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One of my cockatiels only seems to get along with me (and not with his family members) so he chooses me to preen him all the time. In fact he prefers my preening instead of the millet spray I give him.
So now that he is molting I would like to avoid for him to have any stress bars on his feathers. The thing I want to know is, how do I know when the sheaths are supposed to come off? He has a lot of pin feathers in the crest area and I just want to do it right for him. He starts beating my face when I do it wrong anyways but I just don't want to take the sheath out too early..
 

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Hey BirdBoy,

With my two tiles, I still give them head scratches and things, but am more careful than normal to make sure it doesn't push a new feather the wrong way.

My bird Stormy loved it when I would scratch around the new feathered area when the sheaths had become loose (as in parts had already started to come apart, and the feather was fully grown). I assumed it was itchy for him having the sheaths there and growing new feathers.

I have found with my birdies that the sheaths don't really come off until they are 'ready', as in the become loose and a more grey and translucent rather than a solid white colour.

I had never heard the term stress bars before, but from a brief google it seemed to me that it was more about the environment the bird was in, rather than the sheaths. I assume the barring is caused as the feather develops, rather than one it has grown out. I don't think the discolouration is caused by damage to the feather once it has grown.

What have you read/heard about stress bars?
 
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