see it at the back of her head, behind the crest and under the eyes. I’ve been told by my vet that I need to give her more food to make up for what she lost. I’ll try and see if I can send pictures of the bald spots after I get done typing this. The vet acted like it wasn’t something to worry about. She said that I just need to feed her more while she’s getting over this molt.

I’m not sure what to do. Do you think the food I give her is enough if I give her more of it? What can be causing the balding? I’m wondering if her scratching it can cause that.

Sorry for all the questions I gave you. I do spray her with a bottle about three times a day or more with her molting. She lets me know when she wants one by chirping and then turning around when she has my attention, lol. That’s her telling me she wants a bath. Oh, I also have put a bit of aloe Vera in the water bottle with warm water to calm the itching down for her too.

Again, any feedback you can give me about the possible causes and treatment would be extremely helpful. She does seem to be getting back to normal. The only problem I have are those dang balding spots she has on her head. Her weight is 93 grams when her weight before molting was 106 grams. Fyi, she was on a diet prior to her molting due to her being a bit overweight. Thank you for your help!
 

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Has she always had the bald spot on her head? Perhaps the molting is making it more obvious? When they've molted out a lot of feathers in one spot and the pin feathers come through, that can make already existing bald spots more noticeable. It's not uncommon for 'tiels to have bald spots behind their crests. Lutinos almost always have them and other mutations can be born with them, too. My whiteface male has a bald spot behind his crest as well as my lutino cinnamon pied hen. Unfortunately they are there for life.

Definitely give her more to eat, and the aloe vera added into the water will help a lot. I think you're doing everything you can to help. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi, sorry to respond so late on your comment. I had multiple issues going on along with my cockatiel I had to attend to.

To answer your question, I’m not sure if she had this spot behind her crest prior to this. I don’t recall ever seeing it, but it’s possible I could’ve overlooked it before.

She seems to be doing okay now. My worry is her weight. She weighs 89 grams. She was over 100 prior to the molting. Even with feeding her more, she dropped a few ounces. I’m hoping that will stop as I don’t want her to lose more weight. I’m assuming most of the weight lost has to be the result of her losing her feathers. I just hate seeing her weight drop so fast.

Thank you for the encouragement. I really appreciate it. I just have a couple questions. Should I worry about her present weight at 89.5 grams? Also, she won’t get what she lost back behind her crest? That’s permanent?
 

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She should regrow the molted feathers behind her crest. What I mean is, if there has been a bald spot there since she was born due to genetics, she will always have a small bald spot. You may just not have noticed it until the heavy molt.

What are the multiple issues you have had with her recently? I would keep a close eye on her weight as you are doing. The loss of feathers does make them lighter. I would recommend feeling her keel bone (you may have to towel her for this), that's the most accurate way to tell if your 'tiel is underweight or not. If you can feel it in between her breast muscles but it's not sharp, she's at a healthy weight. If you can see it protruding and it's sharp to the touch, she's underweight.

Do you feed her any seed at all? Some millet spray is a good treat. Millet is actually a grain and is high in protein so a bit of that will help her regain the weight and give her extra energy to get her through the molt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi, Princess had a weight drop where she went to about 89 grams. She’s back up to about 93 now. Her breast bone doesn’t feel to be protruding, but she’s definitely not the weight she normally is.

I’m continuing to provide everything I mentioned earlier. The seed I do give her is Higgins Sunburst Gourmet food. It has a variety of different seed in it as well as a variety of dried fruits and things. It has sunflower, pumpkin, cantaloupe, etc. seed. Would you recommend me trying her on a new one?

Also, she is still molting, but she doesn’t look as fatigued or thin as she did previously. I increased her pellets and am more frequently providing more crushed eggshells, seed, broccoli, and Higgins Sunburst Greens and Herbs with Chamomile. I’m hoping all this is helpful in giving her enough nutrients. She refuses to eat fresh carrots, boiled or scrambled eggs or sweet potatoes; she’s been stubborn about trying to eat them even though it would do her some good.

Do you know how long her losing her feathers can last? This is probably the most heavy molt she’s had since I got her. Her vet isn’t too worried, so maybe I’m just being overly concerned. Regardless, it’s still a bit different than what I’ve experienced with her in the past. Thank you for your help. Sorry it’s taking me so long to respond. I’ve had some other issues going on in addition to Princess molting that I’ve been having to deal with. So it completely slips my mind to check back sometimes on this site. I wish it was able to send me notifications when someone responds.
 

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That's great to hear that she's gaining some weight. Her diet sounds good, but keep offering her new foods as one day she might decide to accept them. Have you tried leafy greens like bok choy, spinach, celery and silverbeet? They seem to take better to crunchy vegetables. If you have dandelions in the garden, these will make an excellent nutritious treat for her, my flock love them!

Molts can last from a few weeks to a couple of months at the most. It all depends on the time of year and how dramatic the temperature change is. My flock molt the heaviest in spring when summer is getting near.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hi, I’ll definitely keep trying to get her to eat some food like what you mentioned. I’ve had no luck so far, but will keep trying. She’s just very picky.

Here’s an update on how Princess is. She’s done with the molting now. Her bald spots have actually filled in now. She is looking like she was before the heavy molt. I’m so relieved and happy! Princess is back to her old self.
 
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